The head, the heart, and business virtues

Journal of Business Ethics 39 (4):347 - 359 (2002)

Abstract

In Section I, I criticize the view, implied by the concept of rational economic man, that feelings are inherently opposed to rationality. I attempt to show that emotions or feelings are essential to the proper functioning of reason, rational objectivity, and practical rationality or rational decision making. In addition, I argue that emotions can help to resolve certain ethical dilemmas. In Section II, I consider business writers who criticize business for overemphasizing the head at the expense of feelings or the heart. In Section III, I discuss the connection between material self-interest (as manifested in trade) – a concept of rational economic man – and business virtues.

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