Journal of Business Ethics 16 (12-13):1401-1409 (1997)
|Abstract||One can determine the nature of something by asking what it is for. For example one understands what a chair is when one understands it is for sitting on. This involves understanding its purpose. One type of corporation is the for-profit-corporation. This seems to indicate that this type of corporation, the business corporation, has as its purpose to make a profit. Is that as obvious as it first appears? The favorite way for philosophers to arrive at the "purpose" of anything is to ask the question "Why?" But there are at least two answers to the question "Why"? when addressed to a social practice such as business. One might be asking for a psychological account (explanation) of "Why" a person does business, and this is primarily answered by discovering the motives behind business activity; or one might be asking for a justificatory reason (justification) for the practice – what purpose legitimates business as a human activity. These two answers are often conflated and thus the purpose of business is often considered to be answered by giving the psychological account of the self-interested profit-making motive. This paper will attempt to highlight the importance of making the distinction between motive and purpose clearly, show what confusions arise when the distinction is ignored, and hint at some of the structural philosophical reasons why the distinction got blurred in the first place.|
|Keywords||Adam Smith business ethics motive Milton Friedman profit maximization purpose|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
D. Robin (2009). Toward an Applied Meaning for Ethics in Business. Journal of Business Ethics 89 (1):139 - 150.
Michael Haynes (2007). Rationality, Morality and Joel Bakan's the Corporation. International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics 3 (1):1-18.
Jason Brennan (2012). For-Profit Business as Civic Virtue. Journal of Business Ethics 106 (3):313-324.
Andrew V. Abela (2001). Profit and More: Catholic Social Teaching and the Purpose of the Firm. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 31 (2):107 - 116.
George L. Pamental (1991). The Course in Business Ethics. Business Ethics Quarterly 1 (4):385-393.
Patrick Primeaux & John Stieber (1994). Profit Maximization: The Ethical Mandate of Business. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 13 (4):287 - 294.
William Kline (2006). Business Ethics From the Internal Point of View. Journal of Business Ethics 64 (1):57 - 67.
Paul F. Camenisch (1987). Profit: Some Moral Reflections. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 6 (3):225 - 231.
David E. Schrader (1987). The Corporation and Profits. Journal of Business Ethics 6 (8):589 - 601.
William J. Byron (1988). Twin Towers: A Philosophy and Theology of Business. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 7 (7):525 - 530.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads23 ( #60,112 of 722,682 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #36,273 of 722,682 )
How can I increase my downloads?