In defence of principles? A response to Lurie and Albin

Journal of Business Ethics 83 (4):615 - 625 (2008)
This article presents a response to a recent article by Yotam Lurie and Robert Albin in which they discuss and present the merits of casuistry as a method for resolving moral dilemmas in business, principally by developing 'edifying' perspectives on the situation, and in doing so highlight the shortcomings of principles (such as the categorical imperative) in generating insights and thereby moral choices. The present article accepts the importance of cases and examples as a source of insight, but argues that the process of conceptualisation involved in understanding these necessarily involves some reference to principles. However, principles and cases are best seen as complementary to the ethical decision-making process rather than in opposition. The complementary functions of these are highlighted in processes such as reflection upon experience, in applications of moral imagination and in the integration of emotive and cognitive elements in ethical choice
Keywords ethical principles  ethical decision-making  Kantianism  casuistry  moral imagination
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