DMS106 - Principles of Ethical Reasoning

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-06-29 12:15:48.769
Last review date 2018-07-16 00:15:01.058

Subject Title
Principles of Ethical Reasoning

Subject Description
This course focuses on ethical issues faced by the individual as a person and more particularly as a professional in a position of authority and responsibility. It helps students clarify values and establish a framework for ethical decision making. It also stresses the importance of moral philosophy as a component of the decision making process.

Credit Status
Mandatory Seneca College credit towards the Military Arts and Science Diploma.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

1. Express points of view while acknowledging and appreciating those of others.

2. Discuss the historical perspective of ethical reasoning.

3. Describe the key aspects of critical thinking.

4. Define values, ethics, morals, subculture and other key related terms.

5. Apply ethical reasoning to moral dilemmas through participation in discussions and projects.

6. Use analytical skills to decision making processes through the use of an analytical model.

7. Describe an ethical decision making model and apply it to a moral dilemma.

8. Define the basic moral principles inherent in professional codes.

9. Critically analyze the effect of a militaristic subculture on the ethical decision making process.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.


Topic Outline
Critical thinking and ethical reasoning

  • Decision Making
  • Values and critical thinking process
  • A framework for practical ethical decision making
Codes of Conduct
  • Business and professional codes of ethics
  • Police codes of ethics
Subculture Issues
  • The police subculture and ethical reasoning
Contemporary issues in Canadian Society
  • Abortion and pornography
  • Sexism and euthanasia
  • Death penalty and war
Contemporary issues in policing
  • Exercising authority and the use of discretion
  • The use of force and corruption
  • The police role, professional and private

Mode of Instruction
This course is delivered online.  This may involve the use of digital materials and/or a text, group discussions, interaction with your instructor and online activities. 

Prescribed Texts
Ethical Issues in Law Enforcement 3rd Edition;  Author: Evans, Publisher Emond  ISBN # 978 155239 2096

Reference Material

Required Supplies

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation
Grading is based on the following marking scheme:

Online Test #1 (multiple choice, short answer quiz) 10%
Online Test #2 (multiple choice, short answer quiz) 10%
Case studies (Based on case studies provided in the modules) 60%
Essay (written paper based on a practical application of the
ethical decision making framework)
Postings 10%
Total 100%

Note: Seneca College's grading policy applies to online subjects. 

Expected English Competencies: 

The ability to communicate in writing is essential for success in all business subjects. All written work must display the following characteristics of clarity and conciseness: 
  • writing is consistent with the rules of English grammar 
  • spelling and punctuation are correct 
  • appropriate vocabulary is used 
  • sentences are structured correctly 
  • main points are supported with specific, relevant examples and reasons
  • work flows logically through supporting statements/paragraphs 
  • work is arranged in correct format (i.e., reports, essays) 
  • layout is attractively displayed.
Up to 10% of the final grade may be deducted on all written work if the above mentioned expected English competencies are not met. 
To be successful in this course, you must complete all course work as specified and achieve an overall grade of 50% or higher. For further information on evaluation and academic standing, see a copy of the Academic Policy available at Seneca registration offices.

Permission to write missed tests or submissions of late assignments will be granted only under extenuating circumstances and with the provision of appropriate documentation such as a medical certificate.  
Assignments are due at the beginning of the class on the dates specified.  Begin your assignments early in anticipation of unforeseen problems that may arise in your work or personal life.  Should extenuating circumstances arise, please contact your instructor immediately, prior to when your assignment is due, so an appropriate course of action be established.  Late assignments may be subject to a penalty of up to 10% per week and will not generally be accepted beyond two sessions after the assignment due date.

The College's Academic Policy will prevail regarding Academic Honesty.

Assignments will be marked on the basis of an appropriate standard of research, content, organizaton of material and presentation.  Assignments are to be grammatically correct and typewritten or prepared by computer.

Students are expected to demonstrate a professional level of communication skills both verbally and in their written work.


Approved by: Fiona Bain-greenwood