Corporate Moral Agency

Insofar as they are capable of exhibiting intentional action, corporations may be regarded as moral agents. Agents reflectively endorse specific ends and shape the world by imposing those ends on the world. Because agents have this sort of intentional capacity, they are properly characterized as responsible for the actions they impose on the world. Persons are prototypical examples of agents and the class of persons is properly understood as subset of the class of moral agents. In U.S. law, the class “persons” includes entities other than human beings such as corporations. The courts attribute personhood to corporations on pragmatic grounds, finding this a useful convention for the purposes of corporate law. The question of whether or not there are grounds for thinking that, from a ...

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