Hello and welcome. My name is James Otteson. I'm the the John T. Ryan Jr. Professor of Business Ethics in the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. It's my pleasure and honor to welcome you to this course called why business? Note the question mark at the end of the course's title. We want to investigate why one might want to study business or potentially even dedicate one's life to business. Let me give you a little bit of background about me and the motivation for this course. My own academic training is in philosophy. I received a PhD in philosophy from the University of Chicago, where I specialized in 18th century British moral philosophy. But as a philosopher coming into a business school, one of the things that surprised me is how many business students seem embarrassed, even defensive about what they're studying. This seems odd. Why study something and potentially dedicate your life to it if you're not proud of it? Well, I suspect business students are cognizant of the low opinion that their peers and much of the wider culture frequently expresses a business. Consider, for example, the common sentiment that business should give back to society. I'm sure you've heard that before but note that people don't say that business should give, they say it should give back. But think about what that implies. If you were a child, when you were a child, if your mother told you that you needed to give something back, what does that mean you done? Well, it means you stole something, you did something wrong, and now you need to make amends. Does that mean that people believe that if you're successful in business then you must have done something somewhere along the way that you now need to atone for? Well, I think the answer is yes, that's exactly what many people believe. Is it true, are people right to be suspicious of business? Well, here's what I would propose. After considering all the arguments in favor of business and all the objections and concerns about business, if we conclude that business is in fact an activity requiring atonement, then the proper response is not to ask business people to give back. It's to tell them not to go into business in the first place. After all, we don't say to the thief, "Go ahead and keep stealing as long as some of what you steal you give to charity." We tell the thief, "Stop stealing." I think that means that if we're going to continue educating students in business and dedicating our lives to business, then it's incumbent on us to articulate a way of engaging in business that has value in itself, not just because of what it might do afterwards. In this course we will explore whether there is such a thing as honorable business, which if done correctly, would provide value not only to oneself but to others as well, simultaneously, and thus does not require atonement. We'll look at both defenses and criticisms of market economies, we'll explore both the benefits of business, as well as worries about business, and we'll also draw in part on Catholic social teaching that argues that in all of our interactions with others, whether to partner or exchange or transact with them, we must begin and end by respecting all parties as possessed of dignity and that we are called to use all the resources available to us all our time, talent, and treasure to produce genuine value in people's lives. Not merely to increase our wealth, but to engage and respect genuine human need and value. Now to do this, we're going to need to understand what a good human life is, what the public institutions are that respect and encourage such a life, and for that we need an integrated understanding of the role of business in a just and humane society. This course, will ask you to read classic and contemporary texts, watch videos like this one, take some quizzes to assess your understanding and do some writing to both explore and record your own thoughts. By the end of the course, I hope you will have formulated your own reasoned answer to the question, why business? Is there such a thing as honorable business? Do markets and morality mix? I welcome you to the conversation.