Corporations and the sins of their forefarthers – A reply to Velasquez

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Citation: Magdalena Smith (2013/06/03) Corporations and the sins of their forefarthers – A reply to Velasquez.



Tagged: Philosophy (RSS) business (RSS), business ethics (RSS), ethics (RSS), philosophy (RSS), responsibility (RSS), corporate governance (RSS)


Are we in the right when attributing moral responsibility to corporates? Man’s role as a moral agent is both well established and widely researched. Less clear is the role – if any – of corporations as moral agents. When speaking of corporations we do so as if they were a person in their own right, a person whom can be held responsible and accountable for their actions or lack of them. A person whom we can appropriately attribute praise or blame relating to their actions or their lack of them. In many ways we come across as viewing such a collective corporate body as having moral obligations reflecting those of its ‘parents’ and society as a whole.In this paper I argue that a company can be said to be morally responsible for its actions while living up to Velasquez’s metaphysical conditions, rather than being viewed as a fictitious legal entity or a simply a real organization whose members’ actions causally bring about or constitute corporate deeds.