Moral reasoning is a so-called practical reasoning of an individual or a group of individuals concerning morality of this or that action. It is known that moral reasoning gives opportunity to prove the fact that some claim is true “on the basis of certain premises that support its truth”. The main difference between moral reasoning and other forms of reasoning is concluded in the fact that the claim which is supported by the reasoning is considered to be moral judgment. Moral reasoning is represented by two forms which include the following ones:
• reasoning that has the major goal – to demonstrate and prove the truth of some general moral principle which is known to everyone;
• reasoning that has the major goal – to establish the truth of some particular moral claim on the basis of appropriate general ethical principles. This form of moral reasoning is sometimes called moral deliberation.
In order to determine and access the actions required when applying moral reasoning, it is necessary to understand the nature of moral reasoning. There are two basic moral principles of moral reasoning which are very important for successful application of moral reasoning to this or that situation. The first moral principle is closely connected with moral arguments. It is known that moral arguments include the statement of general moral principle and the statement of appropriate facts. In other words they include a normative claim and descriptive claims. It means that moral judgment cannot follow from simply a detailed description of facts. It is known that this principle of moral reasoning was stated by David Hume, a well-known British philosopher. He stated that there is always a so-called “logical barrier to deriving claims” concerning the way we should act and the claims concerning “the way things are”. (Moral Reasoning: Principles and Problems)
The second principle of moral reasoning is called the principle of universalizability. It states that moral reasoning should be consistent. If someone judges that the action is wrong, he is committed to judging that any other action similar to the first one is also wrong. For example, if someone judges that it is wrong to hurt others. It means that it is wrong to hurt both human beings and animals. The moral position should be consistent. This principle is considered to be the key principle of moral reasoning. (Moral Reasoning: Principles and Problems)
It is known that moral reasoning is the major component of ethical behavior. Today, it is rather difficult to make a right moral decision because there are different situations which are connected to different contexts. It means it is necessary to determine what is right and what is wrong in concrete situation. That is why it is very important to determine and access some appropriate actions which are necessary for applying moral reasoning. The actions which are required when applying moral reasoning include the following ones:
• to define and analyze ethical dilemma concerning this or that situation. It is necessary to state the facts of the ethical dilemma. This action is connected with moral sensitivity.
• to determine what should be done in this concrete situation. It is necessary to choose the options concerning moral reasoning of the situation. This action is related to moral judgment.
• to determine a so-called “personal commitment to this moral action” which includes the individual’s responsibility for the consequences. In this case, it is necessary to follow the rules of code of ethics.
• to develop “a courageous persistence” in moral judgment which forms true moral character. (Collahan 21)
It is known that in business ethics, there are four important approaches which are used for applying moral reasoning in decision making process. The first approach is based on specific rules which an individual should follow in decision-making process. The second approach in business ethics is based on evaluation of results that come from the process of making decisions. The third approach is based on the individual who performs the actions. It means that an individual can learn to act morally through repeated action in this or that situation. The forth approach is based on the stories which have the major goal – to instruct the individuals to act morally. In this case, a story teller and a listener communicate and their communication has good results in moral reasoning. Thus, stories can be used to present some ethical problem and the ways to solve this problem. (Collahan 14)
In conclusion, it is necessary to say that morality plays an important role in business ethics where decision making process influences the success of the company in the competitive market. That is why it is necessary to apply moral reasoning which will help to find the right solution of this or that ethical dilemma.
Collahan, J. Ethical Issues in Professional Life. New York: Oxford University Press. 1988. Print.
Moral Reasoning: Principles and Problems. Northwest Missouri State University. 2010. Available