APPLIED Professional Ethics , Graduate Course- Syllabus ECON 654-8 1, Fitzelle Hall 215,
Professor: Achim D. Koeddermann

Office Hours: reserved for you: 6.30-7 (after class)
517 Fitzelle Hall Tu 1. 15-2 p.m.; Th. 8:30-10:30 a.m. & by appointment
436-3037 Th. 1. 15-2.15 p.m., 6.30-7.30 p.m.
E-mail: Koeddea & by appointment

Course Description

For the graduate student in business economics, the starting professional or the student who has his profession in a business/economics related area like health care management, this course provides an overview of the ethical questions involved in everyday professional life. Discussion will include questions arising from private practice, public service, employment/employer, health care practice, management and business life. Focusing especially on professional codes of ethics and their possible applications, the course will try to bridge the gap between ethical theory and professional practice. Examples of practices and problems from different fields are relevant to all because the various professions affect the interests of everyone.

The purpose of this course is to enable the students to develop moral reasoning skills which will help to cope with professional problems. The students will explore the theoretical background of existing codes of ethics, analyze and criticize the code of their field and finish a reevaluation according to changed moral questions. The study of the implications of practices ranging from preferential hiring, liability, privacy, information sharing until affirmative action will familiarize the participants with the philosophical implications of current moral debates. Besides, the awareness of different legal implications should help to avoid future litigations. As side-effect, leadership-studies will be included in form of practice in class presentation and team work.

Through literature, case study, video-examples and discussion of personal experiences, the students will be encouraged to recognize, analyze and formulate their own concepts of justice and fairness. In the later part of this course, each participant will explore one professional field. Individual research will combine John Rawls' concept of Justice as Fairnees, and Ronald Dworkin's appeal to take Rights Seriously with professional problems of the respective fields. External presentations (Legal implications, preferential hiring, affirmative action, Keiretsu) will help to raise the sensitivity for the practical application and cultural/moral differences.

Specific Course Objectives:

- To understand issues and theories concerning responsible professional behavior.

- To examine how those theories correspond with existing philosophical patterns and to elaborate differences as well as possible routes of reconciliation.

- To enable students to deal critically with professional decisions and to rationalize the discussion. To build a bridge between theory and practice: the use of video, discussion with professionals and excursions will help develop a feeling for the application of critical reasoning skills.

Grades: at least 3 quizzes (10%, lowest of four quizzes dropped), one research paper (25%) with presentation, Midterm/ Final (tests and essays) (25 %), Class Participation (in class, homework) (25 %). Subject to change after approval by participants: I want 100 % success, but not more.

List of Topics to be covered, approximate time frame:

From the old to the new concepts - and why we need ethics today more than ever

1. a) General Introduction: Which philosophical questions are linked with ethical decisions in professional life?

(weeks 1 and 2)

Training of Good Reasoning:
Deductive arguments
Inductive Arguments
Evaluating moral arguments, fallacies: application to professional fields:
b) Distinction between morality and law
C) Distinction between morality and religion
d) Distinction between morality and prudence
e) Distinction between morality and economics

2. Classical views of Professionalism in modem cases (week 3)
Readings: Excerpts from Aristotle, "moral virtue" Kant, "respectfor persons' J. St. Mill, "Utilitarianism" Differentiation: Bentham

3. What is a profession? (week 4, first part)
Discussion: Professionalism in Journalism and Nursing

4. Differences between conventional and occupational morality
Discussion: "Is business bluffing ethical?" (week 4, last part)

Presentation: "Ethics and Library Research, James Lloyd Gates, Jr.

Florida State Univ., Law School
Director, National Baseball Hall of Fame

5. Professional/Client relationship (week 5, first part)

Discussion: "Academic Paternalism" Response papers: Dialogue, in class case study
Comparison: Five steps of evaluation

6. Specific Problems:

Privacy vs. confidentiality (week 5, last part) Case studies: moral codes]
Inclusion of five-step evaluation

7. Informed Consent (week 6, first part), the principle of autonomy.

John Locke: Life, Liberty and Property, in comparison with Hobbes and Jefferson

8. Professional Liability (week 6, last part)

Responsibility for property in a Locke/Jefferson related value system.
The pursuit of happiness
The concept of Kantian Ethics vs. Utilitarianism in Rawls
Discussion: Problems, first class evaluation

9. Pornography/arguments for free speech vs. censorship (week 7, first part)

Presentation: James B. Greenberg, Computers, Middle Management and ethical responsibilities

Advertising in codes of ethics: research project.

Comparison of codes and application

Close reading of Rawls & 1 - 11 and 42.

10. Job Discrimination
Discussion of applied codes, of privacy, of veil of ignorance. Case study
Revision/review for comprehensive examinations

Independent reading of Rawls and Dworkin

PART TWO: Theories of justice and their application (midterm until end)

Key Concepts, discussed in the framework of the theories of Rawls, Dworkin and Nozick; Discussion of Bayle's criticism of advocacy, the differences between candor and truth.

the studentss will be responsible for a case study, which will lead to individual evaluations of specific problems in their field. At the end of the semester, an evaluation and discussion will be public. The students are

Collective Topics:


AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, different concepts of equality (video examples/case studies/legal background)

April 17, Morris Hall, 5 p.m.: Guest speaker Billie Luisi-Potts, consultant

"Sexual Harassment and Hostile Environment: due process and "safe" behavior in the "minefield" of "politically correct" behavior.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT (implication of autonomy, presentations, case-studies, application in professional life)

SOCIAL and DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE (Balance between justice and fairness, right to health care)

Cumulative Test

END: Independent research projects (to be presented in class).

Suggested required texts:

Jeffrey Olen & Vincent Barry - Applying Ethics Joan C. Callahan - Ethical Issues in Professional Life Ronald Dworkin - Taking Rights Seriously John Rawls - A 77zeory of Justice Further reading, not required: Michael Bayles - Professional Ethics