1. Alan Greenspan Speech.
Please review Alan Greenspan’s 1999 Harvard Commencement Address, and answer the following question.
Do you think Greenspan is being realistic or naive about the possibility of business ethics?
Important: You should consider Greenspan’s argument on the “value added” of honesty and integrity. What does Greenspan mean when saying that companies add it their balance sheets?
You are not obligated to agree with Mr. Greenspan, but you are expected to consider his point of view, state a clear opinion, and support that opinion with convincing arguments.
2. In-depth Assignment –
The Death of Ivan Ilyich, by Leo Tolstoy
This short book is available at most libraries and bookstores, but you can also read the online version at ClassicalLibrary.org. After reading the novel, please answer the following questions:
2a. Why did Ivan conclude his life “was not the real thing”? Consider Ivan’s interests, values, aims, and his relationships with his family.
2b. What does Tolstoy have to say about the attractions of materialism? Give an example from Ivan’s life.
3. Assignment by Course of Study – Please select and complete the assignment that is closest to your course of study. If your course of study does not directly relate to one of the following options, please select the one that interests you the most.
Option A. Google’s Code of Conduct – for Engineering, Computer Science, IT, or other technical majors
Read Google’s Code of Conduct and answer the following questions:
3a. What are your general impressions of Google’s Code of Conduct? Why does Google have such a code?
3b. What do you think of Google’s main message: “Don’t be evil”?
3c. Pick one section (I.)-(VII.) of the code that interests you and review it in more detail. What do you like about this section? What could be improved?
4. Assignment by Interest – #1 –
Life at the Death Camps
Please review the assigned excerpts from An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps by Terrence Des Pres and respond to the following question.
Does Terrence Des Pres think the human moral sense is an idealistic illusion or an evolutionary survival strategy? Please explain your answer and whether you agree or disagree with Des Pres’ analysis. Cite at least one numbered paragraph for support.
5. Assignment by Interest – #2 –
Help Henry Exercise
Please review the University of Maryland’s Help Henry Exercise (going to all links) and respond to the following questions.
a. If you were Henry, would you hire Packer or Stacker? Why?
b. How does this hiring decision relate to themes from the Alan Greenspan speech and the value of honesty and integrity in the workplace?
6. Statement of Gratitude
Please read Book One of the Meditations of Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius. Then write a concise statement of gratitude (400 words or less) identifying the ethical and intellectual debts you owe to family members, teachers, friends, and the broader society as a whole. Fictitious names are permitted, but the statement of gratitude should be genuine.
7. A Good Life
How is a good life defined, and what is your plan to achieve it? Please refer to themes from the assigned readings to support your answer.
Important: Not making reference to the assigned themes or readings in your answer to this question may result in requiring revisions to your seminar answers.