PHIL215 Lecture Notes - Virtue Ethics, Elitism, Artificiality

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26 Nov 2012

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January 3rd 2012
Basic Definitions
Ethics: How you should live your life; how you should conduct yourself throughout life.
Morality: How you should treat other people.
Justice: How all of us should shape the basic social institutions which have the widest and deepest impact upon
our lives (Eg, government, the law, the economy, health care, education and etc).
- Justice is the narrowest.
Business: Trying to make money; the legal pursuit of profit in a free society.
- Profit = Revenue Cost.
- The symbol of profit is the pie sign.
Thus, Business Ethics: How you should conduct yourself as you go about trying to make money (compare this
with, say, professional medical ethics, which would be how you should conduct yourself as about caring for the
sick and so forth).
Why care about business ethics?
- The research shows that, generally, good ethics means good business.
- Though not absolutely always, as it’s not a perfect world.
- Time and again, the case study literature abounds with instances of bad behaviour (from the Ford Pinto
to Enron) coming back to haunt the doer and to harm his or her bottom line.
- Over the long-term, it’s in your rational self-interest to behave ethically in your business dealings.
Enron: Smartest guy in the room. He rather sue everyone rather than put engine in every car or some.
Pinto: More in the classics.
- Basically the guy was really slick.
- He opened up his own financial investment thing.
- He had 30K by himself and he got two other people and told them that if they invest 10K he can get
them the S&P taxes up to 15%
- Regularly this is up to 8% in the whole year
- Therefore in a year he got them 30% in one year.
- Because of this scheme he would actually give them the percentage. And then the people would be so
fascinated that they would go on and advertise him.
- Therefore he would get more and more people.
- But in reality the only thing he is doing is switching everyone else’s money around.
- And he made the profit of 18 billion dollars.
- He started this scheme during the early 1990s
- This would work as long as someone would invest.
- He finally got caught and was sent to jail and is sentenced 150 years in jail.
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January 3rd 2012
- He got caught in 2007
- The reason why he got caught was because of “recession”
- His customers were requesting the money back.
- Started demanding for their principle back “redemption”
- His children found out and they went along with this “business
- This sucks because even though the guy got caught and is sentenced for 150 years. This crime isn’t
really a pay back. The people that saved money for their children for college or future investments are
all analled now.
But what does it mean to behave ethically?
- No to subjectivism.
- Point of ethics is to coordinate behaviour so everyone’s happiness can be pursued. My own strategy is to
look up in the TOP FIVE ETHICAL MODELS, and be guided by them.
Virtue Ethics: Key question, what would a virtuous person do?
- Consult a virtuous person.
- Not your age though because you don’t have enough experience.
- This was invented by Aristotle (Greek Philosopher)
- His perception was mostly based on the “virtue ethics”
- He thought people should act virtuous (behave).
- He loved the classification of animals He is the one who invented the animals’ classification.
- He classified us as animals too but “gifted”
- Humanity itself has a function- this is absorbable.
- One of the thing that is given to us which other animals don’t have is “having reason.”
- We have reason so we reason.
- We use reasons to achieve one over thing.
-Not everyone pursues this. For example: Some people want to be a doctor. Not everyone
becomes a doctor.
-One of the MOST IMPORTANT things to achieve in life is “happiness.”
-Eudemonia (Greek word): it means happiness.
- It is an overall “well-being”
- What should I do with life and how should I live it.
- He thinks the main point is to achieve happiness in life. If you don’t you are bizarre.
How to do
Why to do
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