Business Ethics Mid-term Review
September 4th, 2013
Business success and/or Individual success
How to determine it?
How to be successful
Ethics = Greek word "Ethos" = Character
What should I do?
Ethics = personal choices
Morality = codes of behaviour for a society
Goal in life is happiness
• Meaningful existence
• What is a meaningful existence?
What is business?
• Whenever you offer a product or service to another
Business and ethics began together
Standard of living
Quality of life
Meaningful life = doing what is what you want to do
September 9th, 2013
Epicurus—3rd century B.C. Greek
Epictetus—1st centuryA.D. Greek
• Garden outside city
• meaningful life is when you find your own life
o Money for your basic needs—no luxuries
o friends o Freedoms (freedom to think)
• meaningful life is when you are a part of something
see both in business
Start-ups = Epicureans
• Think outside the box
• Amoral: it is a choice that does not involve ethics
• Immoral: bad
• Is/ought fallacy: David Hume—188th century
o you cannot derive value from fact
• Aesthetic: what is beauty
• wants vs. rights: law tells you what you can do
o ethics is about what you can do
September 11th, 2013
Ethical Theory: pp. 85–146
"All under heaven"
• For the greater good
Epictetus and Epicurus both consequentialist
What is the best happiness?
• it is the best happiness for the most people
• act as though to create the greatest good for the greatest number of people
• avoid pain/seek pleasure
• we should always be seeking pleasure
• morality is grounded in the pain/pleasure principle
• animals/nature is included with humans with regard to morality
John Stuart Mill:
• Would you rather be a content pig or an unhappy human?
o Happy pig = no inner sense of human dignity • All pleasures are not equal
• intellectual pleasures are higher than base pleasures
Mill: Happiness is not an abstract concept
• anything that makes you happy is god
• your happiness (your choice in order to be happy must not contradict the principle of
• Put the greatest good above your own happiness
Mill combines utilitarian rule with golden rule
Rule Utilitarianism (John Rawls)
• you must never break your word
• Robert Nozick
• we prefer to be a certain way than to feel a certain way
September 13th, 2013
Ethical Theory: pp. 147–167
Deon = Greek for duty
Rights, equality, justice
Utilitarianism vs. Kantian Ethics
What is morality?
how can one be moral?
free choice = free will = free
reason as a guide to our decisions If morality is guided by feelings then justice cannot exist
Any kind of injustice could exist
Right and wrong (Deontology) vs. Good and bad (utilitarianism/consequentialist)
Kant proposed we did not need super human authority to find morality
biggest criticism is that it ignores consequences in individual cases (lying to someone who will
commit a crime)
Kant believes no morality if ends justifies the means
1. Treat all people as ends, not means
2. treat all personal maxims as universal laws
Kant says to never consider the consequences of your actions
Peter singer 20th cent. aussie
September 18th, 2013
Ethical Theory: pp. 61–83
Ego, self, I
Ayn Rand = selfishness
Adam Smith—wealth of nations
Richard Dawkins—The Selfish Gene
Myth of Gyges
Plato—the Republic (4th century B.C. Greek):
• Glaucon and Thrasymachus vs. Socrates
• Isn't better to be selfish in this world?
• why care about other people? • Why be a just person?
Myth of Gyges:
• about a guy who finds a ring—allows him to become invisible to all
• Man becomes evil (G and T use to say):
o It is better to be an evil man who everyone thinks is good, than the reverse
o we all admire to a certain extent the unjust, successful man and despise the
unsuccessful good man
o the bad man can always alleviate their bad conscience by doing religious rituals—
even the Gods support the evil man
o Only week and frightened people who choose to live a just life
• Socrates' response:
o Justices function is the best society is when all the people work together
o our behavior is not based on reward/punishment. Is based upon empathy
• Nice Guys Finish First 1985
• Self-interest can mean helping others
ReciprocalAltruism—you help me, and I'll help you
In a computer simulation, Reciprocal altruism beats Golden rule and Selfishness—still self-
Adam Smith—the best economic result is when in a society each person chooses to follow their
Theory of moral sentiments
Wealth of Nations
John Nash—Beautiful mind—shows that working together is better
Courage = self-sacrifice
Cowardice = selfishness
Ayn Rand was for cowardice
James Rachels—Egoism and Moral Skepticism
Joseph Butler—18th century
Selfish person is not going to feel good about helping others
It's only the non-selfish person who would feel good helping others Psychological Egoism and Altruism
• What should I do?
• Why do I do the things that I do?
• Why do I make the choices I make?
• Human nature, psychology
• Meta-ethics—Greek word "greater, therefore greater than ethics
• Impossible to confirm or disprove
Psychological—Hobbs: 17th century English—Leviathan
Ayn Rand—Ethical Egoism—Selfishness
September 20th, 2013
Ethical Theory: pp. 299–336
Not about actions, about character
What sort of person should I be?
Plato/Socrates—four main/chief virtues:
2. Fortitude—Moral courage (body)
3. Temperance—Tolerance of all things (desire)
4. Justice—Balance of the first three virtues
Virtue lies in the middle of 2 extremes —Aristotle
Foolish (No self-interest)—Courage (self-sacrifice)—Cowardice (selfishness)
o rules in Virtue Ethics to tell you how to be a good person
Moral virtues cannot be taught
Intellectual virtues can be taught
• math, reading
To become courageous is to do courageous things
Self-interest + altruism = reciprocalAltruism Courage, honest, trustworthiness
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 character?
4. there is a style over substance problem?
5. How to deal with relativism
How can you be virtuous if your nature is to conform? Bystander Effect.
September 25th, 2013
Divine Command Theory
Ethical Theory: pp. 37–59
I get my morals/ethics from religion
Natural religion—philosophical argument
Revealed religion—Miracles, etc.
DCT: How does reason connect with faith
• How do we interpret God's Message?
Greek Pantheon—Zeus, etc.
Who delivers Message?:
• Angel Gabriel in Judaic Trilogy
Theories of interpretation—Hermeneutics
Bible—Story of Abraham = Faith is obedience