HomeΦιλοσοφια: International Journal of Philosophyvol. 19 no. 2 (2018)

CORPORATE MORAL OBLIGATIONS: A CRITICAL EXAMINATION

Napoleon M. Mabaquiao Jr.

 

Abstract:

The damaging and harmful effects of the activities of some corporations on the consumers, employees, and natural environment, have given rise to the need to subject corporate policies, decisions, and actions to a moral evaluation. But due to the peculiar nature of the corporation, being a collective and a legal creation engaged in the activity of business, such evaluation has become a controversial matter, at least among philosophers. This controversy can be formulated as a question of whether corporations have certain moral obligations which are over and above their legal and economic duties. Among the various ways of approaching this question, I focus on two general ones. The first concerns the ethical nature of corporate acts. Here I show why the business nature of corporate acts is no reason to exempt corporations from having moral obligations. The second concerns the moral status of corporations. Here I show why it remains meaningful to regard corporations as moral agents and thus as appropriate bearers of moral obligations. On the whole, I therefore argue for the view that corporations have moral obligations of their own.