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Read the ppt slides first
the class activities are based largely on lecture materials
2-1
Read the following scenario (originally presented by Bernard Williams) and answer the following questions.
“Jim, the traveler, finds himself in a central square of a small quaint town. Tied up against the wall are a row of twenty innocent people. The “captain” of the town comes out with a gun with the clear intention of killing them all. But he starts talking with Jim and grows fond of him. To honor Jim, the captain suggests, Jim can shoot one of the twenty people there. If Jim accepts to do so, then the captain will let the rest go; if Jim rejects his offer, however, then the captain will stick to the original plan and kill all twenty people. Should Jim take the offer or not?”
1. What would Hedonic Utilitarianists tell Jim to do? Briefly explain your answer. 150 WORDS
2. Do you think that Jim should to what Hedonic Utilitarianists tell him to do? Why or why not? 200 WORDS

2-2
 
Read the scenario below and answer the following questions:

(a) Formulate the maxim behind the agent’s act. 
(b) Can the maxim pass the Universalizability Test? Why or why not? 150 WORDS
(c) Is the act in question morally permissible, according to the Humanity as Ends version of the Categorial Imperative? Why or why not? 200 WORDS

Business Ethics
Summer 2022 (1)
Week 2, Lecture 2
Chaeyoung Paek

In today’s class…
We’ll look at Kantian ethics as the last part of the “ethics” part of this class.

There will be an in-class activity at the end of this class.

The Kantian Theory of Value
The Kantian Theory of Value
Wills are the kinds of things that can be morally good or bad; a will is good to the degree that it motivates the agent to act only out of respect for the law of reason.

Will: faculty of mind that makes you act or drives you to act. (“When there’s a will, there’s a way.”)
Reason: practical reasoning that leads us to act in a certain way.
“The law of reason” refers to the categorical imperative.
The Categorical Imperative is the law that any rational agent should follow in their practical reasoning.

The Kantian Criterion of Morally Permissible Action
The Kantian Criterion of Morally Permissible Action
An act X is morally permissible if and only if, in performing X, the agent satisfies the Categorical Imperative.

There are 2 versions of the Categorical Imperative; the Universal Law Ver. & the Humanity as Ends Ver.

The Categorical Imperative: 2 Versions

The Universal Law Version
You should only act in accordance with a maxim that you can, at the same time, consistently will it to be a universal law.
≈ Our intuition behind “What if everybody did that?”
(ex) Throwing garbage on the street

The Categorical Imperative: 2 Versions

The Humanity as Ends Version
Act in such a way as to treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of anyone else, always as an end and never merely as a means.
≈ “Treat everyone as ends in themselves, not as your means.”
(ex) Instagram Influencers

The Categorical Imperative: 2 Versions
One important thing: The Categorical Imperative is an absolute law, not conditional law.
It is not a conditional law that you ought to obey under a certain condition.
It is something that you ought to follow under any circumstances.

One weird thing
: According to Kant, the Universal Law Version = the Humanity as Ends Version (??)
– We’re going to understand this claim in the following way: if one action is permissible according to the Universal Law Ver. of the Categorical Imperative, then it is also permissible according to the Humanity as Ends Ver. & vice versa.

The Categorical Imperative: the Universal Law
“You should only act in accordance with a maxim that you can, at the same time, consistently will it to be a universal law.”

In order to satisfy the Universal Law Ver. of the Categorical Imperative, you have to go through the following practical reasoning before you act.
There’s a maxim behind our reasoning about what to do in a given context. Extract that maxim from your reasoning.
– The form of the maxim:
2. See if that maxim passes the Universalizability Test.
– The Universalizability Test:
It must be such that the agent could act on that maxim and achieve her goal even if everyone else in the world acted on that maxim.
It must be such that the agent can want it to be the case that everyone in the world acts on that maxim.

The Categorical Imperative: the Universal Law
(EX) Parking my car wherever I want to
1. Extract the maxim
Goal = Making parking easier for me / Act = park my car wherever I want to
Maxim = I will [park my car wherever I want to], in order to [make parking easier for me].
2. The Universalizability Test
If everyone follows the maxim, can I achieve my goal by acting on the maxim?
– No!
(2) Can I want it to be the case that everyone acts on this maxim?
No!

The Categorical Imperative: the Universal Law
Additional Test: Is the act in question morally permissible, according to the Humanity as Ends Version of the Categorical Imperative?
(In other words: Am I treating other people as ends themselves, not as my means, when I park my car wherever I want to in order to make parking convenient for me?)
– No!

Conclusion: It is impermissible to park my car wherever I want to, in order to make parking convenient for me.

Exercise: Application
Go to ”2-2 In-class Activity” forum below the lecture video.
The discussion question will be visible once you click “Create Thread”, under the forum description.
Fill in your answers & click “Submit.”

This should take about 7 minutes; you now can look at other classmates’ answers (and respond to one, if you’d like!)
After 7 minutes, come back to the lecture video; we’ll look at the answer to the question together!

Application
“Frank constantly cheats on his wife. She recently grew suspicious of him, but he figured that telling his wife the truth won’t do him any good. His wife might want to leave him even though he doesn’t want to; and he hates confrontation of any kind. So Frank decides to lie to his wife that he is not cheating on her in order to keep his peace of mind.”

Maxim: “I will [lie to my wife] in order to [keep my peace of mind].”
The Universalizability Test: No/No
Humanity as Ends law: Impermissible

Objections
Consistent Evil: Evil things that we can consistently will them to be universal laws

Inconsistent Trivialities: Morally okay things that we cannot consistently will them to be universal laws

Sly Universalizer: Highly specific maxim that will only be applied to one person at a specific context

Treating yourself as means: Acceptable cases of “treating yourself as means” become impermissible

Objection #1: Consistent Evil
(EX) Nazi: “I will kill jews whenever I’m able to in order to get rid of jews!”

Maxim: I will [kill jews whenever I can] in order to [get rid of jews].
The Universalizability Test
(1) If everyone follows the maxim, can Nazis achieve their goal by acting on the maxim?
Yes
(2) Can Nazis want it to be the case that everyone acts on this maxim?
Yes
Conclusion: It is permissible to kill jews whenever I can, in order to get rid of jews???

Objection #2: Inconsistent Trivialities
(EX) Rush Hour: “I’ll take the back road home when it’s rush hour so I can avoid traffic!”
Maxim: I will [take the back road home when it’s rush hour] in order to [beat the traffic].
The Universalizability Test
(1) If everyone follows the maxim, can I achieve my goal by acting on the maxim?
No
(2) Can I want it to be the case that everyone acts on this maxim?
No
Conclusion: It is impermissible to take the back road home when it’s rush hour???

Objection #3: Sly Universalizer
(EX) Chris + Buying all the available cooking oil
Maxim: I will [let Chris and only Chris buy all the cooking oil in Hampshire county at 3 PM on 11/3/2020], in order to [make Chris and only Chris get what he wants at 3 PM on 11/3/2020].
The Universalizability Test
(1) If everyone follows the maxim, can Chris achieve his goal by acting on the maxim?
Yes!
(2) Can Chris want it to be the case that everyone acts on this maxim?
Yes
Conclusion: It’s permissible to let Chris and only Chris buy all the hand sanitizers in Target at 3 PM on 11/3/2020???

Objection #4: Treating yourself as means
(EX) Julia + liver transplant for her estranged mother
“Julia’s mother is sick with hepatitis C; they have been estranged for a while mainly because her mother did not want to maintain their relationship. But her mother suddenly called Julia and said she needed a liver transplant; she specifically wants Julia to be a donor. Every evidence Julia has shows that her mother is just using her to get better and will go back to ignoring her after the transplant. But since Julia believes all the hassle is worth to save a life, she agrees to go through the transplant process.”

Objection #4: Treating yourself as means
Q. Is it okay for Julia to go through the liver transplant process in order to save her mother?
According to Kant, it is impermissible for Julia to do this.
Julia’s mother is using Julia as her means, not as ends in herself.
So if Julia agrees to go through the transplant process, she is using herself as means for other people; but you shouldn’t treat anyone as means, including yourself!

Exercise: An application
Click ”2-2 In-class Activity” below the lecture video.
Click “Write Submission”; fill in your answers & click “Submit.”

This should take about 5 minutes, but feel free to take more/less time as needed.

For the next class…
Read Duska, “Business Ethics: Oxymoron or Good Business?”

Business Ethics
Summer 2022 (1)
Week 2, Lecture 1
Chaeyoung Paek

In today’s class…
We’re going to look at another very popular moral theory, Utilitarianism.

There will be an in-class activity at the end of this lecture.

Moral Theories: Take #2
In the last class, we’ve seen one of three moral theories we’ll look at in this class: Cultural Relativism.

Cultural Relativism rejects the universal moral truth; other two moral theories uphold the universal moral truth.

What we’ll look at today is Utilitarianism; it is one version of Consequentialism.

Consequentialism
Consequentialism: You should X if and only if X yields the best consequence.
Utilitarianists claim that a given option is better than the other option(s) when it yields more utilities as its consequence.

Utilitarianism is also popular among non-philosophers & philosophers!
Throughout this course, we’ll see how philosophers defend or criticize a certain view based on the utilitarian perspective.

Utilitarianism
Main Thesis: You should X if and only if X maximizes utility.

Whose utility?
: everyone’s, not just yours!!
(Egoism ≠ Utilitarianism)
(ex) Taking a seat on a bus

Over what period of time?
: over all time.
(ex) Recycle

Hedonic Utilitarianism
Hedonic Theory of Value: The goodness/badness of an action is solely a matter of the balance of pleasure and pain resulted by the action.

Hedonic Utilitarianism
– Hedonic Theory of Value + Utilitarianism
– Utility = the net balance of pleasure over pain
Main thesis: You should X if and only if X maximizes the net balance of pleasure over pain.
(ex) Taking a class vs. Taking a nap

Attractive features
1. Impartiality: demands you to be blind to gender, race, class, age, species, etc.
(ex1) John Stuart Mill advocated animal rights and women’s right to vote in 19th century.
(ex2) Many Utilitarianists adopt vegetarian/vegan lifestyle!

2. Explains our moral intuition well
(ex) “We sent the dog to a farm to she can live with other animal friends!”

3. Conflict resolution: delivers what you ought to do in morally conflicting situations
(ex) Lying (to the Nazis) vs. Letting your jewish neighbors be captured

One (weak) objection
“Utilitarianism is the philosophy of the swine.”
: Utilitarianism allows people to act irresponsibly and degradingly, as long as they can get the most pleasure.

Response to the ”philosophy of swine” objection
If you’re a utilitarianist, whenever you act, you should try to maximize utility for everyone over all time; it takes determination and responsibility to make every choice count!
We can take the quality of pleasure into account; there are “higher pleasures”, which we get from appreciating arts, reading, learning, etc., that are high in quality than “animal pleasures” we get from eating, having sex, etc..

Objections & Replies
Most objections against Hedonic Utilitarianism use counterexamples.
Form of objections: “X maximizes utility, but X is wrong.”
Form of replies
Does X really maximize utility?
Is X really wrong?

Objections & Replies

(ex) Trolley problem
X = saving 5 people by pushing one man in front of the trolley
Does X really maximize utility?: Maybe Yes?
Is X really wrong?: Yes!!
Conclusion: Trolley problem is a successful counterexample against Utilitarianism.
Why? Because Trolley problem shows that maximizing utility is sometimes bad.

The Experience Machine Objection

Suppose that there’s a machine that allows you to experience maximum pleasure, when you’re plugged
into the machine. One caveat: you cannot be unplugged once you’re in the machine. Would you choose to be plugged into this machine?
(Robert Nozick)

The Experience Machine Objection
According to Hedonic Utilitarianism, you ought to plug yourself to the Experience Machine.

Not only that, you ought to persuade others to plug themselves into this machine as well!

But this seems wrong; why do we have a moral obligation to spend our lives in a box?

RE: The Experience Machine Objection
Does plugging yourself into the Experience Machine really maximize the utility?
– No; there’s a unique pleasure that you can only get from living your own life.

(B) Is it wrong to plug yourself into the Experience Machine/to persuade others to plug into the Experience Machine?
No/??

Conclusion: The experience machine objection is not successful.

Justice & Rights Objection
Peeping Tom:

Peeping Tom: Tom is a local pervert who takes pleasure in secretly watching people taking their clothes off. To satisfy his desire, he sets up cameras all over the locker rooms in the Rec center and watches people changing their clothes. But he did such a good job hiding the cameras that no one knows Tom is watching them.

Justice & Right Objection
Q. Should Tom stop secretly watching people taking their clothes off?
Yes! It violates people’s privacy!

But according to Hedonic Utilitarianism, Peeping Tom should not stop doing this, as long as no one knows about his secret “hobby”.
In fact, what he should do at this point is just to make sure that no one would ever find out about this, not to stop watching people!
It seems like Hedonic Utilitarianism demands us to ignore what is just or what is right thing to do.

RE: Justice & Right Objection
Does letting Tom secretly watching people really maximize the utility?
Yes/No
Invasion of privacy/Can our utility be decreased when our rights are violated secretly?

(B) Is it wrong for Tom to keep watching people?
– Yes.

Personal Relationship Objection

Neighbor’s Kid: You have a 12-year-old son who is quite normal in every aspect. Your neighbor’s 12-year-old son, on the other hand, is a genius who is working on the cure for lung cancer; he is nice to everyone and always working on some charity works. One day you found out that your son and your neighbor’s kid, who went swimming in a pond in the forest nearby, are drowning.

Personal Relationship Objection
Q. Who should you save, your kid or your neighbor’s kid?
Your kid!

But according to Hedonic Utilitarianism, you should save your neighbor’s kid instead!
It seems like Hedonic Utilitarianism demands us to ignore or even sacrifice our personal relationships in order to maximize utility!

RE: Personal Relationship Objection
Does saving your neighbor’s kid instead of your kid maximize the utility?
Yes?
No?

Is it wrong for you to save your neighbor’s kid instead of your kid?
– Yes

Demandingness Objection
Netflix vs. charity
: You decide to stay home and watch something on Netflix this Halloween. But you realize that spending $13 every month for a streaming service only maximizes you and the company’s utility; instead you can use the money and the time you spend on charity. So you join the local charity group. But then it occurs to you that you own some “luxury items”-some furniture, TV, etc.-that you can live without. So you sell them and use the money for charity…

Demandingness Objection
Q. Is it permissible for you to spend $13 every month for Netflix subscription?
Yes!

But according to Hedonic Utilitarianism, spending $13 and a considerable amount of time on a streaming service doesn’t maximize the utility; you should instead spend your time and money on helping others.
In fact, you should spend most of your time and money on charity; you should only spend time and money for yourself just to make sure you can get by.
But this is ridiculous! There are some people who do indeed live like this, and they are moral saints, but not all people have to be moral saints.

RE: Demandingness Objection
Does donating most of your money and time to charity maximize utility?
– Yes

(B) Is it wrong to donate most of your money and time to charity?
– No

Exercise: An application
Click ”2-1 In-class Activity” below the lecture video.
Click “Write Submission”; fill in your answers & click “Submit.”

This should take about 5 minutes; you now can look at other classmates’ answers (and respond to one, if you’d like!)

For the next class…
Read Kant, “The Good Will and the Categorical Imperative.”

Business Ethics
Summer 2022 (1)
Week 2, Lecture 3
Chaeyoung Paek

In today’s class…
We’ll see whether ethics and business could be compatible, based on Duska’s paper, “Business Ethics: Oxymoron or Good Business?”

There will be no in-class activity for this class; but feel free to leave questions or comments on the Q&A discussion forum for Week 2!

Business + Ethics?
We’re in a Business Ethics class, but many people think that business and ethics do not, and cannot, go together.
The argument behind this belief is probably goes like this:
Business (and the market) is driven by each economic agent’s self-interest and self-interest only;
Such an egoistic behavior is fundamentally immoral;
Therefore, business cannot be compatible with doing what’s moral.

Business + Ethics?
If that’s a valid & sound argument, it seems like there’s no point in taking (and teaching) Business Ethics class; there’s no such thing as business ethics!
But should business be always driven by each agent’s self-interest only? Does “good business” always include being unethical?
Let’s see how Duska answers this question in “Business Ethics: Oxymoron or Good Business?”.

Business’ Responsibility & Ethics
Many people believe that business’ only responsibility is to maximize its profits & that this is the reason why business and ethics do not go together.
(ex) Teresa Goodrich vs. The CEO of Aetna
(ex) Jack Welch’s hiring (firing?) practices

But this does not necessarily make business ethics oxymoron; some argue that business can do good by maximizing its profits.
Two approaches: Utilitarian approach & Strategy approach

The Invisible Hand Argument
“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest … We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages… He generally indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows he is promoting it … and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this … led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.”
From Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

The Invisible Hand Argument
The Invisible Hand argument:
P1. Our society benefits most either by each businessperson being benevolent to others or each businessperson pursing their own interest.
P2. It is not the case that our society benefits most by each businessperson being benevolent toward others.
C. Our society benefits most by each businessperson pursuing their own interest.

The Invisible Hand Argument
One Caveat about the Invisible Hand argument
Duska points out that Adam Smith himself never advocated business pursuing its self-interest without any restriction.
Smith claims that there are two things that motivate humans to act: self-interest and sympathy.
Smith also claims that it is not always worse for the society if business pursues its self-interest, not that business ought to pursue its self-interest at all times.

Utilitarian Approach
The Invisible Hand argument takes, in its essence, the utilitarian approach.
Utilitarianism: You should X if and only if X maximizes utility.
The Invisible Hand argument says that letting business freely pursuing its self-interest yields the maximum utility for the society; hence, it must be the best option for the society as a whole.
(Duska) Two problems: the problem of identifying appropriate ends & the problem of fair distribution

The Problem of Identifying Appropriate Ends
The Invisible Hand argument says that our society benefits the most by each businessperson pursuing their own interest.
Q. But what does it mean that our society ”benefits” from something?
A society can value many things, not just the increase in wealth: quality of life, justice, etc..
Furthermore, one may argue that the increase in wealth is just an instrumental goal our society has in order to achieve a higher goal.
So, it is not always the case that economic goods are ethical goods.

The Problem of Fair Distribution
And as the Invisible Hand argument takes the utilitarian approach, it is subject to the same problem that Utilitarianism has, the problem of fairness/fair distribution.
The Invisible Hand argument only shows that the overall amount of wealth will be increased if business seeks to maximize its profit, but how that increased wealth should be distributed.
So, the Invisible Hand argument fails to defend business ethics properly.

Ethics as a Strategy for Profit
An alternative way to defend business ethics: the Strategy approach
The Strategy Approach: Business should operate ethically in order to be profitable.
On this approach, ethics is adopted as a strategy to maximize profit.
(ex) Being honest to customers → Builds better long-term relationship with customers → More sales in the long run

Ethics as a Strategy for Profit
Duska’s criticism of the Strategy approach:
– If being ethical stops being profitable, then business does not have any motivation to be ethical.
(ex) Being honest to customers → Other dishonest businesses do better in the market → Loses the motivation to keep being honest
In the end, the Strategy approach fails to explain how business and ethics could be compatible; on this approach, they are compatible only as long as ethics serves business’ purpose.

“Good Business” & Ethics
So, business and ethics cannot be compatible as long as ethics is supposed to follow from or serve “good business”.
Duska: Business and ethics would be compatible only when ethics comes first.
Q. But how can business put ethics first, when doing so could risk its profit?
Duska: Ethics should be the focus of the very system in which business operates.

Two Notions of Justice
Cicero’s two notions of justice
Justice in the first meaning: Giving everyone their due → Fairness within the system
Justice in the second meaning: Not inflicting harm on others and shielding them from harm → Fairness of the system
(Duska) Justice in the second meaning should come first before justice in the first meaning.
(ex) The business that divides the profit without shielding its employees from harm

Fairness of the System
As long as the system itself is unfair/unjust, business cannot operate ethically.
Duska points out that many cases of unethical business were caused by focusing on fairness within the (unethical) system.
(ex) Jack Welch’s management of GE
For any business to behave ethically, the system needs to be ethical; this can be done by legislation or regulation.

Fairness of the System
But Duska points out that legislation & regulation is not enough; we have to rethink the purpose of business itself as a society.
Many businesspeople think that the purpose is to keep the business afloat by maximizing profit; but for what?
It can’t be that business should flourish just because business should flourish; the maximization of profit is only instrumental.
Once we get the real purpose of business, we’ll get a clear picture of which system we need for business.

Business & Ethics
Duska concludes that business ethics would be possible once we know the true purpose of business.
One ultimate goal of any business could be helping people have a better life; once we get a vision of a truly good life, we’ll know what the true purpose of business should be.
One (final) counterexample to “Good business = Profitable business”: production & distribution of cocaine

Remaining Thoughts
Duska does not say much about what he thinks is a good life; what is a good life, and how could business help one to have a good life?
Some businesses sell things that we love but are not necessarily “good” for us; think of cigarette/alcohol/soda industry!
If “good business” should be ethical, can such businesses be “good business” too? Or is it impossible?

For the next class…
Read Michael Sandel, “Introduction: Markets and Morals”