Epistemic Corporate Culture: Knowledge, Common Knowledge, and Professional Oaths

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Abstract

This Article does not assume that professional oaths accomplish what they are intended to do. Yet, I believe that oaths can fulfill important functions once they are crafted as part of carefully designed, more comprehensive approaches to managing ethical culture. Or better, I believe that by investigating more closely what an oath really is and what its preconditions are, we may gain insights that will help to change corporate culture for the better, even if companies do not wish to adopt oaths to manage ethics. Methodologically, this Article is grounded in various strands of philosophical research. In particular, I build on work from political philosophy on the value of freedom, and on work from epistemology (the philosophical theory of knowledge) on the value of knowledge and common knowledge (which borrows from economics to some extent). I strive to keep technicalities to a minimum to make my argument accessible to a wide range of interested readers and to highlight the main idea of this Article. However, a disclaimer must be made that philosophy is a conceptual rather than an empirical discipline, and as a result it has its own style of researching and writing that distinguishes it, sometimes starkly, from social science and legal scholarship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)807-839
JournalSeattle University Law Review
Volume43
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • professional oaths
  • corporate culture
  • common knowledge
  • freedom
  • business ethics
  • epistemology

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