The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics

Volume 4, 2004

Business, Science, and Ethics

Joshua D. Margolis
Pages 43-52

Responsibility, Inconsistency, and the Paradoxes of Morality in Human Nature De Waal's Window into Business Ethics

Efforts to trace the evolutionary antecedents of human morality introduce challenges and opportunities for business ethics. The biological precedents of responsibility suggest that human tendencies to respond morally are deeply rooted. This does not mean, however, that those tendencies are always consistent with ends human beings seek to pursue. This paper investigates the conflicts that may arise between human beings’ moral predispositions and the purposes human beings pursue.