Corporate responsibility and corporate personhood

Journal of Business Ethics 3 (1):77 - 84 (1984)
Abstract
In this paper, I consider the claim that a corporation cannot be held to be morally responsible unless it is a person. First, I argue that this claim is ambigious. Person flags three different but related notions: metaphysical person, moral agent, moral person. I argue that, though one can make the claim that corporates are metaphysical persons, this claim is only marginally relevant to the question of corporate moral responsibility. The central question which must be answered in discussions of corporate moral responsibility is whether corporations are moral agents or moral persons. I argue that, though we can make a case for saying corporations are moral agents, they are not moral persons, and hence, we can hold them responsible. In addition, we need not treat them the way we would be obligated to treat a moral person; we needn't have the same scruples about holding a corporation morally responsible as we would a moral person.
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