Philosophy Storms Business

It doesn't from a distance seem as if philosophy and business would have anything to say to one another. Businesses are concerned with meeting strict targets under time pressure, maximising revenue and outwitting competitors. Philosophy is concerned with the largest and most impractical questions about the meaning of life; it sets itself no targets and has no practical outcomes.

But in reality, business and philosophy have a huge amount to offer one another. Beneath their interest in profits, businesses are forced to engage with nothing less than the issue of how to satisfy their customers, a subject full of contradictions and complexities. For its part, philosophy has spent most of its long history investigating the ingredients of a good life, what Aristotle called eudaimonia, a Greek word translated as 'flourishing' or 'fulfilment'. In their different ways, philosophy and business have to work out how to satisfy people - and therefore how they tick.

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