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The George Washington University, Spring Term 2014

Course Syllabus for Philosophy 2135-10 (CRN 90410), Ethics for Business and the Professions

Meets: Wednesdays and Fridays, 9:35-10:50, in Smith 114

Instructor: Lloyd Eby (Ph.D. in philosophy, Fordham University)

Email: or
Cell phone: 202-577-6293
GWU campus mail address: Dept. of Philosophy, Phillips T 508
Office hours: TBA

Note: Although every effort has been made to make it accurate and a strong effort will be made to
adhere to it, this syllabus is subject to change with the announcement of the instructor.


This is a course in applied ethics. It deals with questions and problems of ethics that occur in
business the workplace, marketplace, and business place and in the professions.

We will first consider ethics in general, theories and views of ethics, and suggested methods for
solving ethical problems, and then go on to examine and discuss many ethical issues that arise in
business and the professions. We will attempt to use some of those ethical theories and methods to solve
some of those ethical problems. A great deal of in-class discussion will occur, and all students are
expected to participate in those in-class discussions.

Student Learning Objectives. By mastering this course, the student should be able to:

1. Distinguish between descriptive and normative assessments and descriptive and normative
ethical relativism, and also distinguish between ethics and law.
2. Know and comprehend numerous criteria for a good or adequate normative ethical theory.
3. Know and be able to present, at least in summary fashion, twelve different normative ethical
theories that have been proposed by philosophers.
4. Recognize many different ethical problems or difficulties that occur in business and in the
learned professions.
5. Analyze and evaluate some of those ethical difficulties or problems.
6. Propose solutions to some of those ethical problems, using one or more of the received
normative ethical theories or techniques, or some other theory or technique constructed
by the student.
7. Defend his/her solution to some ethical problems.

Required Texts. There are two of them. (Available in the GWU Bookstore):

(1) William H. Shaw and Vincent Barry, Moral Issues in Business, 12th Edition. Belmont, CA:
Wadsworth/Cengage. ISBN-10: 1111837422 ISBN-13: 978-1111837426 (Note: Used books
available on campus may be older editions. All references below are to the 12th edition.) (Cited
herein as S&B)

(2) John Rowan and Samuel Zinaich, Jr., Ethics for the Professions ISBN-10:
0155069993, ISBN-13: 978-0155069992 (Cited herein as R&Z)

Class Attendance:

You will be expected to attend class (attendance will be taken), do the assigned reading before
each class, and participate in class discussion. If you miss more than three classes with unexcused
absences, a final grade point may be deducted for each missed class.

You are responsible for all the assigned readings, whether or not we discuss them in class.
Unless told otherwise by the instructor, you should read all of each chapter, including the
supplemental essays and cases,

Written Work for the Course:

There will be (1) a midterm exam, (2) a final exam, (3) a term paper/ethical thought report,
and (4) the total scores from five quizzes. The quizzes will not be announced beforehand. If you miss a
quiz for an excused absence, you will be able to take a make-up quiz, but you must take the initiative
to contact the instructor for the make-up quiz.

More than five quizzes usually at least seven -- will be given. Your grade from the last quiz
given, plus your four best additional quiz grades, will be used to compute your final quiz grade for the
course. Quizzes will be graded on a 4-point basis. (For a possible total of 20 points) Do not neglect or
overlook the quizzes and their importance; 20% of your final grade depends on your quiz grades.

The final exam will be partly cumulative for the entire course, but will emphasize the second
half of the course content. The midterm will be given in class, and the final exam will be given in the
universitys scheduled place and time.

Term paper: 20 points. About 2500 words (this works out to about 8 double-spaced pages).

There are two options; you may choose whichever you prefer. (1) Find an issue or problem in
business or professional ethics from the business pages of a newspaper, or from a business magazine, or
from your own business experience. (2) Find an ethical problem or issue in a profession that you are
interested in, or that you expect to enter yourself.

You must divide the paper into sections with subheads for each section. If
you do not do so, 3 points will be deducted from your grade.
First section: Present a summary explanation and/or analysis of the ethical problem(s) or
issue(s), presenting the various sides of the conflict, and, if possible, the differing opinions that have
been given about it. State clearly what the ethical problem is that you will be dealing with. This section
should be neutral and objective. Shorter is better than longer in this section. Do not try to solve the
problem or present your opinion(s) in this section. (6 points max.)

Second section: Discuss the way three different ethical positions or theories would be likely to
deal with the problem. You may use any of the ethical theories summarized on the handout given in class
that is entitled Normative Theories of Ethics. As in the first section, shorter is better than longer in this
section. Do not present your opinion(s) on the problem or attempt to solve it here. (6 points max.)

Third section: Present what you think would be the best solution to the problem, along with
your reasons for your solution and why you think your solution is superior to the others that might be
given. This is the section in which you should discuss your problem and present your opinion(s). Longer
is better than shorter in this section. Say what ethical theory or theories you are using to arrive at your
solution. (8 points max.)

Those three sections of your paper should be of corresponding length: Section 1: At most 30%:
Section 2: At most 30%; Section 3: At least 40% of the whole.

If you slight the third and most important section many students have done so in the past this will
mean that your grade for the paper will thereby be diminished even though your first two sections are
excellent, as each section is graded independently of the others.

Your term papers must be in standard English, typewritten, double spaced, on standard size (8
X 11) paper, with one inch margins on all sides. Pages must be numbered. You should NOT put the
pages in binder; simply stapling them together is sufficient. If you think that incorporating graphics,
pictures, or other non-text elements into your report improves its quality and presentation, you may do
so, at your discretion, but the text must still be about 2500 words. If you wish to include a copy of the
publication in which your problem appeared, that would be helpful but it is not mandatory. You need not
provide a formal outline, but you may do so if you wish. You need not get the instructors approval for
your topic, but you may discuss it with him if you wish to do so.

Academic Integrity:

Academic integrity is of utmost importance. What must be avoided is presenting work that is not
your own as if it is your own.

Violations of that take two forms: plagiarism and contracting out work. Violations of either of
these forms is usually reason for receiving an F on that assignment, possibly an F for the course, and
possibly even more severe University penalties, such as suspension or expulsion, depending on the
severity of the incident, whether it is one-time or repeated, etc.

Plagiarism is copying the work of someone else from any published or unpublished source
including the Internet and presenting it as your work, without acknowledging that this was taken from
someone else and without giving proper attribution.

Contracting out is having someone else write some or all of your work for you. This can be
anyone. If a friend or family member does it for you without payment, or if you pay someone to do it, or
if you buy a paper online or by any other means all those are instances of contracting out work. Doing
any of those things is a violation of academic integrity and is completely unacceptable. The penalties for
this are the same as the penalties for plagiarism.

For quoted material or anything taken from a source, you must give either numbered footnote
references, or in-line references. Your notes and references should conform to one of the styles specified
in Kate Turabians A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, or the Chicago
Manual of Style, or the MLA style or some other recognized style manual. Any of those is acceptable,
provided you are consistent in your use of whatever form you choose.

Writing Help:

I encourage all of you to make use of the GWU Writing Center. I especially recommend this for those
people who have trouble writing or whose first language was not English.

Course Grade:
Quizzes: 4 points each; total of 20 points for the five. (Each will be graded on a 4 point basis.)
Midterm exam: 30 points. (Will be graded on a 30 point basis.)
Term (ethical thought) paper: 20 points. (Will be graded on a 20 point basis.)
Final exam: 30 points. (Will be graded on a 30 point basis.)

Final Grades:
90 100 points = A
80 89 points = B
70 79 points = C
60 69 points = D
Below 60 points = failure

(Within the A to D grades, I also use plus and minus on the final grades, but there is no A+)

Class Schedule:

Wed, Jan 15. Course Unit 1 (CU1). Introduction: What is Ethics? Shaw & Barry (S&B), Chap. 1

Fri, Jan 17. CU2. Theories of Ethics. S&B. Chap. 2.

Wed, Jan 22. CU3. Justice & Economic Distribution. S&B, Chap. 3

Fri, Jan 24. CU4. The Nature of Capitalism. S&B, Chap. 4

Wed, Jan 29. CU5. Corporations. S&B, Chap. 5.

Fri, Jan 31. CU6. Consumers. S&B, Chap. 6

Wed, Feb 5. CU7. Ethics and the Environment. S&B, Chap. 7.

Fri, Feb 7. The Workplace I. S&B, Chap. 8.

Wed, Feb 12. CU9. The Workplace II. S&B, Chap. 9

Fri, Feb 14. CU10. Ethical Issues for Employees. S&B, Chap. 10

Wed, Feb 19. CU11. Discriminationand Fairness in Hiring, Promotions, and Entry. S&B, Chap. 11

Fri, Feb 21. CU12. Ethical Issues Concerning Working Women. See Blackboard + S&B Cases 6.1, 9.3,
9.4, 11.2, 11.3, 11.4, and articles (in S&B) by Claudia Mills (p. 472 ff.), and Vicki Schultz (p.
581 ff.)

Wed, Feb 26. CU13. Ethical Issues in Globalism and Multinational Business. . See Blackboard +
Articles in S&B by Daly (p. 182 ff.), Maitland (p. 186 ff.), DeGeorge (250 ff.), and Fadiman
(530 ff.), and Cases 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 6.3, and 7.2.

Fri, Feb 28. CU14. Ethical Issues Arising From Technology. (See posting on Blackboard.)

Wed, Mar 5. CU15. Review of course so far (prep for midterm exam).

Fri, Mar 7. Midterm Exam (in class).

Wed, Mar 19. CU16. What is a Profession? R&Z, Chap. 2

Fri, Mar 21. CU17. Professional-Client Relations. R&Z, Chap 4

Wed, Mar 26. CU18. Business & the Professions. R&Z, Chap. 5

Fri, Mar 28. CU19. Ethics & Engineering. R&Z, Chap. 6

Wed, Apr 2. CU20. Ethics & Health Care. R&Z, Chap. 7 (Also see postings on Blackboard.)

Fri, Apr 4. CU21. Ethics and Counseling. R&Z, Chap. 8

Wed, Apr 9. CU22. Ethics and the Law. R&Z, Chap. 9

Fri, Apr 11. CU23. Ethics & Journalism. R&Z, Chap. 10

Wed, Apr 16. CU24. Ethics & Education. R&Z, Chap. 11

Fri, Apr 18. CU25. Ethics and Accounting (See postings on Blackboard.) Term/Research Paper Due

Wed, Apr 23. CU26. Review of the course (prep for final exam).

Fri, Apr 25. No class (Unless needed to make up a missed class).

Final Exam: Date, time, and place to be announced. (We will go by GWUs posted exam schedule.)