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Business and Professional Ethics Journal

Volume 39, Issue 1, Spring 2020

Joseph Spino
Pages 97-119

Situationism and the Virtues of Business

Many ethicists endorse a character-based approach to business ethics (CBE). This approach includes a focus on the development of particular traits of character amenable to virtuous business practices. Situationists claim, however, that traditional understandings of character are challenged by various findings in empirical psychology. While defenders of CBE have responded this claim, these responses are very similar to those made in defense of a more general virtue ethical theory against situationist arguments. I argue that whatever promise such responses to situationism have in defending a general virtue ethical theory, they are not up to the task of defending CBE. As a result, CBE is in need of novel responses to situationism or significant revision.

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