Business Ethics Quarterly 25 (4):517-534 (2015)

Amy J. Sepinwall
University of Pennsylvania
Scholars addressing the moral status of corporations are motivated by a pair of conflicting anxieties: If corporations are not moral agents, we will be unable to blame them for their wrongs. But if corporations are moral agents, we will have to recognize corporate moral rights, and the legal rights that flow therefrom. In early and under-appreciated work, Tom Donaldson sought to allay both concerns at once: Corporations, he argued, are not moral persons, and so are not eligible for many of the rights that persons enjoy; but they are moral agents, and so ought to bear responsibility in many of the ways that persons do. This article offers a sympathetic critique of the Donaldsonian strategy. I argue that, as it has been elaborated, the strategy necessarily fails. Nonetheless the strategy embodies a worthy aim and so I seek to provide an alternative way to vindicate it.
Keywords corporate personhood  corporate rights  corporate moral agency  corporate moral responsibility  Tom Donaldson
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DOI 10.1017/beq.2015.34
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Donaldsonian Themes: A Commentary.Thomas Donaldson - 2017 - Business Ethics Quarterly 27 (1):125-142.

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