Ashford Course Materials (General)
- Section 9.1: The Argumentative Essay is a section of Chapter 9 of the introductory course in logic textbook that is employed in the PHI103 Informal Logic course offered at Ashford University. The link for this source will take you to a PDF format of this chapter. Section 9.1 introduces the thesis and premises in an argumentative essay, which are elements that students in this course must employ in both assignments in this course.
- Section 9.2: Strengthening the Argumentative Essay is a section of Chapter 9 of the introductory course in logic textbook that is employed in the PHI103 Informal Logic course offered at Ashford University. The link for this source will take you to a PDF format of this chapter. For the purposes of the work for this week, it will be necessary to read only thesubsection called Clarification and Support. This subsection explains the kind of support needed in an argumentative essay for the claims offered in its premises, which students in this course must know in order to apply in discussions and both assignments.
- This PowerPoint document covers the main characteristics of utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics, and what is the moral good in each of these.
Case Studies Materials (Click on links to access)
Currrent Business Problems: Case Studies: Lehman Brothers, British Petroleum, Monsanto, Merck, …
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.
Prepare: In your first post in this discussion, you will identify and apply one ethical theory of your choosing to a current problem in business, also of your choosing. Start by reviewing your notes on the Week One course material and your completed work for Week One. Then, choose one of the three ethical theories—i.e., utilitarianism, deontology, or virtue ethics—on the basis of your thoughtfully considered preference in general and independent of the business problem that you will select here. Keep in mind that you will employ this ethical theory for supporting your position not only for this discussion, but also for this week’s assignment and the Final Project.
To prepare for your selection of the current problem in business, look at the list of required articles and multimedia which are divided in the six case-categories as follows:
- Banking (Lehman Brothers)
- Environment (BP)
- GMOs (Monsanto)
- Pharmaceuticals (Merck)
- Gender Discrimination (Goodyear)
- Factory Farms (Perdue)
Choose the case-category that you find the most interesting and note that each category also corresponds to one particular case. Please choose carefully because your choice for this discussion will establish the case that will be central to your argumentative essay this week as well as your Final Project in Week Five. It is recommended that you leaf through all the required resources indicated for the possible case-categories that you identify as possible contenders before making your final choice.
Reflect: Once you have selected your ethical theory and your case category, articulate the characteristics of the economic system (or combination of both systems) that serves as the setting for the case presented in the case category sources. Given this context, examine how the nation’s laws affect the operations of the business.
Next, identify the characteristics of your chosen ethical theory and its notion of the moral good. For the latter, you will need to review again the PowerPoint that was introduced in Week One, which is also listed in this week’s Required Resources and it is titled The Moral Good in Three Traditional Ethical Theories. Then, think how you would apply the ethical theory to the specific problem presented in the case category sources.
Write: Start your post by (a) identifying the issue or problem that you want to address in the case that you have selected and providing an impartial presentation of the controversy, (b) articulating briefly the characteristics of the economic system that serves as the setting, and (c) examining the laws that affect the operations of the business.
The following illustration should help. Consider, for example, the case of Uber that we examined in Week Two. If the California decision establishes a precedent for similar claims, then Uber would have to do business as an employer and not merely as a service that pairs consumers with ride sharing services by means of a unique phone app. Accordingly, the law would require Uber to reimburse its drivers for certain costs and perhaps offer benefits. Take in consideration, then, the legal setting for the case that you have chosen. Does the case take place in the United States or another country? What are the laws that are relevant to the problem under examination? Keep in mind that all laws are constraints on our actions, whether those by individuals or corporations. The relevant laws, then, will be (a) any laws that present not only a constraint on the company’s operations, (b) any laws that are being violated by the corporation, or (c) any laws that unfairly limit the goods and services that can be offered to and are demanded by consumers.
In a second paragraph, formulate a sentence that presents the moral position that you want to defend in regard to the issue or problem introduced in the previous paragraph.
In the same paragraph, present the ethical theory that you choose to employ. Your choices are utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics, and the necessary material is included in the required readings and media. Make sure to identify the characteristics of the ethical theory, and include in-text citations and full references in APA form at the end of the post. Once you have done this, apply the ethical theory to your selected case by explaining how it lends itself to the moral position that you are defending.
Revise: Read 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 a 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 length and 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.
- Your list of references for your initial post should include the videos and the other required reading material pertaining to your chosen subject heading, as well as the ethics, economic, and law components of Weeks One and Two, the Instructor Guidance, and any other announcements presented to you by your professor. In addition, your references should include any other sources that you consult to inform yourself about your chosen case category (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 required 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.
- Your replies should focus on the specific examination presented by your fellow student and these should include an examination of whether or not the characteristics of the ethical theory and/or economic system 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.
Requirements for Revising your Initial Post:
- Submit a revision of your initial post by either replying to your own post, or to the feedback provided to you by your professor.
- There is no minimum word requirement for your revised initial post. But you should always explain the reasons for revising your post so that it is clear what you are doing. If you are revising only a few words, or an ethical theory, you should avoidsubmitting a post with vague language such as: “another ethical theory works better here” or “I now understand how to do the analysis.” It is important to recognize that no one can read your mind so you need to provide the setting for your revision (Why? What prompted it? What course material informed you?).
- Your revised initial post is your chance to correct any oversights or errors in your initial post, or show your improved understanding of the material and its applications to the case at hand. You may, for example, come to the realization that another ethical theory is better than the one that you initially chose. Accordingly, your revision should indicate that you chose another ethical theory and an explanation why you find the replacement more suitable. You may also find the need to revise any relevant portions of your analysis. Or, you might have realized that your conclusion did not take into account important factors necessary for your evaluation of the situation.
Case Analysis: Case Studies: Lehman Brothers, British Petroleum, Monsanto, Merck, Goodyear, Perdue Farms
In the Week Three Discussion, you selected a current business problem from the following case categories:
- Fuel and the Environment
- Factory Farming
- Gender Discrimination
In this written assignment, you will present your work on the case analysis using selected components of an argumentative essay as described in Sections 9.1 and 9.2 of With Good Reason: A Guide to Critical Thinking (Hardy, Foster, & Zúñiga y Postigo, 2015). This written assignment will include a revised and polished version of your discussion work, the presentation and support of two premises, and an analysis of how your chosen ethical theory offers the best moral solution to the business problem in your case analysis.
Using the components of the argumentative essay located in Sections 9.1 and 9.2 of With Good Reason: A Guide to Critical Thinking (Hardy, Foster, & Zúñiga y Postigo (2015), your assignment should include the following:
An introduction. This is the “Problem” portion of the essay that is covered in Section 9.1: The Argumentative Essay (Hardy, Foster, & Zúñiga y Postigo, 2015). This should be an improved version of the introduction in your initial post, revised on the basis of your professor’s feedback and additional research. In this introduction you will need to (a) identify the specific issue or problem that you want to address and give an impartial presentation of the controversy, (b) articulate briefly the characteristics of the economic system that serves as the setting for the business, and (c) examine the laws that affect the operations of the business. The introduction should be one paragraph of around 200 words in length.
A thesis. Start a new paragraph with a precise and clear sentence in which you state your moral position with regard to the case that you presented in your first paragraph. This is known as stating your thesis. (See the “Thesis” passage in “The Argumentative Essay” in Hardy, Foster, & Zúñiga y Postigo, 2015). The thesis you state here should be an improved version of the thesis in your initial post in the discussion, revised on the basis of your professor’s feedback and your reading of “The Argumentative Essay” indicated above.
A thesis is only one sentence, so do not write a series of sentences, or a complex sentence with explanatory clauses (e.g., “because…” or “since…” or “according to Dr. Mary Expert, an economist with the Bureau of Labor statistics…”, or “a law that was ratified with 80% votes in favor…”). An example of a precise and clear thesis is this: “Factory farms are not morally justifiable” or, of course, the opposite point of view: “Factory farms are morally justifiable.” Keep in mind that your thesis in this assignment will be the basis for the argumentative essay of the Week Five written assignment, so take your time when formulating this thesis.
Ethical theory. In the same second paragraph as the thesis statement, identify the ethical theory that supports your moral position. You may choose from utilitarianism, duty ethics, or virtue ethics. Present the characteristics of the ethical theory in a broad sketch, and include citations and references in APA form. Then, apply your chosen ethical theory by explaining how it lends itself to the moral position that you are defending.
Two premises. Present at least two reasons in support of your thesis and these should be presented in the form of a claim. These are called premises. Articulate each premise in one clear and grammatically correct sentence. Review Section 9.1 of With Good Reason: A Guide to Critical Thinking (Foster, Hardy, and Zúñiga y Postigo, 2015). Start a new paragraph for each.
In the rest of the paragraph, support your premise by presenting an analysis of how the ethical theory lends itself to the best solution. This analysis includes articulating the characteristics(s) of the economic system at work that support the claims in your premises. It also includes examining the effects of the law(s) at work that also support the claims in your premises.
Comparative analysis. In the final paragraph, analyze how this application lends itself to a solution that is superior to that offered by one of the ethical theories that you did not select. To do this, provide a clear statement describing the moral solution offered by this other theory. For example, if you chose utilitarianism to apply to your case, then you can choose from either virtue ethics or deontology for your comparative analysis. Explain in no more than three sentences what moral solution would result from the application of this other ethical theory. See the “” for an illustration of how this would look like. Finally, analyze the strengths of the moral solution presented by your chosen ethical theory in ways that demonstrate how it is superior to the moral solution offered by the other ethical theory.
Once you receive your assignment back from your professor, start working on revisions based on your professor’s feedback. This is the first step in preparing your Final Project and the details are presented on the Final Project’s prompt. You will benefit from starting your Final Project as soon as you receive your assignment back from your professor.
Requirements for Your Assignment:
- Your assignment should be 1000 words in length, excluding the title page and reference page(s).
- 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.
- Your assignment should include citations, as well as a list of references. Both must be in APA form.
- You should draw from the sources provided in your chosen case category in the discussion this week.
- Also refer to Section 9.1: The Argumentative Essay and the introduction to Section 9.2: Strengthening the Argumentative Essay (intro only for the latter) from Hardy, J., Foster, C., & Zúñiga y Postigo, G. (2015).
- Your references should include at least two scholarly sources from your own research in the Ashford University Library, Google Scholar (this is not the same as Google), or the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. No Wikipedia articles and the like should be included in the references, nor employed to inform your paper. Also keep in mind that dictionary definitions are not references in the academic sense.Your assignment should be submitted no later than the end of Monday (11:59 pm, U.S. Mountain time).