How Can I Become a Responsible Subject? Towards a Practice-Based Ethics of Responsiveness

Bernadette Loacker, Sara Louise Muhr

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Approaches to business ethics can be roughly divided into two streams: ‹codes of behavior’ and ‹forms of subjectification’, with code-oriented approaches clearly dominating the field. Through an elaboration of poststructuralist approaches to moral philosophy, this paper questions the emphasis on codes of behaviour and, thus, the conceptions of the moral and responsible subject that are inherent in rule-based approaches. As a consequence of this critique, the concept of a practice-based ‹ethics of responsiveness’ in which ethics is never final but rather always ‹to come’, is investigated. In such an approach the ethical self is understood as being continuously constituted within power/knowledge relations. Following this line, we ask how one can become a responsible subject while also acknowledging certain limits of full responsibility. We thereby explore responsibility as a considered but unconditional openness in response to the other.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)265-277
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethics of practice
  • Giving account
  • Limits of responsibility
  • Responsiveness
  • Subjectification

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