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Business and Professional Ethics Journal

Volume 30, Issue 3/4, 2011

René ten Bos
Pages 331-353

Serres´s Philosophy of Science
An Introduction for Business Ethicists

Many of the issues discussed in the field of business ethicists seem to involve a certain understanding of science. For example, the debates about sustainability or globalization oftentimes appeal to scientific understandings about facts and processes taking place in the actual world. Hardly ever, however, do business ethicists discuss the role that scientists can or should play in the way organizations cope with these issues. In the paper, the work of the French philosopher of science Michel Serres is discussed to shed light on two kinds of roles that scientists might play. It will be argued that complex issues such as sustainability are better served by a ‘Leibnizian’ rather than a ‘Cartesian’ understanding of science. A concern with these issues requires a different kind of rationality than the one that has generally prevailed in the history of science and perhaps also in the world of business and enterprise.

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