Can Finance Be a Virtuous Practice? A MacIntyrean Account

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



External departments

  • Dublin City University
  • University of Navarra


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages31
JournalBusiness Ethics Quarterly
Early online date7 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 May 2020
Publication type

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Finance may suffer from institutional deformations that subordinate its distinctive goods to the pursuit of external goods, but this should encourage attempts to reform the institutionalization of finance rather than to reject its potential for virtuous business activity. This article argues that finance should be regarded as a domain-relative practice (Beabout 2012; MacIntyre 2007). Alongside management, its moral status thereby varies with the purposes it serves. Hence, when practitioners working in finance facilitate projects that create common goods, it allows them to develop virtues. This argument applies MacIntyre’s widely acknowledged account of the relationship between practices and the development of virtues while questioning some of his claims about finance. It also takes issue with extant accounts of particular financial functions that have failed to identify the distinctive goods of financial practice.

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