A Critique of Social Products Liability

Business Ethics Quarterly 13 (3):381-390 (2003)
It has been suggested that a new form of moral responsibility, labeled “social products liability,” is relevant to business ethics.In particular, this kind of responsibility might justify recent legal claims against firearm manufacturers. This paper argues that, as ithas been presented, social products liability must rest upon utilitarian considerations or on a deeper, more complete theory of moralresponsibility. In the first case, a new form of responsibility seems unnecessary, since liability could be directly apportioned on utilitariangrounds. In the second case, proponents of social products liability face the tasks of presenting the more complete theory and then anchoring social products liability to it
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