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ERC Project - Corporate Moral Progress

- Began May 1st, 2023, runs 5 years, €1.37 million

Within business ethics, there is a longstanding debate concerning Corporate Moral Responsibility, the question of whether corporations themselves are the kinds of things that can be responsible for wrongdoing. Proponents of this view hope to vindicate our sense that firms are the appropriate targets of blame and censure. However, proponents have failed to decisively make their case, and they have also failed to come to terms with the magnitude of corporate wrongdoing. Even if firms are possibly responsible, this is far short of showing that corporations have the sensitivity, incentives, position, to be anything but accidental agents for good, let alone equal members of the moral community.


As corporations are some of the most significant actors in modern society, this presents a real problem. If it is right to think that corporations have genuine obligations, then a sincere effort must be made to come to terms with why they fail to meet them as well as how to train firms to behave morally in the future. In short, corporations need a moral education. Given this, the aim of CMP is break down this problem of corporate immorality and engineer such an education. Drawing together resources from philosophy and management disciplines, the project will pursue concrete ways to improve firms for good.


Business Ethics & Normative Ethics

"Excusing Corporate Wrongdoing and the State of Nature" with Paul Garofalo, Academy of Management Review, forthcoming penultimate draft

   In a sentence: Firms are excused if doing the right thing would constitute a competitive disadvantage.     


"When Should the Master Answer? Respondeat Superior and the Criminal Law," Criminal Law and Philosophy, forthcoming |   published version

      In a sentence: Respondeat superior as an inappropriate doctrine for the criminal law, because superiors cannot answer for the crimes committed.

"Wronging by Requesting" with N. G. LaskowskiOxford Studies in Normative Ethics (Vol.11), 2022 |                              penultimate draft

       In a sentence: It's bad to ask for things from people close enough to you to know what you need.

"Markets within the Limit of Feasibility," Journal of Business Ethics, 2021 |                                                               journal linkpenultimate draft       In a sentence: If a moral version of a market in some good is infeasible, we are not permitted to pursue it.

"Strategy (Part I): Conceptual Foundations," Philosophy Compass, 2021 |                                                                                  journal link | penultimate draft

       In a sentence: Strategies are plans, roughly.

"Modern Portfolio Theory and Shareholder Primacy," Business Ethics Journal Review, 2019 |                                                                    published version

       In a sentence: Shareholders might deserve compensation at the cost of equity as has been recently suggested, unless that is not a fair price.

"Can a Corporation Be Worthy of Moral Consideration?" Journal of Business Ethics, 2019 |                                             journal link | penultimate draft

       In a sentence: If corporations are morally responsible, then we should probably think they have some degree of moral status.

"Do I Think Corporations Should Be Able to Vote Now?" Business Ethics Journal Review, 2018 |                                         published version

       In a sentence: There are ways to argue that corporations do not deserve the right to vote, though they may not be available to me unfortunately.

Philosophy of Action & Metaphysics

"Determination from Above," Philosophical Issues, forthcoming |                                                                                  published version
      In a sentence: Social/political/economic forces threaten free will, and accepting a levels ontology helps to express how.

"Backwards Causation in Social Institutions," Erkenntnis, forthcoming |                                                                                               journal link | published version
      In a sentence: If an administrator retroactively enrols you for a course, that is literally backwards causation. 

"Group Action Without Group Minds," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 2022 |                                       journal linkpenultimate draft

      In a sentence: Groups can act, and they don't need minds to do it, since their members can play the role of recognizing their reasons.

"Causal Exclusion and Ontic Vagueness," Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 2022 |                         journal link | penultimate draft

      In a sentence: The efficacy of a composed object is not threatened by the causal work of its parts if it's vague which objects are among its parts.

"Emergence within Social Systems," 
Synthese, 2021 |                                                                                                        journal link | penultimate draft
      In a sentence: Properties of social systems (like 'being a jaywalking') emerge in a way not captured by current models and possibly strongly.

"Habitual Weakness," Thought: A Journal of Philosophy, 2019 |                                                                                                 journal linkpenultimate draft

       In a sentence: We regularly act weakly as a matter of habit, and this has implications for discussions about weakness of will.

"Avoiding Late Preemption with the Right Kind of Influence," Philosophia, 2019 |                                                                 journal link | penultimate draft

       In a sentence: You can judge whether an event makes a difference to an effect by excising the event and seeing if things are different in any way.

"Omissions as Events and Actions," Journal of the American Philosophical Association, 2018 |                                   journal link |
 penultimate draft

       In a sentenceOmissions exist as events that occur where we are, and we can be blamed for them.

"The Vague Time of a Killing," Philosophical Studies, 2018 |                                                                                                         journal link |
 penultimate draft

       In a sentence: If I shoot you and you die later, it's vague when I killed you, because 'to kill' is semantically vague.

"Omissions: Agency, Metaphysics, and Responsibility, by Randolph Clarke," Mind, 2015 |                                                   journal link |
 penultimate draft

       In a sentence: Clarke offers a disjunctive account of omissions, and I have concerns about that.

Under Review (titles hidden for blind review)

Paper on the nature of competitive advantage | In a sentence: Competitive advantage is a dispositional property of firms to succeed relative to peers.                draft

Paper on corporate weakness of will | In a sentence: Firms can have weak wills too.                                                                                                                         abstract

Paper on holding corporations responsible | In a sentence: It's worth it to make firms pay for their crimes.                                                                                      draft

Paper on the morality of investing | In a sentence: Investing in immoral firms threatens your judgment/autonomy in various ways, so you shouldn't do it.         draft


In Progress

"Strategy (Part II): Applications" (under commission) | In a sentence: Applications of the strategy concept are explored in business, sports, and war.                          

"Metaphysics Incorporated" | In a sentence: Corporations are not groups of people or legal fictions; instead, they are artifacts constituted by the assets.          abstract

"The Identity of Social Enterprise" with Sheila Cannon | In a sentence: Groups can self-identify like individuals.                                                                   abstract

"Fair Decisions, Hard and Soft" with Greg Faletto | 
In a sentence: Different conceptions of fairness may be weighed differently in practical reasoning.       abstract

"The Market Failures Approach and the Ideal World Objection" | In a sentence: Heath's view gets  how firms should act, but not the rules for it.             abstract

Paper on the causal exclusion problem that appeals to the relation of constitution |                                                                                                                      draft


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