Scholastic Thought and Business Ethics: An Overview

  • Domènec MeléEmail author


The generic name “Scholasticism” covers a number of thinkers who lived and wrote between the eleventh and mid-seventeenth centuries in western Europe, with its Golden Age being the thirteenth century. What is termed “Later Scholastic” was another brilliant period, especially for economic and business ethics. Scholastic thought, however, is not only a historical matter. At certain points from the late nineteenth century there were revivals, and we are seeing another now, which may have potential. This chapter reviews the main stages of development in Scholastic thought, paying special attention to its origins, its mainstream schools of thought, its method, and its philosophical grounds. It also discusses how Scholastic thought, especially that of Thomas Aquinas, can take on some current key issues in business ethics. This includes integration of economics and ethics, universal ethics and ethical relativism, ethical decision-making, shareholder versus stakeholder approaches to corporate governance, human rights in a global world, and the role of philosophy and religion/theology in business ethics.


Scholastic thought Thomas Aquinas Duns Scotus Business ethics School of Salamanca Universal ethics Ethical relativism Ethical decision-making Shareholder versus stakeholder approaches Corporate governance Human rights Globalization Philosophy versus religion in business ethics Christian theology Catholic social teaching Integration of economics and ethics Dialectical reasoning Scholastic method Common good Human good Hume‘s Law Naturalistic fallacy 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IESE Business SchoolUniversity of NavarraBarcelonaSpain

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