Business and Computer Ethics Syllabus (under development)

1. Is morality good for business?

Weeks 1 - 3
  1. Read Shaw: Ch. 1 - The Nature of Morality
  2. Robert Solomon's 8 rules
  3. U.S. Govt. Standards of Ethical Conduct
  4. ACM Code of Ethics
  5. Glossary: Know These Ethical and Legal Terms
  6. What is a counterexample?
  7. Top 10 Questions to Answer

2. Why be ethical and not selfish?

Weeks 3 - 6
  1. Read Shaw: Ch. 2 - Normative Theories of Ethics
  2. See Handouts on the following in SacCT under Addenda:
    • Consequentialist theories:
      - Hobbes, Mill
    • Non-Consequentialist theories:
      - Kant, Ross
  3. FRONTLINE: Digital Nation (video)

3. When must wealth be shared?

Week 7
  1. Read Shaw: Ch. 3 - Justice and Economic Distribution
  2. Impoverished Americans
  3. Distributive Justice (SEP)
  4. 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; 14th Amendment
  5. FRONTLINE: The Card Game (video)

4. Is capitalism immoral?

Week 8
  1. Read Shaw: Ch. 4 - The Nature of Capitalism
  2. FRONTLINE: Is Wal-Mart Good for America? (video)

5. What moral responsibilities do corporations have?

Week 9
  1. Read Shaw: Ch. 5 - Corporations
  2. "The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits" (Friedman)
  3. Can a Company Be charged with a Crime? - B. Goldstein
  4. USC - Title 15 - Commerce and trade

6. How shall we protect consumers from themselves?

Weeks 10 - 11
  1. Read Shaw: Ch. 6 - Consumers
  2. FRONTLINE: The Card Game (video)

7. How should employers manage personnel?

Week 12
  1. Read Shaw: Ch. 8 - The Workplace (1): Basic Issues
  2. Constitutional Topic: Due Process
  3. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
  4. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  5. California Labor Code
  6. USC - Title 29 - Labor Ch. 7 - Labor-Management relations
  7. USC - Title 42 - Ch. 21 - Civil Rights, q.v. Subchapter VI
  8. American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)

8. What obligations do employers have to employees?

Week 13
  1. Read Shaw: Ch. 9 - The Workplace (2): Today's Challenges
    1. U .S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
    2. A Personality Test
    3. "Mandatory Drug Testing" by H. LaFollette
    4. USC - Title 29 - Labor Ch. 22 - Employee polygraph protection
  2. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
    1. Worker Rights Under The OSH Act
    2. Material Safety Data Sheets FAQ
  3. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

9. What obligations do employees have towards employers?

Week 14
  1. Read Shaw: Ch. 10 - Moral Choices Facing Employees
  2. "Conflicts of Interest aren't all bad" (Dorf)
  3. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  4. USC - Title 35 - Patents

10. When is discrimination in the workplace morally permissible?

Week 15
  1. Read Shaw: Ch. 11 - Job Discrimination
  2. Discriminatory practices (EEOC)
  3. Americans with Disabilities Act
  4. EEOC on Sexual Harassment- Q & A
  5. California Equal Employment Opportunity Law and Regulations
  6. CA Constitution - Article 1 - Declaration of Rights, q.v. Sec. 31.
  7. USC - Title 42 - Ch, 126 - Equal opportunity for people with disabilties

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Course Description

PHIL 103. Business and Computer Ethics. Analytical treatment of controversial moral issues which emerge in the business world, e.g., affirmative action, corporate responsibility, the global economy, 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. 3 units.

PHIL 103 satisfies area D2 General Education requirements
by discussing current but divisive economic and ethical issues in organizational contexts from diverse religious, ethnic and sexual traditions in a critical but mutually respectful manner. For instance, various religious and corporate traditions justify discriminatory standards and behavior based on past misperceptions and harmful stereotypes about the value and ability of women and minorities in the workplace. We consider these views and their implications for people and organizations seeking equal opportunity and treatment for all participants in a just society or free and fair industry.

Required course text: Business Ethics: A Textbook with Cases (2011) by William Shaw 7/e - only this edition will suffice.

Assignments, Grades and Attendance


  1. DEFINE basic ethical terms used in the course,
  2. DISTINGUISH various ethical concepts, theories and positions,
  3. ENGAGE in cogent and respectful discussion,
  4. ANALYZE specific ethical arguments for consistency and credibility,
  5. APPLY ethical theories to moral dilemmas in professional and personal life.

Services to CSUS Students with Disabilities

If you have a disability and require accommodations, you need to provide disability documentation to SSWD, Lassen Hall 1008, (916) 278-6955. Please discuss accomodations needs with me after class or during my office hours early in the semester.

CSUS Policies and Procedures Regarding Academic Honesty

Review all academic responsibilities, definitions, sanctions and rights described here.