Normative Business Ethics

Amy Sepinwall, Associate Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics, is the faculty member responsible for leading the Normative Business Ethics Pillar in the Carol and Lawrence Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research.  As the home of normative business ethics at Penn, the Zicklin Center actively supports Wharton faculty and graduate students, as well as other scholarly partners on research projects that explore ethical issues in business from critical and evaluative perspectives. The Zicklin Center organizes lectures, seminars, and similar events at which thought-leaders in practice and academia discuss their work in this field. It also hosts a monthly “works-in-progress” series, with scholars from around the globe in attendance reading and providing feedback on draft articles addressing business ethics issues from a normative perspective.

Research Papers

Subject Area Publications by Faculty

Brian Berkey (2017), Business Ethics and Free Speech on the InternetPhilosophia, 45 (3), pp. 937-945. 10.1007/s11406-016-9785-9

Brian Berkey (2017), Review of Dale Dorsey, The Limits of Moral AuthorityEthics, 128 (1), pp. 235-240. 10.1086/692952

Thomas Donaldson, “Rethinking Right: Moral Epistemology in Management Research” Journal of Business Ethics. 2016. With Tae Wan Kim.

Thomas Donaldson (2015), Where the Facts End: Richard De George and the rise of business ethicsJournal of Business Ethics, 127 (4), pp. 783-787

Robert Hughes (2017), Would Many People Obey Non-Coercive Law?Jurisprudence.

Robert HughesImprisonment and the Right to Freedom of Movement. In Rethinking Punishment in the Era of Mass Incarceration, edited by Chris W. Surprenant, (2017), pp. 89-104.

Amy Sepinwall“Blame, Emotion and the Corporation”. In The Moral Responsibility of Firms, edited by Eric W. Orts and N. Craig Smith, (Oxford University Press, 2016)

Amy Sepinwall“Conscientious Objection, Complicity and Accommodation”. In Law, Religion and Health in the United States, edited by I. Glenn Cohen, Holly Lynch, Elizabeth Sepper, (Cambridge University Press, 2016)

Alan Strudler (2016), Respectful LyingEthical Theory and Moral Practice, 19 (4), pp. 961-972.

Alan Strudler (2016), What to Do with Corporate WealthJournal of Political Philosophy, 24 (4).


The Thomas W. Dunfee Distinguished Lecture Series in Ethics Presents Elizabeth Anderson
Thursday, September 12, 2019, The Wharton School


Normative Business Ethics Workshop Series 2019 – 2020 Sessions

Friday, October 4, 1‐4:30 PM

  • Mihailis Diamantis, University of Iowa, (Paper Title: The Extended Corporate Mind: Addressing the Problem of Algorithmic Corporate Misconduct)
  • Eliot Michaelson, King’s College London and Robert Simpson, University College London, (Paper Title: The Big Shill, or On the Pervasiveness of Structural Insincerity)
  • Lauren A. Taylor, Harvard University, (Paper Title: What To Do with “Tainted” Funds? The Especially Difficult Case of Non-Profits)

Friday, October 25, 1‐4:30 PM

  • Michael Cholbi, University of Edinburgh, (Paper Title: Labor Conscription)
  • Theodore Lechterman, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, (Paper Title: The Democratic Bases of Milton Friedman’s Corporate Misanthropy)
  • Chelsea Rosenthal, Simon Fraser University, (Paper Title: Disappearing Moral Responsibilities)

Friday, November 22, 1‐4:30 PM

  • Michael Kates, Saint Joseph’s University, (Paper Title: The Repugnant Conclusion for Sweatshops)
  • Julian Jonker, University of Pennsylvania, (Paper Title: TBD)
  • Cristina Neesham, Newcastle University, (Paper Title: Individual-Systemic Responsibility: Global Corporations and Climate Change)

Friday, February 7, 1‐4:30 PM

  • Tim Aylsworth, Florida International University, (Paper Title: Autonomy and Well-being: Refining the Argument against Persuasive Advertising)
  • Arudra Burra, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, (Paper Title: Lying in the Bargain)
  • Ittay Nissan, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, (Paper Title: Risk Avoidance Behind the Veil of Ignorance and the Ex-Ante Pareto Principle)

Friday, April 3, 1‐4:30 PM

  • Vikram Bhargava, Santa Clara University and Matthew Caulfield, University of Pennsylvania, (Paper Title: Truth and Usefulness: What is the Normative Significance of Usefulness?)
  • Robbin Derry, University of Lethbridge, (Paper Title: A Bridge from Intersectional Theory to Business Ethics)
  • Lauren Kaufmann, University of Pennsylvania, (Paper Title: Gender Lens investing)

Friday, May 1, 1‐4:30 PM

  • Jonathan Gingerich, King’s College London, (Paper Title: Freedom Beyond Choice)
  • Thomas Mulligan, Georgetown University, (Paper Title: The Ethics of Predictive Text)
  • George Tsai, University of Hawaii, (Paper Title: Obstacles to a Meaningful Life under Capitalism)

All sessions will be held at The Wharton School, in Room 641 of Jon M. Huntsman Hall.

The Carol and Lawrence Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, convenes a regular works-in-progress series for scholars working in normative business ethics. In particular, we are interested in papers pursuing business ethics issues from a normative perspective, or papers in moral or political philosophy with implications for the market, distributive justice, labor relations, the role of business in society, etc.