Learning through Disagreement
A Workbook for the Ethics of Business
  • Publication Date: June 5, 2014
  • ISBN: 9781554812172 / 1554812178
  • 88 pages; 6" x 9"

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Learning through Disagreement

A Workbook for the Ethics of Business

  • Publication Date: June 5, 2014
  • ISBN: 9781554812172 / 1554812178
  • 88 pages; 6" x 9"

Learning through Disagreement offers practical instruction in how to locate underlying assumptions and values so as to identify points of overlap that can serve as building blocks for agreement. Three key ethical approaches are concisely presented, not as abstract theories but as tools for good decision making. Realistic examples of common workplace disagreements are discussed, and detachable perforated worksheets for individual or group use are interspersed throughout.


Learning through Disagreement is an excellent auxiliary text for any business ethics course. The book's dialogical (as opposed to debating) orientation is a refreshingly constructive approach to dealing with contentious issues in the subject. The result is a most useful tool for facilitating fruitful student discussions.” — Gary James Jason, California State University, Fullerton

“As a management professor, I enjoy employing a variety of classroom activities and experiential exercises that help my students enhance their critical thinking skills. Challenging their underlying assumptions and biases—and working through them—is necessary for effective ethical decision making. Learning through Disagreement is a great addition to a student’s management and leadership toolkit.” — Laquita Blockson, Saint Leo University

Preface: About this Workbook

CHAPTER ONE: A Dialogical Approach

  • Worksheet 1-1: Dialogical Capacity
    Worksheet 1-2: Engaging in Dialogue

CHAPTER TWO: Resources for Making Better Decisions

  • Table 2.1: Resources for Making Decisions
    Identifying Resources for Making Decisions
    Table 2.2: Steps Involved in Sharing Resources
    Creating Valid Syllogisms
    Exploring Assumptions
    Table 2.3: Sample Argument
    Worksheet 2-1: Sorting Out Different Resources
    Worksheet 2-2: Discovering Implicit Value Judgments
    Worksheet 2-3: Developing Valid Syllogisms
    Worksheet 2-4: Assumptions about Ourselves
    Worksheet 2-5: Uncovering Assumptions
    Worksheet 2-6: Discovering the Resources of Alternative Views

CHAPTER THREE: Engaging in an Ethical Analysis of Human Action

  • The Visionary, the Judge, and the Assessor
    The Ethics of Purpose
    The Ethics of Principle
    Table 3.1: Principles of Distributive Justice
    The Ethics of Consequence
    Applying an Ethics of Purpose
    Applying an Ethics of Principle
    Applying an Ethics of Consequence
    Developing the Modified Proposal
    Worksheet 3-1: Applying an Ethics of Purpose
    Worksheet 3-2: Applying an Ethics of Principle
    Worksheet 3-3: Applying an Ethics of Consequence

CHAPTER FOUR: Doing the Work

  • Working Offline
    Working Online
    Developing Argumentative Dialogues
    A Sample Argumentative Dialogue on Worker Cooperatives
    Worksheet 4-1: An Outline for Your Argumentative Dialogues


Marvin T. Brown teaches in the Department of Philosophy at the University of San Francisco. He is the author of several books, including Corporate Integrity: Rethinking Organizational Ethics and Leadership and Civilizing the Economy: A New Economics of Provision.

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