Reimagining the Law

Business Ethics Quarterly 9 (4):603-617 (1999)
Abstract
Legal issues have long been a prominent part of the discourse of business ethics. This widespread attention to legal questions within business ethics arises primarily because specific legal issues are as a practical matter often intertwined with prominent ethical issues occurring in the workplace. Many of the central issues of business ethics—issues such as whistle blowing, insider trading, and workplace privacy—have significant legal dimensions.But this widespread attention to specific legal issues obscures a more significant deficiency within business ethics. This deficiency relates to the consideration of law at a much more fundamental level. Business ethics lacks any developed awareness of the images of law within its discourse.Unlike jurisprudence, the field of business ethics has little in the way of fully developed models or concepts of law. Rather, ourunderstanding of the law here exists more at the level of images—general, unreflected-upon depictions of the law, determinate in someaspects, indeterminate in others.Such images are epistemologically potent, containing unexamined assumptions and exerting an often unrecognized influence over the development of our knowledge. As such, they deserve our attention, especially within a newly evolving field such as business ethics. Of particular importance to business ethics is how such images portray the relation of law to ethics
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