Ethics Review


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A revision ppt for my Senior College students, covers exam technique, deontology, situation ethics, natural law, utilitarianism, ethical egoism, virtue ethics.

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Ethics Review

  1. 1. Ethics Revision <ul><li>General </li></ul><ul><li>Theories </li></ul>
  2. 2. Definitions <ul><li>Ethics – systematic reflection about what is the right thing to do. </li></ul><ul><li>Morals – actions arising from ethics (‘doing the right things’) </li></ul><ul><li>Ethical controversy – an issue where two or more views are held, and argued for, about what is the right thing to do. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Local, community, global </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Definitions – From Chaos to Clarity <ul><li>Ethics is the examination of collective and individual decision-making about what are worthy human actions and the exploration of why people make such judgements. </li></ul><ul><li>An issue is a question or practice where there are differing opinions as to what is correct or desirable </li></ul><ul><li>Morals is concerned more with right or wrong actions rather than ethos or character. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Issue <ul><li>Description </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What it is? (Facts) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why a controversy? (Responses) </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Exploration <ul><li>Why is it right </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Various arguments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Intrinsic (good in itself) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Extrinsic (good because of its results) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Why is it wrong </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Various arguments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Intrinsic ( a priori ) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Extrinsic ( a posteriori ) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Key theories <ul><li>Title </li></ul><ul><li>Description </li></ul><ul><li>Main idea </li></ul><ul><li>Strengths </li></ul><ul><li>Weaknesses </li></ul><ul><li>Applications </li></ul>
  7. 7. Tactics <ul><li>Clarity, emphasis, repetition, key words </li></ul><ul><li>Show how that an ethical theory can (often) be used on either side of a controversy. </li></ul><ul><li>Structure your answer </li></ul><ul><li>Follow your structure </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A conclusion is worth more than one hasty extra point. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Key terms – generally <ul><li>Autonomy </li></ul><ul><li>Responsibility </li></ul><ul><li>Respect </li></ul><ul><li>Quality of life </li></ul><ul><li>Slippery slope </li></ul><ul><li>Benefit </li></ul><ul><li>Justice </li></ul><ul><li>Equity </li></ul><ul><li>Consequences/consequentialism </li></ul><ul><li>Absolutes/standards/principles </li></ul><ul><li>Arbitrary/relative </li></ul><ul><li>Ends, Means </li></ul><ul><li>Objective, Subjective </li></ul><ul><li>Teleology </li></ul><ul><li>Duty, deontology </li></ul><ul><li>Slippery slope, straw man, ad hominem </li></ul>
  9. 9. Key terms – from the theories <ul><li>Utilitarianism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Greatest pleasure/happiness/good/ for the greatest number </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>consequentialism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hedonic calculus, calculation, measure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rule, act </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bentham, Mill </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Key terms – from the theories <ul><li>Ethical egoism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All autonomy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No responsibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The only end is I </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Everything else is means </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Key terms – from the theories <ul><li>Situation ethics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Agape (self-giving love) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Antinomianism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Legalism (‘nomianism’) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Moral precepts are ‘illuminators’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People in their situation are the central focus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consequentialist but </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Absolute too – ‘the law of love’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fletcher </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Key terms – from the theories <ul><li>Natural law </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Good is allowing/providing each entity to attain their potential </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Every entity/creature has a goal/end/telos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(this is their nature) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The good is actualising their potential </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evil is blocking, denying that potential </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Observation, reason, scripture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aristotle, Aquinas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>teleological </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Key terms – from the theories <ul><li>Deontology – duty </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Universal/absolute </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maxim </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Precept </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Categorial imperative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hypothetical imperative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good will </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intention vs action </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A priori </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Means </li></ul><ul><li>Ends </li></ul><ul><li>if what I will were to become a law for all and the outcome is good – then that is what I must do </li></ul><ul><li>All duties are equal </li></ul><ul><li>Kant </li></ul>
  14. 14. Ethical Theories Review
  15. 15. Normative Ethics <ul><li>How should I behave </li></ul><ul><li>Reasons and foundations for actions </li></ul><ul><li>Rational Framework – so no space for intuitionism </li></ul><ul><li>Vs Descriptive Ethics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How do I behave </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Varieties of Ethical Theory <ul><li>Ethical Egoism </li></ul><ul><li>Virtue Ethics </li></ul><ul><li>Natural Law </li></ul><ul><li>Utilitarianism </li></ul><ul><li>Deontology </li></ul><ul><li>Situation Ethics </li></ul><ul><li>… </li></ul>
  17. 17. Ethical Egoism <ul><li>Needs no deep exploration </li></ul><ul><li>My goals </li></ul><ul><li>My wants </li></ul><ul><li>My needs </li></ul><ul><li>My desires… </li></ul><ul><li>All actions (however they appear) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are self-serving </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Virtue Ethics <ul><li>Located in character </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not reasoning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Aristotle’s ethics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ golden mean’ eg </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cowardice (too little) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Courage </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Recklessness (too much) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Renewed by MacIntyre in 20 th c – Beyond Virtue </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Natural Law (1) <ul><li>Everything has a nature – which makes it what it is, governs how it should be and how it should act. </li></ul><ul><li>A good thing is that which is living out its nature </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A good wombat does its ‘wombat things’ well </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It would be a bad thing for wombats to ride bicycles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(and we would be doing evil to train wombats…) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>There is a purpose, goal (telos) for everything </li></ul><ul><li>The goal is meant to be achieved, the theory is teleological. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Natural Law (2) <ul><li>To deny the attainment of the goal is bad </li></ul><ul><li>(intrinsically bad – bad in itself) </li></ul><ul><li>purpose and potential </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If an entity has potential to become… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NL says good actions enable the potential to be reached (actualised) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>We can discover the ‘nature’ of something </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reflection, observation, revelation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consistent understandings </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. NL Good points <ul><li>There is a purpose and meaning to existence (principles and absolutes) </li></ul><ul><li>Arbitrary behaviour is unjustified/unjustifiable </li></ul><ul><li>Absolute goods understood in terms of ‘nature’, realising potential </li></ul>
  22. 22. NL: Bad/unclear points <ul><li>Is there only one nature for any entity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Male/female </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Heterosexual/homosexual </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Is there only one purpose. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sex for procreation only </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Or sex as expression of love </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>intimacy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Procreation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pleasure </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Conventionalism/Static world </li></ul><ul><li>Can we be sure we’re right about nature? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Eg evangelicals and the fallen world </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Utilitarianism <ul><li>Bentham – maximise pleasure, minimise pain </li></ul><ul><li>Need a scale of pleasure & pain </li></ul><ul><li>Simple arithmetic tells you what to do </li></ul><ul><li>Mill – maximise happiness – for the greatest number </li></ul><ul><li>Or good, or justice, or… </li></ul>
  24. 24. Utilitarianism <ul><li>Consequentialist – we consider (all) the consequences </li></ul><ul><li>what we should do is what brings the best consequences </li></ul>
  25. 25. Utilitarianism – an Example? <ul><li>From Bagaric and Clark “Not Enough (Official) Torture in the World” </li></ul><ul><li>“… a neat little formula. It measures up factors such as whether the person is a terrorist, whether it is probable they have information and how many lives will be lost if that information is not extracted. It then divides that figure by the time available before disaster, multiplied by whether the information can be obtained elsewhere.” ( </li></ul>
  26. 26. From the article (USFLR 39) <ul><li>The variables are </li></ul><ul><li>(1) the number of lives at risk; </li></ul><ul><li>(2) the immediacy of the harm; </li></ul><ul><li>(3) the availability of other means to acquire the information; </li></ul><ul><li>(4) the level of wrongdoing of the agent; and </li></ul><ul><li>(5) the likelihood that the agent actually does possess the relevant information. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Utilitarianism: Good Points <ul><li>Scientific </li></ul><ul><li>Objective </li></ul><ul><li>Repeatable </li></ul>
  28. 28. Util: Bad/unclear points <ul><li>Tyranny of the majority </li></ul><ul><li>How do we/can we set an accurate scale? </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Simple’ Arithmetic? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All consequences? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For every person? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For every course of action? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Arbitrary – why should we maximise pleasure/happiness/good… </li></ul>
  29. 29. Deontology <ul><li>Good will – intention not result </li></ul><ul><ul><li>response based on reason/rationality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not personal desire </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Categorial Imperative has two forms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Universality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respect for persons </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Deontology: Good Points <ul><li>There are absolutes, general laws of conduct </li></ul><ul><li>They can be discovered by reason </li></ul><ul><li>People are of value </li></ul>
  31. 31. Deontology: Bad/Unclear points <ul><li>Does reason enable us to discover the good? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we prioritise several ‘goods’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Telling the truth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Preserving life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not stealing </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Situation Ethics <ul><li>One absolute principle </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ to love one another as I have loved you’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Laws in SE are ‘illuminators’ </li></ul><ul><li>People are central </li></ul><ul><li>Situations /contexts are of great importance. </li></ul><ul><li>What is the most loving thing to do? </li></ul>
  33. 33. SE: Good Points <ul><li>Love (agap é - as Jesus showed) </li></ul><ul><li>Centrality of people </li></ul><ul><li>Responsiveness to circumstances </li></ul><ul><li>A place for principle </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(and faith) </li></ul></ul>
  34. 34. SE: Bad points <ul><li>The details (as for utilitarianism) </li></ul><ul><li>(Mis) understanding of ‘love’ </li></ul><ul><li>No absolutes </li></ul>
  35. 35. Sample Questions <ul><li>“ Three major approaches to ethical decision-making are consequentialist (utilitarian), deontological and metaethical”. Taking a controversial issue, present a clear and reasoned analysis of the major principles, concepts and issues associated with one approach to ethical decision making. What are the weaknesses of this approach? </li></ul>
  36. 36. Sample Questions <ul><li>Outline the major arguments involved in a debate over a controversial ‘ethical issue’. In choosing a controversial community or global moral issue, ensure that you define what you understand by the terms ‘ethics’ and ‘ethical controversies’. Present a clear and reasoned analysis of the major arguments involved in the debate as well as the major principles, concepts and issues associated with the differing approaches. </li></ul>
  37. 37. Sample Questions <ul><li>What does it mean to be morally right or wrong? Explain one approach to what is right in relation to the ethical issue you have studied. (4, 5, 8) </li></ul><ul><li>What do you understand by ‘ethics’ and ‘ethical controversies’? Nominate an ethical issue and use it to critically examine some of the major ‘approaches’ adopted in ethical decision-making. (5, 6, 8) </li></ul><ul><li>Using the example of a current ethical issue critically examine and evaluate at least two of the major ethical approaches that could be adopted in ethical decision-making. (5, 8, 9) </li></ul>
  38. 38. Examinable Criteria <ul><li>Criterion 4 Use evidence to support a point of view. </li></ul><ul><li>Criterion 5 Demonstrate understanding of relevant terminology. </li></ul><ul><li>Criterion 6 Demonstrate understanding and appreciation of the implications and significance of philosophical or religious positions. </li></ul><ul><li>Criterion 8 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of religious or philosophical concepts. </li></ul><ul><li>Criterion 9 Critically analyse and evaluate ideas and information. </li></ul>
  39. 39. One nature? <ul><li>&quot; Then Mary stood up, greeted them all, and said to her brethren, &quot;Do not weep and do not grieve nor be irresolute, for His grace will be entirely with you and will protect you. But rather let us praise His greatness, for He has prepared us and made us into men.&quot; When Mary said this, she turned their hearts to the Good, and they began to discuss the words of the [Saviour]. </li></ul><ul><li>Gospel of Mary Magdalene ( </li></ul>
  40. 40. Categorial Imperative (1) <ul><li>‘ Act so that the maxim of your action can be a universal law’ </li></ul><ul><li>Are you willing to carry out the rule yourself? </li></ul><ul><li>Can you wish all people would obey the principle you act on? </li></ul><ul><li>Would all rational people of good-will agree? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it self contradictory? </li></ul>
  41. 41. Categorial Imperative (2) <ul><li>‘ Act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end.’ </li></ul><ul><li>People are rational and therefore have intrinsic worth. The value of a person is not determined by their usefulness. </li></ul><ul><li>Does the action you propose result in USING someone? </li></ul>