Epistemology: beliefs about the nature and sources of knowledge;
Taking my philosophy courses I always love discussions on this topic. Epistemology is the a fundamental theory of the cause of our thinking. How does one acquire knowledge and how do we think. A part of epistemology is the study of what sets apart justified belief from opinion. There have also been modern discussions about this topic is wether knowledge can be acquired through experience or through reason. My stance on this is that I think it depends on the person on how we gain our knowledge. Personally I think that I gain more insight with experience. Knowledge can be best taught by doing. There are also people who learn best just by reason. There have been many instances in my life where I needed to “do” rather than listen on how things should be done. Especially in my co-op I learned that I could sit in meetings and learn about the company but to put it to practice is where I learned it best. I also am a strong believer of evidence. For me I can’t just believe something that someone tells me. I need proof and reason before I can accept it.
Now how can epistemology be put in practice in the world of business ethics? In the business world you need to be open minded in learning. If someone is a believer in opinion then it would be easier to manipulate them into doing whatever you tell them. This can be where an ethics comes into play. Someone could chose to be ethical and help them or they could chose to manipulate them into a bad decision. For example if someone tried selling me something that I know nothing about then I am more likely to believe them if I only take into consideration their opinion. They could be selling me something that is bad or something that I don’t need. A real world example of this is when VW came out saying that their cars had a great gas rating people believed them but it turns out that they lied about the emissions in their car.
I first saw this image (below) from my sister. This helps prove my point because an artist can learn about different techniques, different brush strokes, etc., but an artist needs to put it to practice to learn best.
Metaphysics: beliefs about the ultimate nature of Reality;
There are many different opinions on the nature of reality. One could believe that there is nothing outside of this material universe or one could believe that there is something outside of this universe that created it. In my opinion I think that there is something outside of this universe that created it all. I don’t think that material world is all that there is. There has to be something out there because then it gives us purpose. I grew up in a very catholic family. We would go to church, I received my communion, confirmation, and although my views have changed on religion I still think there is a greater energy out there.
This impacts the business world because if someone believes that there is a spiritual world then there is room for your beliefs in religion to affect your decision on how you conduct business. If you follow the moral code of religion you could put yourself in a situation where you don’t conduct business with certain people because of their orientation this could be unethical. A real world example of this would be when the clerk wouldn’t grant marriage licenses to gay couples because she believed her religion was right and gays should not be married.
Axiology: beliefs about the nature of value, what is good and bad, what is right and wrong.
I think this is a vey important topic on which side people stand on. What do people value? Personally I believe that your net worth does not determine your self value. I believe that you need to have an idea on how you value something apart from how society values something. There are many people in this world who put their value around money but I think that value is considered through memories. Memories is a huge value to me, I think it comes from being in a large family. I have 5 sisters and it is always a good time when we are together. Now that we are getting older it’s harder to be together so I really value the time we have together.
This effects the business world because if you are doing business with someone who values money over the value of life then they can easily do the wrong thing because all they care about is the sale. For example if someone tries to sell you a car that is bad but they don’t tell you then your life could be at stake but all they care about is selling you the car. A real world example of this was Bernard Madoff. He scammed investors out of over a billion dollars because of greed. He valued money over these investors and they lost a lot and he gained from it.
I chose this picture below because it shows how people can be bound by their value of materialism.