You are on page 1of 47

The Philosophical

Background of Business
Ethics

Without moral perception, man is


only an animal. Without morality,
man as a rational being is a
failure
-Ramon B. Agapay

Objective:
At the end of this chapter, the students are
expected to:
1. Compare and contrast ethics and
philosophy
2. Evaluate the nature of the human act from
the ethical perspective
3. Analyze critically the various approaches
of evaluating the morality of human
conduct
4. Understand a mans nature as a moral
being
5.
Differentiate ethics from morality

1. Ethics and Philosophy


What is Philosophy?
Philosophy etymologically came from the two
Greek words philos which means love and
sophia which means wisdom.
Philosophy is interested with the meaning of
reality including our human experiences. It is a
science that seeks to explain the ultimate cause
of everything by the use of human reason alone.

2. DIVISIONS OF
PHILOSOPHY
1. Theoretical or Speculative Philosophy:
studies the truth to be known
e.g,. God, immortality of the soul, origin of
the universe, among others
2. Practical Philosophy: studies truths to
be acted upon
e.g,. Ethics, axiology, semantics, and the like.

Theoretical or Speculative
Philosophy
Cosmology:
Is a subject that studies the origin and destiny
of the universe, evolution and the ultimate fate
of the entire universe. The word universe
comes from the Greek word kosmos.
Ontology:
Deals with the nature of existence of things
and the status of reality. The word onta is a
Greek word which means being. It is also
referred as the theory of being.

Metaphysics:
Metaphysics came from the Greek words
meta(beyond) and physikon(nature). As a
branch of philosophy, metaphysics studies the
nature of mind, the self and consciousness.
Psychology:
Psychology for the Greek was basically a study
about the nature of the soul of the person and
other entities. Today, Psychology is define as a
science that studies human and animal
behavior.

Practical Philosophy
Semantics:
Semantics came from the Greek words
sema meaning sign or mark and
semantikos meaning significant. This
practical branch of philosophy studies the
meaning of words and its linguistic forms,
their functions and their relationship to other
words.

Axiology:
The word Axiology is from the Greek words
axios meaning worthy, and logos,
meaning discourse or study. Axiology is thus
the discourse or study of the philosophy or
system of value or judgments or worthiness.
Axiology studies values, its origin, types and
characteristics.

Aesthetics:
Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy that
aims to establish the general principles of art
and beauty.

Logic:
Logic deals with the nature of thinking and reasoning
using empirical support to establish the truth.
Deductive Reasoning: reasoning from universal truth
to particular.
Inductive Reasoning: reasoning from particular to
universal or general principles.
Ethics:
Ethics is a philosophical science that studies the
morality of human acts.

3. Definition of Ethics
Ethics is the practical science of the
morality of human acts.
Ethics is the study of human conduct from
the standpoint of morality.
Ethics is a normative science based on
reason which studies human conduct and
provide norms for its natural integrity and
honesty.

Ethics is a practical science that guides us


in our actions that we may live rightly and
well.
Ethics is the science which lays down the
principles of right living.
Ethics is the science of human acts with
reference to right and wrong.
Ethics is the scientific inquiry into the
principles of morality.

4. Ethics and Morality


The term ethics and morality are often used
interchangeably.
Morality refers to the quality of goodness or
badness in a human act.
Ethics on the other hand involves the study
of those standards and judgment which
people create.

5. Ethics as a Normative
Science
Ethics is considered a normative science
because:
1. It is concerned with the systematic study
of the norms of human conduct.
2. It involves a systematic search for moral
principles and norms that are used to
justify our moral judgments.

Three Categories of General


Ethics
General
Ethics

Descriptiv
e Ethics

Normative
Ethics

Meta
Ethics

Descriptive Ethics:
Consists of studying and describing the morality of a
people, culture, or society.
It also makes comparisons and contrast on the
different values, principles, code of ethics, beliefs,
and practices of people.
Examples:
Psychological Egoism: a concrete example of
descriptive ethics is the study of human motivation. It
says nothing about what is good or bad or right or
wrong, rather it simply declares

results based on various scientific studies.


Cultural Relativism: does not prescribe how
people should act, rather it describes how
people, when grouped and observed in their
own cultural realities, actually differ in their
behavior.
Normative Ethics:
Involves moral judgment based on ethical
norm or theory. This consists both of the basic
principles and values and the particular moral

rules that govern peoples behavior, which is


right or moral and wrong or immoral. The 3
tasks of Normative Ethics are the following:
a. To form into a related whole the various
norms, rules and values of societys
morality.
b. To find the basic principle from which the
particular norm can be derived.
c. To
justify an ethical norm or moral
principle

Meta Ethics:

Meta ethics is concerned with the analysis


of the meaning of words and the logic of
moral reasoning.
Meta ethics does not describe moral
beliefs of people, does not evaluate the
process of moral reasoning but simply
analyzes the usage and meaning of words.

6. The Problem of Ethical


Relativism and Situational Ethics
Ethical Relativism claims that when any
two cultures or any people hold different
moral values of an action, both can be right.
An action may be right for one person or
society and the same action taken in the
same way may be wrong for another reason,
and yet, both persons are equally correct.

Ethical
Relativism
emphasizes
the
differences of moral beliefs and practices
from the point of view of the culture.
Situational Ethics (Moral Subjectivism)
emphasizes moral differences based on
personal beliefs and convictions.

Approaches to Moral
Differences
Approaches to Moral
Differences
There is No Moral Truth
There is No Universal Moral
Truth
Deep Down. We Can Find Basic Moral
Truth
There Is One Universal Moral
Truth

There Is No Moral Truth


The philosophical perspective believes that
there is no ultimate right or wrong. This view
is called moral nihilism.
o There Is No Universal Moral Truth
Each culture has its own set of rules that
are valid for that culture, and we have no
right to interfere, just as they have no right to
interfere with our rules. This view is known as
ethical relativism.
o

Deep Down, We Can Find Basic Moral


Truths
The philosophical perspective believes that
despite differences, people of different
cultures can still agree on certain moral
basics. People find some common grounds on
basic moral principles. This is called soft
universalism.
o

There Is One Universal Moral Truth


This view is also known as hard
universalism or moral absolutism. This
moral paradigm maintains that there is only
one universal moral code that everybody
must follow.
Because this moral code is
universal and objective, moral problems and
moral conflicts can be solved through proper
moral reasoning.
o

7. Deontological vs.
Teleological Approaches to
Ethical Evaluation of the
Human Conduct

Figure 5. Elements of an
Action
A
C
T
I
O
N

Motives/Intention
s,
End of the Actor
Means/Action in
Itself, End of the
Act

Consequences/Resul
t,
Probable and Actual

Non
Consequentialist

Consequentialis
t

Deontological Ethics
Deontological
Ethics
or
non

consequentialist approach is a body of ethical


theories that measures and evaluates the
nature of a moral act based on the validity of
the motive of an act. This means that if the
motive or intention of the is good, then
regardless of the consequences, the whole
action is good.

Examples of Deontological Ethics:


Kantian Ethics or Kantianism this is
also known as the categorical imperative
approach, the idea that one should always
base his actions on maxims or rules that are
believed to be universal.
For Kant, the moral goodness or badness
of the act does not depend on the
consequences of the act but the motive or
intention of the actor.

Divine Command Theory is another example of


consequentialist ethics. This ethical theory holds that
the standard of right and wrong is the will or law of
God.
Teleological Ethics
The word teleology came from the Greek word tele
which means far or remote. Teleological Ethics or the
consequentialist theory measure the morality of an
action based on its consequences and not on the
motive or intention of the actor.

Example of Teleological Ethics:


Hedonism or the view that pleasure
(regardless whether the pleasure is mental or
physical, but mostly sensual) is the only good
as an end.
Utilitarianism is another example of a
consequentialist theory. This school of
thought maintains that the greatest
happiness or pleasure of the greatest
number.

8. The Moral Sense in Us


One of the basic questions in ethics is to
determine
how
people
develop
their
fundamental concepts of good and evil.
Traditional ethics believes that the man
has a natural insight to morality, this being a
gift of the Creator who gave man a moral
sense.
This moral sense is native in all person
regardless of race, religion, culture, education
and creed. Man, therefore, is a moral being.

The following theories will attempt to explain


the fundamental question of how people
develop their concept of morality:
The Synderesis of Man According to St.
Thomas Aquinas
Freuds Theory of the Id, Ego, and the
Superego
Kohlbergs
Theory
of
Moral
Development

Thomas Aquinas (1225 1274).


- Prince of Scholastics
Wrote
25
books
including
Summa
Theologica and Summa Contra Gentiles
The
one who developed a systematic
Christian Theology in response to the
problem of faith and reason during Medieval
period.

According to Aquinas, the moral sense in man


is manifested and expressed in 3 different
ways:
Man is able to distinguish or to know what is
good and what is bad.
Man is always obliged to do good and avoid
evil.
Man knows that he is accountable for his
actions good or bad.

Sigmund Schlomo Freud (1856 1938)


Born on May 06, 1856
Founding Father of Psychoanalysis
He believe that the human mind has 3
important
components
(preconscious,
conscious and unconscious)
Psychoanalysis Theory

Psychoanalysis Theory
Is an approach that understand human
behavior which views men and women as
constantly torn between internal unconscious
forces and external social forces. The key
points of psychoanalytic theory are the ff:
Man
must learn to control his inborn
desires.
Man must achieve fulfillment in ways that
are harmonious with others.

Superego:
In Freuds theory is the spirited or the will
in Platos theory. For Freud, the Superego
basically reflects social rules and values of
the society that govern our behavior.
Ego:
Is the rational self or the conscious self. In
the Freuds theory it is also known as the
reality principle. It is part reason(intellect)
but also part willpower.

Id:
Is the irrational part in us or the
unconscious instincts. According to Freud, we
are born with the Id which is also known as
the pleasure principle.
The id, being irrational does not know the
meaning of postponement. When the id
wants something, it craves for instant
satisfaction.

Lawrence Kohlberg
Theory of Moral Development
Kohlbergs Classification of the Persons
Moral Development
Pre conventional
Conventional
Post - conventional

Pre-convenional
Generally found in young children and older
children
(Stage 1) Reaction to punishment
(Stage 2) The desire for the right behavior
that will satisfy the persons self interest.

Conventional
Generally found in an ideal civilized society,
hence, the name conventional.
(Stage 3) Stage of Mutual Interpersonal
Expectations, Relationships and Conformity.
(Stage 4) Stage of Social System and
Conscience Maintenance.

Post-Conventional
The 3rd level of moral thinking that Kohlberg
felt is not reached by the majority of adults.
(Stage 5) Stage of Prior Rights and Social
Contract or Utility.
(Stage
6) Stage of Universal Ethical
Principles
(Stage 7) Transcendental Morality

9. Two Ethical Systems


There are two general categories under
which ethical theories are classified:

Atheistic Ethics

Theistic Ethics

Atheistic Ethics
Matter is the only reality.
Man is matter and does not have spiritual
dimension.
Man is free and must exercise his freedom
to promote the welfare of the society.
There is no life after death.
Man is accountable only to the State.

Theistic Ethics
God is the Supreme Creator and Lawgiver.
Man is free and must use his freedom to
promote his personal and social interests
along with his fellowmen.
Man has an immoral soul which cannot die.
Man is accountable for his actions, both
good and evil.