Syllabus, Introduction

Business Ethics - PHILOS3235 - 17 January 2018

Business Ethics

What is “ethics”?

Word association:

  • Right/Wrong actions
  • Morals
  • Cultural/Personal differences

When we hear it

  • Ethical violations

Narrow scope

  • permissible/impermissible
    • “do not lie” and maximizing consequences
  • what makes something impermissible, permissible

Broader scope

  • What contributes to a “life well lived”
  • What it means to be happy + successful

Why study ethics?

  1. To better understand your own moral viewpoint
    • Reasons matter - could impact moral motivation
    • Lost wallet case:
      • Mencius - return it out of sympathy for owner
      • Kant - return it out of duty to the moral law
      • Laszi - return it to retain innocence (maybe leave it on the sidewalk)
  2. To be better able to interact with people in differing viewpoints
    • Recognizing that people do have reasons for what they believe, studying ethics can facilitate a dialog and resolve conflict (where possible)
    • Note: Doesn’t mean sacrificing your own considered viewpoint
  3. See practical applications to other fields of study
    • Apple:
      • Decryption/ give to government
      • Customer - privacy protected
      • Rights of company
    • Automation:
      • Workers rights
    • Environmental impact:
      • Restrained at all