Assignment 3: Marketing – The Ethics of
Emotion from a Can
Business Ethics & Corporate Social Responsibility -
Dwight Linton - TXXXXXXX
Page | 1
Read Ethics in Action 8.1, “Marketing—The ethics of emotions from a can,” and answer the Think
Theory question on page 349.
Assignment 3 Question:
• In the light of the normative ethical theories discussed in Chapter 3, how can we evaluate the
use of the neuroscience-based marketing techniques discussed above?
Normative ethical theories principal purpose is to articulate and advocate an ethical code, i.e., to
provide justifiable and reliable principles to determine what is moral, and immoral, behavior. These
theories can generally be differentiated into two groups, consequentialist theories – which are based
on the intended outcomes, the aims, or goals of a certain action, and non-consequentialist theories
– which are based on the individual’s rights and duties (Crane and Matten 2016, pg. 92).
All normative ethical theories share certain conceptual and structural characteristics. In normative
ethical theories it is possible to isolate a tripartite structure that comprises a moral standard, general
moral principles and particular moral principles and judgments . Moral standards represent the
most fundamental and general principles that underlie normative ethical theories. There is a crucial
difference between moral standards and moral principles or moral judgments. A moral standard
provides the criteria that generate moral principles and moral judgments, i.e., it specifies what
characteristics all moral actions must possess .
We will be using this tripartite framework to analyze whether or not the use of neuroscience-based
marketing techniques is ethical. We will examine each of the normative theories in part and then
conclude with our overall position on the use of these techniques.
Consequentialist Theory - Egoism
The justification for egoism is based on the concept that humans have limited insights into the
consequences of their actions and hence the only suitable strategy to achieve a good life is to pursue
their own desires and interests (Crane and Matten 2016, pg. 93).
The moral standard on which egoism is founded on, is that moral agents ought to do what is in their
own self-interest because of the assumption that they cannot really predict the consequences of the
actions that they take. However, this theory also purports that everyone should be free to pursue
their own self-interest unencumbered by attempts of undue persuasion (Crane and Matten 2016, pg.
95). The moral evaluation and judgement in the context of the use of the neuroscience-based
marketing techniques is to evaluate whether the act – consequences and characteristics, and the
agent – intentions, are ethical based on the moral standard which buttress egoism.
The act of using neuroscience-based marketing techniques is in the self interest of the marketer in