Freeman and Evan

Business Ethics Quarterly 9 (2):207-224 (1999)
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Abstract

We argue that the Rawlsian social contract argument advanced for stakeholder theory by R. Edward Freeman, writing alone and with William M. Evan, fails in three main ways. First, it is true to Rawls in neither form, nor purpose, nor the level of knowledge (or ignorance) required to motivate the veil of ignorance. Second, it fails to tailor the veil of ignorance to the fairness conditions that are required to solve the moral problem that Freeman and Evan set out to solve (whereas Rawls’s own use of the device surely tailors the veil of ignorance to the problem of designing a just social order). Third, the argument, considered apart from its claimed Rawlsian pedigree, fails to bolster the stakeholder theory because it fails to demonstrate the rationality of adopting the institutional rules that Freeman and Evan favor.

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