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Seek the Good Life, not Money: The Aristotelian Approach to Business Ethics

Seek the Good Life, not Money: The Aristotelian Approach to Business Ethics Nothing is more common in moral debates than to invoke the names of great thinkers from the past. Business ethics is no exception. Yet insofar as business ethicists have tended to simply mine abstract formulas from the past, they have missed out on the potential intellectual gains in meticulously exploring the philosophic tradition. This paper seeks to rectify this shortcoming by advocating a close reading of the so-called “great books,” beginning the process by focusing on Aristotle. The Nichomachean Ethics and The Politics points to Aristotle’s emphasis on tying business morality to a universal conception of the good life. This conception defines personal happiness to chiefly consist in practicing the virtues, a life in which both desire and the pursuit of wealth is kept under check. According to Aristotle, virtue reaches its height with the exercise of the intellectual virtues of prudence and wisdom – the first manifest in the leadership of organizations, and the second in the philosophic search for truth. From an Aristotelian point of view, therefore, the greatest ethical imperative for business is to give individuals opportunities to thoughtfully participate in the management of company affairs and to contemplate the ultimate meaning of things. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Business Ethics Springer Journals

Seek the Good Life, not Money: The Aristotelian Approach to Business Ethics

Journal of Business Ethics , Volume 67 (4) – Jul 12, 2006

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References (18)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 by Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.
Subject
Philosophy; Quality of Life Research; Management ; Economic Growth; Ethics
ISSN
0167-4544
eISSN
1573-0697
DOI
10.1007/s10551-006-9026-4
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Nothing is more common in moral debates than to invoke the names of great thinkers from the past. Business ethics is no exception. Yet insofar as business ethicists have tended to simply mine abstract formulas from the past, they have missed out on the potential intellectual gains in meticulously exploring the philosophic tradition. This paper seeks to rectify this shortcoming by advocating a close reading of the so-called “great books,” beginning the process by focusing on Aristotle. The Nichomachean Ethics and The Politics points to Aristotle’s emphasis on tying business morality to a universal conception of the good life. This conception defines personal happiness to chiefly consist in practicing the virtues, a life in which both desire and the pursuit of wealth is kept under check. According to Aristotle, virtue reaches its height with the exercise of the intellectual virtues of prudence and wisdom – the first manifest in the leadership of organizations, and the second in the philosophic search for truth. From an Aristotelian point of view, therefore, the greatest ethical imperative for business is to give individuals opportunities to thoughtfully participate in the management of company affairs and to contemplate the ultimate meaning of things.

Journal

Journal of Business EthicsSpringer Journals

Published: Jul 12, 2006

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