The purpose of this paper is to circumscribe the various philosophical connections between the classical and the modern notion of corruption from Enlightenment to post-modernity.
The paper analyzed to what extent the classical notion of corruption (Plato, Aristotle and Cicero) still influenced the way philosophers perceived the phenomenon of corruption during the Enlightenment (1625-1832), the transition period (1833-1900) and the post-modernity (1901 onward). Taking those historical periods as reference points, the author will see how literature about historical, social and political conditioning factors of corruption could convey the presence/absence of the classical or the modern notion of corruption.
The paper finds that the classical notion of corruption implies the degeneration of human relationships (Plato and Hegel), the degeneration of the body-and-mind unity (Aristotle, Pascal and Thomas Mann) or the degeneration of collective morality (Cicero, Locke, Rousseau, Hume and Kant). The modern notion of corruption as bribery was mainly introduced by Adam Smith. Nietzsche (and Musil) looked at corruption as degeneration of the will-to-power. The classical notion of corruption put the emphasis on the effects rather than on the cause itself (effects-based thinking). The modern notion of corruption as bribery insists on the cause rather than on the effects (cause-based thinking).
In this paper, the author has taken into account the main representatives of the three historical periods. Future research could also analyze the works of other philosophers and novelists to see to what extent their philosophical and literary works are unveiling the classical or the modern notion of corruption.
The paper presents a philosophical and historical perspective about corruption. It sheds light on the way philosophers (and sometimes novelists) deal with the issue of corruption, whether it is from an effects-based or from a cause-based perspective.
Dion, M. (2017), "Philosophical connections between the classical and the modern notion of corruption: From the Enlightenment to post-modernity", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 82-100. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFC-01-2016-0009Download as .RIS
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