Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Ethical deliberation within organizations

Francesc Torralba, Mar Rosàs Tosas


Note: This paper is a version of a chapter of a previous book by Francesc Torralba, titled Destriar el bé del mal. L'art de trobar criteris ètics en la vida diària (Pagès Editors, 2013).

Our aim is to identify the conditions of possibility of a successfulprocess of ethical deliberation. To achieve this goal, we turn toAristotle’s definition of ‘deliberation’ as a rational process that seeks tomake decisions (as opposed to other types of rational processes that aimto find out or achieve a truth). We focus also on the need of incorporationof the other’s perspective in what Rawls labels ‘overlapping consensus’;on Lafont’s three requirements of deliberation; and on Ricoeur’s foursteps to fully engage with one’s commitments through action. In orderto complement the picture of deliberation we get when reading theseauthors in conjunction, we add what in our eyes constitute two majorconditions often neglected. We then point out the shortcomings of twomanifestations of the current interest in the successful processes of deliberation.Firstly, we address ethics committees. Given that their primaryconcern is precisely ethics, they should be –and often are– the organizationswhich more enthusiastically embrace and promote ethical processesof deliberation. Yet they tend to fail in some respects, which wepoint out. Secondly, we confront the contradictions surrounding therecent proliferation of codes of ethics and suggest how their value couldbe maximized.

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