Spring 2018                                                



Professor Gale Justin, Department of Philosophy

Office: Mendocino Hall #3024

Office Hours: TTh. 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM and by appointment


Email: (Use only this email address for email contact.)



Class Meetings

TTh. 12:00 – 1:15 PM. Class attendance is not required for students in either section of the class. But all students must view the class if not in the classroom, then via Media Site. If a student wants to attend all or any of the actual classes, then the student should come to Library 53.  If you choose not to attend the actual class, then the lectures must be viewed via Media Site. Note:  Anyone who is registered for the class must have access to Media Site. My Media Site is accessed via Blackboard.  Disregard the section # of the link to Phil. 103 presentations.  Both sections watch exactly the same presentation.

Students in both sections are required to come to campus for the midterm exam and the final exam.  If you are debater, then you must come to class on the day that you are assigned to debate.  Judges need not come to class in order to prepare their judging assignment.

 Class Practices

  • Ordinary courtesy behavior must be displayed in the studio classroom.  Impermissible behavior in class includes, but is not limited to, eating or drinking in the studio classroom, cell phone use, texting, pager use, non-classroom related computer activity, habitual tardiness, leaving early, or leaving and returning during the class, doing outside homework or outside reading in class, any form of discourtesy to other students or to the teacher.  Any type of impermissible behavior will result in the offender(s) being asked to leave the studio classroom, giving you only the videos on Media Site as your source of the lecture material.
  • Office hour appointments work best, if you email me to schedule a time for you either during my office hour or at some other mutually convenient time.  If you need to cancel, you must notify me (not just fail to appear), if you wish me to reschedule an appointment for you.
  • To contact me, use only my email address.  In the subject line, indicate the class of mine that you are taking.  In the body of the email, state immediately your name-e.g. the name under which you registered for the class.  Then briefly indicate the reason for your email.  But questions that I have answered in class pertaining to the mechanics of the course will not be answered on an individual basis.  For these answers you must watch the class videos and read the syllabus.

Course Overview

The principal aims of this course are (1) to understand and (2) to apply an ethically principled reasoning approach to issues that arise daily in a business and computer environment.  These two aims will be accomplished by mastering the use of some basic moral principles and by applying these principles to dilemmas that arise in business and computer environments.

Required Texts

Philosophy 103 Reader (abbreviated by “103R” in the course calendar and available from the bookstore).

Philosophy 103 Course Pack (abbreviated by “103C” in the course calendar and available from the bookstore)


Course Requirements

Three Case Studies                                                     20%

Debate or Judging Grade                                            20%

Midterm Exam                                                            30%

Final Exam                                                                  30%

Submission of Assignments (No Attachments will be accepted.  NO EXCEPTIONS)

       Students in both the Studio Section and the Distance Section must come to campus            to take the mid-term and the final exam.

    Case Studies must be submitted via email to  (but not as an attachment). NO ATTACHMENTS.  Complete the assignment in the email itself. Use only the email address to submit work or to contact me.

   Students who are registered in the Studio Section must come to class the day on which he/she is scheduled to debate. Bring an outline of the main points of your debate, which you submit to me after the debate. No shows or a late appearance for your debate will earn you a 0 for your debate grade. Students who are registered in the Distance Section must submit their judging assignment via email (NO ATTACHMENTS) no later than one week after the assigned debate has taken place.

   Debaters and Judges please consult the Guidelines (as the case may be) for debaters and judges. These guidelines are available from the course materials page of my website:  You will be graded on your compliance with these guidelines. 



  • The Case Studies on a specified work related dilemma are graded on a Pass, Revise, No Credit basis.  (Pass on 3 = A; Pass on 2 = C+; Pass on 1 = D, Pass on none of the three = 0 for 20% of your grade.) 
  • A letter grade is assigned for the Debate or the Judging Grade, as the case may be.
  • Both the midterm exam and the final exam consist of a short essay (30%) and short answers to a series of 10 out of 15 concepts that require explanation (70%). A letter grade is assigned to the essay and a letter grade, which is based on the number correct out of 50, is assigned to the short answer part of the exam.  For more information on the exams, click here:  Review Sheet Essay Exam 1 or Review Sheet Essay Exam 2.

·         Points will be deducted from your written work, if it does not display a careful use of ordinary English.  

Case Studies and Exams:

            Case Studies may be revised but only if it was submitted on time and only once. NO revised or late Case Studies will be accepted after the final due date for revised and late Case Studies.  For that date, see below for list of important due dates. Exams must be taken by the scheduled date.   If you know you will not be able to take either the midterm or the final as scheduled, it is your responsibility to email me before the scheduled date of the exam in order to make other arrangements.  Late midterm or late final exams or late short essays for either exam will NOT be accepted.

Debate/Judging Schedule:

            A debate/judging schedule will be posted approximately two weeks into the semester.  I will announce in class that the schedule has been posted.  It is your responsibility to check the schedule for your assignment date.  I do not individually notify students of their assignment.  Debate/Judging assignments are final.  So if there is some reason why you cannot make your scheduled date, you must notify me via email no later than one week after I announce the posting of the assignments.  Otherwise your failure to fulfill the assignment as assigned will result in your getting a 0 for the Debate or Judging

Important Due Dates


1.30  Case Study 1 due by 12 p.m. in the afternoon.  Put “Case Study 1” in the subject line of the case study submission.

2.6 Case Study 2 due by 12 p.m. in the afternoon. Put "Case Study 2" in the subject line of the case study submission.

2.13  Case Study 3 Due by 12 p.m. in the afternoon.  Put “Case Study 3” in the subject line of the case study submission.

2.22 Revised/Final Submission of Case Studies Due by 12 PM in the afternoon. Put “Final Case Study” in the subject line of the case study submission.

     2.27  Midterm Exam in Hinde Auditorium from 12 to 1:15 PM

    5.15 Final Exam  in Hinde Auditorium time from 12:30 to 3 PM,  



Approximate Schedule of Readings, Assignments, Debates, Exams: (“l03C” refers to the Phil. 103 course pack and “103R” refers to the Phil. 103 Reader.  Both of these packets are available from the bookstore.) Please note:  Some revision to the schedule may be necessary due to unforeseen circumstances.

1.23     Introduction

1.25     Topic: "Introduction to Ethical Decision Making" from 103C.

1.30     “Why is Justice a Problem for the Principle of Utility?” in 103C.

            Due: Case Study 1

2.1       Topic: "Introduction to Ethical Decision Making" in 103C

2.6       Topic: "What is Computer Ethics?" in 103C

Read: “Why Computer Ethics?” in 103R and “ACM Code of Ethics” in 103R.

            Due: Case Study 2

2.8       Debate: “Is there Anything New in the Moral Issues Raised by Computers?”

2.13     Topic:  “Is the Sole Responsibility of Business to Make a Profit?” in 103C.

Read: “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Make a Profit” in 103R.

            Due: Case Study 3

2.15     Debate: “Is the Sole Social Responsibility of Business to Increase Profits?”

2.20     Topic:   “Can a Business be Moral and Make a Profit?” in103C?” in 103C.

            Read: “Can Socially Responsible Firms Survive in a Competitive Environment?” in 103R.

            Debate: “Can a Business be Moral and Make a Profit?”

2.22     Topic: “What Rights Do Software Developers Have?” in 103C.

            Due: All Revised Case Studies

2.27     Mid-Term Exam: ESSAY EXAM 1

3.1       Topic:  “Should Employers be Morally Required to Give Reasons for Firing Decisions” in 103C

            Debate: “Should Employers be Morally Required to Give Reasons for Firing?”

3.6       “How Did the Right to Privacy Arise?” in 103C.

3.8   Topic: "Is Computer Compiling of Data Socially Beneficial?" in 103C.

            Read: “The Visible Man” in 103R

Debate: “Ought newsworthy material the source of which involves hacking be treated in a special way by media and newspaper outlets?

3.13     Topic:  “What is a lie?” in 103C.

3.15     Topic:  “Are All Lies Immoral?” in 103C.

            Debate: “Are All Lies Immoral?”

3.19 – 3.23  SPRING BREAK

3.27     Topic:  "In What Ways Can a Person Be Held Responsible?" in 103C and "Do Computers Undermine Moral Responsibility?" in 103C and .

3.29     Topic: “What is the First Amendment?” in 103C

4.3   Topic:  “Should We Limit Free Speech for On-Line Communication?” in 103C.

            Debate: “Should We Limit Free Speech for On-Line Communication?”     

4.5       Topic: "Should We Promote Preferential Hiring?” in 103C.

Read: “A Defense of Programs of Preferential Treatment” in 103R.

4.10     Debate: “Does Everyone Deserve his/her Qualifications?”

            Personality Profile in 103C.

4.12     “Do Non-Economic Factors Motivate?” in 103C

4.17     Topic: “What is External Whistle Blowing?” in 103C.

4.19     Topic: “What is External Whistle Blowing?” in 103C.

            Debate: “Is External Whistle Blowing Morally Required?”

4.24     Topic:  “What kind of Advertising is Morally Unacceptable?” in 103C.

4.26     “Is Legality the Only Limit on Acceptable Advertising?“ in 103C.

Read: “The Dependence Effect” in 103R

Debate: “Ought Legality to be the Only Limit on Acceptable Advertising?”

5.1       "Ought Private Goods to Rank Higher in Value than Public Goods?" in 103C

            Debate:  “Ought Private Goods to Rank Higher in Value than Public Goods?”

5.3    Topic: "What are Some Ethical Implications of the Internet?" in 103C.

5.8   Topic: “What are some moral issues relating to International Business?”

The marking scale upon which letter grades are assigned is as follows:

A         93-100 (14)                 C         70-74 (8)        

A-        89-92 (13)                   C-        65-69 (7)

B+       85-88 (12)                   D+       60-64 (6)

B         80-84 (11)                   D         55-59 (5)

B-        78-79 (10)                   D-        50-54 (4)

C+       75-77 (9)                     F          below 50% (3)

Academic Honesty

Do not copy another person’s work.  Do not use unacknowledged sources.  Even if you form study groups to share ideas, the work that you turn in must be your own work, using your own words. All incidents of cheating in any form will earn you a 0 on the assignment and/or an F in the course.  See the policy on academic honesty:           

Students with Disabilities or Other Special Needs

If you have a disability and require accommodations, you need to provide disability documentation to SSWD, Lassen Hall 1008, (916) 278-6955. Please discuss your accommodation needs with me early in the semester.

Catalogue Description

Analytical treatment of controversial moral issues which emerge in the business world, e.g. affirmative action, corporate responsibility, industry and environmental damage, social effects of advertising, the computer threat to personal privacy, ownership of computer programs.  Discussion will focus on basic moral principles and concepts relevant to these issues.


Course Goals

This course emphasizes the cultivation of ethically informed reasoning skills in both written work and spoken exchanges.  Specifically, students will improve their ability to reason ethically by developing/enhancing their ability to:

·         Understand the ordinary ethical principles that can be extended to business and computer environments.

·         Apply ordinary ethical principles to specific cases within business and computer environments.

·         Think in terms of the ethical and social implications of technology that is built for and used to implement human action in general.

·         Recognize the moral rights and responsibilities of professionals, in general, and computer professionals, in particular.

·         Understand what constitutes ethical and professional behavior, including the ability to analyze the individual, societal, and global impact of business and computing solutions to ongoing activities in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Requirements for GE AreaD2

            This course meets the requirements for GE areaD2 (1) by considering the sociological methodology used to design the well-known Hawthorne Study, which was conducted jointly by Harvard University and the Hawthorne Electric plant in Chicago, (2) by examining statistical studies of both the effects of whistle-blowing and the impact that high social responsibility has on a business' profit and share price. (Link to area D requirements: