Contractarian business ethics: a rational morality approach

Vangelis Chiotis*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Contractarian business ethics approaches are dominated by the application of Rawlsian premises to practical, business-related issues, where moral principles serve as constraints on firm behavior and its attempts to maximize profit. A contractarian theory of business ethics that is based on rationality addresses the tension between moral premises and self-interested profit maximization by showing that moral principles can be the outcome of rational interactions. In the present paper, I examine the extent to which rational morality can reinforce business ethics by incorporating moral considerations in the corporation's profit maximization functions, and thus strengthen the argument for business ethics as complimentary, not constraining, to business operations. The sole responsibility of a business is indeed to maximize its profits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-122
Number of pages24
JournalRamon Llull Journal of Applied Ethics
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2023


  • business ethics
  • contractarianism
  • rational morality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science


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