David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Business and Professional Ethics Journal 2 (3):1-18 (1983)
Properly speaking, the corporation, considered as an entity distinct from its members, cannot be morally responsible for wrongful corporate acts. Setting aside (in this abstract) acts brought about through negligence or omissions, we may say that moral responsibility for an act attaches to that agent (or agents) in whom the act "originates" in this sense: (1) the agent formed the (mental) intention or plan to bring about that act (possibly with the help of others) and (2) the act was intentionally brought about through bodily movements over which that agent had direct control (i.e. the kind of direct mental control that I have over the body I refer to as "my" body) and through which the agent carried out his (mental) intention or plan. Corporate acts do not thus originate in some corporate entity distinct from its members because the corporation has neither a mind to form intentions nor a body it directly controls: it lacks the proper mind/body unity. Instead, corporate acts originate in individual autonomous human beings who make up the corporation and who intentionally bring about corporate acts through their own bodily movements. Such human individuals, and not "the corporation," are morally responsible for corporate acts. Moreover, to say that an entity is "morally responsible" for a wrongful act is to say that the entity is liable to blame and punishment. But it is not possible to impose blame and punishment on a corporation without inflicting it on corporate members. Thus, to say that a corporation (as an entity distinct from its members) is "morally responsible" for a wrongful corporate act is to imply that a (possibly innocent) corporate member legitimately may be punished for something for which another entity was morally responsible. This violates the moral principles that underlie blame and punishment. To hold that the corporation can be morally responsible for its acts is to adopt a dangerous organicism
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Amanda Sinclair (1993). Approaches to Organisational Culture and Ethics. Journal of Business Ethics 12 (1):63 - 73.
Helen Nissenbaum (1996). Accountability in a Computerized Society. Science and Engineering Ethics 2 (1):25-42.
Kendy M. Hess (2014). The Free Will of Corporations (and Other Collectives). Philosophical Studies 168 (1):241-260.
David E. Ohreen & Roger A. Petry (2012). Imperfect Duties and Corporate Philanthropy: A Kantian Approach. Journal of Business Ethics 106 (3):367-381.
Jan Edward Garrett (1989). Unredistributable Corporate Moral Responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics 8 (7):535 - 545.
Similar books and articles
Manuel G. Velasquez (1983). Abstract of “Why Corporations Are Not Morally Responsible for Anything They Do”. Business and Professional Ethics Journal 2 (4):99-99.
John R. Welch (1989). Corporate Agency and Reduction. Philosophical Quarterly 39 (157):409-424.
Gerald K. Harrison (2009). Hooray! We're Not Morally Responsible! Think 8 (23):87-95.
Carolina Sartorio (2004). How to Be Responsible for Something Without Causing It. Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):315–336.
Rita C. Manning (1984). Corporate Responsibility and Corporate Personhood. Journal of Business Ethics 3 (1):77 - 84.
Oisín Deery (2007). Extending Compatibilism: Control, Responsibility, and Blame. Res Publica 13 (3):209-230.
Heiko Spitzeck (2009). Organizational Moral Learning: What, If Anything, Do Corporations Learn From Ngo Critique? [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 88 (1):157 - 173.
Michael J. Phillips (1992). Corporate Moral Personhood and Three Conceptions of the Corporation. Business Ethics Quarterly 2 (4):435-459.
Nani L. Ranken (1987). Corporations as Persons: Objections to Goodpaster's 'Principle of Moral Projection'. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 6 (8):633 - 637.
Susan Leigh Anderson (1995). Being Morally Responsible for an Action Versus Acting Responsibly or Irresponsibly. Journal of Philosophical Research 20:451-462.
Julian C. Cole (2012). An Abstract Status Function Account of Corporations. Philosophy of the Social Sciences (1):0048393112455106.
Neal Judisch (2005). Responsibility, Manipulation and Ownership: Reflections on the Fischer/Ravizza Program. Philosophical Explorations 8 (2):115-130.
Napoleon M. Mabaquiao (2002). Corporations and the Cause of Environmental Protection. Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 12 (1):11-15.
John D. Bishop (1991). The Moral Responsibility of Corporate Executives for Disasters. Journal of Business Ethics 10 (5):377 - 383.
Benjamin Vilhauer (2009). Free Will Skepticism and Personhood as a Desert Base. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (3):pp. 489-511.
Added to index2011-12-01
Total downloads63 ( #37,193 of 1,699,438 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #206,271 of 1,699,438 )
How can I increase my downloads?