"Practices, governance, and politics: Applying MacIntyre’s ethics to business"
by Sinnicks, Matthew (2014)
This paper argues that attempts to apply Alasdair MacIntyre’s positive moral theory to business ethics are problematic, due to the cognitive closure of MacIntyre’s concept of a practice. I begin by outlining the notion of a practice, before turning to Moore’s attempt to provide a MacIntyrean account of corporate governance. I argue that Moore’s attempt is mismatched with MacIntyre’s account of moral education. Because the notion of practices resists general application I go on to argue that a negative application, which focuses on regulation, is more plausible. Large-scale regulation, usually thought antithetical to MacIntyre’s advocacy of small-scale politics, has the potential to facilitate practice-based work and reveals that MacIntyre’s own work can be used against his pessimism about the modern order. Furthermore, the conception of regulation I defend can show us how management is more amenable to ethical understanding than MacIntyre’s work is often taken to imply.
According to MacIntyre’s account of moral education, it is the pursuit of internal goods that allows us to develop the virtues….The goods internal to the practice thus provide the initial motivation for virtue acquisition. The virtues enable agents to achieve internal goods and to participate in the community of practitioners. In time, the virtues come to be valued in themselves, and once properly acquired can be and are exhibited outside of the context in which they were learned. (p.232)
KeywordsAlasdair Macintyre, Macintyre, Business Ethics, Moral Theory, Practice, Moore, Governance, Politics
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