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Document Details :
Title: The Role of the Business Ethicist
Author(s): CAPALDI, Nicholas
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 12 Issue: 3 Date: September 2005
The place of contemporary commerce within human experience is intertwined with the Technological Project (TP), the attempt of the Scientific Revolution to master and possess nature. The TP works best within the framework of the modern free market, which encourages competition and innovation. A free market economy requires a government characterized by the rule of law, which acts as a constraint on government and which safeguards the freedom of autonomous persons. This historically-based and non-technical account of the place of the political economy within human experience is attested in the works of major philosophers, and has the further advantage of not being based on the understanding of hidden and timeless laws. Nevertheless, Business Ethics is currently dominated by a scientism that views commerce according to a-historical and objective norms discovered through various competing sciences in which theory precedes practice. However, the role of Business Ethics is not to say in advance what ought to be the case and then to re-fashion practice accordingly, but rather to explicate what is actually the case, and thus to make explicit the underlying and contingent norms from historically attested phenomena. Such an approach to Business Ethics is firmly rooted in the philosophical and humanistic traditions, and escapes the dangers of ideological generalization inherent in today’s democratic socialism.