Useful friendships: A foundation for business ethics [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Business Ethics 16 (12-13):1453-1458 (1997)
"Friendship", for Aristotle, is a term with "focal meaning" which denominates relationships as casual as fellow travelers on a voyage, as permanent as spouses, and whose motives are as various as the commercial, military, religious, sexual, political and the virtuous. What can be said of all these relationships is that they involve a solidarity, a concordat, a reciprocity, which has its foundation in a common field between the parties and which produces common actions or exchanges. All friendships tend to equality in the sense that they do not insist on what is due as an ultimate end; friendship, like equity, surpasses justice in the fulfillment of what is owed. Because friendship fosters solidarity and justice it is politically important as a virtue-context, according to Aristotle. Is it possible that friendship can function as a virtue-context within economic life as well? Aristotle's notion of a type of useful friendship which functions through expectation of moral behavior will be shown to provide both motive and context for the performance of acts of virtue in a business setting.
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