Phi 445 – discussion question

Prepare: The initial post in this discussion must be informed by the required material for this discussion. Your preparation should focus on three classical ethical theories that are fundamental in any ethical analysis: utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics. Since the subject of your examination is the Starbucks case, make sure to view the relevant multimedia carefully with an eye toward the various ethical problems that this company has had to confront.

Reflect: Keep in mind that although the notion of the moral good will vary among ethical theories, they often produce the same or similar results. So you should focus on the differences in (a) the intent and (b) the consequences of the action under examination. In utilitarianism, for example, the consequences of the action are weightier than the intent. Accordingly, even if the intent was morally questionable, the action is nonetheless morally good if it achieves good consequences for most. The opposite would be the case if the action were being examined from a deontological point of view. These reflections will aid your selection of an ethical theory for your initial post, as well as your critical examinations of the analysis from fellow students.

Write: Start your initial post by identifying two characteristics of utilitarianism, two characteristics of virtue ethics, and two characteristics of deontology. Organize this part of your post so that it is clear which characteristics belong to which ethical theory. You can do this by means of subtitles, or by presenting a table. You should aim to write one complete and clear sentence for each characteristic rather than just one or a few words.

Then, take the position that Starbucks is guided by utilitarianism and analyze how the notion of the moral good in utilitarianism leads to a unique approach to ethical problems. The way to do this is as follows:

  • First, present an ethical problem confronted by Starbucks. You can choose one such ethical problem from the video.
  • Then, apply the characteristics of utilitarianism that you identified for this discussion in the attempt to solve this problem.
  • After this, analyze how the notion of the moral good present in utilitarianism, and the characteristics that you identified in particular, shape the approach to solving this problem.

Revise: This is your chance to correct any oversights or errors in your initial post, or show your improved understanding of the ethical theories and their applications. Start by reading the feedback provided by your professor to your initial post, either directly to you or to your fellow students. Use this as an opportunity to learn from your professor, especially with regard to the best ways to apply the course material and your research to your analysis. On the basis of what you have learned in this process, post an improved revision of your initial post that applies the additional knowledge that you have gained.

Remember that your grade depends on the quality of your initial and revised responses, not just on the submission of an attempt at improvement. It is thus to your advantage to post the best initial post you can and then to also improve that best effort as much as you can through revision. Taking this process seriously will help you develop the skills you need to do well on the final project.

Requirements for Your Initial Post:

  • Your initial post should be at least 400 words in lengthand have citations and references in APA notation. It should address the prompt in its entirety. This means that you should not split your response to the prompt in multiple posts. Your examination should be both thorough and succinct. This is a combination that demands time and thought, so give yourself sufficient time to draft and revise.
  • Please be advised that until you post, you will not see what your fellow students are posting. Once you submit your post, you will be able to view the posts from your other classmates. You can then proceed to reply to at least two different threads based on the required material for this discussion on virtue ethics and deontology.
  • Your list of references for your initial post should include the video and the other required material for this discussion, including Section 1.3 of the textbook on Starbucks, as well as the Instructor Guidance and any other announcements presented to you by your professor. Use all of the material presented to you in the course and by your professor, in addition to any other sources that you consulted to inform yourself about Starbucks (but not Wikipedia or similar sources).
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