The Moral Background: An Inquiry into the History of Business Ethics: An Inquiry into the History of Business Ethics [NOOK Book]

Overview

In recent years, many disciplines have become interested in the scientific study of morality. However, a conceptual framework for this work is still lacking. In The Moral Background, Gabriel Abend develops just such a framework and uses it to investigate the history of business ethics in the United States from the 1850s to the 1930s.

According to Abend, morality consists of three levels: moral and immoral behavior, or the behavioral level; moral understandings and norms, or the ...

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The Moral Background: An Inquiry into the History of Business Ethics: An Inquiry into the History of Business Ethics

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Overview

In recent years, many disciplines have become interested in the scientific study of morality. However, a conceptual framework for this work is still lacking. In The Moral Background, Gabriel Abend develops just such a framework and uses it to investigate the history of business ethics in the United States from the 1850s to the 1930s.

According to Abend, morality consists of three levels: moral and immoral behavior, or the behavioral level; moral understandings and norms, or the normative level; and the moral background, which includes what moral concepts exist in a society, what moral methods can be used, what reasons can be given, and what objects can be morally evaluated at all. This background underlies the behavioral and normative levels; it supports, facilitates, and enables them.

Through this perspective, Abend historically examines the work of numerous business ethicists and organizations—such as Protestant ministers, business associations, and business schools—and identifies two types of moral background. “Standards of Practice” is characterized by its scientific worldview, moral relativism, and emphasis on individuals’ actions and decisions. The “Christian Merchant” type is characterized by its Christian worldview, moral objectivism, and conception of a person’s life as a unity.

The Moral Background offers both an original account of the history of business ethics and a novel framework for understanding and investigating morality in general.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Abend combines history, philosophy, and social science to suggest a comprehensive base for understanding moral behavior. While the book's focus is on business ethics, the insights presented have many applications."Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400850341
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 3/23/2014
  • Series: Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Course Book
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 1,056,122
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Gabriel Abend is assistant professor of sociology at New York University.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1. Moral Causes 1
2. Business Ethicists 5
3. History, Morals, and Markets 10
4. The Arguments 15
5. The Plan 20
Chapter 1. The Moral Background 28
1.1. Morality as an Object of Inquiry 28
1.2. What the Background Comprises 33
1.3. What Makes the Background a Background 52
1.4. Background Theorists 56
1.5. What the Background Is For 66
Chapter 2. Ethics as a Business Proposition 71
2.1. Glaucon’s Challenge 71
2.2. Today’s Business Ethicists 76
2.3. The Business Case 79
2.4. Do the Right Thing 84
2.5. Policy and Self-Interest 88
2.6. Yesterday’s Business Ethicists 95
2.7. Balance Sheets 99
2.8. He Profits Most Who Serves Best 106
Chapter 3. Christian Motives 115
3.1. Enlightened Scots 115
3.2. Springs of Action 120
3.3. Machiavellian Appearances 126
3.4. Compromises 132
3.5. Duties and Motives 142
3.6. The Religion of the Heart 148
3.7. One Question Too Many 156
Chapter 4. The Good of American Business 161
4.1. The Pesky Calf 161
4.2. The Chamber 165
4.3. Government Will 174
4.4. The Principles of Business Conduct 183
4.5. Codes of Ethics 190
4.6. American Business 195
4.7. The Uses of Ethics 202
Appendix 205
Chapter 5. The Good of American Society 207
5.1. Inculcating Ethics 207
5.2. Business Schools 210
5.3. The Intellectual and the Ethical Arguments 224
5.4. Ethics at Work 234
5.5. The Good of America 249
Chapter 6. Standards of Practice 260
6.1. Types 260
6.2. The Science of Ethics 264
6.3. Science and Ethics at the Business School 276
6.4. Cases 282
6.5. Metaethics 290
6.6. Service and the Golden Rule 299
Chapter 7. The Christian Merchant 306
7.1. Moral Exemplars 306
7.2. Mammon 310
7.3. Ambivalence 316
7.4. Metaphysics 326
7.5. Stewardship 332
7.6. Stewardship Metaphysics 341
7.7. Spheres 347
Conclusion 357
1. Business Is Business 357
2. Back to the Background 364
3. The Science of Morality 372
4. Whither the Science of Morality? 379
Acknowledgments 387
Index 389

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