In Defense of a Self-Disciplined, Domain-Specific Social Contract Theory of Business Ethics

Business Ethics Quarterly 15 (1):113-135 (2005)
Abstract
This article sets out two central theses. Both theses primarily involve a fundamental criticism of current contractarian business ethics(CBE), but if these can be sustained, they also constitute two boundary conditions for any future contractarian theory of business ethics. The first, which I label the self-discipline thesis, claims that current CBE would gain considerably in focus if more attention were paid to the logic of the social contract argument. By this I mean the aims set by the theorist and method of reasoning by which normative conclusions are drawn in the contract model. The second, to which I refer as the domain-specificity thesis, argues that current CBE needs to be better adapted to its field of application and the specific goals which it aims to establish. I will substantiate these two theses on the basis of a comparative analysis of CBE with two earlier families of social contract theories
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