What is a conflict of interest? What is morally problematic about one? Beginning with the definition, this paper organizes the core (philosophical) literature and creates two continuums-one devoted to the more specific definition of 'interest,' and the other to that of 'duty' (two elements that belong to the definition of conflicts of interest and over which the debate revolves). Each continuum places the authors according to the narrowness or broadness of their positions, which facilitates the understanding of the debate as well as what is at stake when defining conflicts of interest. The paper then develops a moral analysis that leads to the sought-for definition and to an explanation of why we should treat conflicts of interest carefully. While doing so, the paper discloses the criterion to judge whether a definition is right and presents the duties that makes conflicts of interest special as 'tertiary' duties of morality.
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An earlier version of this paper was presented, during 2018, at the following venues: a) 27th Annual International Conference of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE) (Chicago, Illinois), b) Great Lakes Philosophy Conference (Adrian College and Siena Heights University, Adrian, Michigan), c) Viv?s Seminar (Universit? Catholique de Louvain, Louvain, Belgium), and d) La Noche de la Filosof?a (Pontificia Universidad Cat?lica del Per?, Lima, Per?). Thanks to the organisers and to George Enderle, Terrence Kelly, Mark Bourgeois, James Spence, Jennifer Kling, Patrick Mayer, Elliot Goodine, Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, Louis Larve, Manuel Rosa, Camille Pascal, Axel Gosseries, Philippe Van Parijs, Cesare del Mastro, and many others for their inputs during the presentations. Additional thanks to Daryl Kohen, Summer N. Brown, and the anonymous reviewers of the Business and Professional Ethics Journal. Finally, special thanks to Thomas Carson for reviewing an earlier version of the paper, to Jean Christian Ego?vil for his help during my research, and to my wife, Laura E. Wulf, for her revisions.
© Business & Professional Ethics Journal.
- Conflict of interest
- Moral law