Philosophy (PHIL) 337

Business Ethics (Revision 1)

PHIL 337

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: None

Precluded Course: None

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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Business Ethics is an applied ethics course that focuses on the ethics of enterprise, exchange, corporate responsibility, work, consumption, and trade. Some of the fundamental questions that the course addresses are:

  1. How do our jobs and consumer products both facilitate and frustrate our efforts to live well?
  2. What does a responsible critique of business practice look like?
  3. What do we hope to achieve from critical evaluations of business practice?
  4. What truly constitutes “good business”?


  • Unit 1: Introducing Business Ethics
  • Unit 2: Normative Ethical Theories, Part I—Moral Relativism and Divine Command Theory
  • Unit 3: Normative Ethical Theories, Part II—Ethical Egoism, Utilitarianism, and Kantian Ethics
  • Unit 4: The Ethics of Advertising and Consumer Desire
  • Unit 5: The Ethics of Hiring and Firing
  • Unit 6: The Ethics of Corporate Responsibility in Society
  • Unit 7: The Ethics of the Globalization of Business
  • Unit 8: Integrity and the Ethics of Leadership

Learning Outcomes

By the completion of this course, students will be able to

  • explain important concepts and theories in the area of business ethics.
  • formulate and defend reasoned positions on ethical issues specific to business practice.
  • identify and reflect on the merit of the theoretical presuppositions of their own moral judgments.
  • demonstrate enhanced reflective depth on ethical issues in business.
  • demonstrate improved critical thinking, writing, and ethical decision-making skills.


To receive credit for this course, students must achieve a minimum composite course grade of D (50 percent). The following chart summarizes the evaluation activities for Philosophy 337 and the credit weight associated with each.

Activity Weight
Assignment 1 (Short Essays) 30%
Assignment 2 (Long Essay) 30%
Final Exam 40%
Total 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials

Allhoff, F., & Vaidya, A. J. (Eds.). (2008). Business in ethical focus: An anthology. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press.

Other Materials

All other materials are available online.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, January 30, 2015.