For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"MacIntyre and Business Ethics"

by Beabout, Gregory R (2020)

Key Passage

...MacIntyre is critical of those who hold that ethics “has as its subject-matter morality as such.” This way of doing ethics “moves at a level of abstraction and generality which detaches its concerns and its formulations from all social particularity.” On this approach, “society is understood as an arena of rival and competing interests and what morality supplied are rules which from a neutral and impartial point of view set constraints upon how these interests may be pursued.” Any neutral and impartial individual who is able to detach him or herself from the distorting influence of his or her interests would assent to these moral rules. But doing so leaves one without any rational way to take up questions of deep purpose, including questions that arise between one’s role as a professional and one’s other roles: in one’s family, one’s local community, as a citizen, and as a human animal who lives in an environment.….. As an alternative to the dominant mode of doing ethics and applied ethics, MacIntyre notes that we are all “plain persons” for whom the practice of the virtues is unavoidable. Such a person is engaged in everyday practices: being part of a family, taking part in the community of one’s neighborhood with its schools and parks, all while participating in local forms of community. The plain person works in trades and professions that require one to learn skills in order to make a contribution to one’s community. As such, the grammar of the virtues is presupposed, and present in certain ways, in each of our lives as plain persons.  (p.220)


Macintyre, Business Ethics. Weber, Management, Weberian Manager


On MacIntyre

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