utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics: case study:

  

Week 1 – Discussion

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Your initial discussion thread is due on Day 3 (Thursday) and you have until Day 7 (Monday) to respond to your classmates. Your grade will reflect both the quality of your initial post and the depth of your responses. Refer to the Discussion Forum Grading Rubric under the Settings icon above for guidance on how your discussion will be evaluated.

  

Utilitarianism,   Deontology, and Virtue Ethics: Case Study: Starbucks

This discussion assignment requires   you to submit at least four posts: an initial post, two reply posts to   fellow students in threads other than your own, and a revised post in   response to the professor’s feedback.

  

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).
  • Your initial post for this discussion should be        submitted no later than the end of Thursday (11:59 pm, U.S. Mountain        time). 

 

Requirements for Replies to Other   Threads:

  • At least two of the four posts required should be in        the form of replies to fellow classmates in threads other than your own.
  • Each of your replies should be at least 200 words and        informed by the course material.        As such, the replies must have citations and references in APA notation.        Your list of references for each reply should include all of the course        material that has informed your reply, in addition to any research that        you have obtained on your own.
  • One of your replies should identify the notion of the        moral good in deontology        and compare that to the account of utilitarianism in Starbucks presented        in your fellow student’s post. Analyze how these different notions of        the moral good lead to different approaches with regard to how to        address the problem even if, ultimately, the result turns out to be the        same or similar.
  • In your second reply, you should identify the notion        of the moral good in virtue ethics        and compare and discuss that to the account of utilitarianism in        Starbucks presented in your fellow student’s post. Analyze how these        different notions of the moral good lead to different approaches with        regard to how to address the problem even if, ultimately, the result        turns out to be the same or similar.
  • Your replies should focus on the specific examination        presented by your fellow student and should include an examination of        whether or not the characteristics of the ethical theory were identified        well, and whether or not their application and analysis were also        carried out successfully. Providing such an examination is not an attack        on your fellow student but an attempt to work together with your fellow        student toward the better understanding of the ethical theories        employed, as well as their application.

 

Requirements for Revising   your Initial Post:

  • Submit a revision of your initial post by either        replying to your own post, or to the feedback provided to you by your        professor.
  • There is no minimum word requirement for your revised        initial post. But you should always explain the reasons for revising        your post so that it is clear what you are doing. If you are revising        only a few words, or an application of an ethical theory, you should        avoidsubmitting a post with vague language such as: “duty ethics works        better here” or “I did not consider that the end does not justify the        means.” It is important to recognize that no one can read your mind so        you need to provide the setting for your revision (Why? What prompted        it? What course material informed you?), and it is important to write in        clear language and complete sentences.
  • Consider your revised initial post as your chance to        correct any oversights or errors in your initial post, or to show your        improved understanding of the material and its applications to the case        at hand. You may, for example, come to the realization that your        conclusion did not take into account important factors necessary for        your evaluation of the situation.
  • You should maximize the improvement of your initial        post by employing your professor’s feedback as a guide. Keep in mind that you may not always receive direct        feedback from your professor. But your professor will have submitted        feedback in the discussion to other posts. So read your professor’s        feedback whether it is addressed to you directly or to other fellow        students. This will give you much to think about and apply to your own        post.
  • If your professor or a fellow classmate responds to        your revised initial post, and on this basis, you find good reason to        submit yet another revision (in addition to a revision that you may have        already submitted), then by all means do so. Keep in mind that four        posts is the minimum, not the maximum number of posts that you may        submit. The more you improve your initial post, the more you will benefit        both in terms of your learning and most likely your grade.
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