The Relevance of Thomas Aquinas’ Moral Philosophy for Business Management
13 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2013
Date Written: November 8, 2012
Philosophical ethics plays a key role in business ethics. Ethical theories provide normative frameworks which help business actors take more informed and rigorous moral decisions. There are three major ethical theories that prevail in business ethics today: utilitarianism, ethics of duty and ethics of rights. Each one has its distinctive weaknesses and strengths. Since none of these theories provides a flawless account of moral right and wrong, this article aims to bring into the picture the moral philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, the most prominent philosopher of the Middle Ages. Although Aquinas' ethics is hardly mentioned in business ethics literature, it remains to be seen whether his moral philosophy may be relevant in business management and ethical decision making in business. In particular, the article examines whether Aquinas' philosophical ethics escapes the intrinsic limitations of utilitarianism and ethics of duty.
Keywords: Philosophical ethics, business ethics, Thomas Aquinas, utilitarianism, ethics of duty, human nature, human happiness
JEL Classification: M10
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