Making Sense of Postmodern Business Ethics

If we are serious about engaging with our pluralistic culture I believe we need to recognize the presence of multiple ethical systems, in both religious and non-religious environments. With that in mind I appreciate these observations by Andy Gustafson in “Making Sense of Postmodern Business Ethics”:

In other words, postmodernity the son of modernity does not have radically different goals than modernity (equality, justice, suspicion of dogma), rather, it has a different strategy of approach – a strategy which does not seek absolutes, universals and foundations.

The goal of virtue ethics is to provide heroes and saints, or character traits of heroes and saints, rather than abstract detached principles.  

But again, this disillusionment with universal agreement does not keep the postmodern necessarily from promoting his own view of ethics. It does mean that he will be particularly suspicious of any universal or foundationalist claims, and try to uncover possible political or personal motives for such an absolute claim.

Postmodern ethicisist may be more pessimistic than their modern counterparts, but this does not mean that they have thrown themselves into the abyss of relativistic skepticism.

Some seem to think that postmodernism denies both ontological and epistemological truth (Walton, 289) but this is not necessarily the case.  One can easily say that one does not and cannot know something, without claiming that there is no state of fact.

Fortunately, most of our decisions don’t require the best answer, they just require a right or workable one.

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