Ethics in the 21st Century: Business, Politics & Technology

Ethics in the 21st Century: Business, Politics & Technology sticker

Credit: 3.0 units of USC credit

Prerequisites: None

Course Materials: A list of student materials required for each course,
as well as purchase options, will be provided by May 1st

Daily Schedule, Monday through Friday

AM Session(s) PM Session(s)
10:00 – 11:00 am Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) 5:00 – 6:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)

Please note: In addition to assignments and independent work, all courses have a morning and afternoon live class session. For students
joining from overseas, faculty will provide recordings of certain classes that can be watched a-synchronously at a more convenient time.
Participation, attendance and expectations for the course will be provided by your instructor.


The world has undergone a social and technological revolution in the 21st century. How ought we live in this new world? We are employees, entrepreneurs, voters, scientists, caregivers, consumers, family members, and so on — and also human beings. It can be far from obvious what these roles morally demand of us amid rapid and unpredictable change.

In this course, we will consider urgent moral questions using traditional methods of philosophical inquiry. Questions we will study include: What do businesses morally owe their employees, shareholders, customers, competitors, and society at large? To what extent may we prioritize our fellow citizens over people outside our national borders? How should we address socioeconomic inequality? What obligations do doctors have to their patients, and what should they do when resources are limited? May we alter ourselves, our children, and humanity through genetic engineering? How much historically human work should be done by artificial intelligences and other machines? Is growing meat in labs a good alternative to factory farming? What duties do we have to future generations regarding resource conservation?

This course will prepare students to be more reflective (and, we hope, more ethical) members of society, in addition to equipping them with skills in critical thinking, argumentation, and writing that are highly sought after in the academic, legal, and business world.


  • Participate in structured and respectful debates in which students articulate and defend positions of their own, while considering and responding to objections
  • Engage with influential philosophical texts, documentary films, and news media
  • Develop university-level argumentative essays
  • Morally assess governmental and business policy decisions


USC Summer Programs Ethics in the 21st Century: Business, Politics & Technology Photo AlbumTake a look at our photo album!


Topic of Study

  • Critical thinking and logic
  • Ethical theories
  • Business ethics
  • Political philosophy
  • Ethics of technology

The USC Summer Program gives students the opportunity to engage in actual college classes and workloads. You are given the chance to understand what college work feels like.

Kenneth R., Armed Forces Europe (Summer Programs 2020)