pp. 222-223 Moral Criteria Though we have dedicated a section of this chapter to each of the following criteria, the basic moral concerns we will utilize for making ethical decisions can be summarized as follows: CONSEQUENCES AND GOODS While the notion of “goods” can apply to all things morally desirable, in this context we mean those goods that are produced by our decisions and actions. Goods in this sense include happiness, well-being, and flourishing; relief of pain and suffering; as well as conditions, laws, policies, etc., that serve to promote or protect these goods (e.g., equality, security). Concern with moral goods is a concern with the consequences of our decisions and actions. DUTIES AND PRINCIPLES While the term “principles” is (like that of “goods”) broad, we use it here to refer to morally relevant duties, rights, and obligations , including concerns for honesty, fairness, justice, respect for ourselves and others, and other duties and obligations that stem from general moral rules or principles. VIRTUES are morally desirable traits of character. The term “virtues” is used to refer to dispositions toward honesty, compassion, forgiveness, etc., as well as the avoidance of vicious dispositions such as selfishness, greed, and envy. Actions in accordance with these dispositions tend to be honest, fair, just, etc., and tend to produce good consequences.
Deciding with duties means first determining what duties, rights, principles, and/or obligations apply to a given issue or situation. 1. What are the facts of the issue or details of the situation? 2. What alternative courses of action exist? 3. What duties or obligations apply to the issue or situation? 4. Which decision or course of action is most in keeping with relevant duties, obligations, rights, and principles that have been identified? p.238. Deciding with Consequences means predicting the likely consequences of different decisions or courses of actions and choosing that which produces the greatest balance of good over bad.
SCENARIOS FOR FURTHER THOUGHT found on pages 239-242.