Business philosophy

Philosophy asks: What purely intellectual factors constricting our options?

What assumptions possess our minds and make matters that could be otherwise and better seem absolute and eternal?

Where is our customary perspective hiding relevant clues from us that would be revealed as relevant if we looked at our situation from a different vantage point?

Where are we justifying our actions with explanations that do not actually do justice to those forces that really impel us?

How are we imposing habitual modes of thought on problems that call for different modes, which we would use if we “knew the moves”?

Where are our life practices depriving us of the inner resources or outer conditions necessary to concretely experience alternatives to how-things-are?

Where are our hasty answers concealing questions that need asking?

Where are our hasty formulations of questions concealing more fruitful question to ask?


At this point in history it is embarrassing (quaint, pompous, ludicrous, and many other unpleasant things) to call yourself a philosopher in a business setting. Nonetheless, I still aspire one day to have a business card with the title “philosopher” printed on it. I don’t think it’s unreasonable. Think about it: If philosophy helps ask and answer the questions I listed above, wouldn’t a business with at least one philosopher on staff have a pretty serious competitive advantage? The answer I’d anticipate is: “by having philosophical people on staff.” But what about that popular management principle that “if you don’t assign it to a person it doesn’t get done”? In my experience, that is exactly the case. Businesses tend to run around like chickens in chalk-line circles, for no reason other than failure to ask if the lines can be redrawn… or erased.. or even just stepped over. Why? They take the chalk-lines as the moral or practical limits of valid activity, and see the problem in terms of how the business is running.

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