Aristotelian practical wisdom in business ethics
The revival of virtue ethics in contemporary moral philosophy had a major impact on business ethicists, among whom the virtues have become a staple subject of inquiry. Aristotle’s phronēsis (‘practical wisdom’) is one of those virtues, and a number of texts have examined it in some detail. But analyses of phronēsis in business ethics have neglected some of its most significant and interesting elements.
In this paper, the author dissects two neglected components of practical wisdom as outlined in Book VI of the Nicomachean Ethics: sunesis (‘judgement’), a capacity to perceptively evaluate testimony, and gnomē (‘discernment’), a capacity to rightly discern exceptions to ‘universal’ moral rules. Practical wisdom is a product of experience, so the writer examines the role that experience plays in the development of these deliberative capacities, asking what it is that the practically wise will have taken away from their experiences.
It is, in particular, everyday, ‘mundane’ experience that begets these excellences, so the author concentrates specifically on that kind of experience in the domains of sunesis and gnomē as the author searches for insights about how the authors develop phronēsis and how the authors might better do what is right.
Steven Steyl. 2020. Aristotelian Practical Wisdom in Business Ethics: Two Neglected Components.