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PHIL215 Lecture Notes - Nicotine, Puffery, Big Tobacco

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Brian Orend

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PHIL 215
Lecture #4
1. Codes of Ethics
2. Whistle-Blowing
1. Codes of Ethics:
- Internal to a business (Magna)
- Industry-Wide (Forestry)
- More serious, more detailed
- Consequences for violation
- Disciplinary process
- Legalized, formalized
Properties of Code of Ethics:
- Deontological + Rules (Duty-based + Results)
- Consequentialist
Example: Code of Ethics and Conduct for Stock Brokers.
Insider Trading: When corporate executives trade the stocks of their own company. (When it
comes to the stock market, government wants it to be as fair and transparent as possible)
Example: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario: Rules of Professional Conduct.
“Puffery”: Self-promotion through advertising to “puff yourself up”. Canadian lawyers are
forbidden from making TV ads to promote themselves, in contrast to US TV networks.

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Example: Professional Engineers Act (Must pass technical tests, ethics test, prove good
The Takeaway: Code of Ethics are often detailed and lengthy
Code of Ethics (Common Elements)
*Note*: Use these as the duties for deontology argument on the exams.
1. Obey all relevant laws
2. No disgracing the business, organization or profession
3. Competence & Non-impairment
4. Diligence / Hard-working-ness
5. Honesty & Full Disclosure
6. No Conflicts of Interest (Unless full disclosure & universal consent of “stake-holders”)
7. Trustworthiness & Confidentiality
8. Respect / Collegiality towards colleagues, peers & clients
(Professionals Codes also have:)
9. Some Reference to Upholding a Public Good (e.g. lawyers -> justice, doctors -> health,
engineers -> public safety)
10. “Advance the Profession”: i.e., A) Mentor & develop juniors and B) Take advantage of
opportunities to enhance public esteem of profession
11. Reference to a Disciplinary Mechanism & Duty to Report all Ethical Violations to such.
Aside: Shareholder vs. Stakeholder:
- Shareholder: people who hold shares in the company
- Stakeholder: anyone who are affected by decisions made by the company
Disciplinary Mechanisms:
Very different between the business side and profession side
- Informal:
- H.R.
- In-house legal counsel
- recommend to CEO
- take an ethics course
- pay a fine
- in some cases, termination of employment
- Not all businesses have codes of ethics (Though all large public companies have them)
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