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Before Virtue: Biology, Brain, Behavior, and the “Moral Sense”

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 January 2015

Eugene Sadler-Smith*
Affiliation:
University of Surrey
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Abstract:

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Biological, brain, and behavioral sciences offer strong and growing support for the virtue ethics account of moral judgment and ethical behavior in business organizations. The acquisition of moral agency in business involves the recognition, refinement, and habituation through the processes of reflexion and reflection of a moral sense encapsulated in innate modules for compassion, hierarchy, reciprocity, purity, and affiliation adaptive for communal life both in ancestral and modern environments. The genetic and neural bases of morality exist independently of institutional frameworks and social structures. The latter not only shape moral behaviors within circumscribed limits, they also imply a plurality and compartmentalization of roles which may enable or impede the habituation of virtue. Becoming a virtuous agent entails the practical refinement of predispositions in situ as a member of a community of practitioners rather than entailing a normative ethical educational project seeking an intellectual resolution of abstract moral questions.

Type
Special Issue: Reviving Traditions: Virtue and the Common Good in Business and Management
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Business Ethics 2012

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