OUTLINE•Why study ethics?•What is ethics?•Different approaches to ethics -Ethics and Religion -Ethics and Reason•Ethical reasoning and arguments -Fallacious Arguments -Arguments•Ethical theories -Objective source of morality -Subjective source of morality•Why be moral?•Conclusion
Why study ethics? How can we decide what is the right thing to do in any given situation? Some decision are not ethical or moral-e.g. move left foot after right foot when walking-Walking away from an injured person-ethical Faced with many ethical decision everyday-Rarely question why we do certain things Contemporary ethics teaches:-what the most important philosopher have said on the subject-Evaluate and debate ethical statements If a person cannot feel pain,how do you persuade them to stop hurting someone?
What is ethics?Ethics:a set of normative values that determine A branch of philosophy,also called moral philosophy whether any particular action is good or bad -Greek:philia=love or friendship,sophia=wisdom -’love of wisdom’ -critical examination of the grounds for fundamental beliefs and an analysis of the basic concepts employed in the expression of such beliefs Branches of philosophy: -Epistemology:philosophy of knowledge -Metaphysics:nature of reality -Ethics:determining what is right or wrong -philosophy of science Philosophy of law -Aesthetics:philosophy of art
What is ethics? Ethical and moral frequently interchangeable -ethos(Greek):meaning character Relates to individual characteristics of a person -moralis(Latin) :meaning custom or manners Relates to relationships between people Ethical/moral associated with ‘good’, ‘right’ -Good:pleasure or happiness Malicious pleasure:e.g.sadism-consent issues -Bad : unhappiness or pain Nonmoral: Sadism:a sadist derives pleasure from hurting others-e.g. a light bulb Nonmoral:does not involve morality. Immoral:goes agaist morality
What is ethics?Excellence:most good things involve excellence -e.g. 1-0 win is good, 5-0 is excellent -displaying superior skills in a particular areaHarmony : -Stopping a war is good: harmony -Starting a war is bad: discordAmoral Amoral:having no sense of what is moral - Sociopath:no remorse Excellence:the quality of displaying superior skills in a particular area.
Different approaches to ethics • Normative/Perscriptive ethics: – “should”,”ought”…telling you what to do – Deciding what is preferable in any give situation • Used in medicine, law, politics… • Metaetchics: older approach, exploring the meaning of ethical terms – E.g. what does “good” mean? What does fair mean? What does “fair” mean?Normative: conforming to or based on valuesPrescriptive: that which defines what ought to be done
Different approaches to ethics• Overlaps with other specialisations: – Epistemology: knowledge – how do we know something is good or bad• Scientific/Descriptive – No value judment: e.g. crime statistics• Combination of approaches possible – E.g. Capital punishment: • Crime rate does not fall, therefore not a deterrent • Therefore it should not be practiced • It is not ‘good’
Different approaches to ethics• Not all evaluation are moral – Manners/ etiquette close but not the same• Moral judgements overide other normative values – Civil disobedience: morality over law – Public nudity: morality over aesthetics Etiquette: the proper conduct in social or official life.
Objective sources of morality • Supernatural – Impossible to prove, depends on faith • Natural laws – Scientific natural laws are descriptive and always hold true – Naturalistic moral laws are prescriptive and have many example of exceptions • Anthropocentric value – How can politics or art have value without the humans who created them?Anthropocentrism: assessing everything in relation to humans.
Subjective sources of morality• Moral value derives from humans alone – No external sources• Three variables for subjective and values – The thing being valued, the thing of value – The valuer, the conscious being who values – The context where the valuing takes place
Morality Customary morality• From evolution of society and collective historical experiences – Religious, legal – “That’s the way we’ve always done it” Reflective morality • Applying reason and interpretation of events to decide upon morality • Can be used to re-evaluate customary morality – E.g. Slavery
“ All evil is ignorance-Plato What does ‘evil’ mean? Does it What does this mean? exist? in itself it is a value-laden term Are some things or people intrinsicallyevil? Plato is suggesting that ignorance is intrinsically evil, but it can be overcome Therefore evil itself is not intrinsically evil?
Intrinsic: belonging to the essential natureor constitution of something Evil: that which is extremely morally reprehensible
ETHICS AND RELIGION Most ethical/ moral systems derive from religions E.g: Thou shalt not kill; respect your eldest… Religion probably existed before separate moral and legal systems – more than an ethical system Divine command theory: A moral system is right because it was ordained by divine powers Arbitrary, should we kill in the name of a (non-existent) God?
Who determines what the divine wants? How to reconcile different believers? Reason and experience to develop ethicalsystems Not exclude religious moral systems, but has to be sustainable for other reasons that for faith alone Non-religious people have morals too. Most satisfactory ethical system incorporates all people of all persuasions.
ETHICS AND REASONS Ethics demands reasons for particular standpoints “Why did you steal that bread?” Ethical arguments develop through reason But not need ‘objective rationality’ Subjective feelings of pleasure may support a reasonable argument But not sufficient: E.g: need to explain why pleasure is always good Give reasons for argument
Objective: objective knowledge is based on evidence that can be observed through the senses and independently verified.Rational: That which is developed through reason and is not influenced by emotions, prejudices, etc.
Ethical reasoning and arguments Sound arguments vs. false/ weak arguments Premise: “Lying is wrong…” can be a value judgement, an empirical statement… Argument: “…because if everyone lied all the time then society would break down…” Based on supporting and conflicting empirical and/ or logical evidence Uses value judgements and evidence But you can’t use your original premise to prove your argument E.g: the red dress doesn’t suit you because it’s red
Conclusion: “…so you should not have lied to the policeman.” There should be one logical conclusion There can be more Which is similar to having none in a way Depends on how you weigh up the different conclusions.
F A A R L G Circulus in probando L UAd hominem reasoning A M “ Women are stupid because “Whatever the Pope C E they are not clever” says must be wrong!” I N O T Circular Argument U S S
RATIONALISM It was right to gamble because I won money!! FALLACIOUS ARGUMENTSPost hoc ergo propter hoc“After the sun came up it rained; therefore the sun caused the rain”
Conceptual matters “Did he mean to kill the An explanation is not a man?” justification Intention Analogy Factual assertion“Killing animals is as bad as Supported bykilling people because they Verifiable evidence all feel pain
Arguments• Analogy -using a similar case to argue for similar conclusions * if things are alike in some respects then they are likely to be in other respects• Concept -Abstract and systemised idea generalised from particular instances• Factual assertions Statements that are empirically verifiable• Ad hominem - Rejecting an argument because of the person saying it• Circular argument -using a conclusion to support itself• Rationalisation -reasons given after the event that are not the true reasons• Post hoc ergo propter hoc -coincidental correlation
Ethical Theories Deductive Theory principles judgements Decide on basic ethical values Derives principles Conclusion: Such-and-such an action is wrong Inductive Judgements principles theory Lots of people kill other people Why? Can I kill others? What does killing serve? Theory: Killing is OK when done for good reasons Motive, act, or consequences
ResponsibilityOnly human can be held to be normally responsible Consequentialist • a.k.a Teleological •Ends justifies the means Judge actions by their outcome • e.g. Utilitarianism Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832 “greatest happiness of the greatest number”
Non-consequentialist• a.k.a Deontological• Judge the actual action, regardless of theconsequences - e.g. Pacifism• Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) - judged actions by whether they conformto requirements of rationality and humandignity
Naturalistic ethical theories• Human nature as the source of what is right of wrong - The instinct to survival is the strongest, therefore it is wrong to commit suicide.• Either teleological (similar to consequentialist- judged by theend result) or deontological (similar to non-consequentialist- theact is judged in itself, not according to the result) - E.g: ‘shallow ecology’ vs. ‘deep ecology’For example: # Shallow ecology evaluates the results of pollution# Deep ecology tries to assign value to nature itself
Theories of Care Feminism -Classic ethics is patriarchal worldwide -But also criticised by feminists – said to imply thatwomen should always do the caringEmphasize contingency, consensus and care -As opposed to generalised impersonal theories -” he stole the bread to feed his family “
Why be moral?• Ethical egoisme -It’s in my interest to be ethical, because it will help me to get what I want ‘ ‘Enlightened self-interest’ -I won’t steal because if everyone stole there would be too many problems,and I’ll be punished if I do.• Because everyone else will be happier -Difficult to persuade someone not to do something that they want to do it• “Because that’s the way your mother did it” Encourages blind obedience• Moral laws help to ensure everyone’s needs are met
Conclusions• A branch of philosophy - About human relationships - Trying to identify what is ‘good’ *A dynamic social force that promotes human well being• Uses argument to determine moral valiues - Based on theories *Consequentialist,deontological,naturalist,feminist -Observations,reason,logic• Religion needs morality,but moral system doesn’t need religion