Advertisement

Using Aristotle’s Metaethics to Assess the Moral Responsibility of Organizations as Artificial Persons

Application
  • David ArdaghEmail author
Living reference work entry
Part of the Handbooks in Philosophy book series (HP)

Abstract

The argument presented in this chapter challenges three related positions: (i) that collective entities, such as organizations, do not, strictly speaking, have real existence; (ii) that organizations do not act, strictly speaking; and (iii) that, as non-agents, organizations are not responsible and so are amoral. Using the Neo-Aristotelian doctrine of analogy of attribution with regard to existence, action and goodness, with a quasi-person model of organizations, analogies are made between natural persons and artificial persons (organizations) in six respects grounding the use of an analytical procedure that assesses goals, repertoires, evaluations, acts, outcomes, and society (abbreviated as GREAOS). Organisations are not persons but act, exist, and make moral judgments in similar personal ways. In order to establish the collective ethical responsibilities of organizations as organizations, this chapter describes the presuppositions underpinning the GREAOS procedure, presents an explanation of how its component criteria should be applied to define the ethical responsibility of an organization, and illustrates the utility of such an application for management.

Keywords

Analogy of attribution Aristotle Artificial person Collective responsibility Ethical responsibility Management Metaethics Organization Quasi-person model 

References

  1. Ardagh D (1999) Wellbeing, rules, and conscience. The use of casuistry by professionals. Prof Ethics 7(3/4):137–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ardagh D (2011) A quasi-personal alternative to some Anglo-American pluralist models of organizations: towards an analysis of corporate self-governance for virtuous organizations. Philos Manage 10(3):41–58Google Scholar
  3. Ardagh D (2012) Presuppositions of collective moral agency: analogy, architectonics, justice, and casuistry. Philos Manage 11(2):5–28Google Scholar
  4. Ardagh D (2013) A critique of some Anglo-American models of collective agency in business. Philos Manage 12(3):5–26Google Scholar
  5. Ardagh D (2017) Towards an acronym for organizational ethics: locating responsible agents in collective groups. Philos Manage 16(2):137–160Google Scholar
  6. Ardagh D (2019) The natural law tradition and belief. Nova Science Publishers, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Austin JL (1967) Agathon and Eudaimonia in the ethics of Aristotle. In: Moravscik JEM (ed) Aristotle: a collection of critical essays. Doubleday, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. Bakan J (2003) The corporation big picture media. University of British Columbia, VancouverGoogle Scholar
  9. Black wave: legacy of the Exxon Valdez (2008) Director R. Cornellier, Mocamba Productions, distributed by Bullfrog Films, Oley, PAGoogle Scholar
  10. Chisholm R (1968) Supererogation and offence. In: Dworkin G, Thompson J (eds) Ethics. Harper and Row, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. Chisholm R (1991) On the simplicity of the soul. In: Philosophical perspectives 5, Philosophy of religion. Ridgeview, Atascadero, pp 167–181Google Scholar
  12. Danley J (1999) Corporate moral agency. In: Frederick R (ed) A companion to business ethics. Wiley Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  13. De George R (1996) Business ethics. Prentice Hall, Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  14. Dine C (2000) The governance of corporate groups. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge/New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Donaldson T (1982) Corporations and morality. Prentice Hall, Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  16. Donaldson T, Werhane P (eds) (2007) Ethical issues in business, 7th edn. Prentice Hall, Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  17. Friedman M (1962) Capitalism and freedom. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  18. French P (1979) The corporation as a moral person. Am Philos Q 18:207–215Google Scholar
  19. French P (1992) Corporate ethics. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  20. Gilbert M (2000) Sociality and responsibility. Rowman and Littlefield, LanhamGoogle Scholar
  21. Gocke B (ed) (2012) After physicalism. University of Notre Dame Press, Notre DameGoogle Scholar
  22. Goetz S, Taliaferro C (2011) A brief history of the soul. Wiley-Blackwell, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Goodpaster K, Matthews J (1982) Can a corporation have a conscience? January issue of Harvard Business Review 60:132–141Google Scholar
  24. Haldane J (2010) Reasonable faith. Routledge, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hare R (1958) The language of morals. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  26. Jensen A, Toulmin S (1988) The abuse of casuistry. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  27. Korten D (1995) When corporations rule the world. Kumarian Press, BoulderGoogle Scholar
  28. Kretzmann N (with Stump E) (1991) Being and goodness. In: MacDonald S (ed) (1991) Being and goodness. Cornell University Press, IthacaCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ladd J (1983) Morality and the ideal of rationality in organizations. In: Donaldson T, Werhane P (eds) Ethical issues in business, 7th edn. Prentice Hall, Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  30. MacDonald S (ed) (1991) Being and goodness. Cornell University Press, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  31. MacIntyre A (1999) Dependent rational animals. Open Court, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  32. May L (1987) The morality of groups. University of Notre Dame Press, Notre DameGoogle Scholar
  33. Miller S (2002) Against collective agency. In: Meggle G (ed) Social facts and collective intentionality. Dr Hansel-Hohenhassen, Frankfurt, pp 273–298Google Scholar
  34. Nussbaum M (1988) Non-relative virtues: an Aristotelian approach. Midwest Stud Philos 13:32–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. O’Connor T (ed) (1995) Agents, causes, and events: the problem of freewill. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  36. Perry J (2014) God, the good, and utilitarianism. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Polanyi M (1959) The study of man. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  38. Polanyi M (1968) The tacit dimension. Doubleday, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  39. Porter J (1995) Moral action and Christian ethics. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  40. Searle J (1983) Intentionality. Cambridge University Press, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Smart N (1958) Philosophers and religious truth. SCM Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  42. Swinburne R (1993) The evolution of the soul. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  43. Taylor C (1989) Sources of the self. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  44. Urmson J (1968) Saints and heroes. In: Melden A (ed) Essays in moral philosophy. University of Washington Press, SeattleGoogle Scholar
  45. Velasquez M (1983) Why corporations are not responsible for anything they do. Bus Prof Ethics J 2:1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Vollmer E (1999) Agent causality. Kluwer Academic, DordrechtCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Williams BOA (1962) Aristotle on the good: a formal sketch. Philos Q 12(49):289–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wisor S (2011) Against shallow ponds; an argument against Singer’s approach to global poverty. J Glob Ethics 7(1):19–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Yandell K (1993) Hume’s inexplicable mystery. Temple University Press, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Formerly Charles Sturt UniversityNewcastleAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Cristina Neesham
    • 1
  • Rob Macklin
    • 2
  1. 1.Newcastle University Business SchoolNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.University of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

Personalised recommendations