Table of Contents

The Challenges of Capitalism for Virtue Ethics and the Common Good

The Challenges of Capitalism for Virtue Ethics and the Common Good

Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Edited by Kleio Akrivou and Alejo José G Sison

The evolution of modern capitalist society is increasingly being marked by an undeniable and consistent tension between pure economic and ethical ways of valuing and acting. This book is a collaborative and cross-disciplinary contribution that challenges the assumptions of capitalist business and society. It ultimately reflects on how to restore benevolence, collaboration, wisdom and various forms of virtuous deliberation amongst all those who take part in the common good, drawing inspiration from European history and continental philosophical traditions on virtue.

Chapter 3: The civilization of commerce in the Middle Ages

Mark Hanssen

Subjects: business and management, business ethics and trust, business leadership, corporate social responsibility


This chapter discusses the influence of the Dominican and Franciscan religious orders on the formation of commercial society in late medieval and early renaissance Italy. Focusing on the relation between the fundamental thrust of the philosophical theologies developed by a variety of scholastic authors, as well as the ethical thought that developed on the basis of their philosophies, the chapter claims the critical influence of these authors on the preachers of their orders and, through these preachers, on the vision of civic life operating in the Italian communes of the period. The daily commercial life of the laity was incorporated into a broader conception of Christian civilization and Christian virtue that was fundamental to the social values that gave enormous impetus and form to the social figure of the merchant.

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