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PHIL 2135: Ethics: Business & Professions - Study Guide

by: Tony Ibrahim

PHIL 2135: Ethics: Business & Professions - Study Guide PHIL 2135

Marketplace > George Washington University > PHIL-Philosophy > PHIL 2135 > PHIL 2135 Ethics Business Professions Study Guide
Tony Ibrahim
Ethics: Business & Professions
Lloyd Eby

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Ethics: Business & Professions
Lloyd Eby
Study Guide
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This 5 page Study Guide was uploaded by Tony Ibrahim on Monday October 20, 2014. The Study Guide belongs to PHIL 2135 at George Washington University taught by Lloyd Eby in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 167 views. For similar materials see Ethics: Business & Professions in PHIL-Philosophy at George Washington University.


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Date Created: 10/20/14
Philosophy Midterm Study Guide Utilitarianism 0 what is good produces greatest happiness for the greatest number of people Jeremy Bentham and john Stuart mill Utilitarianisms 1863 Kantian based on ethical rules derived from logic reasoning or from nature of human beings Immanuel Kant German 0 Always act so that you can consistently will that the maxim of your action become a universal law Virtue ethics 0 Aristotle focuses on moral status of the person or agent Moral sense theory and ethical intuition o humans have moral senseintuition so as to distinguish between right and wrong Ethics based on emphasizing human rights 0 bill of rights Pragmatic ethics 0 rejects unchanging or transcendent principles and views and norms holds that principles and views and angoras are and need to be bent or changed in light of actual events pr discoveries or situation Ethics based on nature or natural law 0 holds that humans are beings of nature and have a nature that this nature can be known and that ethics can be derived from laws or principles found in that nature Contractarian based on contracts or agreements among members of a society john brawls used a veil of ignorance and the notion of an original position as starting assumptions of his work 0 A theory ofjustice byjohn brawls Socialist etc 0 claims that values and what is good or bad are socially derived and or determined emphasizes society and social and community action and goals favors social ownership of the means of production and social distribution of profits and rewards Libertarian ethics 0 not liberalism directly opposite to the socialist view holds that the best political social and or governmental system is the on e that governs least that provides for the greatest indicial liberty initiative and entrepreneurship Ethics based on religion 0 right and wrong determined by human wish desire or reason but by the will or decreases of a transcendent deity or deities Ethical egoism 0 what is ethically right with the agents self interest Ethics Peoples awareness of what is right and wrong Ethics are moral codes which every person must conform to Law governments to its people enforce Laws Laws are codifications of ethics meant to regulate society Normative Ethical theory 0 Universality all judgments and principlestheories should apply to everyone everywhere Relativism view or observation that different people group s societies and cultures do have differing views about right and wrong good and bad Normative ethical relativism the theory that people ought to or should accept the ethical views that there culture actually holds No universal ethical standards or norms can exist or do exist beyond the ethical standards or norms that people actually hold When in Rome do as the Romans do Descriptive ethical relativism Relativism observation that different people groups societies and cultures do have differing views about right wrong good and bad An argument in ethics morality usually has at least three parts a A factual premise b a premise stating an ethical principle or theory c and a conclusion that brings those two together If you don t like or don t agree with the conclusion of an ethical argument you can do at least four things 1 Attack or disagree with the factual premise say Mary did not steal anything 2 Attack or disagree with the ethical principle or theory used in the argument like saying she was entitled to take the mo 3 Say that the ethical principle or theory used in the argument is good but that it does not apply in the particular case under investigation or 4 Point out that there is a mistake in logic a fallacy either a formal fallacy or an informal fallacy in the argument Ad hominem attaching the person not the argument The four key features of capitalism SampB pp 153156 o Companies 0 Profit motive purpose of the company is to make a profit This implies and reflects a critical assumption about human nature that human beings are basically economic creatures who recognize and are motivated by their own economic interest 0 Competition free competition is the regulator that keeps a community activated only by selfinterest from degenerating into a mob of ruthless profiteers Laissez faire we are all free to pursue our own interest 0 Private property Central to capitalism capitalism as a socioeconomic system is a specific form of private property Three ethical justifications of capitalism including that of Adam Smith and three ethical criticisms of it Natural right to property defense of capitalism capitalism is simply the outcome of this right utilitarians deny the existence of such rights Adam Smith s concept of the invisible hand 0 Each person individual and private pursuit of wealth results as if guided by an invisible hand in the most beneficial overall organization and distribution of economic resources Religious justifications of private property ie the ten commandments Capitalism rewards work success making products that please customer saving and investment and entrepreneurship but socialist systems punish all those through taxation and regulation and reward and incentivize sloth and failure Criticisms of capitalism Capitalism leads to inequality its unfair Today s marketplace and business situational are far more complex than smiths model of getting the stuff for your dinner Capitalism assumes human beings are materialsconsumerists Corporate welfare programs protect business Competition is not good The Marxist notion of exploitation and alienation can go both ways CHALLENGES TO CAPITALISM Decline of manufacturing in the US Outsourcing jobs Us trade deficit Exclusive focus on the short term Change in attitudes toward work The definition of a corporation SampB p 200 as well as the main reasons for their formation A thing that can endure beyond the natural lives of its members has incorporators who may sue and be sued as a unit who are able to consign part of their property to the corporation for ventures of limited liability quot 39 a Not formed simply by an agreement entered into among its first members b Becomes incorporated by being publicly registered c The shareholder in a corporation is entitled to a dividend from the company s profits only when it has been declared Main arguments for and against the claim that corporations can make moral decisions Made up of people and have a corporate internal decision CID structure that decides what the corporation should andor will do It cannot be a moral agent because CID structure causes it to be alike a machine ex a car has no ethical responsibility if the brakes fail and it kills a pedestrian It can be a moral agent because the CID structure operates like an individual person in gathering info and making decision Similar to an individual39s ethical decisions and ethical responsibility The narrow view Milton Friedman and the broad view of corporate social responsibility Three arguments in favor of the narrow view SampB pp 206210 plus responses against those arguments Milton Friedman NARROW VIEW 0 Profit maximization the sole social responsibility of a corporation and corporate managers and officials is to make as much money for their stockholders as possible so long as the corporation stays within the rules of the game being legal and ethical while making a profit 0 Arguments in favor diverting corporations from the pursuit of profit makes our economic system less efficient business leaders who have broader view are undermining capitalism by implicitly reinforcing the view that the pursuit of profit is wicked and must be regulated by external forces Private enterprise should not be forced to undertake public responsibilities that properly belong to government BROAD VIEW 0 Because of its social power social role and social footprint in addition to making a profit for its shareholders a corporation has a larger social responsibility than just to its stockholders Corporations must take charge of externalities o Arguments in favor of broader view against narrow Businesses have other obligations besides making gad profit The assumption that stockholders own or control the corporation is dubious Business must weigh the long range social costs of its activities in addition to its other costs Externalities should be internalized ex the cost of pollution should be covered by the company More Important Terms Caveat emptor caveat venditor strict product liability Caveat emptor let the buyer beware Caveat venditor when buying the buyer must explicitly say to the seller that if this happens then I can come back for a refund but othenvise if anything happens I am held responsible Strict product liability the manufacture of a product has legal responsibilities to compensate the user of that product for injuries suffered because the products defective condition made it unreasonably dangerous even though the manufacturer has not be negligent in permitting that defect to occur Why movement from caveat emptor to strict product liability 0 Consumers and sellers do not meet as equals The consumers interest are vulnerable to being harmed by manufacturers who have knowledge and expertise the consumer lacks o Strict product liability induces firms to bend over baclwvards to guarantee product safety 0 Also manufacturer is best able to bear the cost of injuries due to defects can prevent them and cut costs on cutbacks Pros and cons concerning government safety regulation of products Pros Legal paternalism 0 Regulations protect third parties such as pedestrians potentially getting hit by cars 0 Wearing a safety belt saves lives even though infringes on personal rights Economic costs 0 If forced to recall a product delays production of more this way get it right the first time Cons Regulations are costly and prevent individuals from choosing to purchase a riskier but less expensive product Individuals know their own interests better than anyone else Six points given by Shaw and Barry SampB pp 269271 that they say would if followed go a long way in helping business behave ethically with respect to consumer safety 1 Business should give safety the priority warranted by the product Safety V Cost Seriousness of injury the product causes and the Frequency of injury cannot be ignored over Costs for a Business 2 Business should abandon the misconception that accidents occur exclusively as the result of product misuse and that it is thereby absolved of all responsibility people who follow product instructions explicitly still can suffer injuries the company still shares responsibility for product safety 3 Businesses must monitor the manufacturing process itself firms frequently fail to control key variables during manufacturing process results in product defect 4 When a product is ready to be marketed companies should have their product safety staff review their market strategy and advertising for potential safety problems Advertising can influence how a product is used so in turn it can affect the likelihood of the safety of a product 5 When a product reaches the marketplace firms should make available to consumers written information about the product39s performance Should include operating instructions product safety features etc specific warnings 6 Companies should investigate consumer complaints and do so quickly 7 Issues in product pricing and labeling SampB pp 274280 Pricing o Manipulative Pricing misleading prices that obscure a product s true cost hidden charges stealth fees promotional prices like discount cards rebates 0 Price Fixing Horizontal Competitors agree to adhere to a set price schedule not to cut prices below a certain minimum or to restrict price advertising or the terms of sale discounts rebates Vertical Manufacturers and retailers agree to set prices 0 Price Gouging Seer s exploiting a shortterm situation in which buyers have few purchasing options for a much needed product by raising prices substantially Labeling amp Packaging 0 Provide pertinent information but are often difficult to understand or even misleading 0 ex Labeling imagesnames can throw off the consumer 0 Package shape exploits certain optical illusions to make things look bigger Quantity surcharges selling economy size items for a higher price per unit than their smaller counterparts


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