PHILOSOPHY 251 SYLLABUS INSTRUCTOR: JOHN DOUARD EMAIL:

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PHILOSOPHY 251
SYLLABUS
INSTRUCTOR: JOHN DOUARD
EMAIL: [email protected]
Text: Moral Issues in Business, Shaw & Barry, Cengage
In this course we will examine ethical issues raised by business practices in the
United States. Those practices take place in a social and cultural context, and we
will begin by considering the moral and social problems of capitalism, including
the relationships corporations and small businesses have to their “stakeholders.”
Of course, shareholders are stakeholders, but other stakeholders include
employees, consumers, communities, other countries and their citizens (who are
often employees and of American corporations, and consumers of their products
and services—think Apple). The obligations of corporations to various
stakeholders often lead to moral conflicts, and we need some way to resolve
these conflicts. The moral problems we will discuss affect you. This course will
be an opportunity to confront the moral issues of business, especially as they
impact not only business practices themselves, but as they impact culture as a
whole. We begin with the question: Is there anything that is not for sale? If so,
why? Why do we recoil from the commodification of some goods and services?
Our answers to those questions express how we wish to live our lives.
You will take a midterm exam and a final exam. In addition, groups of three or
four students will each work on a research project, to be determined during the
first two weeks of class. The research project will be multi-faceted so each
student will have a component of the project to development. You will give a
presentation of your research, and you will each write a paper on your part of
the project.
Midterm: 20 points
Final: 20 points
Outline of topic: 10 points
Presentation: 10 points
First short paper: 10 points – 5-7 pages
Second short paper: 10 points – 5-7 pages
Final paper based on presentation: 20 points – 10-12 pages
PLAGIARISM IS, OF COURSE, PROHIBITED. Definition: In an instructional
setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas,
or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source.
This definition applies to texts published in print or on-line, to manuscripts, and
to the work of other student writers.
If you plagiarize any of your work, it will be reported to your Dean and the
University has a procedure for dealing with it. At that point, your grade will be
out of my hands.
Class participation and attendance will be used increase your grade if the grade
is on the border between two grades.
SCHEDULE
Sep. 7
Is everything for sale?
Sandel, Hyde
Sep. 14
Normative Ethical Theories
53-80; 84-95
Sep. 21
Justice and economic distribution
104-127; 132-48
Sep. 28
Nature of Capitalism
149-98
FIRST SHORT PAPER DUE: DOES CAPITALISM PLACE BUSINESSES AND
THEIR AGENTS AT MORAL RISK?
Oct. 5
Corporation as Person
199-242; 254-59;
French and
Citizen’s United
handouts.
Oct. 12
The Workplace 1
373-426
OUTLINE OF TOPICS DUE
Oct. 19
MIDTERM
Oct. 26
FILM TBA
Nov. 2
The Workplace 2
427-84
SECOND SHORT PAPER DUE: ARE CORPORATIONS PERSONS?
Nov. 9
Job discrimination
547-95
Nov. 16
Consumers
260-326
Nov. 23
The environment
327-72
Nov. 30
THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY
Dec. 7
PRESENTATIONS & FINAL PAPER DUE
Dec. 21
FINAL EXAM
I reserve the right to revise this syllabus as becomes necessary.
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