Philosophy of Business Ethics

KUČERA, D.: Philosophical Challenges in Development of Ethical Perspective in Business.

Book chapter in:  G. Faldetta and M. Pellegrini: Philosophy of Business Ethics. Palgrave Macmillan, UK. 2022


The chapter describes the fundamental philosophical challenges for the application of Business Ethics in management today. For the past few years, we notice some significant concepts in the business environment, such as Corporate Social Responsibility, Principles for responsible management education, Sustainable Development Goals, or the last comprehensive document: „Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development“. Several professional studies write about the objectives of the philosophical background of ethical thinking in the business environment. Most of them agree that there is a need to change the Western intellectual paradigm of capitalism. Philosophy is supposed to help.

The philosophical analysis shows that the neoliberal philosophy of economic thinking and the utilitarianism concept has shown their limits. The chapter looks for the key factors of the current managerial thinking crisis and offers some philosophical solutions. The author opens up the limits of rationalism (consequences of the French Enlightenment), modern positivism, and technological progress belief. The next borders are documented by speculative thinking, limits of human experience (empiricism), romantic feelings, and danger of uncontrolled emotions           (e.g., in marketing and sale).

Management gurus try to improve management theories, strategies, and daily practice. However, if we have to offer up-to-date answers to the current challenges, we must look for values and philosophical principles that are not conditional and relative. The chapter culminates in a managerial transcendence menu, value anchoring in comprehensive philosophical orientation for future business challenges and ethical dilemmas. The changes are not discernible without a reliable philosophical basis and value concept. The author tries in this way to build an essential and missed bridge between business practice and philosophical thinking with three relations: ethics and business, philosophy and business, and finally, the philosophical challenges of business ethics.