Moral Reasoning Assignment

Assessment 2: Moral Reasoning Assignment

Assessment 2: Moral Reasoning Assignment (30%)

Length: 800 words

Due: 5:00pm (EST) Sunday of Week 8


The aim of this exercise is to help you become familiar with the techniques of moral reasoning and to encourage you to think critically about moral issues. Remember to support your particular moral judgments about these cases with reasons. You should aim to justify your particular moral judgments using relevant moral principles and moral reasons. These principles may be very general, like the principle of utility (‘maximize happiness’), or common deontological principles concerned with loyalty, promise keeping, or prohibiting killing and harming, etc. You will find examples of all these kinds of principles in the lectures and the readings. Aim to achieve a consistent fit between your moral beliefs, principles and particular judgments.

Make sure you answer every part of each question. Remember to provide sufficient detail in Section C to give a clear indication of your overall position with regards to these cases and the principles you endorse. This is a short answer assignment. You do not need to answer the questions in the form of an essay. Please include a bibliography with the two main sources from the question and any additional sources you reference directly.

Answer ALL the questions from sections A, B and C (questions 1-6)

Section A

Read the following news item and answer the questions:

“GlaxoSmithKline to pay $3bn in US drug fraud scandal”

1. What are the main ethical issues raised by GlaxoSmithKline’s decision to promote and market drugs for unapproved uses? Do you think that such practices are morally permissible or unethical? Provide detailed reasons to support your conclusions.

2. Do you think it was morally acceptable for GlaxoSmithKline not to release relevant research data and to make unsupported safety claims for one of its diabetes drugs?

Is there a moral difference between merely failing to provide relevant information and actively making false claims about the safety of a drug? Why/Why not?

3. GSK’s activities were found to be illegal. Would it make a difference to your assessment of the case if such activities were not against the law? Why/Why not?

Section B

Watch or read the transcript of the following program and answer the questions:

Globesity: Fat’s New Frontier.

4. Do large food and beverage companies have any moral obligation or responsibility to consider the consequences for public health of marketing and distributing certain kinds of food and drink products? Why/Why not? Answer this question using examples from the documentary to support your conclusions.

5. The program describes a range of marketing techniques used by food and beverage companies in different countries: the marketing of soft drinks to schools in Mexico; the door to door selling of snack foods fortified with micronutrients and marketed to low income families in Brazil; a snack food boat that visits small villages along the Amazon to promote and sell food and drinks. Do you find any of these marketing techniques morally problematic? Explain in each case, why or why not.
Section C

6. Compare your responses to the two cases. Do you apply the same principles and standards of conduct to pharmaceutical companies as you do to food and beverage companies? What are the morally relevant differences/similarities between the two cases?

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