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Business Ethics chapter 1

moral philosophy
The branch of philosophy that inquires into the nature of right conduct.
business ethics
ethical principles used in making business decisions
any organization whose objective is to provide goods or services for profit
Business People
people who participate in planning, organizing, or directing the work of business
moral questions
concerning moral standards, what is right, what is morally responsible, what are moral obligations
moral standards
concern behavior that is of serious consequence to human welfare, that can profoundly injure or benefit people, moral standards take priority over other standards in judging behaviors, their soundness depends on the adequacy of the reasons that support or justify them
Following the rules and conventions governing correct or polite behavior in society or in a specific setting.
nonmoral in nature but violations of this set of rules can have moral implications
laws enacted by legislative bodies (congress and state legislatures)
common law
the system of laws originated and developed in England and based on court decisions, on the doctrines implicit in those decisions, and on customs and usages rather than on codified written laws
constitutional law
law that involves the interpretation and application of the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions
administrative regulations
regulations created by agencies that we all must follow. FDA regulations for example
legality vs morality
illegal/moral –> underground railroad, schindler’s list
professional codes of ethics
rules that govern the conduct of members of a profession (somewhere between etiquette and law)
challenging moral standards
important to evaluate moral standards a society might take for granted
morality needn’t depend on religion
1) people don’t only act morally to go to heaven/not go to hell; 2) moral instructions of religions are vague, imprecise, contradictory, open to interpretation; 3) rejection of divine command theory
divine command theory
what’s moral is whatever God (or some divine being) commands us to do.
ethical relativism
the position that moral positions vary from individual to individual, from culture to culture; it denies the existence of universal, objective moral principles
problems with ethical relativism
denies over-ruling morality standards and therefore undermines change/refutes ethical progress altogether. activists would technically be promoters of immoral behavior (deviating from societal moral perspective)
Business is like poker, ethical relativism defending the business moral standard as a separate entity from the moral standards of the societal moral standards
moral principles
General rules that allow us to clarify actions as morally good or morally wrong, can help us where there is a conflicting moral intuition.
not always helpful, like huck finn going against his gut feeling (guilt instilled by his southern upbringing)
paradox of hedonism
people who are exclusively concerned with their own interests tend to have less ahappy and less satisfying lives than those whose desires etend beyond themselves
narrow morality
moral code of an individual or of a society, they may or may not be explicitely set out but they guide personal conduct and judgement of peer conduct
broad morality
not just the principles of conduct that we embrace but also the values, ideals, and aspirations that shape our lives.
organizational norms
Unwritten guidelines or expectations that prescribe the kinds of behavior employees should adopt in particular situations and regulate the way they behave toward each other. Pressure to conform to these norms can lead people to act unethically
asch line study
the mode of thinking that occurs when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives
diffusion of responsibility
reduction in sense of responsibility often felt by individuals in a group; may be responsible for the bystander effect
bystander apathy
People are less likely to help someone if they see other people who are in an equally good position to help.
a reasoned judgment: the necessary consequence of two or more propositions taken as premises
the statements that set forth the reasons or evidence of an argument
valid argument
An argument in which the reasons support the conclusion so that the conclusion follows from the reasons offered.
invalid argument
an argument in which the reasons do not support the conclusion so that the conclusion does not follow from the reasons offered.
sound argument
a deductive argument that is valid and has all true premises
unsound argument
a deductive argument that is invalid, has one or more false premises, or both
an example that shows a conjecture is false
defensible moral judgments
judgements supported by moral standards and relevant facts; if standards accepted then simply a matter of fact checking,
challenging moral standards
cite valid exceptions, show that standard leads to unacceptable consequences or that it is inconsistent with other moral beliefs
considered moral beliefs
contrast with gut reaction, reasoned and thought through.

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