David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Business Ethics 36 (4):337 - 346 (2002)
In this paper I examine the claim that businesspersons have what might be called "ethical immunity" with respect to the duty not to deceive. According to this ethical immunity claim, businesspersons are exempt from the ordinary ethical prohibition against deception; and widespread business deception is therefore ethically permissible. I focus on two arguments for the claim. One of the arguments, which has been presented by Albert Carr, relies upon an analogy between business on the one hand, and games in which deception is permitted, on the other. The second argument is based upon the notion that exceptions to ethical duties may sometimes be justified on prudential grounds. In response to the arguments, I try to show that neither one provides strong support for the ethical immunity claim.
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