The Study of Business as a Liberal Art? Toward an Aristotelian Reconstruction

Catholic Social Science Review, Vol. 14, pp. 193-216, 2009

17 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2010

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

The prevailing model of teaching business administration at Catholic universities is an extension of standard curricula complemented by business ethics or Catholic social thought. This model does not sufficiently differentiate Catholic institutions; it does not live up to the expectations of the Church; and it underplays the potential of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition to elucidate the sphere of business. Attempting to integrate business administration into the “liberal arts” is a misguided approach, for barring an implementation of the historical liberal arts curriculum, there is no non-arbitrary way of defining what the term denotes. From an Aristotelian perspective as carried on in the Thomistic tradition, reality is continuous, and all social and behavioral sciences are unified in their material object while studying persons under different formal aspects. Business is a region of human behavior, and its study naturally coheres with other disciplines. The practice of business is ontologically integrated into a reality that unifies man, his actions, and their results, and the study of business is integrated into the academic edifice through the use of the Catholic style of thought.

Keywords: Catholic social thought, management, liberal arts, teaching of business, Aristotle, Aquinas, ontology, realism

JEL Classification: A12, A13, A20, M10, M14

Suggested Citation

Grassl, Wolfgang, The Study of Business as a Liberal Art? Toward an Aristotelian Reconstruction (2009). Catholic Social Science Review, Vol. 14, pp. 193-216, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1634656 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1634656

Wolfgang Grassl (Contact Author)

St. Norbert College ( email )

100 Grant Street
De Pere, WI 54115-2099

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