Philosophy 315 (Spring 2015)

Course description

Course Description This course will examine some of the most important ethical issues facing entrepreneurs, employees, managers, consumers, and public policy makers.  We begin by confronting some of the reasons that business needs ethics, and then examining some of the various theoretical approaches to answering ethical questions.  Next, we’ll move on to questions such as:

  • Does a corporation have any duties beyond the interests of stockholders?
  • Can corporations have social responsibilities?
  • How should employers treat employees?
  • Should employees be loyal to their employers, or should they blow the whistle?
  • How should business treat the environment?
  • When in Rome, should corporations act as the Romans do, or are there international ethical standards that should always apply?
  • How should business address privacy and intellectual property?
  • Are there ethical limits on advertising?

We’ll use cases and your texts to explore these questions. Because many businesses operate on a global scale, this course will often investigate specific scenarios in which businesses have an ethical dilemma that involves dealing with international employees, business associates, or cultures. Student Learning Objectives/Outcomes Upon successful completion of this course, the student will have acquired the ability to:

  • Analyze issues that arise within international business through real-world scenarios.
  • Articulate applicable moral standards for conducting global commerce by review of case studies.
  • Identity the types of environmental problems created by global businesses and discuss the normative implications of externalities, free riders, and environmental regulations.
  • Evaluate the nature, scope and purpose of international business ethics.
  • Write an argumentative essay explaining and analyzing complex philosophical idea from a global perspective.
  • Apply key philosophical terms to international business ethics cases.


This course is divided into 7 topical units, called “modules” There is no textbook for this course. All readings are contained in the “Readings” area in Blackboard, which is sort of like an online textbook itself. Each module is like a chapter and includes several pages. You should complete all readings and watch any videos in a module before you begin any assignments for that module. Deadlines for the assignments are in the course schedule below.



Your grade is this course is out of 200 points, so your current grade in the course at any time is equal to the number of points you currently have. However, there are 210 points available in the course. This means that there are 10 points you do not need to earn in order to receive a perfect grade. In other words, there are 10 points of extra credit. The 210 possible points are earned in the following four ways:

  1. Reading responses (70 points): For each module, you will be required to complete a reading response assignment, in which you will answer specific questions about that module. Responses will be worth 10 points each and will be available to complete for the duration of each module. These must be graded “by hand” and that will usually take a week or so to complete.
  2. Quizzes (70 points): For each module, you will be required to complete a quiz. The quiz will have 10 questions and be worth 10 points. It will include multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions. It will be available to complete for the duration of each module. The grade for the quiz will be available after the quiz’s deadline.
  3. Mid-term (30 points): The mid-term will have 30 questions and be worth 30 points. It will cover modules 1-3. It will include multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions. It will be available for 4 days.
  4. Final (40 points): The final will have 40 questions and be worth 40 points. It will cover modules 4-7. Like the mid term, it will also include multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions; and it will be available for 4 days.

All of the above items will be found in Blackboard under “Quizzes”, “Case Responses”, and “Exams”.


Your grade at any time depends only on the total number of points you have. You can find the letter grade that corresponds to your point total by consulting the table below.























Course Schedule

This Google Calendar will always show the correct due dates and any updates or changes that I need to make to the flow of the course. Click here to access this calendar, or click the link in Blackboard’s sidebar.

Course policies


No assignments are timed, and you can save and resume any assignment in progress, but it must be submitted by 11:59 PM on the day it is due. No assignments (aside from exams) will be accepted late or be made up under any circumstances. If you save, but fail to submit an exam or reading response by its deadline, it will be graded as-is and any unsaved progress will be lost. If you do not save and do not submit an exam or reading response ​for any reason, including technical problems, you will receive a zero for that assignment. There will never be any exceptions to this policy. The Exams will be granted a make-up period of 24 hours. There will be an automatic penalty of 5 points for made-up exams.

Technical Problems

If you experience any technical problems with Blackboard, especially during an exam, you must call Aggie Tech Support immediately. Do not email me about technical problems in Blackboard. I cannot help you with problems in Blackboard. It is ​your responsibility​ to resolve any technical problems that you encounter with the help of the A&T tech support staff. You can find links and contact information in the “Tech Support” area of Blackboard. Written assignments must be submitted through Blackboard and will not be accepted as documents sent via email. If you wait until after Aggie Tech Support is closed to submit your assignments, you do so ​at your own risk​. No one will be available to help you with technical problems, and I will ​not​ accept this as an excuse for missing assignments or exams. You will still be responsible for your work, and you will receive a zero if your work is not submitted by its deadline. When taking any assessment in Blackboard, always click on empty space before using your mouse/touchpad/scroll wheel to scroll up or down. When option buttons are highlighted (like after you have just clicked one) your scroll wheel can change the selection. Always make sure that all the answers you intended to select are selected before you submit any quiz or exam.


Because this is an online course, it does not stop for weekends, holidays, reading days, or any other university vacation days. Failure to complete assignments because of holiday plans will obviously not be accepted as an excuse for missed work.

Extra Credit

There are 10 points of extra credit already included in the course (that’s half a letter-grade worth of points). No other extra credit will be available, and no one will ever be given extra credit opportunities on request. Emails requesting such are unlikely to be addressed.

Academic Honesty

You may use any class resources except for other students on any assignment. Discussing exam questions with other students is considered a violation of academic integrity. Discussing readings is okay, but plagiarizing the ideas of other students by duplicating their work in your reading responses is not. You are expected to adhere to all of the University’s policies and procedures regarding academic honesty. You can find this information in the University Handbook. All submitted assignments should reflect your own work, and no one else’s. Working on any assignment or quiz or exam with another student or searching the internet for answers constitutes cheating. Plagiarism, or the use of any content without attributing it to its author, including the work of classmates, is considered cheating. Cheating will be dealt with harshly, incurring penalties ranging from failure of the assignment to failure of the class.

Students With Disabilities

North Carolina A&T State University is committed to complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 by providing equal access to the programs, services and benefits to qualified students with disabilities. All reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate the needs of students with documented disabilities.  If you have a disability that requires an accommodation during the semester, please REGISTER with the Office of Veterans and Disability Service (OVDSS) located on campus in Murphy Hall (334-7765). Make sure that you notify OVDSS of any  disability accommodation requests prior to the start of classes or within  the first two  weeks of classes. Please note that accommodations and modifications cannot be performed retroactively!

Final Word

Some of these policies seem harsh and inflexible, but that is not because I am a mean, crotchety professor with a chip on my shoulder. It is because I trust you as an adult to do your work and be responsible for yourself. I believe that you can solve problems on your own, and I respect you enough not to treat you like a child. Lastly, this syllabus may be revised at any time, if I need to correct or clarify something. If I change this document in any way, I will announce the change in Blackboard. The current, and official version will always be available online at this URL.

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