The Study Of Business As A Liberal Art? Toward An Aristotelian Reconstruction

Catholic Social Science Review 14:193-216 (2009)
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Abstract

The prevailing model of teaching business administration at Catholic universities does not sufficiently differentiate Catholic institutions; it does not live up to the expectations of the Church; and it underplays the potential of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition to elucidate the sphere of business. Attempting to integrate business administration into the “liberal arts” is a misguided approach, for barring an implementation of the historical liberal arts curriculum there is no non-arbitrary way of defining what the term denotes. From an Aristotelian perspective as carried on in the Thomistic tradition, reality is continuous, and all social and behavioral sciences are unified in their material object while they study persons under different aspects. Business is a region of human behavior, and its study naturally coheres with other disciplines. The practice of business is ontologically integrated into a reality that unifies man, his actions, and their results,and its study is integrated into the academic edifice through the use of the Catholic style of thought. This model facilitates a new understanding of teaching and research in business administration, in what is hoped to be a more Catholic spirit.

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Wolfgang Grassl
St. Norbert College

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