Utilitarianism, Deontology, and Virtue Ethics: Case Study

This discussion assignment requires you to submit at least four posts: an initial post, two reply posts to fellow students in threads other than your own, and a revised post in response to the professor’s feedback.  
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.

 

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