Global Business Practices: Kant and the Bhagavad Gita

Kant emphasizes the necessity for human freedom and discretion and the necessity to judge for himself in religious and secular matters. There is a need for independence. Yet Kant did not suggest a total rejection of authority. This is a common stand for agnosticism. Kant suggest that there is a necessity to reconstruct ultimate reality by applying mundane categories to it. This is an attempt through the mind to create what Kant believes to be the real world. In this way, Kant attempted a synthesis between English empiricism and Continental rationalism. The skeptic concludes that beliefs that fell outside of human experience cannot be justified. On the hand the rationalist claim that factual truths what exists and what does not exists can be established by reason alone. Kant submits that anything that is manifest is rationally justifiable and all that is ultimate is rationally indefensible. The mind according to Kant conditions everything it encounters through its Forms of Intuition and Categories of Understanding.

Kant attempts to draw a line between what is an appearance and ultimate reality but in doing so is a failure. To posit between what is appearance and what is reality is to acknowledge that one knows the ultimate reality. In other words, to draw a line, one must cross the line first, which Kant categorically denies that he has done so.

Reason for obedience

To remove or substantially reduce the vice of greed through the guidance of corporate social responsibility, many theories have been put forward to enunciate the necessity of several criteria and even a code or institutionalization of ethics. This is all well and good, however, one needs to recognize that these soft laws are quite different from hard laws (ex criminal law, in Malaysia we have a Penal Code) that common people know well that in the case of the latter, as one which if disobeyed results in punishment. There may even be provisions in such codes for punishment if the ethical codes are not obeyed, still if members of the public do not clearly see the need or reason to obey such codes on a positive note (other than the common fear of punishment), there would not be much progress in terms of improvement of overall societal or moral values. This is especially true when enforcement of such codes, when disobeyed, are weak. One can take even the example of lack of enforcement of hard laws in a situation of disobedience, for an illustration, ie the example of rioting and looting in other parts of the world,when the enforcement of the law by the police is slow to come by.

To put it succinctly, there must be found a justification or reason (ethical reason) for society to obey the codes of conduct.This is especially true, in Malaysian society where, the common law or law in general imposed are of a Western origin. Malaysia, no doubt has developed its own law from the time of independence, but being a former colony of the UK and the fact that the adversarial judicial system here is a heritage of English prowess, we cannot deny the fact that the legal and ethical culture at work is of a Western origin. We in the east, often perceive this as a difficulty and contrast from our Eastern upbringing, as the English laws have a strong Judeo-Christian background. The Muslims in Malaysia have in their culture a strong need already to obey moral codes as a great number of laws (although at times they are still bound by common law when confronted with gross crimes or crimes against the state) are Syariah laws and thus strongly rooted in their moral and cultural background.

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