moral ethics, philosophy assignment help

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Attached you will find the discussion instructions along with the required chapter reading and an article. Please answer the following questions accordingly and ensure that at a minimum of one quote or paraphrase is used from the required chapter reading or the provided article. Please let me know if you have any questions. The paper does not need a title page or does it have to be double spaced. However, it would be very helpful if each question is listed with the answers below it. The minimum word count for this paper is 300.

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Is it ever morally permissible to lie to someone? Describe a circumstance in which it seems that lying might make more people happy than telling the truth. Would lying be the right thing to do in that circumstance, or is it our moral duty to tell the truth, even then? Consider what Immanuel Kant would say, and explain that with reference to this week’s readings. Then, offer your own perspective. If you agree with Kant, consider and respond to an objection to his view. If you disagree with Kant, explain why. Discuss the positive and negative aspects of deontological theory as it relates to another of the theories you have encountered in this course. Note that this is not just asking you to explain your views about lying! As always, the main event is in explaining what Kant thinks about lying and why he thinks it, based on the central principles of deontology. Once you've done that, then you explain whether you agree or disagree and why ***You can find Kant’s explanation in the chapter reading provided as well as the article***** ***Please ensure that there is either a quote or paraphrase used from the required chapter reading or the article provided and is properly cited.*** 61 Traditional of Ethics IntroducingTheories Philosophy Federico©Terry Caputo/iStock/Thinkstock Why/ Getty Images You have your way. I have my way. As for “It is the mark of an educated mind the right way, the correct way, and the only to be able to entertain a thought way, it does not exist. without accepting it” —Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra —Aristotle mos81165_06_c06.indd 175 1/6/14 2:33 PM CHAPTER 6 Section 6.1 How Should One Act? Learning Objectives After reading this chapter, students will be able to: 1. Characterize the classical theories of ethics—utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics. 2. Identify some of the problems these theories confront. 3. Describe other metaethical views, such as relativism and egoism. 4. Apply ethical theories to problems that affect both individuals and larger groups, including environmental challenges. What We Will Discover • Philosophers have developed theories to provide support for our claims about right and wrong. • Other theories such as egoism and relativism offer alternatives to traditional theories of ethics. • Ethics has many specific applications to our lives, from the very personal and specific to those that affect everyone in society. 6.1 How Should One Act? E thics, or moral philosophy, investigates how we can evaluate our behavior in terms of right and wrong, good and bad—in other words, how we determine what we should do, what we should not do, and how to tell the difference. After looking at the three classical ethical views that philosophers have presented and some of the problems with these theories, we will explore some alternative approaches. Utilitarianism Suppose you and five of your friends are hanging out one night and decide to order a pizza. You are all equally hungry and decide to order two pizzas, each of which has six slices. Thus, when the pizzas are delivered, it is pretty easy to determine how to divide the pizzas in a way that is the fairest: Everyone gets two slices. It may be that one person wanted a third slice, and someone else may have only wanted one. Yet without knowing anything else, this arrangement, more than any other, will be the most beneficial to the greatest number of people.© Getty Images/Thinkstock Jeremy Bentham is associated with the founding of utilitarianism, which states that given a choice between two acts, the one that creates greater happiness for the greatest number of people should be chosen. This simple example demonstrates the basic notion at the heart of the ethical doctrine known as utilitarianism. Often associated with the philosophers Jeremy Bentham (1748–1822) and John Stuart Mill, utilitarianism offers a very straightforward and direct way to evaluate behavior. When given a choice between two acts, utilitarianism states that mos81165_06_c06.indd 176 1/6/14 2:33 PM Section 6.1 How Should One Act? CHAPTER 6 the act that should be chosen is the one that creates the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. Philosophers (and economists) often use the term utility to express this quality. Utility is the satisfaction one gets from something. For instance, if you like chocolate ice cream more than vanilla ice cream, we can say that chocolate ice cream has a higher utility for you, relative to vanilla ice cream. In theory, at least, each of us can rank all of our choices according to a scale that indicates our relative preferences. Some philosophers, such as Bentham, even attempted to assign numbers to these preferences. If someone likes chocolate ice cream five times as much as vanilla ice cream, that person would presumably be willing to accept five vanilla ice cream cones as a substitute for one chocolate ice cream cone. It should also be noted that utility is regarded in terms of net utility: The correct moral choice is that which generates the greatest good and also minimizes unhappiness. Read more of John Stuart Mill’s ideas on this topic in his work Utilitarianism in the Chapter Readings section of the Appendix. Because utilitarianism considers an act’s consequences in assessing its morality, utilitarianism is also regarded as a consequentialist theory. The basic idea in consequentialism is to consider the consequences that will result from the choices one confronts: If the consequences of one act produce the greatest net good—or the highest utility—for the greatest number of people, this is the act one should carry out. Many people find this to be a rather obvious ethical viewpoint; clearly if we had decided to give all the pizza slices to just three people and no slices to the other three, this would seem rather unfair. It should also be clear that utilitarianism offers an approach to scenarios other than distributing pizza and ice cream. Imagine Mary really loves to dance, but she does not get to go dancing very often. Mary has three children, with whom she enjoys spending time and who enjoy spending time with her. One night she is given the option of staying home and spending time with her children or going dancing. What should she do? The utilitarian might argue that, on the one hand, the pleasure Mary gets from dancing is greater than staying with her children. Yet on the other hand, her children will receive great pleasure if she does not go dancing. Therefore, the “utility calculation” is that the net happiness of Mary and her three children will be higher if she stays home, even though Mary’s individual happiness might be slightly lower than it would have been if she had chosen to go dancing. Utility is often described in terms of pleasure, which can be problematic for utilitarianism. Imagine someone finds pleasure in playing video games and drinking beer all day long. Given a choice between, say, helping out in a homeless shelter or drinking and playing the newest video game, a person may well choose the latter, which suggests to some that utilitarianism has no way to distinguish between different kinds of pleasures. Presumably, we want our theory to be able to make a distinction between hedonistic and nobler pleasures. Mill saw this as a potential problem and insisted that pleasure should be considered not just in terms of quantity but also quality: that certain kinds of pleasures, or certain ways of satisfying desires, are simply better than others. A pig may be happy rolling around in the mud and eating garbage, but Mill insisted that people who take that approach to pleasure fail to develop their potential as human beings (relative to pigs, at least). According to Mill, it is better to be a dissatisfied Socrates than a satisfied pig. This is not to say that one should always choose something less pleasurable; rather, it is simply an indication that pleasures themselves can, or perhaps should, be distinguished from each other. It is not always easy to say that one pleasure is “superior” to another, and certainly people have long argued about this issue. However, these kinds of examples indicate a problem utilitarianism confronts if we evaluate acts solely in terms of their pleasurable consequences (Mill, 1909). mos81165_06_c06.indd 177 1/6/14 2:33 PM Section 6.1 How Should One Act? CHAPTER 6 Many people find utilitarianism to be an easy and useful approach to making ethical decisions. When distributing goods, services, or even time, it would seem to be a “no-brainer” to choose the option that would satisfy or please as many people as possible, compared to any other available choice. However, philosophers have raised a number of problems in response to utilitarianism, which may make it a less plausible ethical theory than it first appears. Problems With Utilitarianism Utilitarianism has what philosophers call an intuitive appeal: It seems to be relatively obvious, and just plain common sense, to evaluate our actions based on the results those actions produce. If all we know about a situation is that four kids in a sandbox have one toy, the best option would be for the children to share that toy, even if each child is quite sure he or she would get the most pleasure from playing with it alone. However, many philosophers have objected to utilitarianism, and for a number of reasons. As we have seen, distinguishing different kinds of pleasures from each other can be difficult. Does utilitarianism have any way to address the situation of a person who gets pleasure from staring at the wall or doing something else that most people would find quite unpleasant (something often called masochism)? Mill (1863) suggests there are “higher” or “more refined” pleasures and that they should be preferred, but who is to say which is a “higher” pleasure? Is reading poetry somehow better than watching soap operas? What if someone gains pleasure by sleeping all the time or hitting his thumb over and over with a hammer? More significant objections to utilitarianism have been posed on the basis of calculating the outcome, or consequences, of a choice. Suppose you are on a cruise ship that catches fire; you and 19 others are lucky enough to survive on a lifeboat. There is enough water to last for a week or more, but you have no food and do not know whether you will be rescued. Everyone is aware of how grim the future looks; as the boat drifts, everyone gets hungrier. It becomes apparent that everyone is going to die unless your group finds food. The utilitarian in the group poses the following options: All 20 people die, or 19 people live if one person is killed and eaten! To justify his position, he cites historical examples of similar cases in which cannibalism helped the majority survive. However, while this scenario may appear to result in the greatest good for the greatest number, do we really want an ethical theory that not only allows cannibalism, but actually endorses it as the fairest and most ethical decision? Few of us are likely to experience a situation this extreme, but we may find ourselves in situations where the basic utilitarian calculation actually leads to results that are very unfair and unjust. This is particularly threatening anytime individuals find themselves in a minority, whether because of their sex, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or any of the other ways in which society categorizes people. For example, suppose a local grade school must decide if it should use taxpayer money to build ramps to make the building accessible to students in wheelchairs. This tax will likely decrease the pleasure of each taxpayer and may only be used by a few individuals throughout the year. In this way it would result in a net utility that would favor a decision not to build the ramps. Would you consider this a fair outcome? mos81165_06_c06.indd 178 1/6/14 2:33 PM Section 6.1 How Should One Act? CHAPTER 6 Great Ideas: The Trolley Problem A very famous challenge to our ethical intuitions, originated by Philippa Foot, is easy to describe but more problematic to solve. In Foot’s 1967 essay “The Problem of Abortion and the Doctrine of the Double Effect,” she posed the following scenario known as the trolley problem: Imagine a runaway trolley hurtling toward five workers on the track. The driver must choose between staying the course, which would result in the death of the five workers, or divert the trolley to a spur where just one worker on the track would be killed. Most would say that diverting the trolley to save five lives while killing only one would be the better of the two options. Now imagine a similar scenario: What if a doctor could save the lives of five people who needed organ donations by killing one patient and distributing his organs? Would that be considered a moral act? If not, why would it be moral to kill the one track worker, but not the one patient? There are many variations on this basic scenario, which has generated a great deal of debate and discussion. Reflection Questions: With this in mind, consider the following questions: 1. Try to posit a situation where it would seem moral to kill (or allow to die) one person in order to save five people’s lives. 2. What is the relevant moral difference—if there is one—between killing someone and allowing someone to die? 3. Does it make a difference if one could save twenty people by sacrificing one person’s life? One hundred? One thousand? At what point might our views change due to the relationship between the one person sacrificed and the number of people saved? Tyranny of the Majority Dating as far back as Plato, political philosophers have often cited the tyranny of the majority, which is when the interests of the majority are placed above the interests of the minority, and to their detriment. American history is littered with such stories, whether the minority groups be African Americans, Native Americans, Jews, homosexuals, or many others. In the original, Protestant-dominated colonies, for example, Roman Catholics were not allowed to vote or hold public office. Despite the obvious injustice, this would seem to fit the utilitarian calculation, because Catholics were a minority at that time. This kind of calculation has been used to justify a wide range of policies that seem wrong, from slavery to refusing to sell houses in certain neighborhoods to ethnic and racial minorities. Interestingly, women have also suffered for similar reasons on the basis of this kind of calculation, despite the fact that they actually make up the majority of the population. Mill’s Response John Stuart Mill and other utilitarians recognized the flaws in an ethical system that had such unethical and oppressive results. One popular way of addressing these flaws has been to distinguish between act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism. Act utilitarianism simply involves a judgment of the act’s consequences: Given a set of choices, which act generates the greatest net good for the greatest number? Rule utilitarianism, on the other hand, involves an evaluation of the types of acts involved and proposes that, when followed as a general rule, the act should produce the greatest net good, or the greatest amount of happiness, for the greatest number. mos81165_06_c06.indd 179 1/6/14 2:33 PM Section 6.1 How Should One Act? CHAPTER 6 Consider the following example: Bob is taking an important physics test that he needs to pass to get into medical school. He considers the possibility that if he cheats “successfully,” he gains a great deal and thus achieves his greatest happiness, or “maximizes his utility” (we will ignore any feelings of guilt Bob may have). The act utilitarian would suggest that, in this case, cheating produces the greatest amount of good. The rule utilitarian would offer a different analysis. Bob may gain the most by cheating, but in general, we could not promote the rule that one should cheat. If we endorse a rule that says it is okay to cheat to get into medical school, then the rest of society would be considerably less confident that physicians were trustworthy and deserved their credentials. This would fail to generate the greatest good for the greatest number; therefore, the rule utilitarian would tell Bob not to cheat. Rule utilitarianism seems to have a better chance of dealing with some of the more obvious objections we have seen, although it is not entirely clear whether it can successfully treat the problem of a minority being oppressed by a majority. Mill (1909) seemed to advocate a system of “proportionate representation,” so minorities would be at least represented, but it is not clear how this solves the problem. Other objections have also been raised against both act and rule utilitarianism. For instance, when measuring pleasure, or utility, what time frame should be used: days, years, decades? Who is included in the idea of the “greatest number”—our family, our community, our country, our planet? How can one compare one person’s amount of pleasure with another person’s? Can we really even measure pleasure, or happiness, or utility in a way that allows us to make these utilitarian calculations? These are difficult questions to answer, and many philosophers have seen this as a reason to look elsewhere for a moral theory, one that does not evaluate acts in terms of consequences and does not measure such things as happiness and utility. The most famous alternative to utilitarianism is deontology, which is a nonconsequentialist theory. Deontology Deontological ethics is usually associated with the philosopher Immanuel Kant. Deontology comes from the Greek word for “obligation” (or “duty”). In contrast to consequentialist theories, Kant, and more generally the deontologist, ignores an act’s consequences when evaluating whether it is a good, bad, or morally neutral act. It is important to remember that deontologists do not deny that acts have consequences; their point is that those consequences should not play a role in evaluating the act’s morality. Rather, deontological ethics focuses on the will of the person acting, the person’s intention in carrying out the act, and particularly, the rule according to which the act is carried out. Deontology focuses on the duties and obligations one has in carrying out actions rather than on the consequences of those actions. In his Critique of Practical Reason, Kant (1997) claimed that certain kinds of rules established what he called a categorical imperative. This is a requirement or demand (imperative), and it has no exceptions (it is categorical). We might contrast this kind of imperative with what Kant calls a hypothetical imperative, which is illustrated by supposing you are hungry and decide to eat something; in this case the action (eating) is designed to achieve a goal (making you less hungry). Yet there is no obligation or demand that you eat; it is just what you do in this specific situation. Similarly, if you want to pass a course, a hypothetical imperative might tell you to study. In short, if someone adopts a certain goal, then actions that help achieve that goal are to be adopted. The categorical imperative, on the other hand, has no exceptions and is something one must do. As part of the categorical imperative, Kant assumes that being a moral person is a requirement; it is not merely a goal people may choose to strive for. mos81165_06_c06.indd 180 1/6/14 2:33 PM Section 6.1 How Should One Act? CHAPTER 6 Kant offers several versions of the categorical imperative. We will look at the first two, which will give us a rough idea of what kind of rule it is. 1. Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time want that it should become a universal law. That is, if you choose to do somethi ...
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Institutional Affiliation



It is never morally to lie to another person because by doing so, one shows disrespect to
the one being lied to. However, in some cases lying may be allowed in order to meet a certain
goal or to make someone happy. For example, Michael and a couple of friends are preparing a
birthday s...

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