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Paper 1: Do Businesses Have Social Obligations? Logistics: Paper 1 should be no more than 5 pages, double-spaced, in typical font (e.g. Times New Roman 12-point font). DO NOT exceed the page limit. It will be due Friday November 5th by 11:59pm. You should turn your paper in on Canvas via Assignments. Overview of Assignment: You may provide your own definition of ‘social obligation,’ or you may use the following definition: ? Social obligation: X (a person, organization, business, etc.) has a social obligation if and only if X has a moral duty, not due to a harm caused by X, to act in a way that (1) benefits some person or group of people other than X and (2) does not benefit X directly. If you go with the definition just given, be sure to explain it and provide some examples that clarify your understanding of it to the reader. Once you have a sense of what you think a social obligation is, you should explore the question of whether businesses have social obligations. You will have to provide your own definition of what a business is. Dictionary “definitions” can inform your thinking, but a philosophical definition has to be more precise. You cannot make a clear argument about whether businesses have social obligations without giving your reader a clear sense of what you think a business is. Your paper should be structured around a clear argument (it is best to state the argument explicitly in standard form at the start of the paper) that reaches one of two possible conclusions: (1) Businesses have some social obligations or (2) businesses have no social obligations. For this paper, you should take as granted the prevailing socioeconomic circumstances of the present day United States. In other words, don’t argue that businesses have social obligations because they would have them in a world with your ideal form of economic organization (in Paper 2, you may explore these kinds of issues). You should assume that resources are predominantly privately owned, that governments and businesses are, in crucial respects, different kinds of organizations with different roles, etc. (again, these assumptions will be thrown out for Paper 2). Do not assume, however, that your reader understands these things. So, for example, if you want to argue along with Friedman that governments but not businesses have social obligations, you should explain the differences between the two and demonstrate how these differences support your claim. You must use at least one real-world case, and you may use more, to support your argument or illustrate one or more premises. Thinking about specific real-world cases should help guide your thinking on the big-picture question and vis versa. Below are some cases that can help you develop Paper 1. You may choose a case that is not on the list. If you are unfamiliar with a case that sounds interesting and you cannot find literature on it, please see Instructor Marciniec (AKA Hubert). Possible Cases for Paper 1: the Ford Pinto, environmental stewardship, gentrification and other forms of displacement, freedom of speech and harmful misinformation, Facebook’s psychological manipulation experiment, cancel culture, Malden Mills, sweatshop labor and child labor, employer vaccine mandates, the penal system… Paper 2: How Ought We to Organize Work? Logistics: Paper 2 should be no more than 7 pages, double-spaced, in typical font (. Times New Roman 12-point font). DO NOT exceed the page limit. It will be due December 10th by 11:59pm. You should turn your paper in on Canvas via Assignments. Overview of Assignment: The question of how we ought to organize work may strike you as falling more so under the domain of economics or political science, and you certainly may explore those dimensions of the question in some depth to make your argument. But this paper requires you to address the moral dimensions of the question. The economic and political issues are only relevant for our class insofar as they are relevant to the moral issues. And you can discuss the moral issues without in-depth technical understanding of economics or political science. The following will give you a sense of how you might approach the paper, but feel free to explore the question in other ways—get creative. Just make sure to check with us before starting to develop an idea. As with Paper 1, your paper should be structured around a clear argument. But unlike Paper 1, there are more than two conclusions you might argue for. Start by thinking about work itself. As moral philosophers, we are concerned with understanding the good life. As moral philosophers interested in business ethics, we are concerned with how work fits into the good life. Is work a part of the good life or simply a means to it? Consider Schumacher’s view of work in ‘Buddhist Economics’ and Russell’s view in ‘In Praise of Idleness.’ Next, think about what you take to be the goal of human work. Here are two possible ways to get going: 1. Picture your ideal society in a concrete way. What do the streets look like? Are there streets? How do people get around? How are dwellings and commercial structures organized and what do they look like? What kinds of needs/wants are provided for by brick-and-mortar structures and what kinds of needs/wants are provided for in other ways? And so on… 2. Think about the principles that a perfectly moral society would live by. Are we striving for a world in which everyone has all and only what they have worked to attain, a world with maximal negative freedom? Or do we want to provide people with basic necessities regardless of their contribution to society? Why should we not provide people with more than basic necessities? Now apply your thoughts about work and an ideal society to answer the main question of Paper 2. Consider Cohen’s Why Not Socialism? and Brennan’s Why Not Capitalism? Consider the Wright and Rogers reading on capitalism and Anderson’s ‘Private Government.’ Is there a real difference between businesses and governments? Should we maintain distinct roles for each? Reflect on Halliday & Thrasher’s triangle diagram. Should resources be privately or communally owned? Should centralized planning or market mechanisms do the organizing? How might novel technologies affect how we ought to organize work? You are NOT required to consider a real-world case for Paper 2, but you may do so if it helps support your argument. Possible Cases for Paper 2: cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), AI, income inequality, working from home, reduced work week, minimum wage, socialized healthcare, Chevron as private judiciary, stock market, stonks, progressive taxes/fines, lobbying, public transportation vs. cars, intellectual property, military industrial complex, big pharma, prison industrial complex, cheese caves (subsidizing markets), public restrooms… Grading For both papers, you will be graded on (1) the quality of your argument and (2) the clarity of its presentation. Quality of Argument: A good philosophical argument has a few features. First, it should plausibly be a sound argument. I say “plausibly” because of the second feature of good philosophical arguments: a controversial conclusion. Since the conclusion has to be controversial, there will always be someone who challenges the soundness of a good philosophical argument. Your grade will not be affected by whether we agree with your conclusion. We might think that one or more of your premises are false, and that’s okay. What matters is that you push us to reevaluate our beliefs, not that you convince us. Even opponents of your view should admit that your argument could plausibly be sound. Your opponents should have to work hard to object to it. The third feature is related to the first two: every premise in your argument should be well-supported. This means constructing sub-arguments for each premise of your master argument, explaining key terms, and exploring and refuting strong objections. A strong objection is one that an opponent of your argument would find appealing, one that can reasonably be expected to convince someone that your view is wrong. Don’t set up a dummy objection that you can easily knock down. Put yourself in your opponent’s shoes and make a strong case for your opponent’s view. If you cannot do this, you probably don’t have a very controversial conclusion. Clarity of Presentation: Clear presentation means your reader is aware of your master argument and knows what each section of the paper is doing. Are you explaining/supporting one of the of the master argument’s premises? Are you discussing an objection to one of those premises? Are you refuting an objection? Your paper should have clear “road signs” marking transitions and a predictable flow. It is best to present your argument explicitly in standard form at the start of the paper and structure your paper around defending the premises. There is more than one way to structure your paper clearly. You may argue for each premise first and then move to objections or consider objections to each premise as you go. But the reader should never wonder why what is being said is being said.