Virtue Ethics Moral Reasoning Moral Responsibility Individual and

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Virtue Ethics & Moral Reasoning & Moral Responsibility: Individual and Corporate 1

Virtue Ethics & Moral Reasoning & Moral Responsibility: Individual and Corporate 1

Virtue • As a reaction against a legalistic approach to ethics, a number of

Virtue • As a reaction against a legalistic approach to ethics, a number of philosophers in recent years have argued for a virtue-based moral theory, in addition to or instead of the deontological and utilitarian approaches. • The art of making good or sound decisions involves the exercise of judgment. ü Those who emphasize virtue argue that moral rules do not solve real moral problems because they must always be applied, and ü any application requires judgment, which cannot be automatic, and which requires a virtuous person to make the judgment correctly. 2

Aristotelian Virtue • Aristotle divided virtues into two basic kinds: üThe intellectual virtues, the

Aristotelian Virtue • Aristotle divided virtues into two basic kinds: üThe intellectual virtues, the highest of which is wisdom, result from the proper functioning of the higher or intellectual aspects of human beings. üThe moral virtues, on the other hand, come about from the proper control by reason of the bodily appetites and inclinations. – We are not born virtuous. – We become virtuous by practice. 3

Virtue: Systems & Organizations • People are the center of ethics, and the ethical

Virtue: Systems & Organizations • People are the center of ethics, and the ethical analysis of systems and organizations will always in the end hinge on how people are affected. • While systems & organizations are created by people, ü Each individual is born into an already existing society that contains an economic, political, and social system, and ü a variety of organizations, all of which affect the individual. 4

Moral Ideals • Moral ideals & counsels of perfection are goals toward which people

Moral Ideals • Moral ideals & counsels of perfection are goals toward which people can strive. • All people deserve moral blame when they fail to fulfill their moral obligations. 5

Applying Moral Reasoning Situation Analysis 1. Get all the facts about the case. 2.

Applying Moral Reasoning Situation Analysis 1. Get all the facts about the case. 2. Determine ethical issue or issues to be resolved. 3. Use your moral imagination to consider the possible alternatives. 4. Determine all those (stakeholders) affected by the action who should be considered in your analysis. 5. Determine whether the action you’re contemplating is morally required or whether it constitutes an ideal toward which you aspire. 1. If the latter, the action is good but not required. 6

Applying Moral Reasoning Ethical Alternatives 1. If required, in the most promising alternative(s), does

Applying Moral Reasoning Ethical Alternatives 1. If required, in the most promising alternative(s), does some clear prima facie obligation apply, such as do not kill or steal or lie? If so, apply it. 2. Is there still an ethical issue? If no, act. If yes, go to 3. 3. If there are two or more prima facie obligations that apply & they conflict, does one clearly preferable? If so, act on it. If not, go to step 4. 4. Does the practice or issue lend itself more clearly & obviously to a utilitarian analysis or a deontological approach of duties, rights, or justice? 7

Applying Moral Reasoning Ethical Analysis 1. After using that approach, determine whether considerations of

Applying Moral Reasoning Ethical Analysis 1. After using that approach, determine whether considerations of consequences, duty, justice, or rights that were not used in the last step are pertinent & should be added to the analysis. If yes, do so. 2. Consider how someone who disagreed with your analysis may argue for an opposite moral conclusion • Note that the objection might be made using a different approach from the one you used previously. • Adjust your conclusion if you discover some error or oversight in your previous analysis; otherwise, reply to the objection & show why the objector’s analysis is deficient. 8

Applying Moral Reasoning Double Check 1. Is the action you have now arrived at

Applying Moral Reasoning Double Check 1. Is the action you have now arrived at one that lives up to your sense of moral integrity, that exemplifies moral virtue, and that would be chosen by someone whom you consider a moral model? • If no, reconsider until you find an alternative that does. 2. Determine whether you’d be comfortable if your acting as you now contemplate were made public. • If not, determine why & how to reconcile the discomfort with the analysis. • If you would be comfortable, act accordingly. 9

Levels of Moral Evaluation • Though all human actions are performed by humans, we

Levels of Moral Evaluation • Though all human actions are performed by humans, we can, however, speak of levels of moral evaluation. – This is because we can evaluate from a moral point of view individual & collective actions, & policies, laws, & systems. • Bus. ethics involves a variety of ethical evaluations of individuals, organizations, motives, laws, structures & systems. – In small businesses, many evaluations focus on individual actions: of the owner or manager and individual employee. • As firms get larger, they tend to be less personal, & coordinating actions of many people doing different tasks demands more complex organizations, policies 10

Moral Analysis and Context • Context is important in moral analysis in many ways,

Moral Analysis and Context • Context is important in moral analysis in many ways, & must be taken into account as part of the case facts. • Four types of considerations illustrate the point. 1. The multiplicity of ways that actions can be described and the fact that the same kind of action can have different consequences because of different contexts. 2. Operating in corrupt environments. 3. Apparently similar actions done by indigenous businesses and by multinational corporations. 4. Similar actions taking place in a context of different traditions and expectations. 11

The Role of Analogy in Moral Reasoning • In analyzing difficult or unclear, or

The Role of Analogy in Moral Reasoning • In analyzing difficult or unclear, or new practices, such as those introduced by new technologies, people often argue by analogy. • Arguing by analogy at times sheds light on the case. • Such arguments must be used with care, • Since one must be sure to capture the right part of the analogy, for all analogies include both similarities between the actions compared and dissimilarities. Moral Judgment in Moral Reasoning • The process of moral reasoning is a continuous individual & social endeavor, applicable to business as to all other spheres of life. 12

Moral Imagination & Moral Reasoning • Moral Imagination: ü Is a necessary ingredient in

Moral Imagination & Moral Reasoning • Moral Imagination: ü Is a necessary ingredient in solving cases. ü Requires that we put ourselves in the place of each of the people involved in whatever issue we are considering. ü Also requires empathy toward others so that we feel what they feel or what we or they would feel under certain circumstances or if we were recipients of certain actions. ü Makes it possible for us to appreciate the need & appropriateness of, e. g. , tempering justice with compassion. ü Helps us avoid settling too quickly on what seems to be an insoluble dilemma. 13

Moral Responsibility • In general, we have an obligation or a duty to fulfill

Moral Responsibility • In general, we have an obligation or a duty to fulfill our responsibilities, and we are responsible for fulfilling our obligations • Causal responsibility is an ingredient in both moral and legal responsibility. For an action to be a moral action, it must be done knowingly and willingly. • When we say that a person is morally responsible for an action, then, we mean – that the individual did the action (i. e. , he or she is the cause of the result of the action), – that the individual did the action knowingly, and – that the individual did the action willingly. 14

Excusing Conditions • Precluding the Possibility of Action. We are excused from moral responsibility

Excusing Conditions • Precluding the Possibility of Action. We are excused from moral responsibility if: (a) the action in question is an impossible one to perform; (b) we do not have the ability required in the given case; (c) the opportunity for our performing the action is absent; or (d) the circumstances are beyond our control. • Conditions precluding/diminishing required knowledge. With respect to knowledge, we can distinguish two excusing conditions: – excusable ignorance – invincible ignorance 15

Excusing Conditions • Conditions precluding / diminishing required freedom. – There are four excusing

Excusing Conditions • Conditions precluding / diminishing required freedom. – There are four excusing conditions related to impairments or impediments to freely choosing the action in question: (1) the absence of alternatives; (2) lack of control; (3) external coercion; and (4) internal coercion. CASE ANALYSIS 16

Liability and Accountability • Liability for one’s actions means one can rightly be made

Liability and Accountability • Liability for one’s actions means one can rightly be made to pay for adverse effects on others. • Accountability is the obligation of giving (or of being prepared, if called upon to give) an account of our actions. • Moral accountability consists of being prepared to render a moral account of an action done either for ourselves or as agents for others. • Conscience is the ability to reason about the morality of an action, – Along with a set of values, feelings, & dispositions to do or to avoid doing certain actions. 17

Agent & Role Moral Responsibility • If one person acts for another, we can

Agent & Role Moral Responsibility • If one person acts for another, we can often correctly say that the 2 nd person is acting as agent for the 1 st. ü We can, accordingly, speak of agent responsibility. • Closely related to agent moral responsibility, and often overlapping it, is role responsibility. ü Role responsibility is usually a corollary of assuming some role in society or an organization, or becoming a member of a profession or group that assumes special obligations. • Members of a profession and of certain groups (e. g. , religious groups) frequently take on special moral obligations of the profession or group. 18

The Moral Status of Corporations and Formal Organizations • Corporations are not reducible to

The Moral Status of Corporations and Formal Organizations • Corporations are not reducible to the human beings who make it up at any one time, yet corporations cannot act without human beings acting for them. The corporation is a special kind of entity. • From the formal definition of a corp. , it is clear that they can and do have legal responsibilities. • Yet, since moral responsibility is usually both ascribed to and assumed by individuals, it is difficult to define the moral responsibility of corporations, nations and other formal organizations. 19

Organizational View of the Corp. • The Organizational View, is a variant of the

Organizational View of the Corp. • The Organizational View, is a variant of the Myth of Amoral Business. • It was developed in part as a reaction to a number of moral demands made by environmentalists and consumer groups for social responsibility of business. • Mostly the view supports the idea that while the corp. is a artificial person, it’s incapable of being moral. – All the rights – None of the responsibilities • We will debate around this issues a number of times. 20

Moral Actor View of the Corporation • Insofar as corporations act intentionally, they can

Moral Actor View of the Corporation • Insofar as corporations act intentionally, they can be held morally responsible for their actions. • Because corporations are not human beings, they cannot claim the moral rights of human beings. • Since the moral status of corp. s is different from the moral status of humans, their moral obligations of are different from the moral obligations of humans. • Although we can morally evaluate the ends for which corp. s are formed and the means by which those ends are pursued, corporations are not bound by a large range of moral rules that bind natural persons. 21

Is Business Bluffing Ethical? 2 4 6 8 10 2 1 2 3 4

Is Business Bluffing Ethical? 2 4 6 8 10 2 1 2 3 4 5 Timer Started Click to start Timer 2 4 6 8 10 2 1 2 3 4 End 22

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