What is the moral criterion for those who hold power positions and authority in governments, corporations, and institutions? Ahn answers this question by presenting the concept of the positional imperative. The positional imperative is an executive moral norm for those who hold power positions in political and economic organizations. By critically integrating the Neo-Kantian reconstructionism of Jürgen Habermas with the Neo-Augustinian reconstructionism of Reinhold Niebuhr, through the method of ""co-reconstruction,"" Ahn identifies the positional imperative as an executive moral norm embedded in all power positions: ""Act in such a way not only to abide by laws, but also to come by the approvals of those affected by your positional actions."" By uncovering this executive moral norm, Ahn argues that a position holder is not just a professional working for the system, but a moral executive who is willing to take the responsibility of his or her positional actions.
""How should Christians and non-Christians live moral lives in the tightly defined roles characteristic of modern corporate and bureaucratic societies? This is a seldom-asked question in our age that celebrates spontaneity and flexibility. But this fine book both asks this difficult question and answers it with the resources of Christian ethics and political philosophy. It is an important study that creatively investigates new territory in social ethics.""
Alexander Campbell Emeritus Professor of Religious Ethics and the Social Sciences,
University of Chicago
""In this compelling book, Ilsup Ahn addresses a burning contemporary issue: are there moral criteria for those in corporate, governmental, or institutional positions of power? Engaging the philosopher Jürgen Habermas and the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, Ahn identifies a 'positional imperative.' In light of this norm, power holders are moral executives who bear responsibility for their actions. In our time when moral responsibility has been denied or ignored in financial institutions and governments, Ahn makes a singular contribution to thought. I highly commended this work for anyone interested in current political and moral questions.""
Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of Theological Ethics
University of Chicago
About the Contributor(s):
Ilsup Ahn is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at North Park University, where he teaches philosophical, religious, and social ethics.
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