Ethics Journal

Now that you’ve read the documents necessary and analyzed the content therein, you’re ready to submit your Ethics Journal.  Ethics Journals may be submitted anytime prior to the submission of the Manifesto.  I’d recommend submitting it during class this week if possible.  Your Ethics Journal is significant for several reasons:

  • You will need to analyze and/or quote from the documents as you plan and write your manifesto.  Quality manifestos will include analysis from these texts.
  • You will need to submit a quality Ethics Journal for the final journal of the year.  There will be daily assignments only after the submission of the Ethics Journal.
  • You will need to review and understand this material for the Final Exam.  The Final Exam will cover this material and ask you to make comparisons between these thinkers and material you’ve learned throughout the year.  It is likely that your final exam asks you to read excerpts from these texts and then:
    • identify the author
    • specify the main point
    • recognize the philosophy
    • compare this ideology to others you’ve learned

Your Ethics Journal will be submitted along with this rubric.  Please print it and include it with your submission.

Manifesto 2013 – choosing a topic

Manifesto Topic 2013

Many of you have already started the process of thinking through the topic for your manifesto.  I have spoken with several of you who have considered an alternate topic for your manifesto.  Regardless of the topic you will eventually explore, the central guiding question I will ask as a reader is “how is this essay an application of a moral philosophy?”  Another way to look at it is “how is this (writing) about ethics?”  If you can keep that in mind, you are on the right track.
Unless you get an alternate topic approved on Friday, May 17th, your Manifesto must be a response to this question:  How can we ensure that businesses make ethical decisions?
For simplicity’s sake, I would recommend that you frame your discussion of the problem around a modern economic failure like the collapse of the clothing factory in Bangladesh.  A sample model of this default topic is stated below these abstract examples.
All Manifestos will include the following four components:  a stated (economic) problem, a recognition of one’s assumptions about human nature, an argument of what is right (in an economic sense) and how right is known, and a viable solution to the problem.
Please recognize, as an author, that your goal is to state the problem and your assumptions and then build your argument for a solution to the problem – a solution that gets us even closer to the ideal.
A possible structure would look like the following:
 – the assumptions you have about human nature
 – the way that ‘right’  and duty are known in an economic sense
 – the problem that must be solved (and why it requires action)
 – the solution that will restore the ‘ideal’ and improve society while solving the problem
Likewise, some may find this structure more appealing:
 – a statement of the problem and the dangers of inaction
 – the recognition of how people behave without guidance
 – description of the ideal  good and how the good is realized
 – a clarification of the steps toward the solution AND the argument for why it is both necessary and viable
IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING, IGNORE THIS NEXT SECTION.  If you can’t decide on your own, you’re going to write on the default topic (or if you haven’t really decided yet).   You should tackle this basic sequence of questions in your work:
1. Why is the factory collapse such a big deal?  Yes, over 1,000 lives were lost, but there are other catastrophes that take a similar number of lives.  What is the economic injustice inherent in this issue?
2. How is this building collapse an example of what is wrong with human nature?  How do people behave both in nature and when they enter into an economic agreement?  Do people naturally care for others?  Should they care for each other in an economic sense?
3.And what obligation do we have to take action in this case?  What duty do we have to others?  Where does this obligation come from?  How do we know this obligation exists?
4. So, what should be done in this case?  Who is really responsible for the loss of life – the workers? the owner? the companies that contracted the work?  the consumers in the U.S.?  What specific steps need to be taken in order to ensure that this type of unethical business practices are not allowed to happen in the future?  and what makes you think these steps will prevent unethical business practices given what you know/stated about human nature?
So, please realize that by today, May 17th, you need to have a first draft of the entirety of the project including a possible solution to the problem.

Due Dates for the Manifesto (and how to create an alternate calendar)…

Your first draft is due on May 17th.  This draft will include all four major entries and be thorough in terms of the scope of things/arguments you need to include in your work.  The first draft does not need to have quoted support and examples… a rough estimate for this work would be six or so pages double-spaced.

The second draft is due on May 21st [We will peer edit in class that day].

Your second draft will include expert support for these facets of your essay:

  • What is human nature?
  • What is good and how is it known?
  • What is the problem and why is it significant?

A rough estimate for the second draft would be eight pages.  You must get substantial and quality peer editing on a draft that includes expert views.

Your final draft is due on May 23rd unless a revised calendar is both submitted and approved on or before May 17th.

Proposal for an alternate calendar:

If you wish to propose an alternate due date for the first draft (or any draft), you will need to do the following:

a)      Determine the topic you will be writing about

b)      Write your initial working Thesis that explains your solution

c)      Propose dates for each of the following: 1st draft, 2nd draft, peer editing, final draft

You must submit your proposal in writing.  If you submit it in email form, I will have a copy.  If you get my signature on a paper copy, you MUST NOT LOSE IT or the arrangement is null and void.

The LAST date that alterations to the calendar will be approved is May 17th.

Writing a draft of the problem you have to solve…

Previously, you got started on your project, April 29th by addressing the following in an expository essay:

  1. How are human beings in the ‘state of nature?’ What is human nature?
    1. Do people make moral decisions?  Do they naturally care for others?
    2. Can they think beyond self-interest?
    3. Do people need to be regulated?  Why?
  2. You followed that work (on April 30th) by writing about how people know right from wrong.  What we want to do today is move to the next step…
    1. What obligations do customers have to purchase ‘ethical’ goods
      1. Do consumers have an obligation to demand businesses operate in an ethical manner?

The Manifesto Assignment Overview and Learning Objectives

Today we begin the groundwork for the Manifesto.

Actually, we have been working toward the production of the Manifesto (as we will call it) the entire year.  The Manifesto you will craft will showcase your thinking and writing skills in a product that represents the best work you have done as a student.  The Manifesto will demonstrate your best analytical and problem-solving skills.  It will serve as an example of your talents.

In short, the Manifesto will require you to:

  • form your own philosophical view on morality including:
    • The source of what is right
    • How right is known
    • How right can be learned
  • know a range of similar and contrasting moral viewpoints
    • recognize the strengths and weaknesses of their arguments
  • apply your ethical philosophy to an economic reality
  • research and understand a current event that allows you to discuss the ethics of economics
    • make the argument that the current situation is causing harm
  • consider and address the implications of inaction
  • propose a solution/take a viewpoint on the dilemma
  • consider and address the implications of your solution

In the process, you will make sure that you:

  • formulate original ideas
  • research and acknowledge the ideas of others by quoting their insights
    • clearly identifying the source of expert opinions
    • clearly identifying the differences between your ideas and the ideas of others
    • include specific ‘expert’ views that disagree with your own
      • refute their arguments in ways that suggest the legitimacy of your views

As you look to determine the appropriate direction of your Manifesto, it is important to recognize that your peers will not be writing their Manifestos on exactly the same topic.  In fact, given the complexity of the assignment and the breadth of options within the realm of economics, it is likely that your peers will be writing different topics.  As it turns out, that is a good thing – they will then be great peer editors.  If you’re writing a project on the same topic as someone else, keep your solutions under wraps so that your solutions are unique and revolutionary.