Murdoch, Trollope and Drucker: Virtue Ethics as Conveyed by Stories

  • Michael SchwartzEmail author
Part of the Issues in Business Ethics book series (IBET, volume 38)


In this chapter I explain Iris Murdoch’s discussion of Kant’s moral philosophy where virtue does not require any knowledge, only the ‘ability to impose rational order’ (Murdoch, Existentialists and mystics: writings on philosophy and literature, Penguin Books, New York, 1999, p 262): and that hence for Kant, quite contrary to Hutcheson, Smith and Hume, emotions are ‘irrelevant to morality’ (p. 262). Murdoch believed that this irrelevance of emotions to morality explains Kant’s theory of morals and Kant’s theory of art and the distinction Kant makes ‘between the sublime and the beautiful’ (Murdoch, Existentialists and mystics: writings on philosophy and literature, Penguin Books, New York, 1999, p 262). After exploring the implications of that distinction I explain how Anthony Trollope used his fiction to pursue an ethical agenda, and the nature of that agenda in that economic period. I also explore how the influence of Trollope’s fiction led the management theorist Peter F. Drucker to utilise fiction to achieve a moral agenda for business management. My purpose in doing so will be to illustrate the role of fiction in sustaining virtue ethics especially with regard to economics and management. However, prior to that I do review claims about literature and moral philosophy, which is necessary if I am to argue that fiction sustained a philosophy.


Business Ethic Moral Philosophy Ethical Norm Moral Imagination Moral World 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Economics, Finance & MarketingRoyal Melbourne Institute of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia

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