Ethics and Educational Leaders (4)

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Ethics and Educational Leaders (4)

  1. 1. Chapter 4:Relativism and Teleology<br />Reggie Hall / Leslie Mills / Heather Ortiz<br />
  2. 2. Relativism<br />Morals vary from society to society and between different time periods.<br />
  3. 3. Moral Philosophers<br />David Hume (1711-1776)<br />Based his theory of ethics on human experience and psychology rather than the divine law and natural law.<br />Our morals are based on the idea of justice and compassion and our ultimate goal is to improvement of the human race.<br />
  4. 4. Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)<br />Proposed changes to laws whose purpose was to maintain the status quo. Believed that instead laws should be focused on providing happiness and reducing suffering, therefore, they should be designed to serve the human race.<br />Proposed using a utilitarian concept of pain vs. pleasure when making ethical decisions. <br />Making ethics quantifiable by considering “greatest good for the greatest number” <br />Intensity<br />Duration<br />Certainty vs. Uncertainty<br />Convenience or remoteness<br />Productiveness (chance of being followed by sensations of the same kind)<br />
  5. 5. Kidder<br />“Rule based thinking” vs. “end-based thinking”<br />Ends-based thinking using cost-benefit analysis. Who will be helped and who will be hurt in the decision<br />
  6. 6. Teleology<br />is any philosophical account which holds that final causes exist in nature, meaning that design and purpose analogous to that found in human actions are inherent also in the rest of nature. The word comes from the Greekτέλος, telos, root: τελε-, "end, purpose, (not to be confused with τῆλε, “at a distance, far from”). The adjective "teleological" has a broader usage, for example in discussions where particular ethical theories or types of computer programs (such as "teleo-reactive" programs) are sometimes described as teleological because they involve aiming at goals. (wiki-source)<br />
  7. 7. Teleology<br />Central to theory of relativism… is an assessment of consequences. (Consequentialism)<br />Kidder (1995), you can determine the “greatest good” w/o speculating on probable futures (24). <br />Common Forms of Teleology<br />Egoism<br />Act-Utilitarianism<br />Rule Utilarianism<br />
  8. 8. Egoism-<br />everyone should promote self interest b/c the greatest good will result for the greatest number.<br />Self-serving<br />Universal ethical egoism---described by Pojman (2002) as the least favorable form of egoism.<br />Supported by Adam Smith, Ayn Rand, Thomas Hobbes.<br />We should do what will maximize one’s own expected utility or bring about one’s own happiness, even when it means harming others.<br />Survival of the fittest. Everyone should play to win. <br />
  9. 9. Utilitarianism<br />Emphasizes 2 features of relativism<br />Consequentialist principle<br />The rightness/wrongness of an act is determined by the goodness or badness of the results<br />Not worried about the means…simply the end results<br />Utility principle<br />Views pleasure as the sole good and pain as the only evil<br />An act is right it brings more pleasure than pain…. (John Stuart Mill defined pleasure/happiness)<br />
  10. 10. 2 classical types of Utilitariansim<br />Act is right only if it results in as much good as any available alternative (Pojman 2002)<br />Based on the best perception and wisdom of that individual at that time. <br />Everyone should always establish and follow that rule or those rules that will bring about the greatest good for all concerned. <br />Act-Utilitarianism<br />Rule-utilitarianism<br />
  11. 11. Analysis<br />Must be balanced<br />Cannot focus solely on self-interest<br />Must have some standards or guidelines b/c if rules did not exist it would have a negative effect on society and pursuit of happiness.<br />
  12. 12. Arguments for Relativism and Teleology<br />Relativism<br /><ul><li> “Just makes sense”;
  13. 13. Promotes tolerance, without accepting the notion that “anything goes”;
  14. 14. Changing to societal norms;
  15. 15. Egalitarianism [fairness or justice]:
  16. 16. “good people should fare well and bad people should fare badly”
  17. 17. similar cases should be treated similarly and different cases differently [avoids discrimination]</li></ul>Teleology<br /><ul><li> Helps to avoid blindly following rules when they are no longer appropriate, when our intuition tells us that they are wrong in particular situations, or when they fail to make accommodations for social change and technological development;
  18. 18. Reform of unfair laws or rules is not only acceptable, but desirable;
  19. 19. Provides a way to logically decide which rule should prevail when one basic principle comes into conflict with another;</li></li></ul><li>Arguments against Relativism and Teleology<br />Common arguments for relativism, teleology, and utilitarianism include: (a) advantages of objectivism and deontology; (b) philosophical objections to equating “is” with “ought”; (c) defining what is “good” may become a matter of opinion or majority rule.<br /><ul><li> If happiness for the majority is the guideline…what about the minority, moral reformers, and dissidents?;
  20. 20. Can relativism rationally specify which group’s beliefs determine right and wrong;
  21. 21. Everything that is good will bring some person or group happiness, but it does not follow that everything that brings someone happiness is necessarily good;
  22. 22. How to establish the reasonable limits of what should be done to create the “greatest happiness for the greatest number”;
  23. 23. Practical difficulty has to do with the fact that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to determine all the consequences of an action in advance, let alone evaluate their relative value</li></ul>Example: Airplane crash victims and kidney transplant<br />
  24. 24. Case Study: A Reference Request<br />Principal, John Checkers<br />Mentally debating what to say to professional colleague [reference] at other school, about Rolly’s health or whether he would be likely to stay in the new position for an extended period of time.<br />Teacher, Rolly Durham<br />

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