Week 1 Discussion 1
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Principles of Ethics :All Discussions
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Helen wants to move to a new community, and she is applying for a job with a small retail establishment. She is confident that she is fully qualified and will be able to perform well if she gets the job. The employer, however, has advertised for someone with three years of retail experience, and Helen only has two-and-a-half years. She is considering whether to exaggerate slightly on her resume in order to improve her chances of getting the job.
Week 1 Discussion 2
The study of Ethics and Philosophy is one which brings many different kinds of “thinkers” together. One person’s philosophy on Ethics is another person’s philosophy on Evil. We will be working this term on constructing personal ethical bases and understanding how Ethical Codes (both personal and professional) are created and followed.To start us thinking about the different areas of philosophy and ethics, and how we fit into the different molds or world views, let’s discuss the differences and similarities between these views.To do this, let’s look at the role of right and wrong, laws which regulate behavior, principles vs. morality, and the role of ethics in our society.
Week 2 Discussion 1
When Siding with the Majority (Graded)
As our opening page states, Mark Twain warned that “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” It is likely that your parents warned you “not to follow the crowd,” or your school counselors warned you about “peer pressure.”The United States utilizes a democratic republic form of government, which espouses the “majority rule” in many instances. For example, when passing laws, Congress and state Legislators use majority voting. When electing our officials, the majority rules. But, is our government unethical?
Week 2 Discussion 2
The Struggle of Good vs. Evil (Graded)
Personal struggles with one’s own tendencies, desires, lusts, and self-interest have placed people in conflict with other people and their own communities farther back than any of us can read. We read about the struggles of others in history — what about ourselves? Yes, us! What about our experiences of being ourselves?When we look back in history, we find people who are not so different from us — struggling with their human nature — and trying to live ethical lives in whatever way they can do so. They aspire to live ethical lifes and find themselves failing again and again.
Week 3 Discussion 1
Applying the Death Penalty (Graded)
First, here is a word of caution. With this discussion comes a tasking to discuss the death penalty in two ways: first, as an expression of the social contract, where one person has killed another in a violation of that other person’s right to peace and safety, and second, as a rules-based function of the justice system being applied to a difficult situation.What do you see going on that is a violation of the Hobbes/Locke social contract idea?And you might also connect it with any of the Three Schools, plus Aristotle, that you have read in past weeks—and especially with the rules-based ethics model.Here’s the situation: In Manatee County, Florida, a judge sentenced a man to death—the first time this had happened in the county for over 19 years.
Week 3 Discussion 2
Living in Our State of Nature (Graded)
Social Contract theorists say that morality consists of a set of rules governing how people should treat one another that rational beings will agree to accept for their mutual benefit, on the condition that others agree to follow these rules as well.
Hobbes runs the logic like this in the form of a logical syllogism:
1) We are all self-interested,
2) Each of us needs to have a peaceful and cooperative social order to pursue our interests,
3) We need moral rules in order to establish and maintain a cooperative social order,
Week 4 Discussion 1
Ethics of Controlling Environmental Innovation (Graded)
Increasing food supplies are necessary to sustain growing populations around the world and their appetites for great food, quality products, and continuous availability.
A great deal of expensive research is invested in developing technologies to deliver productive agriculture. Horticultural efforts to breed hybrid crops are seen as far back as history can observe, and there have been efforts to domesticate improved animals, as well. Gene splitting was a 1990s technology to improve the health and productivity of farm crops. With the 21st century have come genetically modified foods (GMF) through the use of nanotechnology to cause changes at the genetic and even molecular levels. These are very expensive technologies, and many new products have been patented and otherwise protected as proprietary products of intellectual property.
Week 4 Discussion 2
Kant – Accomplice to Crazed Murderer? (Graded)
Kant’s famous First Formulation of the Categorical Imperative reads:
“Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” Kant taught morality as a matter of following maxims of living that reflect absolute laws. “Universal” is a term that allows for no exceptions, and what is universal applies always and everywhere. Lying, for any reason, is universally wrong.
Week 5 Discussion 1
Life & Death; Politics & Ethics (Graded)
There are three basic propositions in standard Utilitarianism (Please be sure to listen to Mill’s audio lecture before joining this threaded discussion):
1. Actions are judged right and wrong solely on their consequences; that is, nothing else matters except the consequence, and right actions are simply those with the best consequences.
2. To assess consequences, the only thing that matters is the amount of happiness and unhappiness caused; that is, there is only one criterion and everything else is irrelevant.
3. In calculating happiness and unhappiness caused, nobody’s happiness counts any more than anybody else’s; that is, everybody’s welfare is equally important and the majority rules.
Week 5 Discussion 2
Dealing With Emergencies and Outcomes (Graded)
Chapter 9 of our text includes the terrorism situation at the 1972 Munich Olympics, and it needs to be read before engaging this discussion.The principle of utility involves maximizing happiness as a desirable outcome of decisions. Although it does not get directly said, there is an inverse intention to minimize the undesirable outcome of disaster. Utilitarian decisions are directed toward outcomes—that is, the consequences of decisions.The Olympic hostage situation was a high-tension moment, full of dangerous surprises and strategies to deal with the situation that did not work out for the best. Among the strategies was the idea to kill the leader of the terrorists so as to disrupt the terrorist plot and to allow a good outcome in which the
Week 6 Discussion 1
Applying Rand’s Objectivism (Graded)
Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy has been touted by her detractors as the philosophy of self-interested selfishness.
Her four epistemological principles are:
1. Metaphysics: Objective reality of the world and the objects in it.
2. Epistemology: Reason as the one and only key to understanding.
3. Ethics: Self-interest in what behavior is but also what it should be.
4. Politics: Capitalism through the performance of deeds by individuals who are self-interested.
Week 6 Discussion 2
Working Conflict Resolution Methods (Graded)
Different ways to analyze ethical behaviors and dilemmas exist, and many of them will help direct you to the correct or “best” solution to a problem.As we discussed in week 1 in the “tough choices” .pdf, sometimes right vs. right or wrong vs. wrong decisions have to be made.In the lecture this week, you are given three ethical dilemma resolution models to try out on a dilemma provided there. Please review that interactive before posting to the threads this week, and let’s bring your questions and comments about the “proposed” solutions here to the threads. We will talk about that through mid-week, and then I will post a new dilemma here where we will, as a group, begin analyzing it using the different methods.
Week 7 Discussion 1
Business Ethics & the Hovercraft Debacle (Graded)
This week, we looked at two more ethical codes—one for the Project Management Institute, and one for Engineers. (Find links to these professional codes in the Week 7 Assignment tab along with the Week 7 readings.)You can see that both of them are much simpler than the Legal code we looked at last week, and even simpler than the Medical code of ethics. Appropriate professional behavior, practice, and discipline varies among professions and reflects the needs and values of the professional society in question
Week 7 Discussion 2
Assemble and Test Your Personal Ethics Statement (Graded)
Please be sure to read the Week Seven Lecture in its entirety before posting to this discussion.
This week we will work on creating your own statement of personal ethics. To get started, read summarizing review of our great and famous ethics and what they have taught us — found in our lecture this week.Then, let’s work on creating one for you.Your goal for the end of this thread is to have created a personal ethical philosophy and be able to tell your classmates from which philosophies you created it and why the contents are important and meaningful for you. List its precepts. (You will need to do this on the Final Exam.)
After you have assembled and posted your personal ethics statement, responded to what others may have said to you and thought about what you have posted to others, then take your statement and use it to work through the famous case of the Ring of Gyges.
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