Justice and the social ontology of the corporation

Nuno Ornelas Martins*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In this article I address the question of whether corporations should be considered as part of the basic structure of society as defined in Rawls’s Theory of Justice. To do so, it becomes necessary to understand which institutions are crucial for defining Rawls’s basic structure of society. I will argue that a social ontology aimed at understanding how human institutions influence various aspects presupposed in Rawls’s basic structure of society can help addressing this topic. To do so, I shall draw upon the social ontology elaborated by Searle, who follows an approach that is particularly suitable for showing how Rawls’s basic structure of society already contains an institutional setting that must take corporations into account in its very formulation, due to the implications of the activities of the corporation for distributive justice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-28
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • Corporations
  • Institutions
  • Justice
  • Ontology
  • Power


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