week 1 – discussion | PHI 445 Personal & Organizational Ethics | Ashford University

 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.
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