2016 Lecture Series

Corporate Realities and Democratic Ideals

Philip Pettit

hsc-2016

Holding Corporate Bodies Responsible

Tuesday, February 16, 2016
11:10 am, Samuelson Chapel

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Agents are fit to be held morally responsible insofar as two conditions are fulfilled. One, they can make judgments of good and bad, right and wrong, determining the relative merits of the options they face in any choice. And, two, they can act on their judgment of those merits, pursuing the right and avoiding the wrong. I argue that corporate bodies have both of these capacities and arefit to be held responsible for what they do. This means that we can hold them accountable in both a legal and a moral sense, can blame and sanction them, and can require certain behaviors of them as corporate citizens.

Granting Corporate Bodies Rights

Tuesday, February 16, 2016
4:00 pm, Samuelson Chapel

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If corporate bodies are to have responsibilities in their own name, however, shouldn’t they also have rights in their own name? Yes, but only under strict limits. There is a tradition in U.S. jurisprudence that suggests otherwise, arguing that corporate bodies are legal persons and that the 14th Amendment protects them, as persons, in the way in which it was designed to protect emancipated slaves. Against that tradition, I maintain that the concerns and interests of individual citizens should always take primacy. Corporate bodies should be given rights, but not on the same basis or in the same range as individual human beings.


pettit

Philip Pettit

Philip Pettit is L. S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values at Princeton University, and Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy at the Australian National University, Canberra. His books include Republicanism (1997), The Economy of Esteem (2004) with G. Brennan; Group Agency (2011) with C. List; On the People’s Terms (2012); Just Freedom (2014); and The Robust Demands of the Good (2015). He is a Fellow of the Australian academies of Humanities and Social Sciences as well as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the British Academy and the Royal Irish Academy. He gave the Tanner Lectures in Berkeley in 2015 and will give the Locke lectures in Philosophy at Oxford in 2019. Common Minds: Themes from the Philosophy of Philip Pettit appeared from Oxford University Press in 2007.