David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Business Ethics 11 (12):921 - 932 (1992)
This article addresses the two main obstacles — ignorance and conflict — that block the pathway to ethically proper conduct, both generally in business and specifically in marketing. It begins with a brief examination of theories of the moral good which emphasizes the Greco-Roman humanistic tradition and the Judeo-Christian religious tradition. A professional code of ethics, such as the code of the American Marketing Association, is meaningful only if human beings are regarded as making moral judgments that, objectively speaking, are morally wrong, that is only when the code is considered a set of moral absolutes.Following that, the question of ignorance is dealt with utilizing the American Marketing Association code of ethics. The specific items in that code are related to the three central principles of economic justice: equivalence, contributive justice, and distributive justice. In the second section, the question of conflict is encountered in the context of four other ethical principles — double effect, culpability, good end and bad means, self-determination — that are likely to be helpful in dealing with two cases that are especially instructive because they are limiting cases: the dilemma and the hard case. The role of the hero or champion in conflicts is underscored.
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