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MAN 20005 - Lec 2


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MAN 20005 - Lec 2

  1. 1. Lecture 2 Theoretical Apparatus of Ethics (Part 1) Updated 3.10
  2. 2. ETHICAL THEORIES are the rules and principles that determine RIGHT and WRONG for any situation NORMATIVE TRADITIONAL Absolutism Relativism Consequentialist Non – Consequentialist Egoism Utilitarianism Ethics of Duties Rights & Justice
  3. 3. Normative Ethical Theories Ethical theories are the rules and principles that determine right and wrong for any situation Absolutism Relativism
  4. 4. ABSOLUTISM • Absolutism believe that there are absolute standards to judge moral • That actions can be classified into absolute right or wrong, without weighting the context of the act. • Moral absolutists believe that morals are inherent in the laws of the universe, the nature of humanity. • They regard actions as inherently moral or immoral • Absolutism is in contrast with moral relativism
  5. 5. RELATIVSM • Relativists believe that moral truths are relative to social, cultural, historical or personal references, and to situational ethics, which holds that the morality of an act depends on the context of the act. • That different people ought to have different ethical standards for evaluating acts as right or wrong. • So, what is deemed right in some societies in some time periods might be completely wrong in others.
  6. 6. CONSEQUENTIALITY - Consequentiality Ethical Theory is a general normative theory which evaluate an act solely based on the goodness of their consequences - from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right action is one that produces a good outcome, or consequence. EGOISM Adam Smith UTILITARIANISM Jeremiah Bentham John Stuart Mill
  7. 7. NON - CONSEQUENTIALITY  Non-Consequentialist determines the rightness or wrongness of an act based on the character of the act itself rather than the outcomes of the action.  For example, a consequentialist may argue that lying is wrong because of the negative consequences produced by lying — though a consequentialist may allow that certain foreseeable consequences might make lying acceptable. A deontologist might argue that lying is always wrong, regardless of any potential "good" that might come from lying.
  8. 8. NON - CONSEQUENTIALITY Ethics are DUTIES Immanuel Kant RIGHTS and JUSTICE John Locke John Rawls
  9. 9. EGOISM by Adam Smith
  10. 10. EGOISM • Ethical egoism is the normative ethical position that moral agents ought to do what is in their self-interest. • In Egoism, right vs. wrong is defined based on the consequences to self. • This theory requires us to choose solely on the basis of self-interest.
  11. 11. Criticism against EGOISM • it would lead to illegal and/or unethical behavior. • one person pursuing self-interest might directly come in conflict with another person.
  12. 12. UTILITARIANISM • Utilitarianism concerns that the morality of an act depends solely on its consequence of achieving the maximum of total or average utility. • Actions are judged right or wrong according to the amount of happiness that comes from those decisions. • Happiness means for the good of all • Using Utilitarianism, an individual would make decisions according to which one would provide the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
  13. 13. Criticism against UTILITARIANISM 1) This theory may force an individual to do something against his/her own morals. 2) This theory ignored the rights of the minorities. 3) How to quantify which decision is going to give more pleasure or overall betterment for people ? 4) Conflict between principle and duties.
  14. 14. 2 types of Utilitarianism Act Utilitarianism Act utilitarianism states that the morally right action is the one that is in accordance with a moral rule whose general observance would create the most happiness Rule Utilitarianism Rule utilitarianism states that moral actions are those which conform to the rules which lead to the greatest good, or that "the rightness or wrongness of a particular action is a function of the correctness of the rule of which it is an instance
  15. 15. ETHICS are DUTIES(NON-CONSEQUENTIALIST) • By Immanuel Kant • Deontological ethics or deontology is an approach to ethics that focuses on the rightness or wrongness of actions itself, as opposed to the rightness or wrongness of the consequences of those actions (the Consequentialist) • It is described as "duty" or "obligation" based ethics, because deontologists believe that ethical rules "bind you to your duty". (a duty-based moral) • It is argued that some actions are wrong no matter what consequences follow from them Eg : lying is wrong no matter what is the consequence.
  16. 16. Kant’s Argument • Kant argued that an act is moral if they fit into the concept of “Categorical Imperative” • “Categorical Imperative” mean – a command or principle that must be obeyed with no exceptions (no matter what happens) • All rational people around the world should follow this particular law  “universalability”. An act becomes immoral and irrational if it violates the CI. • Example of Categorical Imperative is the “Ten Commandments”.
  17. 17. Categorical Imperatives must be … 1) A Universal law “Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law." 2) Humanity or End in Itself "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."
  18. 18. Criticism against Kant’s theory – De George (1999) When the original itself is immoral, it will be unjust to hold strongly to the Kantian’s theory Example If a slave who escaped from his slaveholder, an untrue statement told to drive away the slaveholder is not a “lie” in itself because slavery is immoral, irrespective of what the law of the land might say. Under this approach, telling the truth to someone who does not possess a morally legitimate interest is not only acceptable, it is not even a lie at all.
  19. 19. Other Problems with Ethics of Duties Undervaluing Outcomes Complexity Optimism
  20. 20. ETHICS OF RIGHTS AND JUSTICE - John Rawls • Our interpretation of what is “just” and “fair” are based on our individual previous experience and knowledge that prejudice our perceptions. • Rawls says, to judge whether a situation is just or fair or not, one have to put himself at the “original position” (assume no knowledge or “total ignorant”) • a rational person would adopt a maximin strategy, that is to consider the worst case scenario that gives the greatest benefit.
  21. 21. To be continued ….