Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

In the Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility (BE) stream, students take up three fundamental questions:

  • The first of these explores what types of BE program corporations have and why they have developed such programs (e.g., stakeholder pressure, niche markets, regulatory pressure, etc.). Students explore this question not only at at the level of individual firms, but also with regard to different economic sectors and national contexts.  A key part of this analysis entails the interplay between corporations and civil society movements (e.g., environmental NGOs, worker rights NGOs, fair trade movements, etc.) which seek to influence the behaviour of corporations with respect to environmental sustainability, labour and human rights, local development aspirations, etc. In this way students are able to investigate how the BE program functions in relationship to the larger national and global political economy.
  • The second question that students explore in this field relates to how we evaluate corporate behaviour in general and the BE program in particular. This involves the development of ethical standards (and democratic principles) for evaluating corporate behaviour and the application of such standards in complex circumstances.
  • The third question that students examine in this field is the actual impact of the BE program and, more specifically, what can be done to promote greater corporate responsibility.Again, such analysis occurs not only at the level of individual firms, but also examines sectoral, national and international initiatives. Such initiatives can be led by any of several different actors, including corporations themselves, NGOs, local communities and international organizations.

6.0 credits chosen from:

AP/PHIL 2060 3.0 Social & Political Philosophy

[Course credit exclusion: GL/PHIL 2923 3.0. PRIOR TO FALL 2009: Course credit exclusions: AK/AS/PHIL 2060 3.0, AK/PHIL 2440 3.0.]
An introduction to philosophy focusing on problems concerning the nature of society, the nature of the state, justice and human rights, freedom and censorship, etc.

AP/PHIL 2070 3.0 Introduction to Ethics

[Course credit exclusion: AP/MODR 1760 6.0.] [Prior TO FALL 2009: Course credit exclusions: AK/AS/PHIL 2070 3.0, AK/MODR 1760 6.0.]
A basic introduction both to the major ethical theories in Western thought and to some basic Meta-ethical questions concerning the possibility of moral truth.

AP/POLS 2075 3.0 Introduction to Applied Ethics

[Prior TO FALL 2009: Course credit exclusions: AK/AS/PHIL 2075 3.0.]
An introduction to ethics focusing on the application of ethical theories to controversial public issues such as abortion, affirmative action and euthanasia, among others.

AP/SOSC 2571 9.0 Intro. to Modern Soc. Political Thought

[Note: This course has been approved in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies for gen. education credit.]
This course provides a broad introduction to the interdisciplinary study of modern social and political thought. Through critical readings and analyses of primary texts, students become familiar with the rise of the liberal tradition, focusing on critiques, defenses and developments of its conceptions of the modern world.

AP/PHIL 3020 3.0 Ethics

[Prereq.: At least one of: AP/PHIL 2050 6.0, AP/PHIL 2060 3.0, AP/PHIL 2070 3.0 or AP/PHIL 2075 3.0.]
An advanced course in theoretical ethics, understood as covering both normative ethical theory and meta-ethics.

→ AP/SOSC 3040 6.0 Corporate Social Responsibility

[Course credit exclusions: None.] [PRIOR TO FALL 2009: Course credit exclusion: AS/SOSC 3040 6.0.] [Pre-req. Sosc 2340/Sosc 2349.]
Investigates the theory and practice of Corporate Social Responsibility programs, including the normative and social science analysis of particular issues and practices, as well as their role in regulation and legitimation in larger political economy regimes.

AP/Phil 3110 3.0 Political Philosophy

[Course credit exclusion: GL/PHIL 3235 3.0. PRIOR TO FALL 2009: Prerequisite: At least one of the following: AK/AS/PHIL 2050 6.0, AK/AS/PHIL 2060 3.0, AK/AS/PHIL 2070 3.0, AK/AS/PHIL 2075 3.0 or AK/PHIL 2440 3.0. Course credit exclusions: AK/AS/PHIL 3110 3.0.]
An exploration of major topics in political philosophy, such as the authority of the state, the justification of private property, the nature of rights, theories of justice, and political equality.

AP/Phil 3510 3.0 Feminist Approaches to Ethics & Politics

Prerequisites: AP/ PHIL 2500 3.0 or AP/PHIL 2070 3.0 or AP/GWST 2500 6.0 (or AP/WMST 2500 6.0 prior to Fall 2013.)
Please see Philosophy Department regarding prerequisites prior to 2009.
A study of recent feminist writing in ethics and political philosophy. Topics include: feminist critiques of ethical theory, the (potentially) gendered nature of value, the relationship between justice and care, and issues like reproductive autonomy, sexual violence, and global injustice.

For the Honours program:

→ AP/SOSC 4044 6.0 Ethics and Economics

[Course credit exclusions: None.] [PRIOR TO FALL 2009: Course credit exclusion: AS/SOSC 4044 6.0.] [Pre-Req. Sosc 2340/Sosc 2349.]
This course looks at the relationship between ethics and economics both in the historical\development of the "political economy" and in modern "economics". Both symbioses and tensions between economics and ethics will be explored.