How Literature and Films Can Stimulate Ethical Reflection in the Business World
Paperback | 9780268014346 | April 1998
The business world is sometimes unfairly caricatured, as a world where everyone knows the price of everything and yet appreciates the value of nothing. It is our moral imagination that allows us to become sensitive to the dimensions of a situation that are likely to lead to the harming of human welfare. The essays gathered in The Moral Imagination: How Literature and Films Can Stimulate Ethical Reflection in the Business World show how, through literature, art, and film, society might learn to develop a sense of moral imagination. The premise of this collection is that the more interesting and prior question is Who are we? rather than What shall we do? Cultivating the imagination through art, literature, and film illuminates our understanding of what it means to be human and thus brings us closer to answering this fundamental question. By having a genuine sense of self, one can expand an impoverished moral vision and open the way for the greatness of heart that is needed to guide us through an ethical life in business. The focus on moral images in business ethics is credited, in part, to Aristotle. Some of these essays can be seen as arguing for a retrieval of the Aristotelian insight on ethics for the business ethics of our time. Ethics in this perspective is not primarily concerned with analyzing situations so that we can make correct decisions but rather with reflecting on what is constitutive of the good life. The fostering of this philosophical tradition can bring a crucial corrective to the way business ethics is practiced today.
Oliver F. Williams, C.S.C., is Director of the Center for Ethics and Religious Values in Business at the University of Notre Dame.
"From Aristotle to Jack Lemmon, from philosophy to film, The Moral Imagination presents a compelling view of challenging ideas applicable to gaining new insights for managing the drama of modern business." —Leo V. Ryan, C.S.V., Department of Management, DePaul University
"The Moral Imagination explores how film and literature can affect virtue and character. The thirteen authors of these essays provide many examples of films (The Color of Money, Working Girl, Wall Street, Mr. Holland's Opus) and literature (The Bible, Brothers Karamazov, Barbarians at the Gate, and Shakespeare) that demonstrate the good life. The authors describe how these readily available films are being used in MBA classrooms to help students broaden their moral imagination. They are used as cases, but, beyond that, they provide food for many more of our senses. Those who are concerned about business ethics will note how the film, TV, novel and other art forms can either help us become full persons or, on the other hand, may restrict our horizons and diminish us as people." —Gerald F. Cavanagh, S.J., College of Business Administration, University of Detroit Mercy