November 21, 2005
Lipshaw on Rational Frogs
Jeffrey M. Lipshaw (Wake Forest) has been doing a lot of work lately exploring the ethical aspects of transactional law. His latest, Reason, Self-Deception and Rational Frogs: Reconciling Comprehension and Responsibility in Law and Business Ethics, is now up on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
This is my attempt to dig deeply into the descriptive and normative aspect of our study of business law and ethics. The possibility of conflation of the descriptive and normative is reflected in no discipline as much as law. The coincidence of legal positivism (a view I largely endorse) and the adoption of a social science approach has, it seems to me, not only created some questionable social science, but has left a significant void in the way legal academics (and perhaps lawyers) look at ethical duties and responsibilities, particularly in business. I am particularly concerned with two topics that go to the heart of what business lawyers do: (a) justifying harm to others, and (b) resolving inter-firm or inter-personal conflicts, where there may be wide variances in legitimately-held professional and personal values. Hence, this is an epistemological search for a satisfying secular business ethic.
Although it appears to me this will approach book length, I have finished (at least, I hope, to the point of a moderately professional standard) a preface, an introductory Chapter 1 that at least outlines the entire argument, and Chapter 2, which is the bulk of the theory that will be applied in later chapters. At this point, I am willing to make it public for purposes of scholarly reaction.
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