When you examine the behavior of corporations today you begin to wonder… Is there a moral philosophical underpinning to their behavior? What determines right and wrong? And in an age of anthropogenic climate change what is the responsibility of business to the larger society?
I decided to
revisit the philosophy of David Hume and see if I could scrape together some
clues to better understand what we are experiencing. Hume was an English philosopher
in the 18th century. Along with John Locke, Hume wrote several
treatises that became the foundation of philosophical thought in England, but
also importantly, for the United States. Hume’s insights can be found in the
Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the
Constitution. As a result, his thinking played a crucial role in the
development of business and industry, and the policies that supported their
To understand how government developed and the role it played in regulating behavior, Hume and others described an original condition (prior to government) he called the “State of Nature”.
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