Ethics
Ethics
• We are all faced with difficult decisions
every day and make value judgements
– Not doing your homework is wrong
...
Ethics
• The problem is: who is to decide the first
principle of the syllogism: i.e. is it really “wrong”
not to do your h...
What is Morality?
• A moral act is a human act which requires both
conscience and liberty
• A moral act always has consequ...
What is Morality?
MORAL IMMORAL
A MORAL ACT
AMORAL
AN ACT WITHOUT MORALS
Without conscience and/or libertyWith responsibil...
What is Morality?
• Is this moral, immoral or amoral?
• Me putting this pen on the table
• MORAL – I have done it with con...
What is Morality?
• Is this moral, immoral or amoral?
• A 5 year old child is playing cops and
robbers with his friends. H...
What is Morality?
• Is this moral, immoral or amoral?
• A pilot is coming into the airport for a
landing. The pilot does n...
Calvin and Hobbes
• In the cartoon, Calvin says he doesn’t
believe in ethics any more. But that’s not
really true
• What h...
Ethics
• Moral relativism is a belief that
different groups of people can
develop different values, and
this simply depend...
Moral Relativism
• There are no universal values
• We all have values determined by the way we are
brought up
• Moral valu...
Arguments in favour of moral relativism
• The ‘Diversity Argument’
– How can there be a single moral code
amongst humans, ...
Moral Relativism
"We are moving toward a
dictatorship of relativism which does
not recognize anything as for certain
and w...
Josef Fritzl
• Josef Fritzel is the Austrian
man who imprisoned his
daughter in a basement for
24 years
• He raped her tho...
Michele Mongelli
• This man has been called the
Italian Josef Fritzl
• He is accused of keeping his
daughter captive for 2...
Arcebio Alvarez
• This man as been called
the Colombian Fritzl
• He abused his daughter
for 25 years and fathered
11 child...
Defintions
• Morals
– the shared ideals of a group, irrespective of
whether they are practiced.
• Ethics
– the rules of co...
1. Religious Ethics
• Pope Benedict XVI, 2007, Brazil :
“Where God is absent - God with the human
face of Jesus Christ - t...
1. Religious Ethics
• Plato: “Is something good because God
says it is good, or does God say it is good
because it is good...
2. Duty Ethics
• Duty (or obligations) are things we
take for granted. But where do they
come from?
• Some people would sa...
Kant: The idea of “consistency”
• Kant believed that ethical acts have nothing to do with
‘rightness’ or ‘wrongness’ of th...
Kant and Consistency
• Use Kant’s model of consistency to argue
the following:
– It is my duty to be on time for a meeting...
Duty Ethics
• “If you want to know the foulness of lying for
yourself, consider the lying of someone else and
how you shun...
3. Moral Relativism
• A belief that our values are determined by
the society that we grow up in
• This supports the idea t...
4. Fear of punishment
• Some people would see this as a way to force
others to conform to society’s norms and others’
idea...
5. Utilitarianism
• We intuitively stick to a moral code
because that is what will bring “the
greatest happiness to the gr...
Utilitarianism
• It was developed in the nineteenth century
by two British philosophers – Jeremy
Bentham and John Stuart M...
Arguments in Favour of Utilitarianism
• It is a simple and coherent theory
• It is a teleological argument (the opposite o...
Arguments Against Utilitarianism
• Happiness is a very difficult thing to measure objectively
• Simply ensuring that pleas...
Arguments Against Utilitarianism
• Some people find the idea that the ultimate goal in
life is to pursue pleasure somewhat...
6. Self interest
• A belief that human beings are essentially selfish
not altruistic
– The definitional argument – all hum...
The Roots of Morality
• Richard Dawkins gives 4 reasons why
altruism exists in animals (he compares this
to morality in hu...
1. The Selfish Gene
• Many birds (e.g.
oystercatchers,
plovers,
sandpipers) will
pretend to be
injured in order to
lure a ...
2. Reciprocation
• Vampire bats feed each
other by regurgitating
blood. A bat that has fed
another one does so with
the ex...
3. Reputation
• Cleaner wrasse earn the
right to pick parasites
and dead tissue from
their larger fishy clients
by acquiri...
4. Dominance Behaviour
• Some individual babbler
birds have been observed
to assert their dominance
by feeding subordinate...
The Roots of Morality
• Do you agree with Richard Dawkins that
the roots of morality (and therefore ethics)
lie in these k...
Ethical Orientations
• One theory of ethics states that there are
two basic ethical orientations:
– The Ethic of Care
– Th...
• Dalai Lama
“When each of us learns to appreciate the
critical importance of ethics and makes
inner values like compassio...
Ethics
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Ethics

7,242 views

Published on

IB Theory of Knowledge

Published in: Education, Spiritual, Technology
0 Comments
1 Like
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total views
7,242
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
5,696
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
80
Comments
0
Likes
1
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Ethics

  1. 1. Ethics
  2. 2. Ethics • We are all faced with difficult decisions every day and make value judgements – Not doing your homework is wrong – She has not done her homework – Therefore she is wrong • Is ethics closely related to another area of knowledge then? http://edrontheoryofknowledge.blogspot.mx/2012/05/reason-and-universality-of-human-rights.html
  3. 3. Ethics • The problem is: who is to decide the first principle of the syllogism: i.e. is it really “wrong” not to do your homework? Does this make the syllogism a fallacy? • Despite this problem, humans do seem to have somehow developed a shared system of ‘values’ or ‘moral principles’ • Is this down to logic, instinct, language?....
  4. 4. What is Morality? • A moral act is a human act which requires both conscience and liberty • A moral act always has consequences (good or bad) • A moral act confers responsibility on the person who carries it out • We can label a moral act as ‘moral’ or ‘immoral’ depending on the desired outcome • An act without conscience and liberty is labelled amoral
  5. 5. What is Morality? MORAL IMMORAL A MORAL ACT AMORAL AN ACT WITHOUT MORALS Without conscience and/or libertyWith responsibility
  6. 6. What is Morality? • Is this moral, immoral or amoral? • Me putting this pen on the table • MORAL – I have done it with conscience and liberty
  7. 7. What is Morality? • Is this moral, immoral or amoral? • A 5 year old child is playing cops and robbers with his friends. He goes into the house and finds his dad’s gun. He takes it outside to continue playing and shoots his friend dead • AMORAL – done without conscience of the outcome
  8. 8. What is Morality? • Is this moral, immoral or amoral? • A pilot is coming into the airport for a landing. The pilot does not listen properly to the instructions from the control tower, makes a mistake and crashes the plane, killing everybody on board. • MORAL
  9. 9. Calvin and Hobbes • In the cartoon, Calvin says he doesn’t believe in ethics any more. But that’s not really true • What he should say is that he believes in ‘moral relativism’ (a branch of ethics) • What do you think moral relativism means?
  10. 10. Ethics • Moral relativism is a belief that different groups of people can develop different values, and this simply depends on the society that you grow up in • A good example is the growth of the Nazi State in Germany in which generally accepted moral beliefs were changed in favour of those that benefited the fatherland
  11. 11. Moral Relativism • There are no universal values • We all have values determined by the way we are brought up • Moral values vary from culture to culture • The philosopher Claude Levi-Strauss believed there is only one ethical taboo that all cultures share – do you know what it is? http://edrontheoryofknowledge.blogspot.mx/2012/04/taboo.html
  12. 12. Arguments in favour of moral relativism • The ‘Diversity Argument’ – How can there be a single moral code amongst humans, when some cultures have allowed practices like: female circumcision, cannibalism, slavery, stoning of adulterers, execution, eugenics, euthanasia…. • The ‘Lack of foundations’ argument – Morals have no grounding in logic. There is no “moral code” against which all humans can set their values
  13. 13. Moral Relativism "We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires" Pope Benedict XVI
  14. 14. Josef Fritzl • Josef Fritzel is the Austrian man who imprisoned his daughter in a basement for 24 years • He raped her thousands of times and she had 7 children with him • He allowed at least one of the babies to die • He pleaded guilty and been sentenced to life imprisonment
  15. 15. Michele Mongelli • This man has been called the Italian Josef Fritzl • He is accused of keeping his daughter captive for 25 years, and repeatedly raping her • His son is accused of similar crimes with his own daughters
  16. 16. Arcebio Alvarez • This man as been called the Colombian Fritzl • He abused his daughter for 25 years and fathered 11 children with her • His defence was that they were both in a “loving” relationship
  17. 17. Defintions • Morals – the shared ideals of a group, irrespective of whether they are practiced. • Ethics – the rules of conduct recognised in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc. eg medical ethics, Christian ethics
  18. 18. 1. Religious Ethics • Pope Benedict XVI, 2007, Brazil : “Where God is absent - God with the human face of Jesus Christ - these [moral] values fail to show themselves with their full force: nor does a consensus arise concerning them. I do not mean that nonbelievers cannot live a lofty and exemplary morality; I am only saying that a society in which God is absent will not find the necessary consensus on moral values or the strength to live according to the model of these values".
  19. 19. 1. Religious Ethics • Plato: “Is something good because God says it is good, or does God say it is good because it is good?” • But if something is good without the objective opinion of God, doesn’t that mean that ethics are completely independent of religion? http://edrontheoryofknowledge.blogspot.mx/2011/06/morality-without-religion.html
  20. 20. 2. Duty Ethics • Duty (or obligations) are things we take for granted. But where do they come from? • Some people would say religion (e.g. the Ten Commandments). But how do we justify these claims? • Some people would say intuition • The philosopher Immanuel Kant said it is based on reason
  21. 21. Kant: The idea of “consistency” • Kant believed that ethical acts have nothing to do with ‘rightness’ or ‘wrongness’ of their outcomes, but the intention of the person performing them. This is also referred to as the deontological argument • He argued that people see something as their ‘duty’ if there is inconsistency if it is not done • For example, it is your duty to stand in line at the cafeteria • If you didn’t there would be chaos for everybody and nobody would get served
  22. 22. Kant and Consistency • Use Kant’s model of consistency to argue the following: – It is my duty to be on time for a meeting I have planned with my friends – It is my duty to vote in a general election – It is my duty to give honest information about myself on my university application – It is my duty not to commit suicide
  23. 23. Duty Ethics • “If you want to know the foulness of lying for yourself, consider the lying of someone else and how you shun it and despise the man who lies and regard his communication as foul. Do the same with regard to all your own vices, for you do not realize the foulness of your vices from your own case, but from someone else’s.” Al Ghazali, Muslim teacher (1058 – 1111) • “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” Based on the words of Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the mount (also called the “Golden Rule” of the Catholic Catechism)
  24. 24. 3. Moral Relativism • A belief that our values are determined by the society that we grow up in • This supports the idea that there is no ‘universal moral code’
  25. 25. 4. Fear of punishment • Some people would see this as a way to force others to conform to society’s norms and others’ ideas of morality • Consider the fact that many Mexicans are now supporting the idea that the death penalty should be re-introduced to combat the rise in crime • Many would see religious ethics as ultimately stemming from a fear of punishment
  26. 26. 5. Utilitarianism • We intuitively stick to a moral code because that is what will bring “the greatest happiness to the greatest number” • Utilitarians believe that the thing we all strive towards is happiness, therefore actions are ‘good’ if they increase happiness and ‘bad’ if they decrease happiness
  27. 27. Utilitarianism • It was developed in the nineteenth century by two British philosophers – Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill • They wanted to establish a more scientific foundation for ethics
  28. 28. Arguments in Favour of Utilitarianism • It is a simple and coherent theory • It is a teleological argument (the opposite of the deontological). This states that there is inherent ‘rightness’ and ‘wrongness’ in actions, which would seem to most people to be intuitively correct • It is democratic and can by applied on an individual basis, depending on what makes each person happy • It is a rational theory which takes into account both short- term and long-term happiness
  29. 29. Arguments Against Utilitarianism • Happiness is a very difficult thing to measure objectively • Simply ensuring that pleasure is available does not ensure happiness. It seems that true happiness comes from striving to achieve something and being successful • It is in practice very difficult to predict the outcomes of any action and how it will affect the happiness of all involved • The things that bring pleasure to some people are not always good in themselves. Some are empty pleasures (e.g. gorging on chocolate) or malicious pleasures (e.g. sado-masochism)
  30. 30. Arguments Against Utilitarianism • Some people find the idea that the ultimate goal in life is to pursue pleasure somewhat distasteful • The Scottish philosopher and writer Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) called utilitarianism ‘pig philosophy’ as it appeared to him to be based on ‘the swinish pleasures of the multitude’ • Albert Einstein (1879-1955) once said “well-being and happiness never appeared to me as an absolute aim. I am even inclined to compare such moral aims to the ambitions of a pig.”
  31. 31. 6. Self interest • A belief that human beings are essentially selfish not altruistic – The definitional argument – all humans are selfish and we only do things we don’t want to do because we are being forced to do it – The evolutionary argument – we are “programmed” to look after number one – The fear of punishment argument – The hidden benefits argument – we gain something from being moral e.g. gratitude, praise, a debt which we expect others to repay later
  32. 32. The Roots of Morality • Richard Dawkins gives 4 reasons why altruism exists in animals (he compares this to morality in humans) 1. Genetic kinship and the unconscious desire for one's genes to pass to the next generation 2. Reciprocation: the expectation or anticipation that favours given will be repaid later 3. The benefit of acquiring a 'reputation' for generosity 4. The benefit of being able to identify oneself as dominant due to the ability to give favours without necessarily expecting payback The Evolutionary Argument/ Hidden Benefits Argument http://edrontheoryofknowledge.blogspot.mx/2012/06/morality-in-animals.html
  33. 33. 1. The Selfish Gene • Many birds (e.g. oystercatchers, plovers, sandpipers) will pretend to be injured in order to lure a predator away from their nest and protect their eggs
  34. 34. 2. Reciprocation • Vampire bats feed each other by regurgitating blood. A bat that has fed another one does so with the expectation that it will be paid back in blood at a later date. Some bats have been observed to be cheaters and refuse to be altruistic (it pays to be a cheat since most bats don’t seem to identify them)
  35. 35. 3. Reputation • Cleaner wrasse earn the right to pick parasites and dead tissue from their larger fishy clients by acquiring a reputation for being good cleaners. Cheaters have been observed to lose their cleaning rights and hence their client base
  36. 36. 4. Dominance Behaviour • Some individual babbler birds have been observed to assert their dominance by feeding subordinates, reacting violently if the subordinate bird tries to reverse these roles. Similarly, dominant birds will also actively compete for the dangerous role of sentinel - the right to sit on the highest branches to look out for predators.
  37. 37. The Roots of Morality • Do you agree with Richard Dawkins that the roots of morality (and therefore ethics) lie in these kind of instincts that were presumably present in our hominid ancestors? http://edrontheoryofknowledge.blogspot.mx/2012/02/why-do-morals-exist.html
  38. 38. Ethical Orientations • One theory of ethics states that there are two basic ethical orientations: – The Ethic of Care – The Ethic of Justice • They are not necessarily mutually exclusive http://edrontheoryofknowledge.blogspot.mx/2012/09/ethical-orientations.html
  39. 39. • Dalai Lama “When each of us learns to appreciate the critical importance of ethics and makes inner values like compassion and patience an integral part of our basic outlook on life, the effects will be far-reaching”

×