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Thomas Mulligan

January 11/2010: Introduction COURSE OBJECTIVES 1. TO EXAMINE & IMPROVE OUR UNDERSTANDING OF: o 2 basic streams of thought  The sciences ( Social Sciences)  The humanities ( Ethics) o Basic concepts of philosophical ethics o Nature of business o Nature and issues of business ethics 2. TO DEVELOP CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS o We shall read many position papers 3. TO EXAMINE & REFLECT ON THE NATURE OF YOUR BUSINESS EDUCATION Philosophy - Philo-Sophia = The Love/pursuit of wisdom - Seeks answers to the most fundamental questions: o What ultimately is the world? (=Metaphysics) o What am I/What is a human being? (=Theory of human nature) o What can I know? (=Theory of knowledge or Epistemology) o What should I do? (=Ethics)  There is a relationship between those fours strains; in order to know what I shoud do I have to know something; in order to know things I have to know who/what I am; in order to know what I am I have to know what the world is  Ethics is founded on the other three areas of philosophy Metaphysics: - asks ‘What are the ultimate explanatory principles of all there is?’ - describes the ‘furniture’ of the universe - some examples of metaphysical principles o Atoms o Matter and Spirit (like Body and Soul or Earth and Heaven) Theory of Human Nature - Asks ‘What ultimately are human beings?’ or ‘What is the human essence?’ - Essence = What makes something what it is? - Some examples of answers: o ‘featherless Biped’ (Joke by Aristotle) o Only human beings do have an immortal soul o Only human beings have the power to reason o Only human beings have the ability to use language o Only human beings have the capacity to love o Only human beings have a free will (Test: Could you have done otherwise? Are we initiating our actions or doing what is set up in our DNA?) o Only human beings have a consciousness o Only human beings are self-conscious Theory of knowledge (Epistemology) - Asks ‘What is knowledge?’ or ‘How do we know what we know?’ - Some examples of answers: o Sense perception: we acquire empirical knowledge of the world by means of our five senses o Reason: Some philosophers say that our power to reason allows us to generalize about the world, to organize our experiences and to form concepts o Immediate Apprehension through Intuition (Blaise Pascal) Ethics - Asks ‘What ought/should we do?’ - In Ethics the theories from Metaphysics, Theory of Human Nature and Theory of knowledge (Epistemology) pass into action or practical use - Some vocabulary: o IS / OUGHT DISTINCTION  Two completely different concepts: How are things vs. how should they be o THE ADJECTIVES "MORAL" and "ETHICAL" Describe a very special characteristic of people and their deeds. (I shall use "MORAL" and "ETHICAL" interchangeably.) o GOOD / EVIL - Describe the RESULTS of our actions. Example: Her work at the homeless shelter does the clients some good. o RIGHT / WRONG / DUTY / OBLIGATION These terms describe our actions themselves or the INTENTIONS or MOTIVES behind our actions. Example: She works at the homeless shelter because she believes it is the right course of action (or, because she believes she has a duty/an obligation to do so). - Question: Where does one find philosophy? Answer: Everywhere! American Declaration of Independence - Positioning Paper (based on areas of philosophy) taking up a position and defending it - Applied Ethics arguing that it is morally right and justified to become independent When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God ( Metaphysics) entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation (Published to the whole world to make other countries understand their rationales and persuade them to recognize them as a country; appealing to reason). We hold these truths to be self-evident ( Epistemology), that all men are created equal (creator = God  Metaphysics), that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness ( New way of thinking due to Enlightenment) -- That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed (different in times of monarchies), that whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it; ( politics as area of Applied Ethics) Followed by a list of things Britain has done to them: Political, judicial, military, economic oppression; say they tried to appeal to justice and magnanimity but they did not listen  now must take action We, therefore (conclusion), the representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be ( are/ought disctinction), free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. IBM’s traditional Business Conduct Guidelines (see handout) - Moving into Business Ethics - IBM as pioneer in creating a business culture as they see a business as a social institution, high standards of business conduct - Basic beliefs: Respect for the individual and their rights and dignity in the organization, customer service and excellence in accomplishing their tasks - 1 step: Relation between Law and Ethics nd - 2 step: Law is not enough; Ethics have to go beyond that  Guidelines - 3 step: Individual responsibility of each person: How would you feel about this if your friends/family would know about it? How would you feel about it if it was printed on the front page of the New York Times? ( New York Times Test is mentioned often in the context of corporate misbehavior. It basically says that you can decide whether or not you should do something by considering whether or not you’d want it (and your name) to appear in an article on the front page of the New York Times.) - Strict on accepting as well as giving gifts and entertainment to business partners - Accurate and honest reporting of
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