Virtue and commerce in Domingo de Soto's thought: commercial practices, character, and the common good

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Abstract

This paper draws from the work of sixteenth century theologian, philosopher, and ethicist Domingo de Soto and considers his virtue-based approach to the ethical evaluation of commerce within an Aristotelian-Thomistic framework for the articulation of business and the common good. Particular attention is given to the fundamental emphasis placed by Soto in distinguishing between commerce as an activity and the specific conduct of persons engaging in commercial activity. The distinction between the material and the formal parts of the common good is then employed to shed light on the way Soto articulates commercial practices, virtuous character, and the common good. It is concluded that Soto's major contribution for business ethics is clarifying that the key element for the ethical evaluation of commerce is the embodiment of virtuous personal conduct in the exercise of commercial activity. In this framework, the fulfillment of commerce's potential to contribute to the common good is thus fundamentally interconnected with putting virtues into practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-638
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Volume113
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2013

Keywords

  • Character
  • Commerce
  • Commercial practices
  • Common good principle
  • Domingo de Soto
  • School of Salamanca
  • Virtue

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