ethical theory “a man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.” -albert camus

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Ethical TheoryA man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.-Albert Camus

What Are Ethics? What does it mean for something to be morally good or bad? Who decides? Why do we place such value on making the right decision? How do I make a good moral decision? Is there a formula I can follow?Why do others have such different opinions of what is right and wrong?

Defining EthicsEthics, or morals, are principles that guide a persons actions when that action involves something valued as good or bad.

These principles depend on ones values, and inform of what actions are good, bad, right or wrong.

Ethics can be shared or different across various people, depending on the cultures or individual's guiding principles.

Morally guiding principles often referred to as a value system or moral code.

Defining Ethical TheoryEthical theory, or moral philosophy, is the field of study within philosophy that addresses, theoretically, how one ought to morally act. Ethical theory examines different sets of guiding moral principles and categorizes them into various ethical theories. Each theory has a different belief about whether a given action is right or wrong, good or bad. Additional VocabularyMoral Agent: The individual acting in a moral situation.Value: The worth that a person, thing or action possesses. What we believe to have merit. Intrinsic Value: A thing that is valuable in itself, apart from other considerations or effects. Extrinsic Value: Value based on that things capacity to produce something of value.

Additional Additional VocabularyMorally Virtuous: Having good moral standards.Morally Justified: An action made by a good, legitimate reason. Morally Blameworthy: Having bad moral standards.Moral Dilemma: A moral situation in which there is no obviously preferable action.

Two Branches of Ethical TheoryNormative Ethics: How should one act? Meta Ethics:What Are Ethics?Three branches of Normative Ethics:ConsequentialismDeontologyVirtue Ethics

Theories of Consequentialism: Holds that the consequence, or result, of ones actions are the basis for any judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that action.

HedonismHolds that what has intrinsic value is pleasure and this is all that has intrinsic value. The value of other things is always dependent on their ability to produce pleasure. UtilitarianismHolds that an action which leads to the greatest amount of pleasure and least amount of suffering for the greatest number of people is best. Might include animals, or anything sentient that can feel pain or pleasure. Maintains that happiness and pleasure are inherently good, and unhappiness and pain is inherently bad. Utilitarianism ContinuedAct Utilitarianism: An act is right if and only if it results in as much good as any available alternative. Rule Utilitarianism: An act is right if and only if it is required by a rule that is itself a member of a set of rules, the acceptance of which would lead to greater good than any available alternative. WelfarismHolds that the best action is the one that most increases economic well-being or welfare.EgoismThe belief that the moral person is the self-interested person. Holds that an action is right if it maximizes good for the self.Situational EthicsHolds that the correct action is the one that creates the most loving result, and that love should always be our goal in acting morally.States that other moral principles or codes should be set aside in situations which can be served by acting lovingly.

IntellectualismDictates that the best action is the one that best fosters and promotes knowledge.Ethics of CareHolds that the most empathetic or caring action is best.

Also called relational ethics, argues that morality arises out of the experiences of empathy and compassion. Theories of Virtue:Emphasizes the role of one's character and the virtues that one's character embodies for determining or evaluating ethical behavior.

Virtue: behavior showing high moral standards.

Eudaimonia TheoryStates that eudaimonan life is a life which is objectively desirable, and means living well. All moral agents should strive for ones character reaching this state. A Greek word commonly translated as happiness or welfare. Exemplar TheoryHolds that a the moral agent should look to an individual who is generally considered to be morally virtuous for guidance in a moral action.Theories of Deontology:These theories all hold that the morality of an action should be made considering the factors of one's duties, commands, and other's rights.

Pragmatic EthicsHolds that moral correctness evolves similarly to scientific knowledge: socially over the course of many lifetimes. Thus, we should prioritize social reform over concern with consequences or individual virtue.Law EthicsHolds that an actions moral rightness or wrongness is determined by society and specified by laws, rules and cultural norms.

A right moral action is always consistent with the applicable law, rule or norm. Divine Command TheoryAsserts that what is moral is determined by what God commands, and that to be moral is to follow Gods commands.

Role EthicsHolds that a good moral action is based on acting according to ones role (e.g. family, professional, etc.). Acting based on the duties of ones role is the right action. Moral NihilismAlso known as amoralism, is the view that nothing is intrinsically moral or immoral.Moral nihilists consider morality to be constructed, a complex set of rules and recommendations that may give a psychological, social, or economical advantage to its adherents, but is otherwise without universal truth in any sense.

So (read, do not record)The difference between these three approaches to morality tends to lie more in the way moral dilemmas are approached than in the moral conclusions reached. For example, a consequentialist may argue that lying is wrong because of the negative consequences produced by lyingthough 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. A virtue ethicist would focus less on lying in any particular instance and instead consider what a decision to tell a lie or not tell a lie suggests about one's character and moral behavior.