M2 (Click Here)

M2 (Click Here)

For this discussion, go back to Chapter 1 and read Case 1.1 “Made in the U.S.A – Dumped in Brazil, Africa, Iraq”

This will lead us toward our Environment chapter and more discussion on Dumping.   For this discussion, briefly answer the three questions under #7 in the Discussion Questions area (page 35).   If you do not have your textbook yet, let me know and I can email you the Case.

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For this weeks assignment we are examining one of the many normative theories and they have directly been implemented in our lives or throughout history. Egoism is the one that resonated the most with me. After looking into its meaning and philosophy it is quite apparent that egoism resides among us all. Even though that choose to live selflessly and for others, have still decided to do so but within their own best interests. It does not descried human behavior directly, but more or less what we should be doing, aka living life selfishly. Self preservation is what we should strive for as individuals. It is not necessarily bad to live in ones self interest, in fact we all typically have made decisions in our lives that were dependent on how well we would come out in the outcome. Even those that choose to live for others, to provide aid and care for other people, have still weighed out the negatives and benefits to oneself. Whether we are helping others, or helping ourselves, we all exhibit egoism in the fact that if it isn’t beneficial in some way we will not continue to act if it is negative. It is not bad that we are a bit of egoists, if we didn’t care about our outcome in making decisions throughout our lives, then what influences those decisions?

M2 McJannet Bratton

To begin the theory I most closely identify with is the nonconsequentialist view. I agree that utilitarianism does not come first as while happiness is important, duty comes first. As a member of the United States Air Force there isn’t a day that this doesn’t play into my life. The OSHA example in the book directly applies to me. We must uphold OSHA and many other standards that are a stronger obligation. In my job I work in an aircraft parts warehouse, it is my duty to ensure proper accountability of 1.2 billion dollars of aircraft parts. When these are received my team has to very thoroughly count every asset. It would be easy to just read the exterior label on the box and assume that is the proper quantity. That would absolutely make the job less tedious. However, when there is a member of our Alaskan community who flies a small plane and crashes into a mountain, our 176th planes go fly to search for them. If a plane has something break and maintenance has a specific part they need, they get it from us. If we apply the happiness of the worker above the need to properly do the job, there may not be an aircraft part for the plane. Circling around, if we pick the “easy” or “happy/utilitarianism” we may fail our obligation to the Alaskan people. In our work of the military this is not a supererogatory action, but a morally required task.

M2 (Fajardo)

THIS WEEK’S ASSIGNMENT: At some point in your life, I hope you have observed some of these normative theories in action.   Choose a situation from your life and describe how it applies to one of the theories you have just read about in Chapter 2 (Kant, Egoism, Utilitarianism, Good Will, Prima Facie Obligations, others, etc.). Discuss why you identified that particular situation with the stated theory. Be sure to describe the situation or example.   If you have not observed a theory in action in your life, find an example in our history and discuss how the theory applies to the situation.

One of the theories that most interest me and I can see applied to my own life and the lives of other is Prima Facie Obligations, where an obligation can be over ruled by an even more important obligation. While learning about this normative theory I could think about multiple situations where this is applied from childhood to adulthood. In my own opinion Prima Facie Obligations makes more sense from an ethics perspective of society compared to the other theories where there is only one good and one bad. The example in the text says that a murderer coming to your house is looking for your friend, so they could kill her and you are hiding her inside your home to protect them. While telling the truth is a general obligation to follow in most situations, the obligation to keeping your friend alive is more important than telling the truth. This proves that doing something that is regularly a good thing can turn into something that might put someone’s life in danger.

This theory applies to a situation in my life from situational and relationship stance. I have an older brother who is gay and in high school I realized that I’m queer. When I was a younger my brother was kicked out for being gay, because he told the truth to our mother. If I didn’t know this happened I would’ve told the truth as well, but since I knew this happened to him and risked his own well being and essentially becoming homeless, I didn’t want that to happen to myself. Sometimes keeping secrets from the people closest to you ensures your safety even if that’s keeping secrets from your own family.



M2- McInnis

THIS WEEK’S ASSIGNMENT: At some point in your life, I hope you have observed some of these normative theories in action. Choose a situation from your life and describe how it applies to one of the theories you have just read about in Chapter 2 (Kant, Egoism, Utilitarianism, Good Will, Prima Facie Obligations, others, etc.). Discuss why you identified that particular situation with the stated theory. Be sure to describe the situation or example. If you have not observed a theory in action in your life, find an example in our history and discuss how the theory applies to the situation.

In chapter two we looked at normative theories of ethics. Utilitarianism is the theory that “we should always act to produce the greatest possible balance of good over bad for everyone affected by our actions” (Shaw, 49). What this means is that the decision you make is for the most happiness of everyone involved. The best (most frequent) example of this is in animals. I went to grab a quick bite to eat at the mini mart down the road from a friends house a few months ago. When I pulled in I noticed two smaller terrier sized puppies running around trying to get the attention of anyone in the parking lot. I got out of my car petting the puppies as I walked inside. When inside I heard the employees of the mini mart saying that the dogs had been there all day and that no one had claimed them or came looking. One employee said that if they got out on the highway and got hit that it was fate and not much they could do about it. So I ordered a few extra chicken strips and went to see if I could catch the puppies, I had called my friend and asked what her opinion was. We both agreed that we couldn’t just leave these two there, so I lured them up to my car with chicken and managed to get both of them in the car. We posted on Facebook that we had found two little dogs and was willing to return them to a owner who was missing them. In the meantime my friend and I both decided to take one, well six months later we are both very pleased with our mini mart puppies. Piper has been such a huge blessing keeping my other small dog active and perky, especially since losing my old lab. Here is Piper doing what she does best, distracting me from homework.

Shaw, William H. Business Ethics: A Textbook with Cases, 9th Edition. Cengage Learning, 20160101. VitalBook file.


M2 (Sanches)

After reading the chapter, I can think of a few situations in my life that apply to some of these normative theories. One situation that seems particularly applicable to me is retail sales. I’ve worked the past two years selling running shoes and clothing at Beaver Sports here in Fairbanks. Now, in most sales jobs, there are sales incentives or commission-based sales that would inspire people to sell things harder to earn more money for themselves, an egoistic behavior. However, at Beaver Sports, we get no commission and have no other sales incentives, so much of my sales approach while working there is following utilitarian behavior.

Because of the lack of sales incentives, my personal theory when working is to do my best to ensure that I help each customer find exactly what they need. If that means selling them a shoe that is on sale when something more expensive would provide the same result to make them happier, that’s what I do. If a customer wants to buy a shoe based on the colors, but I know that they’ll be in pain because the shoe isn’t supportive enough for them, I really try to push them into the shoe that will support them better and leave them in less pain down the line.

Utilitarian theory supports these decisions as well. In all of my sales, I consider both happiness and unhappiness generated from a decision or sale I could make. I also think about how one decision I make might affect the happiness of other customers and employees (if I give a discount to one customer in front of another customer, I offer the same discount to the other so that that other customer doesn’t get upset). Taking long-term happiness into account is the driving force between pushing one shoe over another to a customer.


On page 46 it states egoism is, “The view that equates morality with self-interest…”. I found this theory relatable to the many different people that I work with. While my co-workers are polite and professional, very few of them are willing to participate unless there is a direct benefit involved for them or their department. I agree with the misconceptions noted in the reading about “…egoists cannot act honestly, …and helpful,…” (Pg. 47). My co-workers are genuinely good people and when resources are scarce it’s hard to participate in additional projects or tasks.

Recently I have been put in charge of rolling out a new software program for the Administrative Division (keep in mind I have no IT background). I was instructed by the software company to follow a training schedule and to add the relevant people that would need to attend. I invited three other upper management staff and one of those managers invited two IT staff members. Members of this training participated in the ones that applied to them (not staying for all the trainings). I am aware this doesn’t have much to do with morals, but a united front to implement this new software would have been better than being a resource of one.

M2 (Levenson)

A couple of months ago, I was driving down College Road with a full car; my boyfriend was in the front seat and our two dogs in the back. As we were heading home, a dog darted out into the street and ran across all lanes. I saw him and slowed down, but a car driving on the other side of the road in the opposite direction did not, and grievously hit the dog. We saw the dog roll under the car, and then run back across the street. We were shocked, and my first instinct was to pull over to see if it needed help. The dog jumped into a car, which was his owner’s, and stayed in there crying. The owner was stunned and didn’t know what to do because it was Easter and most offices were closed; I let him know the emergency vet was just a block away, found the number for him, and made sure he didn’t need anything else before I left.

I believe this is an example of Kant’s ethics. First of all, our textbook explains the concept of duty which is encompassed in good will, and how “when we act from a sense of duty…our actions have moral worth” (Shaw, pg. 57). I believe that the instinct of helping another being forms out of the “formula of humanity” that Kant included in his ideas. This formula states: “Act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always as an end, and never as a mere means” (Kant & Categorical Imperatives). All of this wraps back around to ethics revolving around having empathy for another human. Universal acceptability can also be a way of explaining this example simply by following the golden rule: treat others how you would like to be treated.



M2 – Easaw

Throughout my life, I have observed some of the normative theories that were covered in our chapter 2 readings. However, the theory illustrated in chapter 2 that I resonate with the most would be Kant’s theory.

According to the text, the principles of Kant’s theory are reliant n good will and categorical imperative. Kant’s theory originated from a German philosopher named Immanuel Kant who believed the experiences a person goes through in their lifetime is influential on the ethical position a person develops.

In my sophomore year of high school, a classmate of mine got the answers to an upcoming exam and was willing to share the answers with many people in the class, including myself. However, my life experiences and lessons up to that point in my life had taught me that cheating is morally wrong. Although many of my classmates used the answers and didn’t get caught, I elected not to use the answers. Instead, I decided to study hard for the exam because I knew that was the right/moral/ethical thing to do. As a result, the exam score I got back was much more fulfilling and satisfying because I knew I had earned my score with honor and hard work.

M2 ( Wade)

Last summer I was at a grocery buying a few snacks. As I was walking to the exit, the cashier that rang me up ran quickly to me and gave me the Razzles candy that I purchased. He said he must have forgotten to put them in the bag. I said thank you, as the cashier hurried back to help customers. As I looked inside my paper bag, I saw that my Razzles were in fact there and the one I had in my hand was not purchased for. I quickly walked back to the same cashier and got in line again. I explained that he did put the candy I purchased in the bag and that I wanted to buy the packet of Razzles that he handed to me. I could have walked out of the store with two packets of Razzles and called it my lucky day, but inside me, I knew that was not the right thing to do. I felt a sense of happiness knowing that the cashier wanted to return something to me that he thought I left behind and had paid for. I hope going back to purchase the item gave the cashier a sense of happiness in someone doing the right thing.

Kant’s theory is an individual’s measure of their ethics based on goodwill and using the categorical imperative (Shaw, 2017). Kant held that only when we act from duty does our action have moral worth. Goodwill is the only thing that is good in itself. The categorical imperative describes that we should always act in such a way that we can will the maxim of our action to a universal law. My action of going back and purchasing what the cashier thought he forgot to bag, is an act Kant’s categorical imperative theory.


Shaw, William H.. Business Ethics: A Textbook with Cases Cengage Learning.

M2 (Bohan)

THIS WEEK’S ASSIGNMENT: At some point in your life, I hope you have observed some of these normative theories in action.   Choose a situation from your life and describe how it applies to one of the theories you have just read about in Chapter 2 (Kant, Egoism, Utilitarianism, Good Will, Prima Facie Obligations, others, etc.). Discuss why you identified that particular situation with the stated theory. Be sure to describe the situation or example.   If you have not observed a theory in action in your life, find an example in our history and discuss how the theory applies to the situation.

I resonated most with the utilitarianism theory. I feel like this concept applies to many aspects of life; from working on group projects and finding a compromise between all members to find what fits the group best, to being a business owner and making decisions that will bring the most happiness to all customers and employees. I find most of my decisions are based on how the outcome with affect others and I  like to think that I make decisions that will best benefit everyone as a whole. For example, whenever I am placed into a group project at school, I usually step up to be the project leader and try to incorporate everyone’s ideas to ensure everyone’s happiness and content with the project outcome. The utilitarianism theory is applicable to many situational decisions in life and I believe most people base their decisions on what is best for all of those affected.

M2 (Lawton)

After reading about normative theories, I can recall a few events in my life where I encountered some actions/decisions that some of these apply to. The event I remember the most that clearly relates to Utilitarianism happened when I was 10 years old. It was the summer of 2007 and I was enjoying my carefree summer days biking around town with my friends.

My friends were planning on staying over one night, so we decided to bike to the local Blockbuster (R.I.P) and rent some movies/games. As we were about to go head inside the store, I spotted a wallet left on the ground. I immediately picked it up to see the contents of the wallet. There was $150 dollars, credit/debit cards, and the ID of the owner of the wallet. It was at this moment, unbeknownst to me, that I made a utilitarian decision.

While I was in awe of the amount of cash that was in the wallet (that is a lot of money for a 10-year-old), my mind was thinking of what would be the most beneficial way to handle this moral dilemma. I could take the wallet and spend the money with my friends which would benefit our happiness albeit temporarily. Or I could try and locate the guy who dropped his wallet and/or give it to the Blockbuster manager to handle. I ultimately decided to find the guy who luckily was in the store with his family and return the wallet.

I decided to give back the wallet because my brother had just recently lost his wallet at the time, and it was a real headache/stressful situation for him. I thoroughly thought about the headache it would cause this guy, and possibly myself if I were to take the wallet. He would have to go about canceling his cards, visiting the DMV for a new license, buying a new wallet, etc. There was also the possibility that I could be in trouble If I would have gotten caught using his cards or money. In the end, he rewarded me and my friends with $20 (more than enough to rent movies/games) and free drinks from Blockbuster. Everyone involved in the decision left happy – my friends and me with basically free rentals, and the guy and his family with a piece of mind.

My decision to give back the wallet displays the six points of Utilitarianism. First & Second, I kept in mind what action would yield the greatest happiness and to what degrees (our questionable temporary happiness vs his more significant happiness). Third, I evaluated the possible actions according to their consequences (option to give back had little to no consequences vs option to take which had more potential consequences). Fourth & Fifth, I figured it would maximize happiness in the long run for their party and my party (didn’t take the risk based on the uncertainty of consequences). Sixth, I did not disregard my own pleasure as I was happy to give it back since something similar happened to my brother.

While these six points roughly outline the situation I was in, I made a utilitarian decision nonetheless.

M2 – Beshaw

The experience that came to mind this week involved both my personal life and my professional. At the time, I worked as a biller for a ground ambulance company. In the course of my work, I reviewed documentation provided by paramedics and facilities to code and bill ambulance services. One time, a very good friend of mine met someone and was headed towards a serious relationship with them. When my friend shared the name, I realized I knew who that person was, because they had been transported by ambulance several times to a local psychiatric facility. I found myself in a very difficult situation; I had a moral obligation to be honest with my friend and protect them, but I was also bound by the law, which stated I could not disclose anything about the person’s medical history. In the end, I encouraged my friend to move slowly and try to get to know the other person as much as possible prior to making a commitment, while being careful not to disclose that I knew of the other person. My duty to follow the law and protect the other person’s health information outweighed my obligation to honesty with my friend. Looking back, I would have handled the situation in the same way. I feel this is an example of a prima facie obligation; my obligation to my friend was overriden by my obligation to follow the law.

M2 (Horsley)

THIS WEEK’S ASSIGNMENT: At some point in your life, I hope you have observed some of these normative theories in action.   Choose a situation from your life and describe how it applies to one of the theories you have just read about in Chapter 2 (Kant, Egoism, Utilitarianism, Good Will, Prima Facie Obligations, others, etc.). Discuss why you identified that particular situation with the stated theory. Be sure to describe the situation or example.   If you have not observed a theory in action in your life, find an example in our history and discuss how the theory applies to the situation.


There was a time, while I was still living in the lower 48’s that I had to decide between honoring the RSVP I replied yes to and giving my aunt a helping hand at the last minute. This choice that I saw myself face with is an example of Prima Facie Obligations. In one hand I had the RSVP, which was for a very good friend’s party, that I had essentially promised I would be showing up to. On the other hand I had my aunt, who watched my elderly grandparents, ask me to take over for the night because she had been called in to work. While a promise should always be kept, and I do enjoy a good party, my loyalty to my family, especially my grandparents whom I adored, lead me to make a quick and simple decision between these two obligations. I spent the night talking with my grandparents and watching old shows. My obligation to keep a promise was overridden by my obligation to be loyal to and take care of my family. While pondering on this week’s assignment it became obvious to me that this particular situation was the most glaring example of Prima Facie Obligations, and the best example, of any of the theories, that I could pull from personal experiences.

M2-(Liam Cassell)

While reading about the key concepts in this chapter I could not help but think about the political landscape that the USA is in right now. It seems there are two groups of people who don’t share the same ethical beliefs. The Right seems to have more of an Egoism/ Utilitarianism view. Whereas, the Left hosts more of a Noconsquesnatlaist school of thought. A good example of this would be the proposed Pebble Mine and its negative impact on the Native Alaskans in that region. A lot of Republican’s argue that the resulting jobs and boost to the state’s economy would greatly benefit the majority of the people in the state. This would cause a lot more happiness for the entire state and would outweigh the slight against the indigenous people because they are just a fraction of the state populous. However, the Left would argue that there is a moral law to not have a negative impact on the Native Alaskans way of life. They believe that we as a state have an obligation to uphold this moral law no matter how much potential growth there is for the state’s economy. These arguments reflect the ethical reasoning mentioned expressed the book and have affected many people in Alaska including myself.

M2 (Taba)

In the early months of 2017, driving up the hill to my parents house, we pulled behind a small hatchback struggling to make it up the hill. We watched from a safe distance as the car attempted 3 times to make it to the top, only to slide back down. We decided that, even though we were hungry, and it was around -20 degrees outside, it would be the right thing to do to help them. We got out of our truck and pushed the car up the hill to supplement what the cars tires could not. The couple made it up the hill and proceeded to drive away without so much as a “thank you”. Instead of being angry at the lack of manners, we laughed and generally felt good inside to have helped someone in need. I feel that this instance fits well into the Utilitarian theory. As our text states, utilitarians understand “good” to be happiness or pleasure. Regardless of not being thanked by this couple, we still felt pleasure in knowing that we helped someone in need.

M2 (Campos)

One sunny weekend, I had decided to go to Point Defiance; a large park located in the state of Washington. I met up with a few friends of mine and as we were walking along I had spotted an item that was on the ground. We walked up towards it and realized it was a wallet. In the wallet, we found a Washington state identification card along with some cash and credit cards. I did a quick Facebook search of the name written on the ID and it populated with what seemed to be a matching description and a picture of the person on the ID. I messaged the individual and waited about an hour; but unfortunately I did not receive a response. Puzzled by what to do next, we took a second look at the address on the ID; which was approximately 45 minutes in the opposite direction that I lived in, but still decided to drive to that destination to return the wallet. This event was an act of Kant’s theory stated by Shaw (pg 58).

Kant’s categorical imperative says that we should always act in such a way that we can will the maxim of our action to be a universal law.’


If I had lost my wallet, I would appreciate it if it was returned to me “Treat everyone the way you would like to be treated’ ; also known as a Golden Rule. This idea also fits into the two alternate reformulations of Kant’s theory that Shaw (pg 60), stated in the textbook.

“First reformulation: An action is right if and only if its underlying principle is universally acceptable, that is, acceptable to all rational parties whether the action is done by them or to them

Second Reformulation: One must always act so as to treat other people as ends in themselves.”



SOURCES: Shaw, William H. Business Ethics. 9th ed, Cengage Learning, 2017

M2 (Muzzillo)

When talking about normative theories, after reviewing the book as well as searching the internet, the theory that I feel relates to myself the most is the Kant’s theory. According to the book, Kant’s theory is an individual’s measure of their ethics based on good will and using the categorical imperative. (Shaw 2017). This normative theory comes from a German philosopher Immanuel Kant who believes that each person in society encounters experiences throughout their lifetime which is what shapes the human mind into creating ethics for themselves based on what they feel is right and wrong or fair and unfair.

In relation to Kant’s ethics, a scenario that jumps out in my head comes from when I was a young teenager going into the cafeteria for my lunch break during middle school. I had witnessed an individual take a slice of pizza off another classmate’s tray while they were using the restroom. I thought I was the only one to see this take place and felt that due to what I thought was right and wrong I should go talk to that student and tell them to put the pizza back where it was found because that was considered stealing.

My ethics that I had built growing up since I was a toddler had told me that stealing is considered bad throughout society and therefore I should stop it if I ever saw it. Although because I was the only one that happened to be looking at that time, I could have just as easily ignored the situation and went about my everyday life. Due to the Kant’s ethics and my brain forming morals, I felt that I had to go talk to the person as what he did was not right, and stealing is not accepted globally. I identified this particular situation because of what Kant’s ethics means along with the fact that although I was not awarded with any prize, I felt much better after acting upon the matter because of my ethics.




Shaw, William H. Business Ethics. 9th ed, Cengage Learning, 2017


M2- Bagrant

It was late 2012, and the snowfall in Girdwood, Alaska had hit an all time high over the previous years for the Alyeska Ski Resort. That late Friday night, I began packing my ski belongings and making lunches in order to prepare for the Alyeska ski shuttle that picks you up 7:30 A.M. sharp to head to the mountain. I had a duty to ski as long as I could that day, and promised myself I would. Max’s face had just opened, and nothing was going to stop me, so I had thought. Well, I wake up the next morning, after receiving barely any sleep due to so much excitement, to a phone call from my father. “Bryan” he shouted out, “I’m really sorry to ruin your ski day, but the foundation to the cabin just collapsed and our cabin is just about sitting on the ice.”

After receiving the call, I knew I needed to go help my father with issues that had arisen at the cabin, but I was more than excited to go skiing due to the weather forecast. Do I break the promise to myself and miss out on the best ski day of the year, or do I help my father with far more important business (to him at the time, not so much me.)

I thought of this situation almost immediately and related it back to the Prima Facie Obligations theory.   I was in immediate conflict over the duty to help out my father, or to fulfill my promise of skiing all day. After long thought and consideration, I decided to skip my wonderfully planned out day of skiing to instead help repair a foundation in 10 degree weather. Although it is not even close to what I would have wanted to do, I was faced with a Prima Facie obligation that outweighed my day of skiing.

M2 (Hawks)

The assignment asks for us to link a memory to one of the multiple theories in Chapter 2. After going through the Chapter 2 notes and as soon as I read the question, one memory came straight away. I will tell the story and then compare what I think each part of the memory is to a certain theory.                                                                   One  day heading home from school I decided to stop by the store to get a few items. On my way inside the building, I saw a man in worn clothing with his head hanging down holding a cardboard sign asking for a little money. I wanted to help him so I gave him a couple dollars and went inside the store. When I was about to leave the building I saw the same man in worn clothing go into the liquor store no longer holding his sign but his head still hanging down. I was saddened by this but did not confront him. I just went about the rest of my day. I think this memory stuck with me because it was the first time I ever saw something like that happen in real life because you hear about it from others all around but I (until that day) never saw it. It did not discourage me to helping out people and I don’t know the man’s full story as to why. It did, however, give me a different view of things and sort of helped me grow in that aspect.                            How this memory is related to the Chapter 2 Theories, in my head, are somewhat simple. In the situation I was trying to use “Kant’s Ethics of Goodwill’ to help someone in need but that someone, using the more selfish side of “Egoism’, instead of using the goodwill to help himself in the ‘long run’ (get warm clothes, food, etc.) helped himself in the ‘short run’ ((possibly) get cigarettes or liquor).

M2 (Pottle)

While reading chapter two I started to think I was not really identifying with any of the moral theories, until I reached the section about Prima Facie Obligations. Prima Facie really spoke to me in a way where many of the other theories like Kant and Egoism can be very black and white, Prima Facie seems more like a grey area. I often times can find myself making promises to friends or individuals I have moral obligations, with the fullest intent of fulfilling those promises and then a conflict arises right before I attempt to fulfill those promises. This leaves me to choose which obligation will likely product the greatest good or happiness in the long run.  

For example, this summer I have recently been helping a friend update and renovate her home so it can be ready to put on the market and be sold. This job is working on a time limit because she already has a different home purchased where she is moving to and the house needs to get up on the market as soon as possible. This process started out just helping her get rid of junk and then turned into, painting the whole house, reconstructing the deck, cleaning the house, and more painting. While at first I had ample amount of time to help her and would often spend hours a day helping her, I have now been at her house for about six hours a day, 4-5 days a week, for the past 2 months.  

I do not have a problem helping her because helping others gives me a great sense of joy, keeps me busy, and increases my quality of life. However, there have been times when I need to choose between helping with her house or keeping a previous promise of coaching young athletes 4 nights a week. I am obligated in help my friend prepare for her move, but I am also obligated to the other coach who I agreed to help, and to the girls on the team who need more than one coach in order to progress, develop, and be as competitive as possible in out of state tournaments.  

When reading about Prima Facie Obligations, what instantly came to my mind was “spreading yourself too thin’, or making too many promises with every intention to keep them but then soon finding out there are not enough hours in the day. I cannot speak for all humans who identify with Prima Facie, but from personal experience this seems like a theory for the humans who want to help as many people as possible, as much as possible, with little regard to the stress it has on themselves. In the end, Prima Facie humans need to keep in mind if they “spread themselves too thin’ they cannot help all the people they wish and need to make the hard, and sometimes harsh, decisions in order to keep doing what they believe will benefit society the most.  

M2 (Fraser)

British philosopher, W.D. Ross, argued for the theory called prima facie obligation. This theory considers the complexities of our moral lives and how they can affect our moral obligations. Moreover, Ross says that promises must be kept, unless a more important obligation arises (Shaw, 2017).   I was on my way to school about three years ago when I witnessed a car-pedestrian accident. I was coming off the bridge turning left, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a vehicle quickly stop on top of the pedestrian island for which two pedestrians stood. As I continued to make my turn, I saw one pedestrian in agony holding her leg and the driver of the car rushing out to help. Once I completed my turn, I stopped, looking to see if someone was taking action. I was the last vehicle out of the green interval and the cars from the other direction were soon going to head my way. I went around the block and parked at the gas station at the far corner of the intersection. By then, the injured pedestrian was getting help and the ambulance was soon to arrive. The traffic was pretty busy by then and there wasn’t any point to overcrowd the group.

I identified this situation as an example of prima facie obligation, because I skipped out on a promise to make sure the pedestrians were okay. At an early age, I made a promise to my parents that I would arrive to school on time and not divert from my path. This may not be a strong ethical duty all follow, but this was a promise I made and was entrusted by my parents for my own safety. As Ross would say, different circumstances create specific obligations, unique to the the people involved. And so, I diverted from this path as I saw that someone was in distress. I decided that it was my moral obligation to break that promise and help the people. No one could have predicted that I would witness an accident, but those who believe in prima facie obligation, would understand my actions from a moral viewpoint.

When reading the chapter, I identified with this theory the most. This specific kind of situation described above may have happened once or twice in my life time, but I still believe that there are so many variables in our lives that can alter our moral decisions. Certain situations, relationships, and conditions can alter what we perceive is right and wrong and what our moral obligations are to them.

Citation: Shaw, William H. Business Ethics. 9th ed, Cengage Learning, 2017

M2 Maglaya

Last summer of 2018, I worked as a Tutor Counselor for the Rural Alaska Honors Institute (RAHI) where I helped motivate and prepare students for college life. This is an intense six-week college program for high school Alaska rural students where they take 2-3 college classes to earn eight to eleven college credits for free. As a tutor-counselor, my job was to help the students with their college classes. I was in charge of tutoring students in developmental college algebra and English 111.

The theory that I can relate to this experience the most is with the Utilitarianism theory. There was a time where some students stayed up late at night to do some of their homework, but our rules at the dorms were to go to bed and not do homework in the study room by 10 pm. So I talked to our dorm director and program director about this situation and carefully explained to them that in order for these high school students to experience college life, they would have to sacrifice some of their sleeping time to do their homework before the due date. I talked to them about how the students felt about the curfew on studying and homework and explained to them how it was affecting their grades. This meeting had some small arguments due to how the change can affect the students’ ability to stay active in the classroom. However, I had already prepared a list that students signed to petition the request to allow them to study in the study rooms past 10 pm with two tutor-counselors supervising them.

This change took away some of the stress from the students and they were all very happy with it. The students were able to stay engaged and active in their classes, and some of them were able to turn in some of their late homework. A lot of them were able to finish with honors after the program, and I received an award as being the most reliable for academic issues in the dorm. The dorm director, program director, and as well as some of the professors in the program were happy with the results because most of the students’ performance in their tests and homework improved. I was rehired by the program director to RAHI due to the actions I did to support the students and to help them become successful in the program.

Source:  Business Ethics 9th Edition by William Shaw, Chapter 2: Normative Theories of                       Ethics

M2 (Avise)

About three years ago, I was at work and noticed something moving in the parking lot. I went outside to take a closer look and it was a dog. This dog looked awful, it had one dread lock of hair and fleas all over its skin. The dog also was very skinny and 90% of her hair was missing. The poor dog looked like it had been on the streets for a few days. I brought the dog inside my office and started feeding her cheese, she acted like she hadn’t been fed in a long time. After giving her some food, I took her to the vet across the street and asked them if one of their dogs had gotten loose. The vet said that wasn’t their dog, but that dog didn’t look good and had been abused. They said she was very malnourished but they would treat the dog and take care of her. I donated 40 dollars and left. Later that day I went back to the vet to check on the dog and they had said a husband and wife came into the vet asking if they had seen a little tan shih zu dog. The vet had said no to this couple even though they knew the dog they were talking about was the one I brought in earlier that day. The vet didn’t do this to be mean, they did this because this dog was a puppy mill dog and it was being treated very poorly at the house of its old owner based on the condition this dog was in. The vet asked me if I would be willing to give the dog a better home and I said I would think about it. After thinking it over that night, I came to the conclusion that she needed a good home and I was going to give her it. I think this is an example of utilitarianism because I chose to save the dog rather then have it go to a shelter, where it most likely would not have been adopted because it was an older dog. In chapter two the book stated ” act utilitarianism, states that we must ask ourselves what the consequences of a particular act in particular situation will be for all those affected. If its consequences bring more net good than those of any alternative course of action, then this action is the right one and the one we should preform (Shaw 51).” I think adopting the dog caused the most amount of net happiness. The vet was happy this dog had a home, the dog was grateful to be loved and cared for, and I was happy I was able to save her life. The original owners may not have been happy that they were unable to find their dog, but it was to the benefit of everyone else that I took ownership of the dog.

Below is a picture of my dog who I named Tibby. The first picture is her about a month after adopting her. The other photo is one that i took of her this evening.

M2 (Duffield)

Kant’s ethics measure the morality of an action on good will and using the categorical imperative (Shaw, 2017). One time when I was buying groceries at Fred Meyer, the cashier did not scan an item that ended up being bagged. After reviewing my receipt in the car due to my total not sounding right and realizing I had an item with me that I did not pay for, I immediately felt the obligation to go back in and pay for it. According to Kant’s ethics, my action was moral because I acted out of duty and honesty to not take something that was not mine even though I could have placed the fault on the cashier. Using the first part of the categorical imperative, it should be universally accepted to pay for an item that is not one’s own in which I believe is the right thing to do for everyone. Following the second part, going back and paying for the item is out of respect for humanity and could be considered as treating the cashier as an end and not a means of benefiting my own self. Opponents of Kant’s ethics would argue the moral worth that one could be acting out of self-interest in receiving praise from the cashier or others for doing the right thing. They could also argue that is it not fair to claim someone is acting immoral if they happened to place the fault on the cashier rather themselves and drive away. Although Kant’s ethics are not dependent upon the results of an action, it recognizes the importance of acting out of a sense of duty.

Shaw, William H. Business Ethics. 9th ed, Cengage Learning, 2017

M2 – Swedberg

For one week in the month of July in 2015, I went on a trip with a group to a place in Oregon. Once in Oregon, I was put on a team to help repair a porch. All the boards that were starting to rot were replaced with new boards and both stairways, leading to the porch, were rebuild. In addition to helping rebuild the porch, I was also in charge of filling the water cooler with ice water. That way, there would be enough water for everyone to be able to refill their water bottles throughout the day. There was travel expenses for everyone who participated on this project and very little tourism. As a result of taking the time for this trip, paying the expenses to go on it, and helping complete the project, I feel like I demonstrated “Assisting Others’ (Shaw 64) and “Good Will’ (Shaw 57).


Shaw, William H. Business Ethics. 9th ed., Cengage Learning, 2017.

M2 (Mendoza)

During my time as a medic in the Army, my work environment was definitely one of impersonal egoists, myself included. No one was out to be cutthroat or sabotage others, but competition was extreme to be recognized as the best at their job. We had a common agreement that every person must look out for themselves as no one else would be more invested in your own self interests than you would be. This may sound like a place that could be hostile, but we had great comradery and a close brotherhood. But like I said, in terms of professional development and success, no one came before self. I would even say it made us better medics, as the desire to be the best pushed us as individuals to seek the latest training and education.

For me, this is a great example of how egoism isn’t necessarily an evil or morally wrong mindset to abide by. Of course we cared about the well-being of the medics in our section and the people we were medically responsible for, that went without compromise. The difference was that we simply had to look out for ourselves at the end of the day, and though it may be difficult for some to understand as many people are stuck in the “team” mentality, you’ve got to realize this method worked for us. We were competitive, and we were better for it.

M2 – Arthur Luebke

We’ve all had to make some serious ethical choices in our lives so I wanted to draw from a recent life experience that is fairly light in terms of how ethically important it was. A few weeks ago, I went out of town to meet up with friend of mine for lunch who I had not seen in a long time, he recommended a great place to eat. Later he casually mentioned how a few members of his office would go out to lunch once a week, and after the group seemed unanimous on selecting a place to eat, he would say something to the effect of: “I really don’t want to eat there, but I’m willing to go because everyone else seems so keen on it, as long as I get to pick the next lunch location.’ His co-workers found this to be a fair Unitarian compromise that allows everyone to experience the most good. However, he would use this technique only when they were selecting a place he already wanted to eat at, giving him an Egoist two for one value for picking lunch spots.

I laughed because it seemed clever and relatively harmless. After all, getting extra sway on where co-workers get to meet up for lunch does not inflict harm on them, and they were free to decline if it did not meet their dietary needs or tastes. My girlfriend and I have different tastes which has allowed both of us to open each other up to new foods and experiences, but can sometimes we go back and forth on picking a place to eat when we choose to eat out. I strongly considered stealing my friend’s technique of being able to double down on restaurant choice selection. While I love my girlfriend and value trust in relationships, this is a super low stakes ethical choice with low moral ramifications: picking where we get to eat lunch twice. After careful consideration, I chose against it. The largest reason being that I would not appreciate it being done to me. While I was not thinking of it in these terms at the time, I goes against Kant’s categorical imperative: the moral law did not hold true in all circumstances. It was also a maxim that could not be applied with universal acceptability. Finally, it was held individuals as an end, and not a means.

M2 (Clark)

Good Will?

During my career in law enforcement I can count between both hands the number of times I’ve accepted a free cup of coffee, sandwich, or complete meal.   Out of those times the offers were made out of a sense of duty, culturally motivated, by the provider.   As a Field Training Officer, Instructor, and command person I strove to teach new officers (rookies) proper ethics regarding acceptance of gratuities.   Moreover, I stressed reasons why not to accept “Freebees’.

Most proprietors welcome the sight of an officer who stops in for a cup of coffee, or a quick meal.   This is especially true in high crime rate areas.   Most will also tell the officer “no charge’.  They say this is done out a sense of duty felt towards law enforcement personnel.   But then when speaking to proprietors, they will openly tell you the freebees are offered so as to attract police presence in their establishment(s) thus serving as a deterrence to crime.

So, are the proprietors offering that cup of coffee out of good will?   I think not.   According to Kant their motives are of “Self-Interest’ ……”Police Protection”, which disqualifies “Good Will’.   What’s that say about the officer who stops by because she/he knows a free cup of coffee is waiting for them?   The officer is already paid to do their job, by stopping for that free cup of coffee so as to enhance a police presence, isn’t that also being paid to do your job again?   AKA “Paid Protection’?   Ethics?

I personally would respond better if the proprietor would just tell me…’Lots of bad guys and gals here lately, would you mind stopping by more often? I’ll make sure the coffee is fresh’.   I would respond by saying ‘We’ll do our best’, and then advise other officers.   Now we could stop by, grab a fresh cup of coffee (as promised), pay for it, and leave.   Now we’ve acted on a sense of duty, Good Will, which also supports moral worth.   Both parties are happy with the outcome (except the bad guys and gals).

M2 – Chris McClure

In the summer of 2017, I went to Mexico for 3 days on a humanitarian trip. The purpose of the trip was to build a new home for a mother and her two daughters, who were living in a rundown shack that animals could wonder in and out of freely. 3 weeks prior to that, I was listening to a friend give a speech requesting funding for the trip. While listening, I realized that I wanted to help in anyway that I could. After the speech, I asked him what I could do. The trip was going to cost $500 + travel. At that time, spring semester was ending and I was pretty light on cash (college isn’t cheap…), but all I knew was that I had to help. I ended up getting my first credit card (I believed that if you couldn’t pay for something in whole, then you shouldn’t buy it.) and just about maxed it out. The house did end up getting built. We weren’t construction workers; we were working with some and if you put enough nails in something, it’ll stay together.

That experience was incredibly enlightening for me, but what was most surprising was my impulsivity and desire to help. Almost everything that I do, I rationalize and make sure that it’s a good decision. In this case, I was set on doing it from the moment I’d heard about it. Kant believed that their goodness depends on the will that makes use of them (Shaw 2017). With most everything we do, there is self interest. However, during this trip, I was never concerned about anything other than to help. After everything, my bank account was pretty negative (rent, the trip, and other payments all hit at the same time), but I eventually paid it all off. In the end, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. In this scenario, I believe I expressed good will.

Shaw, William H.. Business Ethics: A Textbook with Cases (Page 57). Cengage Learning. Kindle Edition.

Gautam M2

As a former soldier, salesman, and retail manager, I have experienced each of the normative theories of ethics at some level in my life. Utilitarianism environments have been my favorite, and if somehow balanced with Prima Facie, I feel the ideal moral doctrine can be created. Even though each theory of ethics has different logical points, they are not equal.

As I said, I use to be a salesman. I worked at an auto dealership here in Fairbanks for 2 years. This is were I experienced my least favorite theory of ethics, Egoism. I meet plenty of individuals with stronger than average self interest motivations but this was an industry that produces and celebrates egoism, hedonism in the form of money.

It’s hard to pick a particular situation, moment, but I can simply summarize my experience in the world of car sales. Unlike hourly and salary work, commission wages can really bring out the greed in people. Having seen what people will do when money is the goal, I debate egoism is even a theory involving ethics. I always looked to balance morally helping customers while also paying my own bills, every time I affected the profit margin to make a deal I was meet with major conflicts from the sales managers. Over my 2 year career I managed to sell the 2nd most units in both years.

Despite my success, my good will toward customers consequentially brought on many arguments about my customer focused approach, I wanted my customers to get a good deal if I knew I could do that I’d make both sides happy. Egoism tends to justify their own self interest even if it negatively affects others, I wasn’t willing to financial hurt people and it was the sole reason I was pasted over for a finance manager promotion to an administrator that was in the inner circle formed in sales. I ended leaving to take less money as a Walmart supervisor and the Admin worker that beat me for the finance manager job did terrible and quit. I had opportunity to rise in that field but the high level of self interest is a little much for someone that enjoys success that doesn’t hurt other people. Dealerships are a hard environment for someone that doesn’t prioritize a larger pay check over the financial well being of a customer, and I’m looking for a life that doesn’t challenge the morals and set of ethics I have set for myself.

M2 (Brumbaugh)

In chapter two of our book we looked at normative theories of ethics. Utilitarianism is the moral belief that “we should always act to produce the greatest possible balance of good over bad for everyone affected by our actions’ (Shaw, 49). During Christmas two years ago, I decided to make care packages. It contained an assortment of granola bars, socks, hand sanitizer, tissues, hand warmers, a flash lights, a blanket, tooth brush and tooth paste. My goal was to walk around town giving them out to people that looked in need of these items. My action was driven by my moral ethics to help benefit the majority. I did think about how people could be offended by this gesture, and decline. One man in particular did, he let me know how disrespectful I was to ask him if he needed a care package because he could support himself. I took this situation personally since my motives came only from love and empathy. Even though I may have hurt his feelings, many others were thankful for my gesture which outweighed any negatives. These actions reflect utilitarianism, because I produced more good on a larger scale over bad over the one upset individual. Furthermore, this benefiting the community as a whole.