COURSE Code: PHIL 413
What has been your reaction to the plethora of business scandals that have peppered the news? Are you shocked, disheartened, judgmental, or indifferent, assuming that corruption is part of daily life, and possibly, even an indispensable ingredient of business life? What is the place of ethical discourse in the business world − ought it to be essential, or tangential, a point of discussion raised for damage control when such scandals are brought to public light? What is the place of ethics in your life, and how are you to steer that life if your personal ethical code is at odds with the ethical code of the workplace? What is the place, value, and good of labour in your life, and how can you live a life of integrity? Can you answer these questions, and defend your responses?
As a response to these questions, this course will help you understand, identify, critically evaluate and assess, both in theory and practice, ethical concepts and arguments as they pertain to business practice, professional conduct, and personal life. Upon successful completion of the course, you should have the tools to help you navigate through, and calm the myriad moral storms that you will face in your life. The course has five foci: 1) the presentation of select major ethical theories (deonotology, consequentialism, rights, and virtue ethics) that will give you the foundation to understand and differentiate the perspectives from which people make their ethical decisions; 2) an examination of, and reflection upon, the meaning of work, as a way to make money, a way to make a living, a burden, a blessing, an activity that shapes one's life, an essential quality of one's humanity, and a social structure; 3) a moral assessment of key business concepts and their role in interpersonal and economic relations: honesty, loyalty, and care in the workplace, whistle blowing, paternalism, corporate liability, advertising strategies, and discrimination 4) an analysis of the broad ethical issues that are faced by executives and boards of directors in managing a corporation and the ethical implications of the legal and social policies and technological innovations that can affect this: taxation, equality, family obligations, social and workplace justice, poverty and expectations of corporate social responsibility regarding the environment and 5) an analysis of the history and future of capitalism and globalization and the moral impact of both on business activity.