Theory and Opinion

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Instructions are attached with the required reading materials. Respond substantively using the chapter reading as a reference

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The purpose of this discussion is to help you understand and apply ethical perspectives. Prepare and post a response to the following prompt: Define and contrast the three ethical perspectives. How do the perspectives differ from the ethical theories? What does each ethical perspective tell us about morality and virtue? Think of an issue that has occurred in your community during the past year. This may be a public issue that has generated interest in the press, or it may be something that has come up in your child’s school, in your church, in a social club you belong to, or in your neighborhood. Describe the issue, and then analyze the issue from the viewpoint of one of the ethical perspectives. Apply the perspective to the issue in the same way that the author applies the theories and perspectives to the issues in the text. Your initial post should be at least 250 words in length. Support your claims with examples from the required reading material, and properly cite the reference. 1 Don Klumpp/The Image Bank/Getty Images Introduction to Ethics and Social Responsibility Learning Objectives At the end of this chapter, you should be able to: • Explain why it is important to study ethics and engage in ethical debates. • Describe the roles of argument and emotion in ethics. • Describe the function of logic in an argument and characterize an effective ethi­ cal argument. • Explain how ethical theory can be applied to moral questions. • Discuss how individual decisions can have consequences in the broader society. • Identify the three dominant ethical theories in Western philosophy: utilitarian­ ism, deontology, and virtue ethics. • Identify the influential ethical theories that have been proposed as alternatives to classical theories. mos85880_01_c01.indd 1 10/28/13 1:06 PM Section 1.1 Why Study Ethics? CHAPTER 1 Introduction P eople have worried about ethical questions—most simply stated, what is right and wrong—since the earliest of days. From the most basic, everyday concerns to the most important challenges a society can face, we confront these basic ethical questions all the time. In the following pages, we will look at many such moral problems, as well as some of the ethical theories philosophers have offered to solve them. The study of ethics can be frustrating at times, largely because the problems dealt with rarely lead to a result that satisfies everyone. Hence, the arguments continue, new points are raised, old views are discarded, and we seem to go nowhere. But some of this frustration can be alleviated when we realize that as long as people debate questions of right and wrong, these disagreements will persist. At the same time, however, we will discover that our understanding of those disagreements can be deepened and our abilities to reason about them improved. We may not solve all the ethical problems we confront, but we can make progress by solving some of them, and making clearer what is at stake in the problems themselves. 1.1 Why Study Ethics? Y ou are standing in line at the movies, and someone cuts in front of you. Your child is sent home from school because what is written on her t-shirt is considered “inappropriate.” You discover that your best friend is cheating on his wife. You are forced to pay taxes to support behavior you think is wrong. Your commanding officer punishes you for something you didn’t do. Your boss promotes a co-worker who took credit for work that was, in fact, done by you. You have a little extra money and, on your way to play the lottery, pass a homeless woman with her child. These situations illustrate some of the ethical situations we may confront that would force us to consider what we should do, and whether our response is good or bad, right or wrong, moral or immoral. The study of those problems constitutes the discipline of philosophy known as ethics. The study of ethics is ancient and can be found across all cultures and in all times that humans have lived in social groups. That people consider what is right and wrong, and what they ought to do, is fundamental to living in communities. Thus, another way of thinking about ethics is that it is the study of “oughts” and “shoulds”—what ought I do, what should others do, what ought society do. Even though our focus in this text will be on the subject of ethics itself, we will also explore the long history of ethics and some of its important relationships with religious traditions and legal and political doctrines before we reach the conclusion of our readings. Recognizing how our philosophical concepts—particularly ethical concepts—inform and clarify our understanding of religion, the law, and politics is important. At the same time, we all have what philosophers call moral intuitions. Intuitions, in the philosophical sense, are views that we hold, and share with others, without any specific argument or reasoning involved. They tend to be immediate and spontaneous. Perhaps you see an animal being treated with great cruelty, and you immediately and spontaneously object to that treatment. This reflects your intuition that such cruelty is wrong; you don’t hesitate to consider the evidence and arguments involved—you simply react. Such intuitions are often correct, and the study of ethics can help support them by providing mos85880_01_c01.indd 2 10/28/13 3:32 PM Section 1.1 Why Study Ethics? CHAPTER 1 deeper reflection on the issues involved and developing sophisticated arguments that support these intuitions. It is also possible that such intuitions may be wrong, or at least may be considered by many others to be wrong. A person’s intuitions may tell him any number of things: that stealing is sometimes okay, that violence can sometimes solve problems, that women or people of other races or religions are inferior. Many of us may object to these intuitions. The study of ethics puts us in a stronger position to be able not just to say that we disapprove, but also to explain why we disapprove and why such intu­ itions may both be wrong and lead to other immoral results. As we shall see, some phi­ losophers are content to say these intuitions are the end of the story: We either approve or disapprove of something. Many others, however, insist that we should be able to give some kind of reason for our beliefs and support those beliefs if at all possible with arguments. Most ethical debates revolve around questions where the correct answer isn’t always obvious. If it were obvi­ ous, of course, there wouldn’t be much room for debate. This can be frustrating, for ethical arguments seem never to end, and rarely is a serious moral problem solved in a way that everyone accepts. At the same time, we shouldn’t be terribly surprised that this happens in eth­ ics, for at least two reasons. Ethical questions are often the most impor­ tant, but most difficult, problems we ever deal with because ethics is Gary Huner/Photographer’s Choice/Getty Images a grey area. It would be easier if the When we judge an action as right or wrong, the view we answers were black and white, like have comes from our moral intuitions. those in math. If we had an “ethical calculator,” we could enter a couple of numbers into it, press the “multiply” button, and be guaranteed of the answer. But ethics doesn’t work this way: First, there is rarely an agreed-upon set of rules to follow (presumably, most of us, in contrast, agree on the basic rules of multiplication). Second, we may not even agree on how to describe the moral question itself. If two people are debating the morality of physician-assisted suicide, and one person insists on the exis­ tence of an eternal human soul while the other denies its existence, they almost certainly will disagree over how to describe the problem itself. As we will see, however, ethics can lead to solutions that seem to indicate actual “prog­ ress.” As we proceed, we will also look at some historical debates that are based on cer­ tain assumptions about people—assumptions that have changed and led to corresponding changes in our moral understanding of human beings and in our laws. This is a reminder that much can be gained by looking more closely at moral challenges, examining the argu­ ments that arise relative to these challenges, and considering what assumptions are made in constructing these arguments. Studying ethics allows us to do this more carefully and with more sophistication. Although studying ethics will not solve all our problems, it does offer a great deal in terms of understanding those problems and determining what is involved in the solutions to those problems that have been offered. That is why we study ethics! mos85880_01_c01.indd 3 10/28/13 1:06 PM Section 1.2 Argument and Emotion in Ethics CHAPTER 1 Be the Ethicist Leftover Embryos In her article “What Is the Fate of Leftover Frozen Embryos?” Laura Beil notes, Experts estimate that hundreds of thousands of embryos have accumulated in fertility clinics throughout the country, some awaiting transfer but many literally frozen in time as parents ask themselves questions few among us ever consider with such immediacy: When does life begin? What does “life” mean, anyway? In a recent survey of 58 couples, researchers from the University of California in San Francisco found that 72 percent were undecided about the fate of their stored embryos. In another study last year of more than 1,000 fertility patients from nine clinics, 20 percent of couples who wanted no more children said they planned or expected to keep their embryos frozen indefinitely. (http://www.today.com/id/32489239/ns/today-parenting_and_family/t /what-fate-leftover-frozen-embryos/) This can be a very difficult issue that challenges our moral intuitions about the beginning of life, about in vitro fertilization, and about what our responsibilities are, if any, to frozen embryos that are not implanted. (As the article notes, there can also be substantial costs involved.) As a way of introducing the kinds of questions that the study of ethics looks at, read the article that is linked above, and try to answer the following questions: 1. Is the embryo a human being? 2. Should such embryos be kept frozen for as long as possible? 3. If it costs $40/month to keep the frozen embryos, an embryo that is maintained for 10 years would cost almost $5,000. Who is responsible for that cost? 4. Should the cost be considered a factor in making this decision? If so, how big of a factor should it be in the decision? 5. What other things might be done with these embryos? 1.2 Argument and Emotion in Ethics P eople often disagree and express that disagreement through arguments. Two peo­ ple may disagree about which is better: football or baseball. They may see a movie together and not agree about whether it was a good movie. They can debate the merits of two presidential candidates or to which restaurant they should go. A parent and a teenager may have a serious disagreement about what an appropriate curfew is. All these disputes can, and often do, lead to arguments, with each participant trying to establish his or her claim on the basis of evidence, reasons, and logic. Sometimes ethical arguments can become very heated, and some arguments have been known to lead to violence. Presumably, an argument that is settled violently is one where evidence, reasons, and logic don’t play much of a role. Other arguments are settled by one person simply saying, “This is what is going to happen.” Thus, a parent who may (legitimately) say, “This is when you will be home!” isn’t providing so much of an argument as imposing his or her will on the situation. Philosophers use the word argument in a somewhat different way, a way that empha­ sizes the idea that arguments put forth reasons to accept a conclusion. A philosopher or mos85880_01_c01.indd 4 10/28/13 1:06 PM Section 1.2 Argument and Emotion in Ethics CHAPTER 1 mathematician would call this the argument for the transitive property in arithmetic, even though there is probably little passion or a threat of violence involved here: 10 , 20 5 , 10 THEREFORE 5 , 20. For philosophers, the term “argument” doesn’t imply the idea it often does when we use the term to suggest anger, emotion, and hurt feelings. Rather, in this context, arguments simply present a conclusion and suggest why certain reasons indicate that conclusion is true or probable. At the same time, arguments about ethical questions tend to generate quite a bit more pas­ sion, and it can be difficult to keep emotion out of the discussion. Whether it be abortion, taxes, gun control, gay rights, race, spanking children, or a whole host of other issues, we have a bit more at stake personally than we may have, for instance, in the transitive property in arithmetic. These are issues that we seem to care about a great deal, and it is difficult to keep our emotions out of the debate. Indeed, it isn’t clear whether we should keep all emotion out of it; we may be motivated to construct better arguments, weigh the evidence more carefully, and examine the logic more meticulously if we care a great deal about the issue over which we are arguing. In arguing about ethical issues, most of which are very controversial and involve some of our most deeply held beliefs, it is important to try to make sure the arguments focus on the evidence, the reasons, the logic, and the argument. This doesn’t eliminate the emo­ tional element, if such a thing is possible; rather, it is to try to focus on the arguments themselves, and not to let the conclusions be driven by emotion. Unlike parents with children, we can’t “settle” arguments by dictating the conclusion. Nor, of course, is it legitimate to establish a conclusion on the basis of violence or even an implied threat of violence. Rather, we have to stick to the arguments themselves and see if we can support our conclusions on the basis of good evidence and solid reasoning. As some philosophers have insisted, it is only by submitting our most cherished beliefs to such critical scrutiny that we determine which of our beliefs can really sustain this kind of examination. In evaluating arguments, we’ve mentioned evidence and reason as crucial elements of that evaluation. One of the most useful tools philosophers have to examine arguments is logic, the discipline that investigates the rules of reasoning. It is to logic that we now turn, if only briefly, so that we can have some of its apparatus at our disposal. Opinions, Belief, and Knowledge Consider the following sentences. Are these beliefs, opinions, or knowledge claims, or would you use some other terms to describe them? 1. The book is on the table. 2. I have an immortal soul. mos85880_01_c01.indd 5 10/28/13 1:06 PM Section 1.2 Argument and Emotion in Ethics CHAPTER 1 3. Chicago is a better town than Atlanta. 4. Seven is greater than five. 5. Thou shalt not kill. As we have just seen, philosophers use the term “argument” to refer to a set of claims (the premises) that support another claim (the conclusion). But, as we know, “argument” is used in a different way in ordinary life and can, sometimes, be unpleasant; if we argue with another person, we may upset that person, we may get angry, or both people in the argument may have their feelings hurt. It often seems easier just to say, “Let’s agree to dis­ agree,” or “Everyone has a right to his or her opinion.” In that way, we may have a better chance of not making someone angry. Although some in ethics think this is reasonable resolution, others aren’t so sure. After all, do we really want to say that about all of a person’s claims? Let’s consider a few examples that are not ethical in nature, but that are easily relatable. Imagine you are accused of being late on paying your income taxes. You say you have paid them, and your accoun­ tant (or the Internal Revenue Service) says that you have not. Can we really resolve this by saying each of the people involved has a right to his or her opinion, and that that settles the issue? If a mother heard her son say, “Two plus two equals nine,” would she say that he is entitled to his opinion, or would she correct him? So, to make the point, we probably hesitate to say that anyone is justified in saying anything. It can sometimes be difficult to determine whether a claim someone makes is simply an opinion, or is something that has more support, such as a justified belief or a knowledge claim. To summarize these points, one could merely assert something as an opinion and not be surprised if someone else rejected it. If that opinion is held more strongly, it may qualify as a belief; if it is held more strongly on the basis of reasons, arguments, and evi­ dence, it may qualify as a justified belief; if that justified belief is true, it may qualify as knowledge. Philosophers, as noted, disagree about some of these terms and how they are used; since 1963, they have focused a great deal of attention on whether a justified true belief is sufficient to be called knowledge. When we turn to the sentences above, we start to see the kinds of distinctions one might want to start making between opinions and, for lack of a better term, claims. For the purposes of this discussion, we can use opinion to refer to anything someone believes, regardless of any evidence, argument, or justification for that belief. One person might believe chocolate ice cream is better than vanilla; another might believe that vanilla ice cream is better than chocolate. Without any further information, we are probably satisfied to see this kind of belief as an opinion and generally not something one could be right or wrong about. Hence, we probably would be reluctant to get into a serious argument about who was right in this case. In contrast to an opinion, we can refer to beliefs that have some degree of specific evi­ dence or reasoning that can be appealed to in order to back up the belief. “This watch is more expensive than that watch” would be a claim in this case; we can compare the prices, and see that if the first watch costs more, the claim is true (and if it is not, then the claim is false). In general, then, we want to make sure we determine whether a given belief is merely an opinion, or if more is at stake. Is the person putting forth the belief simply asserting an opinion? Is the belief something for which one can provide support? It is not always mos85880_01_c01.indd 6 10/28/13 1:06 PM CHAPTER 1 Section 1.2 Argument and Emotion in Ethics obvious whether something a person believes is based on an opinion, or is being put forth as a claim for which there is, at least implicitly, some kind of support. In ethics, and elsewhere, we generally want to focus on claims that we can give reasons for; that is, we want to be able to justify our beliefs with arguments. This does not mean that opinions are without value; it means, rather, that opinions alone cannot provide the kind of claims that we can fruitfully argue about. Consequently, when stating your beliefs, you will want to make sure that they are the kinds of things you can back up, if asked to. And if they are beliefs that cannot be backed up with an argument or with evidence, you should be pre­ pared to say why (see Figure 1.1 for one model of how to construct an effective argument). One good test for this is to consider your claim from the perspective of someone who does not share your beliefs: Would that person regard you as putting forth an opinion, or a claim that you should be expected to support? If you are unwilling to offer such support, should your claims be accepted, or is it as good (or as bad) as any other opinion that has nothing to support it? It might be worth making a list of some of the things you might think are true, or think ...
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John_Best
School: University of Maryland

hello, i made a mistake and attached the answer for the other question here. the answer for this question is attached below

Applying ethical perspectives
According to the Mosser (2013), there are three primary ethical perspectives which are designed
to solve the problems arising from the classical theories of ethics. These are; relativism,
emotivism, and ethical egoism. Each of these views takes a unique approach to ...

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Anonymous
Tutor went the extra mile to help me with this essay. Citations were a bit shaky but I appreciated how well he handled APA styles and how ok he was to change them even though I didnt specify. Got a B+ which is believable and acceptable.

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