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Aristotelian Ethics

Cultivation of character is what matters most in this ethical system, in that character fosters morality.

Immanuel Kant proposed that a "good will" was the necessary aspect of character that man should acquire (Blocker, 2001). The good will is good and ethical not because of what it effects or accomplishes or because of its competence to achieve some intended end. Rather, it is good because it is good within and of itself. A cultivated reason must devote itself to the enjoyment of life and happiness as a part of the pursuit of contentment. At the same time, Kant argued that man must be truthful at all times from duty and must (under the categorical imperative) always treat others as an end and not as a means to an end (Blocker, 2001).

In describing a Kantian approach to business ethics, Bowie (2002) makes reference to deontology in which respect for persons as a principle is understood as demanding that any business practice that puts money on a par with people is immoral. Similarly, the categorical and other Kantian imperatives are constructed as duties owed to both the self and others; a failure to execute these duties represents, in this ethical system, a failure of morality (Bowie, 2002).

Kant argued that immoral actions were essentially self-defeating actions. A failure to tell the truth defeats one's own purposes and exposes one to the potential of failure. As Bowie (2002) noted, the test of the categorical imperative becomes a principle of fair play. Underpinning all actions are "maxims" that can be universalized; one such maxim is truth-telling, which for Kant was the most critical action that man could or should undertake.

The test of the categorical imperative becomes, says Bowie (2002), a principle of fair play. A feature of fair play is that one does not make an exception of oneself. In other words, one does not, in Kant's ethical system, avoid duties and obligations that are difficult or unpleasant. Furth...

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Aristotelian Ethics. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 02:32, December 01, 2015, from
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