The framework of any country’s legal system relies heavily on the concept of holding parties accountable for wrongdoing. When promises are broken, it is reasonable to expect an apology from the transgressor and redress for the victim. This moral obligation is known as a directed duty, which seems simple until it is viewed through the lens of the law. How, for example, does directed duty work in the case of a company that has done something wrong? In an interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Julian Jonker, a Wharton legal studies and business ethics professor, discusses his latest research on this concept and how it applies to individuals and corporations.
Julian Jonker: Directed duties are things that come up in our ordinary moral life. They also come up in the law, particularly in private law areas such as contract and tort.