Philosophy & Publications
My research is primarily in business ethics, viewed from the perspective of moral and political philosophy. At present my theoretical work focuses on why existing theories of organisational ethics are not fully satisfactory; my PhD thesis is based on identifying the basic questions any such a theory must address and developing a framework that answers them in a coordinated fashion. Ideas of ‘responsibility’ feature prominently in this work, as do debates on social ontology and the purpose of business activity.
My more practical research is currently focused on ethical questions arising out of the recent financial crisis. I have recently run a series of workshops with figures from the financial services sector looking at ethical criticisms arising from the crisis and how the sector has responded. I am now looking to develop this work into a longer term project on purpose and culture within financial services.
Besides these specific questions I am also interested in general issues in both moral and political philosophy, including the contemporary debate on global justice.
Academic conferences and publications
Dempsey, J. (2011), Pluralistic business ethics: the significance and justification of moral free space in integrative social contracts theory. Business Ethics: A European Review, 20: 253–266:
- As ‘The Moral Significance of Business Practice’, presented at the Society for Business Ethics’ annual conference, Montreal, August 2010
‘Theories of Business Ethics: Linking the Methodology Debate and the Status Debate’ (with Ben Wempe): presented at the Society for Business Ethics’ annual conference, San Antonio, 2011
‘Towards a Methodology for Business Ethics’: presented at the European Business Ethics Network (UK) conference, Bristol, April 2009
‘Personal Goodness, General Goodness, and Practical Ethics’: presented at the symposium on “Weighing Lives” by John Broome, October 2008, St Andrews
Other publications and events
‘Business Angels’ with Antony Elliot of the Fairbanking Foundation, in Financial World, May 2012. We focus on the question of whether financial instutions can have an ethical purpose, and what this would imply.
Review of ‘The Moral Landscape’ by Sam Harris in Engineering and Technology Magazine, May 2011.
‘The Ethics of Safety in Context’ presented at an event on ‘The Cost and Ethics of Safety’ organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, May 2011.
‘The role of the technology sector in the big society’ published as part of a debate in Engineering and Technology Magazine, April 2011.