Argumentative paper of approximately 5 – 7 pages double-spaced, standard margins, 12pt font. The paper will count for approximately 20% of your grade. The format for the paper is discussed in Appendix A below. The hard copy of the paper is due in class; and an electronic copy in Word format should be simultaneously uploaded to Moodle.csun.edu (for Turnitin originality report) on the due date. Late papers will get an automatic F, and will not be accepted. There will be no exceptions. If you cannot submit a hard copy in person, email your class partner to submit it for you on the day it is due.
Paper topics must be relevant to business ethics (not personal, professional, or social ethics). If you are unsure about your topic you should check with me. I do not suggest paper topics – it is your job, and the first step in writing the paper. The required paper format is part of this syllabus (Appendix A). Failure to follow the required format will result in a C paper (at best).
There will be class discussions and in-class exercises aiming to facilitate the paper writing process. If you miss class, ask your fellow classmates for the content of these discussions.
Any form of academic dishonesty will result in an F on the paper or assignment. I will forward your plagiarized paper to the Vice President for Student Affairs for further sanctions by the University. I adopt a “No second chance” policy on academic dishonesty.
Plagiarism is any intentional representation of someone else’s work as your own by
(a) direct quotations (b) paraphrase (c) borrowed but not properly attributed facts and/or information.
Appendix A: the required format for the term paper.
Submit your paper on Moodle.csun.edu in .doc format, in addition to submitting a hard copy in class. If you submit an empty (or unreadable ) document , or a paper from another class, that will be an automatic 0. Be sure you understand how to write, save and retrieve a document on a computer before you continue with this class. Basic computer skills are obviously needed. Uploading files is almost exactly like attaching to an email – it’s very simple. It’s the content of the paper that’s supposed to be hard.
Each item in bold in this appendix (i.e.,the words Claim, Explanation of the Claim, Reasons For/Against, Rebuttals) should appear on your paper. The paper will be discussed in class. If you miss this discussion, obtain notes from your classmates. You should take your audience to be an average reader, not your philosophy instructor.
The most important part about the paper is that it should contain your original thoughts and arguments. In other words, this is an analysis paper not a research paper. It is easily ascertained when you have taken concepts, reasons, and discussion from some other source. The only things that you are allowed to research are the facts (which must be documented). The following facts should be researched: what countries permit bribery, what is defined as child labor, what are applicable laws, what are the legal definitions of discrimination, how many illegal aliens are working in the country.
A single well-worded declarative statement.
E.g., “Should American companies hire underage workers in countries that legally permit it?” is NOT in declarative form, and therefore is not a claim. Questions do not assert anything.
The claim must have moral significance. For example, “Many US companies hire underage workers in countries that legally permit such hires” is a factual claim and does not have moral significance.
“It is economically advantageous for US companies to hire underage workers” is a pragmatic claim and doesn’t have moral significance.
On the other hand, “It is permissible for the US companies to hire underage workers in countries that legally permit such hires.” does have moral significance. The claim must pertain to business ethics.
Common problems: Vague claims; claims posed in the form of a question; too broad or too narrow claims; non-moral claims; more than one issue in the claim. Claims about abortion, death penalty, assisted suicide, legitimacy of war, cloning, religion, etc., are NOT relevant business ethics claims.
Explanation of the Claim: You should explain very carefully and in common-sense vocabulary what you mean by the claim itself and by the terms involved in the claim. For example, it is not immediately apparent what is meant by “US companies should not hire underage workers in countries where it is legally permissible.” I do not know (or pretend not to know for the purposes of grading) what is meant by “underage”, by “countries where it is legally permissible”.
Common problems: assuming that the terms your use are self-explanatory. The reader of your paper will assume no prior knowledge of your subject on his part, If your do not explain your terms, concepts, relationships you will start losing points. Arguing in the explanation part of the paper, rather than explaining what you mean by your claim.
Reasons For the Claim: Each reason for the claim should be numbered with Arabic numerals (1), (2), (3), (4), (5). You should provide at least four reasons for your claim. Each reason must be unpacked in a whole paragraph. Each reason must have moral significance.
Common problems: sketchy arguments; pragmatic rather than moral arguments; insufficiently developed arguments; argument borrowed from other sources (even if documented); arguments that appeal to psychological rather than moral considerations, weak or not well-thought out arguments.
Reasons Against the Claim: Here you step into the shoes of your hypothetical opponent and think of reasons why your claim doesn’t hold. Each reason against the claim should be numbered with Roman numerals (I), (II), (III), (IV). You should provide at least four reasons against your claim. Each reason must be unpacked in a whole paragraph. Each reason must have moral significance.
Common problems: same as above; attempting to rebut the arguments presented in Reasons For the Claim – this belongs to the Rebuttal section.
Decision: At this point in the paper you must decide which set of reasons (i.e., Reasons For or Reasons Against the Claim) is a stronger set. You must explain why you think a particular set of reasons is stronger. This part must be a full paragraph rather than a couple of sentences.
Rebuttals: At this point in the paper you must provide a counterargument against each reason in the set of reasons that you found to be weaker (in the Decision part of the paper). For example, if you found Reasons For the Claim to be a weaker set of reasons, you must counter-argue against (1), (2), (3), (4). Conversely, if you found Reasons Against to be a weaker set, you must counter-argue against (I), (II), (III), (IV). Each counterargument must be unpacked in a whole paragraph.
Not acceptable topics for the paper:
– Cultivation and sale of Cannabis
– Outsourcing (this will be discussed in class)
– Issues regarding athletics or sports
– Child labor
– Executive compensation
– Illegal immigration
– Testing on animals
– Anything having to do with small business
– In general, anything that is prohibited by a relevant federal law, such as bribery, monopoly, discrimination, etc.
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