v2n7: Hasnas Responds to Wolcott on Business Ethics EducationPosted: November 9, 2014 Filed under: Uncategorized 1 Comment
“The Principles Approach Is a Big Tent Approach” by John Hasnas
A RESPONSE TO Gregory Wolcott (2014), “Business Ethics and Ideals”, Bus Ethics J Rev 2(6): 36–41.
Abstract: In his Commentary on my Principles Approach, Gregory Wolcott (2014) worries that the approach leaves no room for ethical theory and decries the tendency of business school faculty to derive ethical conclusions from legal standards. However, the Principles Approach is, by design, open to supplementation by ethical theory and has the virtue of providing a basis for making ethical assessments of legal standards.
To download the full PDF, click here: Hasnas Responds to Wolcott.
I want to thank Prof. Hasnas for his original article and Prof. Wolcott for his reply. This is an important discussion for business ethicists because there are now so many “business ethicists” within and outside the academy who are operating either indiffferently or with thinly veiled hostility toward ethical theory. So the question of how much and what kind of ethical theory should be taught in a business ethics course is a critical one for the business ethics community to think through. In addition, I do have a normative background but I sometimes struggle to integrate the “theory” part of my course with the rest of my teaching which is often case based. Thus, I don’t view the question of the optimal theoretical content as being simply dependent on competence. But maybe I differ from both Prof. Hasnas and Prof. Wolcott on this point. In any case, I welcome the debate in BEJR and will be following it carefully.