Sample Essay Topics
Select one of the sample essay topics given below or a different topic of your own choosing (subject to the instructor’s approval). This is not intended to be a research paper, so little-to-no research should be necessary. Instead, the purpose of the essay is to discuss and analyse the topic in a way that demonstrates awareness and understanding of the complexities of the ethical issues involved.
The essay should be approximately 1500 words in length. It is due in-class on May 26. Essays should be printed; do not submit them electronically. Late submissions will be penalised 2 points (out of 30) per day.
- Choose an event or scenario from the business world. This could be a real-world event (i.e. a story from the news) or a general business phenomenon (e.g. the “glass-ceiling” or “outsourcing”). Evaluate the chosen topic using the two ethical theories of consequentialism and deontology. Explain how the topic in question could be understood from the perspective of each theory. Decide which theory you believe gives the superior or more accurate evaluation of the topic and argue for your choice.
- Do you believe it is fair to characterise our business culture as operating by different, “looser” ethical standards than the rest of our society? Why or why not? Are there any business practices that do appear to be held to “looser” standards that you believe should not be?
- Outline Peter Singer’s Argument for an Obligation to Assist. Do you agree or disagree with Singer’s reasoning and its implications? Why or why not?