HomeFEU Colloquiumvol. 2 no. 1 (2008)

Are Ethical Theories on Talking Terms with the Corporate World?

Peter Gan Chong Beng

Discipline: Philosophy



The colossal structure of ethical theories with its columns and strata can be rather daunting. Philosophical systems of metaethics and normative ethics are purported to undergird a host of moral issues confronted in a world not acquiescent to neat categorizations of ideational systems. Metaethics confronts the possibility and nature of moral judgments. It is normative ethics that is commonly assigned to work cheek by jowl with actual moral issues. Both the above domains of ethics are inherently dialectical. The apprehension of the corporate world, interrogatively put is, “Can theories who are themselves embroiled in controversy make good conversationalists?”


Intriguingly, the ethics–corporations nexus may assume one of the following forms: ethics incorporates corporations; corporations incorporate ethics; cooperation between ethics and corporations. This paper tilts towards the first modality by arguing for the viability of formulating a coherent ethical system despite ethics’ dialectical temper and more pragmatically, for a better safeguarding of moral integrity within corporations by according precedence to ethics.