Developing a Practical Ethical Viewpoint: Ethical Relativism

Business Ethics Rubric

  1. Developing a Practical Ethical Viewpoint (Have you clearly picked and stated an Ethical Viewpoint) (You need to choose one for each case study)
    1. Utilitarianism
    2. Universal Ethics
    3. Ethical Relativism
    4. Virtue Ethics


  1. To help you choose the ethical theory do the following (By looking at the moral situations):
    1. Interpret what is right and wrong according to each of the four theories
    2. Give an argument that each theory might provide
    3. State your own assessment of the strengths of each theory
    4. State the weakness of each theory


  • Step 1: Analyze the Consequences.

Who will be helped by what you do? Who will be harmed? What kind of benefits and harm are we talking about? Who will be helped by what you do? Who will be harmed?

Step 2: Analyze the actions

Consider all the options from a different perspective, without thinking about the consequences. How do the actions measure up against moral principles like honesty, fairness, equality, respecting the dignity of others, and people’s rights? (Consider the common good.) Are any of the actions at odds with those standards? If there’s a conflict between principles or between the rights of different people involved, is there a way to see one principle as more important than the others? Which option offers actions that are least problematic?


Step 3: Make a decision

Make a decision. Take both parts of your analysis into account, and make a decision. This strategy at least gives you some basic steps you can follow.


  1. What are the facts? Know the facts as best you can. If your facts are wrong, you’re liable to make a bad choice.
  2. What can you guess about the facts you don’t know? Since it is impossible to know all the facts, make reasonable assumptions about the missing pieces of information.
  3. What do the facts mean? Facts by themselves have no meaning. You need to interpret the information in light of the values that are important to you.
  4. What does the problem look like through the eyes of the people involved? The ability to walk in another’s shoes is essential. Understanding the problem through a variety of perspectives increases the possibility that you will choose wisely.
  5. What will happen if you choose one thing rather than another? All actions have consequences. Make a reasonable guess as to what will happen if you follow a particular course of action. Decide whether you think more good or harm will come of your action.
  6. What do your feelings tell you? Feelings are facts too. Your feelings about ethical issues may give you a clue as to parts of your decision that your rational mind may overlook.
  7. What will you think of yourself if you decide one thing or another? Some call this your conscience. It is a form of self-appraisal. It helps you decide whether you are the kind of person you would like to be. It helps you live with yourself.
  8. Can you explain and justify your decision to others? Your behavior shouldn’t be based on a whim. Neither should it be self-centered. Ethics involves you in the life of the world around you. For this reason you must be able to justify your moral decisions in ways that seem reasonable to reasonable people. Ethical reasons can’t be private reasons.


Please do at least the required pages. Please do double spaced. Please give headings for idea. For example,


Introduction—Explain the case study the facts.


Body of  Paper—This is where you state the different ethical theories, strengths and weaknesses, which theory you choose, why you choose that theory, what would you do, do you agree with what was done.


Conclusion—Summary of what you told me in the paper.


In short, please choose a case study from the book.  Read the case study.  Analyze the case study under the four theories.  Talk about the strengths and weaknesses of each theory. Choose the theory that best matches with your worldview.  Why did you pick this theory.  Under Step 3 these questions will help you make the decision.  What is the ethical conflict? Why is this a conflict?  This paper is an exercise where you can take a situation and apply ethical decision making to it.

The case studies that you can use for this paper are “The Overcrowded Lifeboat” “Think Critically 1.1” and “Thinking Critically 1.2.”



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