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Session objectives:
At the end of the session, the students must
be able to:
1. Discuss what is Normative Ethics
2. Explain the foci of normative ethics
3. Describe the different normative
ethical theories
4. Explain the issues in normative ethics.
Normative Ethics Defined
- the study of ethical behavior.
-
- that branch of philosophical ethics that investigates the
questions on how one ought to act, in a moral sense.
- takes its root word from “norm” which indicates some
standard or rule or principle with which moral agents
ought to comply.
- An example of a moral norm is “Thou shall not murder.
It is meant to guide our actions, and to the extent that
people do not comply, we may be judged morally – that
is, morally blamed.”
The foci of normative ethics
There are two (2) central concepts of normative
ethics:
 the right – the concept tells us “which action
we ought to perform, which it would be
wrong not to perform, and
 the morally good – the concept refers to
“morally good properties of human beings”
with virtous character traits such as “
kindness, courage, and honesty which are
states that are generally thought to be
morally good.” This aspect deal with
character.
The foci of normative ethics is, thus, described
as (1) Action, and (2) Character.
1. Right Action – is an investigation and an attempt to
answer the question: “What ought I to do?”
- The “ought” in this question is to be interpreted as a
moral ought, and may be understood as equivalent to
the question: “What is the right thing to do?”
2. Character – attempts to answer the question: “What
sort of person ought I to be?”
- This is described as virtue ethics which specify the
virtue, that is, traits of character that is good or bad to
possess.
The different normative ethical theories
 Virtue Ethics
 Deontological Ethics
 Kantianism
 Contractualism
 Natural rights
 Ethical Intuitionsim
Source: https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Normative_ethics
 Consequentialism
 Utilitarianism
 State consequentialism
 Egoism
 Situational Ethics
 Intellectualism
 Welfarism
 Preference
Utilitarianism
 Virtue Ethics.
- this theory begins with an account of ‘virtuous’
character, that is, “offers an account of what states
of character are desirable.”
-
- among the virtue ethicist is Aristotle who argue that
“the right action cannot be understood as conformity
of actions to rules … they tend to emphasize that the
virtuous person is someone who acts rightly in the
situation upon requirements that are unique to the
situation.”
- the virtuous person is, therefore, “someone who is
able to perceive what the situation requires and act
accordingly.”
 Deontological Ethics –argue that decisions should be
made considering the factors of one’s duties and one’s
rights.
 Kantianism
- derived from the works of the German philosopher
Immanuel Kant who has been greatly influential.
- his work revolved around the moral principle he called
“categorical imperative” which he regarded as the
“fundamental principle of morality, from which all our
duties may be derived”.
- “categorical imperative” is basically a principle of
consistency, demanding that we act on reasons which
all rational agents could endorse, that is, universally
acceptable reasons.”
 Deontological Ethics
 Contractualism (John Rawls)
- Holds that the moral acts are those that we all
agree to if we were unbiased behind a “veil of
ignorance”
- The "veil of ignorance" is a method of determining the
morality of issues and asks the decision-maker to make a
choice about a social or moral issue and assumes that they
have enough information to know the consequences of their
possible decisions for everyone but would not know, or would
not take into account, which person they are.
- The theory contends that not knowing one's ultimate position
in society would lead to the creation of a just system, as the
decision-maker would not want to make decisions which
benefit a certain group at the expense of another, because
the decision-maker could theoretically end up in either
 Deontological Ethics
 Natural Rights Theory (John Locke)
- Holds that the human beings have absolute, natural
rights;
- those rights are natural because they are pre-
political; that is to say, that everyone in the state of
nature is entitled to them. Pre-political is the state
of nature which arises before any form of political
authority.
 Ethical Intuitionism
- in this theory, according to the author of The
Right and the Good, W.D. Ross, “there are a
number of irreducible moral duties, none of
which takes precedence over any other.”
- Ross thinks that “the right action in a given
situation is determined by a careful weighing of
various moral principles which apply in that
situation.”
 Consequentialism or Teleology –argues that the
morality of an action is contingent on the
action’s outcome or result.
 Utilitarianism
- This used to be the generic term for
consequentialism before that term was adopted in
1958
- this theory says that the right action is that which
produces the greatest of overall happiness.
- This contention claims that happiness is the only
determinant of the rightness of action where
classical utilitarianism supports hedonism as the
theory of value.
 Utilitarianism
- Hedonism is the “ethical theory that pleasure (in
the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the
highest good and proper aim of human life.”
- This contention, however, has received various
revisions from utilitarian theorists such that what is
endorsed is “the right action depends on the best
consequences overall in view of the principle of
utility, although the best consequences are not
necessarily understood in terms of happiness but
more broadly in terms of valuable states of affairs.”
 State Consequentialism
- Holds that an action is right if it leads to state
welfare, through oder, material wealth, and
population growth
 Egoism
- the belief that the moral person is the self-
interested person, holds that an action is right if
it maximizes good for the self.
 Situational ethics
- Emphasizes the particular context of an act
when evaluating it ethically.
 Intellectualism
- Dictates that the best action is the one that
best fosters and promote knowledge
 Welfarism
- Argues that the best action is the one that
most increases economic well-being or welfare
 Preference utilitarianism
- Holds that the best action is the one that leads
to the most overall preference satisfaction.
Issues in normative ethics.
- The issue that surrounds normative ethics is the
tension that exists between the approaches in
dealing with the two (2) foci of normative ethics –
action and character.
- The Utilitarinists, Kantianists, and Ethical
Intuitionists address the question of action in its
methodological sense by “setting up moral rules
and principles which determine which actions are
right.”
Issues in normative ethics.
- Virtue ethicists addressing the question of character begin
with virtuous character.
- It is said that the two approaches criticize each other with
the first group (the Kantians and Utilitarians) saying virtue
ethics is “not being able to tell what moral rules and
principles should be given clear guidance on how to act on
specific circumstances,” and the latter group (the virtue
ethicists) blaming utilitarians and Kantians for inflexibly
imposing rules and principles upon all situations without
being able to appropriately accommodate complex
circumstances such as abortion, euthanasia and cloning
where the virtue of wisdom, for example, might be needed
case by case.”
Issues in normative ethics.
In trying to diffuse the tension between the two,
it is suggested that
- we look back at Plato and Aristotle's virtue ethics
as actually grounded in some absolute standard
which could very likely originate rules and
principles,
- that absolute standard is something that consists
in “knowledge of eternal truth … that results
from virtues rooted in the Form of Good that
pertains to God.”
End of Material for Week 5
Upcoming for Week 6
1. Applied Ethics
a. What is Applied Ethics
b. The Fields of Applied Ethics
- Business Ethics
- Professional Ethics
- Bioethics
- Moral Standing and Personhood
- Social Ethics, distributive ethics and
environmental ethics
Reporter: Mark Allan Angeles

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Week 5-presentation-normative-ethics

  • 1.
  • 2. Session objectives: At the end of the session, the students must be able to: 1. Discuss what is Normative Ethics 2. Explain the foci of normative ethics 3. Describe the different normative ethical theories 4. Explain the issues in normative ethics.
  • 3. Normative Ethics Defined - the study of ethical behavior. - - that branch of philosophical ethics that investigates the questions on how one ought to act, in a moral sense. - takes its root word from “norm” which indicates some standard or rule or principle with which moral agents ought to comply. - An example of a moral norm is “Thou shall not murder. It is meant to guide our actions, and to the extent that people do not comply, we may be judged morally – that is, morally blamed.”
  • 4. The foci of normative ethics There are two (2) central concepts of normative ethics:  the right – the concept tells us “which action we ought to perform, which it would be wrong not to perform, and  the morally good – the concept refers to “morally good properties of human beings” with virtous character traits such as “ kindness, courage, and honesty which are states that are generally thought to be morally good.” This aspect deal with character.
  • 5. The foci of normative ethics is, thus, described as (1) Action, and (2) Character. 1. Right Action – is an investigation and an attempt to answer the question: “What ought I to do?” - The “ought” in this question is to be interpreted as a moral ought, and may be understood as equivalent to the question: “What is the right thing to do?” 2. Character – attempts to answer the question: “What sort of person ought I to be?” - This is described as virtue ethics which specify the virtue, that is, traits of character that is good or bad to possess.
  • 6. The different normative ethical theories  Virtue Ethics  Deontological Ethics  Kantianism  Contractualism  Natural rights  Ethical Intuitionsim Source: https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Normative_ethics  Consequentialism  Utilitarianism  State consequentialism  Egoism  Situational Ethics  Intellectualism  Welfarism  Preference Utilitarianism
  • 7.  Virtue Ethics. - this theory begins with an account of ‘virtuous’ character, that is, “offers an account of what states of character are desirable.” - - among the virtue ethicist is Aristotle who argue that “the right action cannot be understood as conformity of actions to rules … they tend to emphasize that the virtuous person is someone who acts rightly in the situation upon requirements that are unique to the situation.” - the virtuous person is, therefore, “someone who is able to perceive what the situation requires and act accordingly.”
  • 8.  Deontological Ethics –argue that decisions should be made considering the factors of one’s duties and one’s rights.  Kantianism - derived from the works of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant who has been greatly influential. - his work revolved around the moral principle he called “categorical imperative” which he regarded as the “fundamental principle of morality, from which all our duties may be derived”. - “categorical imperative” is basically a principle of consistency, demanding that we act on reasons which all rational agents could endorse, that is, universally acceptable reasons.”
  • 9.  Deontological Ethics  Contractualism (John Rawls) - Holds that the moral acts are those that we all agree to if we were unbiased behind a “veil of ignorance” - The "veil of ignorance" is a method of determining the morality of issues and asks the decision-maker to make a choice about a social or moral issue and assumes that they have enough information to know the consequences of their possible decisions for everyone but would not know, or would not take into account, which person they are. - The theory contends that not knowing one's ultimate position in society would lead to the creation of a just system, as the decision-maker would not want to make decisions which benefit a certain group at the expense of another, because the decision-maker could theoretically end up in either
  • 10.  Deontological Ethics  Natural Rights Theory (John Locke) - Holds that the human beings have absolute, natural rights; - those rights are natural because they are pre- political; that is to say, that everyone in the state of nature is entitled to them. Pre-political is the state of nature which arises before any form of political authority.
  • 11.  Ethical Intuitionism - in this theory, according to the author of The Right and the Good, W.D. Ross, “there are a number of irreducible moral duties, none of which takes precedence over any other.” - Ross thinks that “the right action in a given situation is determined by a careful weighing of various moral principles which apply in that situation.”
  • 12.  Consequentialism or Teleology –argues that the morality of an action is contingent on the action’s outcome or result.  Utilitarianism - This used to be the generic term for consequentialism before that term was adopted in 1958 - this theory says that the right action is that which produces the greatest of overall happiness. - This contention claims that happiness is the only determinant of the rightness of action where classical utilitarianism supports hedonism as the theory of value.
  • 13.  Utilitarianism - Hedonism is the “ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life.” - This contention, however, has received various revisions from utilitarian theorists such that what is endorsed is “the right action depends on the best consequences overall in view of the principle of utility, although the best consequences are not necessarily understood in terms of happiness but more broadly in terms of valuable states of affairs.”
  • 14.  State Consequentialism - Holds that an action is right if it leads to state welfare, through oder, material wealth, and population growth  Egoism - the belief that the moral person is the self- interested person, holds that an action is right if it maximizes good for the self.  Situational ethics - Emphasizes the particular context of an act when evaluating it ethically.
  • 15.  Intellectualism - Dictates that the best action is the one that best fosters and promote knowledge  Welfarism - Argues that the best action is the one that most increases economic well-being or welfare  Preference utilitarianism - Holds that the best action is the one that leads to the most overall preference satisfaction.
  • 16. Issues in normative ethics. - The issue that surrounds normative ethics is the tension that exists between the approaches in dealing with the two (2) foci of normative ethics – action and character. - The Utilitarinists, Kantianists, and Ethical Intuitionists address the question of action in its methodological sense by “setting up moral rules and principles which determine which actions are right.”
  • 17. Issues in normative ethics. - Virtue ethicists addressing the question of character begin with virtuous character. - It is said that the two approaches criticize each other with the first group (the Kantians and Utilitarians) saying virtue ethics is “not being able to tell what moral rules and principles should be given clear guidance on how to act on specific circumstances,” and the latter group (the virtue ethicists) blaming utilitarians and Kantians for inflexibly imposing rules and principles upon all situations without being able to appropriately accommodate complex circumstances such as abortion, euthanasia and cloning where the virtue of wisdom, for example, might be needed case by case.”
  • 18. Issues in normative ethics. In trying to diffuse the tension between the two, it is suggested that - we look back at Plato and Aristotle's virtue ethics as actually grounded in some absolute standard which could very likely originate rules and principles, - that absolute standard is something that consists in “knowledge of eternal truth … that results from virtues rooted in the Form of Good that pertains to God.”
  • 19. End of Material for Week 5 Upcoming for Week 6 1. Applied Ethics a. What is Applied Ethics b. The Fields of Applied Ethics - Business Ethics - Professional Ethics - Bioethics - Moral Standing and Personhood - Social Ethics, distributive ethics and environmental ethics Reporter: Mark Allan Angeles