The Moral Perspective
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The Moral Perspective



Based upon material by L. Hinman

Based upon material by L. Hinman



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The Moral Perspective Presentation Transcript

  • 1. The Moral Point of View K.D. Borcoman Embellished from template by Hinman©
  • 2. Why Study Ethics?
    • Moral concerns are unavoidable in life.
    • Analogy: morality is a lot like nutrition.
      • Principal concern: health
      • The role of experts
      • Disagreement
  • 3. Ethics as an Ongoing Conversation
    • Professional discussions of ethical issues in journals.
    • We come back to ideas again and again, finding new meaning in them.
  • 4. Ethics and Morality
    • Morality: first-order set of beliefs and practices about how to live a good life
    • Ethics: a second-order, conscious reflection on the adequacy of our moral beliefs.
  • 5. Moral Health
    • The goal of ethical reflection is moral health.
    • Thus we seek to determine what will nourish our moral life and what will poison it.
  • 6. The Moral Point of View
    • What makes something a moral issue?
      • Content:
        • duties, rights, human welfare, suffering, character, etc.
      • Perspective:
        • impartial, compassionate, etc.
  • 7. Example: Cheating
    • Imagine a situation in which you see a classmate cheating. There are several elements from a moral point of view:
      • Some people are hurt by the cheating
      • There is deception in the situation
      • Cheating seems to be unfair to those who don’t cheat
      • There are conflicting values—honesty, loyalty, etc.
      • There are questions of character.
  • 8. The Language of Moral Concerns
    • Some philosophers have argued that moral issues are characterized by a particular kind of language—terms such as duty, obligation, right, and good.
  • 9. Impartiality
    • Many philosophers have argued that the moral point of view is characterized by impartiality, that is, I don’t give my own interest any special weight.
      • Immanuel Kant
      • John Stuart Mill
  • 10. Compassion
    • Other philosophers have seen the origin of the moral life to be in compassion, feeling for the suffering of other sentient beings.
    • Josiah Royce: “Such as that is for me, so is it for him, nothing less.”
  • 11. Universally Binding
    • Moral obligations, some philosophers maintain, are universally binding and that is what gives them their distinctive character.
    • Kant: morality is a matter of categorical imperatives.
      • Distinguish between hypothetical and categorical imperatives.
  • 12. Concern for Character
    • Philosophers from Aristotle onward have seen the primary focus of morality to be character.
    • Two questions:
      • What ought I to do? (Kant and Mill)
      • What kind of person ought I to be? (Aristotle)
  • 13. The Focus of Ethics
    • Ethics as the Evaluation of Other People’s Behavior
      • We are often eager to pass judgment on others
    • Ethics as the Search for Meaning and Value in Our Own Lives
  • 14. Ethics as the Evaluation of Other People’s Behavior
    • Ethics often used as a weapon
    • Hypocrisy
    • Possibility of knowing other people
    • The right to judge other people
    • The right to intervene
    • Judging and caring
  • 15. Ethics as the Search for Meaning and Value in Our Own Lives
    • Positive focus
    • Aims at discerning what is good
    • Emphasizes personal responsibility for one’s own life
  • 16. What to Expect from a Moral Theory
    • Functions of theory:
    • Describe
    • Explain
    • Give strength (Stockdale)
    • Prescribe
      • Open new possibilities
      • Wonder
  • 17. What to Expect from a Moral Theory, 2
    • What is ethics like?
    • Physics
      • Clear-cut, definitive answers
    • Engineering
      • Several possible ways of doing things, many ways that are wrong
  • 18. The Point of Ethical Reflection
    • Ethics as the evaluation of other people’s behavior
      • Sources of mistrust about moral judgments
        • Hypocrisy
        • Knowing other people
        • The right to judge
        • Judging and intervention
        • Judging and caring
    • Ethics as the search for the meaning of our own lives
  • 19. Conclusion: Ethics & Good Health
    • Ethics is like nutrition
      • One studies bodily health, the other moral health
      • Significant disagreement in both fields
      • Still there is a significant common ground.