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Lecture

ETHC 3P82 Lecture Notes - John Stuart Mill, Invisible Hand, Economic History


Department
Ethics
Course Code
ETHC 3P82
Professor
Thomas Mulligan

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Monday, Jan 25: A First Look at The Nature of Business and Its
Place in Society
Important concepts:
-Business Ethics: The study of moral right and wrong ( actions) and
of moral good and evil ( result) as they apply to business actions
and to the result of business actions.
-Business as a game
-Thesis: The author’s position/point/conclusion (what he’s trying to
prove)
oMay be told in the beginning, end or not directly at all
oEvery position paper entails a thesis
Argument:
Example 1: A good argument (valid)
1: Socrates was a greek male (T) A is B (Premise)
2: All Greek males were human beings (T) All Bs are Cs
(Premise)
3: Therefore, Socrates was a guman being A is C (Conclusion)
‘Greek male’ is the bridge
The conclusion follows from the premises: If the premises are true,
then the conclusion must be true
Example 2: A bad argument (non-sequitur)
1: Einstein was a European (T)
2: All Europeans are human beings (T)
3: All human beings are intelligent (T)
4: Therefore, Einstein was an exceptionally intelligent human being
The conclusion (4) does not follow from the premises
(‘exceptionally’)
Example 3: Another bad argument
1. Einstein was a European (T)
2. All Europeans are exceptionally stupid human beings (F)
3. Therefore, Einstein was an exceptionally stupid human being (F)
In any of the premises is false, then the conclusion has not been
proven
Example 4: Argument containing a contradiction
S. 59ff: Albert Z. Carr – Is Business Bluffing Ethical?
SUMMARY OF CARR'S ARGUMENT
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1. PREMISE: BUSINESS HAS THE IMPERSONAL CHARACTER OF A GAME.
(p. 60) Anagolizes business as game; Question: Is business
unreal?
(p. 63) rules are laws set by government: Ethics embodied in law;
are there more rules one should obey?
2. PREMISE: IN SITUATIONS WHICH HAVE THE IMPERSONAL
CHARACTER OF A GAME, BLUFFING AND LYING ARE EXPECTED (see
p. 59 ‘expected’, p. 60 ‘negotiating rules’).
Example: Poker in games you don’t need to reveal all you know
3. CONCLUSION: THEREFORE, IN BUSINESS LYING IS JUSTIFIED.
p. 59: ‘the ethics of business are game ethics’ THESIS
p. 60: ‘He was a subscriber...’: is it ethical to hide political
orientation by intentionally hiding subscribed magazines? ‘This man
was 58...’: Is it ethical to lie about own age? Is it a lie within the
accepted rules of a business culture?
Non-sequitur: author goes from being ‘expected’ to being
‘justified’ (not the same: only because you expect someone to
behave a certain way, his/her behaviour is not justified
Questions:
1. Is this a satisfactory summary of the argument?
2. Is this argument a non-sequitur?
Wednesday January 27/2010:
Two Separate Topics: (1) Defining business ethics, and (2) two "opposite
poles" in political/economic thought
Defining business ethics (cont’d)
-Moral agents in business: ‘3 levels’
1. Individual Business Person
2. Organization(al behavior)
3. System – Political/Economic (e.g. questioning
whether Capitalism is a good system)
-More concerning intentions and results in ethics and law (sometimes
called motives and consequences)
Both, intentions and results, are considered when legal judgements are
made considering someone’s behavior
Example: 1) Hitting someone by car and killing them a) unintentionally
b) only meant to scare them – did not expect that outcome c) planning
the murder over a longer period of time result is always the same
but intention is different different legal judgements made and 2)
Planning to murder someone but not succeeding same intention like
1c) but different result different legal judgement
idea of intention result carried into law
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