Paper for philosophy

This is our professor’s requirement:

I have high expectations for these papers. They will be substantial arguments. They will be thoroughly researched so that they demonstrate fluency in the related literature and counterarguments. They will be rigorously structured. They will be your best writing. They will be on time. The final paper must be a minimum of 3000 words. It is a good idea (but not required) to discuss your paper in person, via Skype, email, or something like that. I like to check in with everyone.

Read over some of my suggestions for writing a philosophy paper. Please take these especially seriously given the amount of freedom you have in writing this paper. It will also refresh your memory about HOW I GRADE THESE PAPERS. Make me proud with a full thesis and a clearly organized argument. The words “In this paper I will argue…” should appear in the first paragraph. Use The Chicago Manual of Style for your citations. Plagiarize and fail.

As we have seen through the course of our studies, much of the work of philosophy consists of asking the right questions. I encourage you all to conceive, fashion, and explore questions of your own creation, and therefore the suggestions below are genuinely mere suggestions. Use this as an opportunity to engage questions that you are curious and passionate about. Many of these topics will require some research, by which I mean going to the library and not just Google searching. I should be able to refer you to the most useful outside readings during our meetings. You may incorporate any of your writing from your previous response papers into your final paper, but don’t be tempted to use it just for filler to meet the deadlines. You may write on any issue related to the course and the texts we have read, so long as I approve the proposal. The topic may be narrow (Does the Labor Theory of Value fails to account for X?), broad (Is financial value in the process of overtaking all other value), concentrating on an author (Can Bentham measure happiness?) or an issue (What is the relationship between money and happiness?). I encourage you to design your own topic, but I offer the following suggested issues as samples to consider. Many of these questions would need to be worked up into full topics, but they provide something to work with.


For an excellent overview of the field of Business Ethics, see this entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. I reproduce the bibliography from that article here. Browse these essays for possible final paper topics:

  • Arnold, Denis G. and Norman E. Bowie. 2003, “Sweatshops and Respect for Persons,” Business Ethics Quarterly13(2): 221-242.
  • Baumhart, Raymond. 1961, “How Ethical are Businessmen?,” Harvard Business Review39(4): 6-9.
  • Baumhart, Raymond. 1963, Exploratory Study of Businessmen’s Views on Ethics and Business, DBA dissertation: Harvard Business School.
  • Baumhart, Raymond. 1968, An Honest Profit: What Businessmen Say About Ethics and Business, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
  • Berle, Adolf and Gardiner Means. 1932, The Modern Corporation and Private Property, New York: Macmillan.
  • Boatright, John R. 1994, “Fiduciary Duties and the Shareholder-Management Relation: Or, What’s So Special about Shareholders?,” Business Ethics Quarterly,4: 393-408.
  • Capaldi, Nicholas. 2006, “What Philosophy Can and Cannot Contribute to Business Ethics,” Journal of Private Enterprise22(2): 68-86.
  • Card, David and Alan B. Krueger. 1995, Myth and Measurement: The New Economics of the Minimum Wage, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • DeGeorge, Richard, 1993, Competing With Integrity in International Business, New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Donaldson, Tom. 1982, Corporations and Morality,Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice Hall.
  • Donaldson, Tom and Tom Dunfee. 1999, Ties That Bind. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
  • Epstein, Richard. 1984, “In Defense of the Contract at Will,” University of Chicago Law Review51: 947-982.
  • Freeman, R.E. 1984, Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach, Boston: Pitman.
  • Freeman, R.E. and William M. Evan. 1990, “Corporate Governance: A Stakeholder Interpretation,” Journal of Behavioral Economics19(4): 337-359.
  • French, Peter A. 1979, “The Corporation as a Moral Person,” American Philosophical Quarterly16: 207-215.
  • French, Peter A. 1984, Collective and Corporate Responsibility, New York: Columbia University Press.
  • French, Peter A. 1995, Corporate Ethics, Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace.
  • Friedman, Milton. 1970, “The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits,” New York Times Magazine(September 13), 122-125.
  • Gini, Al, ed. 2005, Case Studies in Business Ethics(5e), Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
  • Goodin, Robert E. 1985, Protecting the Vulnerable, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Goodpaster, Kenneth E. 1991, “Business Ethics and Stakeholder Analysis,” Business Ethics Quarterly1(1): 53-73.
  • Green, Ronald. 1991, “When is ‘Everyone’s Doing It’ a Moral Justification?,” Business Ethics Quarterly1(1): 75-93.
  • Hart, H.L.A. 1961, The Concept of Law, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Heath, Joseph. 2006, “Business Ethics Without Stakeholders,” Business Ethics Quarterly16(4): 533-557.
  • Hirschmann, Albert O. 1970, Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  • Macey, J.R. 1999, “Fiduciary Duties as Residual Claims: Obligations to Nonshareholder Constituencies From a Theory of the Firm Perspective,” Cornell Law Review84: 1266-1279.
  • Maitland, Ian. 1989, “Rights in the Workplace: A Nozickian Argument,” Journal of Business Ethics8: 951-954.
  • Maitland, Ian. 1994, “The Morality of the Corporation: An Empirical or Normative Disagreement?” Business Ethics Quarterly4: 445–458.
  • Maitland, Ian. 1997, “The Great Non-Debate Over International Sweatshops.” British Academy of Management Annual Conference Proceedings, 240-265.
  • Marcoux, Alexei. 2003, “A Fiduciary Argument Against Stakeholder Theory,” Business Ethics Quarterly13(1): 1-24.
  • McMahon, Christopher. 1994, Authority and Democracy: A General Theory of Government and Management. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Millon, David. 1998, “Default Rules, Wealth Distribution, and Corporate Law Reform: Employment at Will Versus Job Security,” University of Pennsylvania Law Review146: 975-1041.
  • Moriarty, Jeffrey. 2005, “On the Relevance of Political Philosophy to Business Ethics,” Business Ethics Quarterly15(3): 453-471.
  • Schmidtz, David. 1998, “Taking responsibility,” in David Schmidtz and Robert Goodin, Social Welfare and Individual Responsibility: For and Against,New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Sollars, G.G. 2002, “The Corporation As Actual Agreement,” Business Ethics Quarterly12: 351-369.
  • Solomon, Robert. 1991, “Business ethics,” in Peter Singer, ed., A Companion to Ethics, Malden, MA: Blackwell, 354-365.
  • Stark, Andrew. 1993, “What’s Wrong With Business Ethics?”, Harvard Business Review71(3): 38-48.
  • Sunstein, Cass R. 2002, “Switching the Default Rule,” New York University Law Review77: 106-134.
  • Velasquez, Manuel. 1983, “Why Corporations Are Not Morally Responsible For Anything They Do,” Business & Professional Ethics Journal2: 1-18.
  • Werhane, P. 1985, Persons, Rights, and Corporations, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
  • Werhane, P. and R.E. Freeman, eds. 1997, Blackwell Encyclopedic Dictionary of Business Ethics, Malden, MA: Blackwell.