Pp chpt1 waller

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Ethics and Morality: An Overview
Critical Thinking

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Pp chpt1 waller

  1. 1. Consider Ethics: Theory, Readings, and Contemporary Issues Third Edition Bruce N. Waller
  2. 2. Chapter 1 Thinking About Ethics
  3. 3. Ethics and Critical Thinking <ul><li>What’s the Question ? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the argument supposed to prove or conclude? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the argument relevant to the conclusion? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>An irrelevant point creates a fallacy , or argument error </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ex. Red herring fallacy </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Ad Hominem Fallacy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An argument “to the person” – or a personal attack on the source of the argument </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Ethics and Critical Thinking <ul><li>The Principle of Charity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The principle of being charitable or generous toward the positions that we oppose </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Strawman Fallacy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Distorting or misrepresenting a position in order to make it easier to attack </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consistency </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the ethical view internally consistent and consistent with our other beliefs? </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Studying Ethics <ul><li>The Nature of Ethical Principles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Will studying ethics make me more ethical? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Must ethical truths be eternal verities? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What counts as ethics? What are your genuine moral principles? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Determining moral principles: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Keeps us from “talking past each other” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reveals things about our basic beliefs and assumptions </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Conflict between morality as special absolute principles and as an ordinary phenomenon </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Studying Ethics <ul><li>Knowing Ethical Principles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For those who believe in unconditional, absolute moral principles, they are eternal principles with no contingency. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Proposed sources: God, reason, conscience </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For those who believe morality is mundane and conditional, moral principles are based on feelings of sympathy and social concern. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Studying Ethics <ul><li>Natural Morality Versus Transcendent Morality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Does morality transcend the natural world or is it a natural process? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Natural Morality (contingent morality) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Argument: humans are equipped with social sympathies, common needs and interests that don’t require absolute moral principles </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Transcendent Morality (absolute morality) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Argument: without absolute morality we have anarchy </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. God’s Commandments and Ethics <ul><li>Religious views of absolutism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Theological voluntarism : moral principles are set and commanded by God. They are fixed, absolute, and eternal. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Also known as the Divine Command Theory </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Ethical Principles as Divine Commandments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is an act right because God commands it, or does God command it because it is right? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can God change his mind? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. God’s Commandments and Ethics <ul><li>Problems with Theological Voluntarism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creates an inability to evaluate moral principles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The belief that because something is wrong God forbids it leaves more room for analysis. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>God’s Law and Punishment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>God’s punishment or rewards are strong motives for obeying his commands, but they do not provide justification for belief in them. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If we act morally only to avoid punishment or seek reward, are we really acting morally? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Religion and Ethics <ul><li>If ethics is not based on God’s will or God’s punishments, then what is the basis of ethics? </li></ul><ul><li>James Rachels (1941-2003) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Developed a critique of theological voluntarism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Argues that theological voluntarism cannot be an ethical theory, because it requires that we renounce all critical ethical deliberation and follow orders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Therefore, one who follows theological voluntarism is no longer an ethical actor, because they are acting without autonomy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>God and Human Attitudes </li></ul></ul></ul>

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