Business Ethics (Class 1/ Sept 4 )
• Business success?
• Individual success?
• Ethics: Greek “Ethos”= Character
• What should I do?
• Morality= Codes of behaviour for a society
• A Meaningful Existence
• Business: Offering a product or service to another.
• Business and Ethics began together (Cooperation/ Specialization)
• Specializing your skills: increase in quality of life.
• Doing what you want to do.
• Standard of Living
• Milton Friedman (Stated that ethics has nothing to do with business)
• Business Skills, Business Sense (Class 2/Sept 6 )
• Happiness: Meaningful Life/ Existence.
• Take risks.
• Don’t listen to the naysayers.
• Work Hard.
• Epicurus (3 Century BC Greek)
• Lived in civilization (systemized) then chose to create a garden (new country).
• Meaningful life is when you find your own life.
• Need money, but only for basic needs
• Friends • Freedom (Freedom to think) as opposed to system
• Epictetus (1 Century AD Greek)
• A meaningful life is when you are a part of something. (systemized/organized)
• Amoral: It is a choice that does not involve ethics
• Immoral: Have done something “Bad”
• David Hume: 18 Century
• Is/Ought Fallacy: (fallacies are arguments that use poor reasoning)
• You can’t derive a value from a fact.
• Aesthetics: Philosophical discipline of what beauty is. What is beauty? Ie. Sunsets, fact is it is just light waves. There
is nothing special about them as there is no connection between the beauty and the fact.
• Want vs. Rights (Differences)
• Law tells you what can and can’t do.
• Ethics is about what you should do.
Consequentialism (Class 3/ Sept 11th)
• Consequentialism: intuitive theory that focuses on the consequences and taking a choice based on that.
• Taking the good path doesn’t necessarily mean taking the right path.
• Good path (good consequences) or Bad path (bad consequences)
• Epicurus and Epictetus are focused on individual
• Go with what makes you happy despite the reasoning.
• Jeremy Bentham- 18 Century English
• Utilitarianism= Act so as to create the greatest good for the greatest number.
• Good is useful (must have utility or useful action for people that makes them happy)
• Pain and pleasure (avoid pain and seek pleasure)
• We should always be seeking pleasure.
• The theory is based on naturalism. • Violates the is/ought fallacy
• Morality is grounded in the pain and pleasure principle
• Hedonist (someone who wants to party)
• Hedonists were thought to be epicurean, but no necessarily. Epicurus was not a hedonist.
• Animals/Nature is included with humans in regard to morality.
• John Stuart Mill- Early 19 Century English
• Agrees with Bentham about utilitarianism theory, however disagrees with hedonism and how human and animal in regard
• Would you rather be a happy pig or an unhappy human?
• Inner sense of human dignity that makes the decision.
• All pleasures are not equal (Human as to Pig) as intellectual pleasure are higher that base pleasures.
• Human who choose to be the pig is incapable of achieving anything and have no inner sense of human dignity.
• Bentham: Create the Greatest Quantity vs. Mills: Greatest Good combined with Greatest Quality.
• Happiness= Empirical Experience
• Happiness is not abstract concept (naturally feels it).
• Anything that makes you happy is good, but not necessarily equal. (books and sex are not equal)
• Your happiness (your choice in order to be happy) must not contradict the Utilitarian Principle.
• Contradictors are called Benevolent Utilitarian: Put the greater good ahead of your own happiness.
• Altruistic view: Combines the Utilitarian Rule with the Golden Rule (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto
• Bernard Williams 20 Century English
• Unapproved of the benevolent utilitarianism view.
• Self-Interest is a moral good.
• Majority of happiness, however leaves out the minority? (ignored due to democratic system)
• “End justifies the means” (do whatever you want as long as you hit your needs, you are not wrong) • Machiavelli- 15 Century Italy
• Book called the Prince: How do I become powerful?
• You must do whatever you can to become prince.
• John Rawls- 20 Century American
• Tried to bridge together happiness and the minority, try to prevent an end to justify means.
• Rule Utilitarianism: Agree to create greater good with greater quantity, but not more incline to duty.
• To the greater good. (In order to obtain this, there must be institutions in place)
• The Nature of Promises (Promises= Never break your word)
• *Potential Exam Questions* Explain what promise means in rule utilitarianism
• Robert Nozick: We prefer to be a certain way rather than feel a certain way.
• Existential Criticism
• Virtual Reality or Matrix.
• You would not live in an artificial paradise over an imperfect reality.
Cont. Consequentialism (Class 4/ Sept 13)
• “Ends Justifies Means”
• About consequences and wants
• We don’t guide ourselves by feeling/emotions, but reasoning/logic (argument)
• Deon= Greek Duty
• You don’t decide what you do on consequence, but on the right thing to do.
• Notion of rights, equity and justice.
• Religion (Ten Commandments)
• Moral rights
• Enlightenment (we have to think for ourselves instead of following moral rights) • We have a moral right to be free. It’s not a natural right.
Immanuel Kant (Kantian Ethics)
• Utilitarianism vs. Kantian Ethics
• What is Morality?
• How can one be moral?
• We have to have free choice (free choice=free will=freedom)
• We need to have reason as a guide to our decision.
• If morality is guided by feelings, then justice can’t exist.
• Any kind injustice could exist. (in order to have justice there has to be right/wrong and not based on emotions)
• How can there be morality if justice doesn’t exist?
• Freedom= is a good in itself.
• Reason is logic, demanding morality based on certainty.
• Free will and reason= morality.
• Human beings are by definition morality, we have free will and reason. (If we didn’t exist, morality doesn’t exist) we have
• Consequentialist base their conclusion on possibilities (it’s impossible to know our ultimate consequences are)
• Inductive (uncertain truths)/ Deductive (certain truths)
• We can’t have hypothetical morality, we need certain morality.
• Aristotle came up with Categorical Syllogism
• 2 Versions of Categorical Imperatives
• Secular Natural Morality (God’s laws can be seen through reason)
• Kant wants to get rid of Utilitarianism idea.
• Treat all people as ends, never as means.
• Free will= we have the ability to resist our desires.
• Treat all personal maxims (your personal rules) as universal laws.
• We do what is right not necessarily what is good. Never consider the consequences of your actions.
Plato- 4 Century Greek • Disagrees with Kant.
• “Keeping your word”, “Don’t steal”
• Story about borrowing the knife.
Peter Singer- 20 Century Australian
• We have duties.
• Charity=Act to create the greatest happiness for the greatest number.
• Necessities of life. Without those you suffer. Luxuries do not bring about any increased happiness. (point of
• Obligated to give those who are suffering (people who are willing to self-improve), your excess luxuries.
Egoism (Class 5/Sept 18 )
• Ego, Self, I
• Ayn Rand= Selfishness
• Adam Smith= Wealth of Nations
• Richard Dawkins= The Selfish Gene
• There are selfishness, self-interest and altruism (helping others)
• Myth of Gyges
• Plato= “The Republic” (4 Century BC Greek)
• Dialogues of Glaucon and Thrasymachus (argues selfishness is good) Myth of Gyges.
• Socrates: they went to him and ask him
• Isn’t it better to be selfish in this world?
• Why care about other people?
• Why be a just person?
• Myth of Gyges: Story about two guys who find this ring that makes them turn invisible (to gods too) he becomes ever
later on. If you can do things and escape punishment, it will show your true self. Do we only do good things because we
fear the punishment?
1) It’s better to be an evil man who everyone thinks is good, than the other way around.
1) We all admire to a certain extent the unjust successful man and despise the unsuccessful good man. 2) The bad man can always alleviate their bad conscious by doing religious rituals. Even the gods support the evil man.
3) Only weak and frighten people who choose to live a just life.
• Sophocles replies by:
1) Justice. In a word where everyone is selfish then it wouldn’t be functional or to a certain extent. The best society is when
all the people work together.
1) Our behaviour is not based upon reward/punishment. Is based upon empathy.
• Made a documentary “Nice Guys Finish First”- 1985
• Self-interest (Can mean helping others)
• Reciprocal Altruism: You help me, and I’ll help you.
1) Tit for Tat- Do to others what they do to you. (Winner, can form groups based on “trust” and continues to have self-
1) Golden Rule- Do to others what you would like done to you. (not true)
2) Selfishness- Look out for yourself. (no one trust them, can’t build network/relationships)
• Adam Smith: Best result is when in a society each person choose to follow their self-interest.
• His books: Theory of Moral Sentiment and Wealth of Nations.
• Selfishness vs. Self-Interest
• Courage= Self-Sacrifice
• Cowardice= Selfishness
• Ayn Rand= Cowardism (too much self-interest)
• James Rachels: Egoism and Moral Scepticism (everybody is ultimately selfish, they do good because they expect
something in return. Ex. Volunteering is not necessarily about helping other, but to make yourself feel better about yourself
• Joseph Butler- 18 Century
• Selfish person is not going to feel good about helping others.
• Self-Interest= it’s only the non-selfish person who would feel good helping others.
• Psychological Egoism (we are hard wired to look for our own self-interest)
• Psychological Altruism • Ethics-Choice-Normative
• What should I do?
• Why do I make the choices that I make?
• Human Natures, psychology
• Meta-ethics= greater than ethics.
• Impossible to confirm or disapprove.
• Psychological egoism- Thomas Hobbes 17 Century English
• Ayn Rand- Ethical Egoism-Selfishness
Virtues (Class 6/ Sept 20 )
• What should I do?
• What type of person should I be?
• Plato/Socrates believed it.
• Wisdom (Mind)
• Fortitude (Moral Courage) body
• Temperance (Toleration in all things) Desire
• Justice (Balance of the first three virtues)
Aristotle (Student of Plato)
• Virtue lies in the middle between two extremes.
• Two extremes: you don't have self-interest= foolishness (no self-interest) and too much self-interest= Cowardice
(selfishness) • A balance is “Courage” which is self-sacrifice.
• Golden Mean: No rules to tell you how to be a virtuous person. You obtain it through life experiences as moral virtues
can't be taught. However intellectual virtues can be taught such as math and reading.
• Aristotle is also a consequentialist.
• To become courageous. You must do courageous things.
• Self-interest + altruism= Reciprocal Altruism.
• Reciprocal Altruism ( Do to others what they do to you) (winner)
Adam Smith: The best overall result for society is when each person pursued their own self-interest.
John Nash – 1950s:
• Courage, Honesty, Trustworthiness (virtues)
• Prisoner's Dilemma: Psychological Game. Ex. Police capture two criminals. The police offer them choice to offer them
with evidence, which would put his partner in jail and let him free. Dilemma in whether you trust the other criminal to not
tell the police evidence of you. Both say nothing then they both are free, but if they both could be put in jail if they provide
evidence of each other.
Robert Loudon (states weakness of virtue ethics)
1) It only looks at the long-term.
2) Some types of actions are evil in themselves.
3) How can we judge a person's character except through their behaviours?
4) There is a style over substance problem.
5) How to deal with relativism? Relativism= There is no one universal standard for morals.
• Recent Psychology
• Asche Experiment (matching lines test): Humans natually go along with others although it may be wrong as we are social
creatures/ wants to fit in.
• Bystander Effect. Ex. Person on the street asking for help. (people help people in the same group when he wore a suit in
a business area.
Divine Command Theory (Class 7/ Sept 25 )
• I get my moral/ethics from religion:
• Natural religion (philosophical arguments)
• Revealed religion (miracles, etc.)
• How does “reason” connect with “faith”? • How do we interpret God’s Message?
• Greek Pantheon- Zeus etc. (Never gave messages directly)
• Hermes- Wings on his feet or Angel Gabriel
• Theory of Interpretation – Hermeneutics
• Bible- Story of Abraham (God wants Abraham to kill his children, he obeys without question; Don’t question authority)
• Faith is obedience
• Plato- The Euthyphro (What is piety? Only does what the Gods say without question)
• “Is something good because God says so?” or “Does God say something is good because it is good?”
• God says so. Something is good because it is good. God does not have reason, he acts for no reason.
• Circular definition- what is a tennis racket? It is something you use to play tennis with.
• Piety is a part of justice. Goodness is a part of justice.
• What part? It’s the part that’s good.
• God wants us to be good because we will then get a reward for our goodness.
• God does not need anything so why would he want anything?
• God is a business relationship with his creation.
• God does not need anything, he just asks us to be good because it’s good.
• To be obedient is to use reason (ask questions) vs. To be obedient is not to ask question (just obey)
• Argument: God gave us reason for a reason.
• Averroes- In Rushb 12 Century
• Interpreter of Aristotle (all this idea of obeying is disobeying because reason is needed to interpret religion)
• St. Thomas Aquinas- Official philosopher of Roman Catholicism- 13 Century
• Faith and reason complement each other.
• Reason proves God’s existence.
• Faith is needed to accept the details.
• Spinoza- 17 Century
• Religions are half God’s words, and half Man’s. Needed to be interpreted by men.
• A large part of religion comes from the Man’s imagination. • Kant- 18 Century
• Reason are free will are God’s gift to use in interpreting God’s laws (Truths)
• Reason has always played some role in religious belief.
• How should religion interact with business?
• Individual and the company.
Justice (Class 8/ Sept 27 )
• Fairness and Equity
• Justice= each person deserves their dues.
• Two Type of Justices=
• Compensatory Justice =
• Distributive Justice=
• Goods can mean products or rights.
• Discrimination (good between the bad) To make sure it’s not “Unjust Discrimination”= To prevent people from getting the
• Equality= doesn’t mean sameness. Equity is not about facts, is an evaluation statement.
• Values, not facts.
• Equal Value
• Theories of Equity
• Aristotle (Student of Plato) Believed all things (including human beings) are defined by their function.
• Consequentialist (should god for some kind of human flourishing
• Waterwheel (Spokes nails, axels, planks)
• Society, Family, Business
• King, slave- it’s equality
• Aristotle= Equal in their differences.
• Kant= Equal Regardless of their differences.
• He is not interested in consequences. Human being is by definition moral- free will, reason. • Intrinsic Equality
• Right, Justice.
• John Rawl- A theory of Justice (1970)
• An equal distribution of goods.
• Unless we are from the ost just vantage point possible.
• Imagine a situation where no one has any identity, and they get to create a world together, but they don’t get to choose
their place within that world.
• Veil of Ignorance
• Babies in Heaven
• A society with full equal rights for all a full equal distribution of goods.
• John Rawls vs. Rober Nozick
• Liberal vs. Conservative
• Both are egalitarians.
• Rawls system actually justifies the unjust (theft).
• Right to entitlement to the property of your labour.
• Taxes and Merit (you have the right in terms of it)
• What is more unjust?
1) Some people having a lot more stuff that others.
2) Taking things from people without their permission.
• Equal distribution of goods
• Main criticism- Nozick- Violates the right of entitlement.
• Von Hayek- Austrian= How can we possible know what each person equally deserves?
• Rawls is not much of a gambler.
• Rawls underestimates the risk-taking of people. • Utilitarianism
MIlgram Experiment (Class 9/ Oct 2 )
• Milgram experiment- Blindly obedient to authority
• Ex. Tornado in USA wiped out the city. A man from the government, set up a own headquarters and fixed the city.
However he wasn’t personnel sent by government, people follow authority without question.
• Individual? Recapturing oneself… we care more about being a part of a group.
• Video- Conan the Barbarian, “That does not kill you, Makes you Stronger”
• Friedrich Nietzche- 19 Century German
• Great critic of morals a religion and philosophy.
• Socrates and Jesus= Two evils
• Humanity has become a race of slaves. We use to be a race of masters.
• Master is to conquer, the slaves creates the slaves morality by stating that it better to have peace, equality, love, etc.
• Slaves win the war against masters by making them feel ashamed.
• We were once tigers now we are sheep. We have become a herding animal. Important to be a member of the herd and go
along, they will be killed as individuals.
• Morality is the invention of the slaves.
• How do we become individuals once again?
• One of the biggest obstacles is religion. Middle East- The Semitic Trilogy (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
• The creation of the evil story. The financial terminology- God is the accountant to check if you are either good or bad
(scales, balances, rewards and punishments, covenants (contract))
• Money Lender=
1) Money lenders are hated. (create an all-powerful and invisible money lender.
2) Create an individual currency. (your soul)
3) Born into a contract.
4) You’re not told when the debt is due.
5) You pay off your debt by obeying the slave values.
• He felt that you could believe in God, but create your own stories about this God. Create your own values.
• Humans are compelled by this story.
• Ubermench-Overlord-Superman (something better than human kind to help provide recovery of human individuality) • If we don’t escape from this mental slavery we are going to end up a planet of people who exist, but are no longer alive.
• A planet of passive observers. The horror of planets of coach potatoes.
• We must learn to embrace life again.
• Life is a chaotic and creative force.
• Philosophy such as Socrates is evil. He’s against logic. (Anti-philosophy philosopher)
• There is no “Truth” with a big T as moral is relative.
• Be a creative individual. Going against the group is to become a strong individual.
• He feels like “He is the Anti-Christ.” Bible- Be like Christ not like Dionysus (God of Partying) changed to “Be like Christ not
like AntiChrist) “I am Dionysus” is life-affirming, not life denying.
• He is a call to freedom. Be like an artist.
(Class 10/ Oct 4 )
• Star Trek TNG- Symbiosis
• Prime Directive
• Moral Relativism (Is there a universal standard for morals?)
• Tolerance other religions (before the 20 Century- Might is Right (mine is right))
• After WWII people thought that we have no right to tell people what to do.
• More relativism (multi culturalism)
• Pragmatic- Word we use for what works. We need some kind of compromise/agreement in order to survive together.
• Value for what is right/good? Do I have the right to judge another culture’s values?
• Is there an objective standard for morals?
1) Should we judge another culture?
2) Should we do something about it?
3) What can we do about it?
• Children are treated. Slavery-When a human being is the property of another. Women executed for adultery.
• Forced Marriages to adults, etc.
• What does this say about your own morals? • Moral relativism- There is no such thing as moral progress.
• There is no objective moral standard throughout space and time.
• Moral relativism- Moral is a fashion.
• Kant- Right and Wrong.
• Sometimes it’s good to allow evil.
• Something should be done. What can be done?
Ethical Moral Relativism:
• Right to judge other’s morals.
• How far should one tolerate other’s behaviours?
• William Summer- Folkways
• If you believe in moral relativism theory then there is no universal standard for morals though space and time.
• Anthropologist believes that morals are social mores.
• The only people philosophers and theologians who advocate for universal morals have forgetten that their own view
comes from particular culture.
• William Shaw- Relativism and objectivity in ethics.
• Some attempts an universal morals that don’t work:
• Naturalism: Morals derived directly from pain (bad) and pleasure (good)
• Not all people agree on what is pleasurable and painful.
• This violates is/ought fallacy (fact/values distinctions) by David Hume (18 Century)
• Intuitionism: “I just know right/wrong things”
• No need philosophy or religion by intuition
• Not everyone agrees on their intuition.
• Emotivism: Morals based on emotions.
• Not everyone feels the same about the same things.
• There is no room for reason and judgment (do what makes