Business ethics is the moral analysis of business activity and practices. In business ethics, we consider business actions and decisions in the light of moral principles and values, and ask whether ethical motives in business activity would make business better and more successful.


Among the considerations included in this course is the question about whether any ethical values are already implied in business and market activity, or whether introducing ethics into business will cause fundamental changes to business. In addition, we want to assess how business does and should affect our individual and social lives, and ask what role business and its values (could) play in our society as a whole. Further, we will examine issues and conflicts that typically arise in business that have moral aspects to them, such as the way employers treat their employees, employees their employers, and the ways businesses treat their competitors, their customers, their society, and even their environment. Finally, we will consider the practical question of whether a (morally) good life can be lived by those who wholehearted devote themselves to business success. These matters all center on questions about human action and the good life.

 The principle focus in this course will be the understanding and appreciation of a way of life in which money and profits play an important but certainly not exclusive role. At times this course will engage in constructive criticism of business life and practices; however its predominant focus will not be business' failures or evils, but rather its purposes and roles in society, the activities these purposes and roles define, the relationship these have and should have to our social community and to each of our lives.