Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

Ethics and Economics, Friends or Foes? An educational debate

Volume: 33
Number: 3
Pages: 359 - 369
Month: September
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2004
Abstract: This paper reviews an ongoing debate about moral standards for vocational education in German speaking countries. At the centre of the controversy is the question of universalistic versus domain-specific moral orientations, namely the question of whether business people ought to develop different moral points of view in different situations (such as ''private'' versus ''professional''). Of pivotal importance in this context is also a prominent ethical approach (by Karl Homann, a philosopher in the tradition of liberal economists) which serves as a foundation for those who advocate domain specificity and which is strongly criticized by their counterparts. This approach is also presented, since the author believes that it does not entail all of what its protagonists claim. Moreover, as argued in the last section, the purported dichotomy of universalism versus domain specificity may even be entirely overcome. The point is that Homann''s ethics perhaps do not fit into the framework of Kohlberg''s six stages and might therefore be reconstructed as entailing moral segmentation. However, it is well accommodated by a more comprehensive stage taxonomy suggested by the author.