Recovering Aristotle’s Practice‑Based Ontology : Practical Wisdom as Embodied Ethical Intuition

D'souza, Sylvia and Introna, Lucas (2024) Recovering Aristotle’s Practice‑Based Ontology : Practical Wisdom as Embodied Ethical Intuition. Journal of Business Ethics, 189 (2). pp. 287-300. ISSN 0167-4544

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The renewed engagement with Aristotle’s concept of practical wisdom in management and organization studies is reflective of the wider turn towards practice sweeping across many disciplines. In this sense, it constitutes a welcome move away from the traditional rationalist, abstract, and mechanistic modes of approaching ethical decision-making. Within the current engagement, practical wisdom is generally conceptualized, interpreted or read as a form of deliberation or deliberative judgement that is also cognizant of context, situatedness, particularity, lived experience, and so on. We argue that while this way of conceptualizing practical wisdom moves closer to practice in accounting for the concrete and particular reality within which individuals enact ethics, it does not adequately account for practice in the ontological and relational sense posited in practice theories. Practical wisdom conceptualized on the deliberative dimension still retains a higher emphasis on distinct entities (individuals/institutions), reflexive agency, conscious mental states, goal-directed action, and intentionality. In other words, it puts a higher stress on individual wisdom, as opposed to practice or the relational interaction of the individual and social inhering in practice. We offer an alternative conceptualization of practical wisdom based on the dispositional mode of being in the world which is rarely deliberate, intentional, or reflective. Our conceptualization integrates Aristotle’s original ethical framework, which is already embedded in a practice-based ontology, with insights from practice theories to show how practical wisdom is intuitively channelled in the dispositional mode in a given social configuration of virtues/ends.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Business Ethics
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Research Output Funding/no_not_funded
?? practical wisdomphronesisaristotlepractice theoryvirtue ethicshabitusintuitionontologyno - not fundednobusiness, management and accounting(all)economics and econometricsbusiness and international managementlaw ??
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27 Feb 2023 17:15
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10 Jan 2024 09:55