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GE 8: ETHICS
Philosophy
Philos Love
Sophias Wisdom
- Thinking about thinking
- Investigation of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical
reasoning rather than empirical methods (American Heritage Dictionary)
Pre-Socratic Philosophers
- Before Socrates (Father of Ancient Philosophy)
Socratic Philosophers
URSTOFF ultimate stuff
What is the world made of?
THALES Water
- He believed that the earth rests in water
ANAXIMANDER The boundless
- The ultimate cause of things must be some invisible and limitless physical substance, which is
capable of morphing into all the physical things that we see.
ANAXIMENES Air
Rarefication air to fire
Condensation wind clouds water stone
Problem: Change
HERACLITUS change/logos
- FIRE changes
- LOGOS Plan or formula
- You cannot step twice into the same river; for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you. It scatters
and it gathers; It advances and retires.
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PARMENIDES The One or the Unchanging
Earth spherical shaped thing
ZENO of ELEA Paradoxes
Achilles and the Tortoise
A-----------------A--------------A-----------A---------A------A
T-----------------T---------------T-----------T---------T-------T------T
In a race, the quickest runner can never overtake the slowest, since the pursuer must first reach the point
where the pursued started, so that the slower must always hold a lead.
Arrow Paradox
At any point in time, an arrow can only occupy one position and is therefore motionless. At every point in
time, the arrow is motionless. If the arrow is motionless at every point in time, then it does not move.
Movement is an illusion.
PYTHAGORAS We are governed by numbers
EMPEDOCLES Four Elements
STRIFE Hate/Conflict Destruction/Division
LOVE Love Creation/Unity
ANAXAGORAS Nous/Seeds
SOCRATES a life worth living
- Is to turn attention away from the body and towards the soul.
- He claimed to be ignorant, yet seen by all as the wisest.
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INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS
Moral set of rules/particular
- Belief about right and wrong, good or bad person or character; rules of right and wrong
- Consists of moral judgments, principles, values and theories
Ethics study of morality/moral philosophy/general
- Careful examination of the moral judgments, principles, values and theories
- The study of morality using methods of philosophy; it studies the rules of morality
- Through philosophy, we can examine the heart of moral issues, judge the worth of moral judgments
or principles, and above all, work to ensure that our moral beliefs rest on the solid ground of good
reasons.
Morality is normative.
- It provides norms or standards for judging actions and persons. The main business of morality is
not to describe how things are, but to prescribe how things should be.
You should not cheat. prescribing
Cheating is an act of dishonesty. describing
- Morality is always prescribing according to norms, while Ethics won’t necessarily prescribe but
will give you a better understanding of the norms of morality (it’s up to you to follow it or not).
Deontology duty
Utilitarianism consequence
CHARACTERISTICS OF MORALITY:
1. Overridingness
- Moral norms have much stronger hold on us than nonmoral ones do.
- Moral rules dominate the nonmoral ones
- Example:
Respect your elders.
Eating chocolates is my priority.
2. Impartiality
- Everyone should be considered of equal moral worth and that each person’s interests must be given
equal weight.
- Equals should be treated equally unless there is a morally relevant reason to treat them differently.
3. Universality
- It applies to all similar circumstances
4. Reason-Driven
- To ensure that our moral judgments are not wrought out of thin air or concocted from prejudice or
blind emotion, but are supported by good reasons.
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- Engaging in moral reasoning will make us have an informed moral judgments and help us fathom
the nature of morality
- The entire enterprise of Ethics is devoted to the search for moral understanding, which can only be
attained through careful reflection and the sifting of reasons for belief.
MORAL DESIGNATORS
Right justified and consistent with an ethical framework
Wrong unjustified and inconsistent with an ethical framework
Permissible justified and consistent with an ethical framework but does not imply obligation
Thousands were killed, tortured, salvaged and detained during Martial Law.
- If you believe that it was morally right because they express subservience to the government, and
at the same time, you are in favour of the leader/s who imposed Martial Law because of their big
economic plans, then, I will suspect your judgment as illogical and unreasonable, or I might not
take you seriously.
Moral Principles rules of action or guidelines which arise from a given ethical system
MORAL INDICATORS
Right
- permissible, allowed one that is not wrong to inform
- obligatory, required one would be wrong not to inform
Wrong
- prohibited, action would be wrong to perform
Supererogatory
- above and beyond our duty
- one that is not required but is praiseworthy
THREE BASIC TYPES OF ETHICAL SYSTEM
A. Deontological
- proposed by Emmanuel Kant
- duty based ethical systems which claim rightness is derived from some feature of the action itself with
no reference to its consequences
B. Teleological
- ends based ethical which claim rightness is derived from the consequences of the action alone
C. Virtue Ethics
-ethical system which claims rightness is derived from the character of the actor not from the act or it’s
consequences
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BRANCHES OF ETHICS
1. Descriptive Language or Metaethics
- language which reflects the way the universe actually is (facts about the world)
2. Normative Language
- reflects the way we want the world to be
3. Applied Ethics
- applied of moral principles, virtues or theories to real-life cases or issues
EMOTION and CONSCIENCE
Emotion
- essential element in the moral
- can help us emphasize with others and enlarge our understanding
- feelings are too often the product of psychological needs
- critical thinking is the corrective, giving the power to examine and guide our feelings to achieve a
more balanced view
Conscience
- conditioned by our upbringing, cultural background, and other influences
- speaks to us in an imaginary authoritative voice, telling us to do or not to do something
- like feelings, it may be affected by irrelevant influences, and is therefore not infallible indicator of
moral truth
OBLIGATION and VALUE
Obligation
- what are obligated to do
- general applied to actions
Value
- estimates oof moral worth
- what we think is good or bad
- judging the moral worth of persons, their character or motives
ETHICS and LAWS
Laws
- norms of behaviour established and enforced by state
- they are often in agreement with moral norms
- legal and moral norms are distinct
- an action may be legally permissible, but morally permissible, and vice versa
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ETHICS AND RELIGION
Is Religion the source of morality?
Religion has offered its adherents moral content in the form of precepts or commandments. One of the most
common doctrine is: God makes the moral Law.
Known as:
Divine Command Theory
- right and wrong are constituted by the will of God
- right actions are commanded by God
- wrong actions are prohibited by God
- objective morality
Are actions right because God commands them?
- God makes the moral law
- Objective morality
Does God command them because they are right?
- Moral law is independently from God, and even he needs to obey
- Morality is arbitrary/subjective
Moral Objectivism:
- These are moral standards that are true and correct for everyone
- They are true independently from individuals’ or societies’ belief
Moral Absolutism:
- The notion that moral principles must apply without exceptions in all cases or without adaptation
to particular circumstances
Moral Relativism:
- The rejection of the objectivist view
- Moral standards do not have independent status but are relative to what individuals or cultures
believe
- An action is morally right if an individual or a culture condones it, wrong if an individual or a
culture condemns it
- Objective moral truth is non-existent
- If the arbiter is an individual, then it is subjective relativism, while if culture is the arbiter, then it
is cultural relativism
INDIVIDUAL is an arbiter:
- You will judge the action as right or wrong (morally) thru your own belief; if you condone, then it
is right, if you condemn, then it is wrong.
Points to consider if you are a subjectivist:
- You are fallible, you are subject to mistakes
- Moral equivalence, all our judgements are equal even though different from each other
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Ex. A serial killer approved of killings, while you disapproved it. Your judgement is as worse as the serial
killer by virtue of moral equivalence.
- Moral disagreements, our judgements on the same thing are different
Ex. One said the 911 attack is morally justified, while you viewed it as not morally justified.
Points to consider if you are a cultural relativist:
- Cultures are morally fallible, though they would tell us that cultures decides as a group
- Cultures are beyond criticism as they are maker of their own truth. That is implausible. To accept
Germany’s approval of the extermination of millions of Jews as morally right is unacceptable.
Other societies can and do condemn other societies for morally heinous facts.
- Cultural relativism denies moral progress; immoral acts of the past are no longer practiced today.
MORAL THEORIES
- Explains an action is right or wrong, or why a person or person’s character is good or bad
- Tell us what it is about an action that makes it right, or what it is about a person that makes him or
her good.
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What is an ideal life?
Socrates (469-399BC)
- He believed that it is ignorance who make people immoral
- He admits that he is ignorant, yet became the wisest of his time, for he believed that he is like an
empty cup, still open to receive the waters of knowledge
Socratic Method
- Process of questioning designed to expose ignorance and clear the way for knowledge.
- That is why, in his time, he cross examined those who claim to be wise to unveil their ignorance
- He said to those who claimed to be wise, their cups are too filled with pride, conceit, and beliefs
which they cling on to give them sense of identity and security
- “the unexamined life is not worth living.”
- He believed that an ideal life is a happy life
Happiness is directive rather than additive: it depends not on external goods, but how we use these external
goods (whether wisely or unwisely)
Happiness depends on the “education of desire” whereby the soul learns how to harmonize its desires,
redirecting its gaze away from physical pleasures to the love of knowledge and virtue
- True happiness is gaining rational control over your desires and harmonizing the different parts of
your soul.
- Doing so would produce a divine-like state of inner tranquillity that the external could not effect
- He was put in trial due to the accusation of corrupting the mind of the youth and impiety
- He taught people to question authority (authoritative and orthodoxy), to question assumptions and
views
- True to his word, he judge unjustly, faced his death through drinking a poison
VIRTUE ETHICS
- it focuses on the development of virtuous character
- character is the key to the moral life for it is from a virtuous character that moral conduct and
values naturally arise.
- Virtues are engrained dispositions to act by standards of excellence, so having the proper virtues
leads as a matter of course to right actions properly motivated
- The central task of this morality is being and becoming a good person, someone possessing the
virtues that define moral excellence
- In virtue ethics, someone determines right action not by consulting rules but asking what a truly
virtuous person would do or whether an action would accord with relevant virtues.
Aristotle (384-322BC)
- Is the primary inspiration for contemporary versions of virtue ethics
- For him, the highest goal of humanity is the good life of “human flourishing”
(Eudaimonia/Happiness),
- Developing virtues is the way to achieve such a rich and satisfying life
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- Guide to a normal life is to practice the golden mean or moderation, choose the mean, not the
deficit or the excess
- Aspire to moral excellence to become better persons
- We can also become more virtuous by reflecting on our lives and those of others, practicing
virtuous behaviour, or imitating moral exemplars such as Gandhi, Buddha, Jesus and Socrates
- It is not enough just to do right, we must do right for the right motivating reasons
Ex. If we save a friend or help a friend from drowning, we should do so out of genuine feelings of
compassion or kindness, not because of publicity or pleasing the public
- Moral actions should be judged by the virtue or lack of virtues
--- if the woman wants to abort because she’s afraid of the responsibilities, she is showing cowardice
Cowardice-------Courage-------Recklessness
--- if she wants abortion because it would disrupt her vacation, she shows self-centeredness
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UTILITARIANISM AND DEONTOLOGY
UTILITARIANISM
The Three Generally Accepted Axioms of Utilitarianism State That:
Pleasure, or happiness, is the only thing that has intrinsic value.
Actions are right if they promote happiness, and wrong if they promote unhappiness.
Everyone’s happiness counts equally.
Jeremy Bentham
“Ethics at large may be defined, the art of directing men’s actions to the production of the greatest
possible quantity of happiness.”
HAPPINESS - PAIN=NET HAPPINESS (morally right)
NET PAIN (morally wrong)
Example:
STUDYING HARD
HAPPINESS
PAIN
NET
- pass the exams/quizzes
- get high grades
- will graduate
- high salary
- financially stable
-successful
- lack of sleep
- tired
5
(in favor of Happiness)
Legend:
*each line is one point
John Stuart Mill
Utilitarianism promotes “the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people.”
The best (right) action is the one that leads to the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of
people.
Save the woman?
- she’s a good person
- has 4 kids
- neighbours love her
- she helps lots of people
Utilitarianism
-saving the woman makes sense
-shouldn’t Batman kill the
joker? He doesn’t kill.
Kill the Joker?
-killed many people and will kill
many more
-has no friends
-hated
The MEAN justifies the END
-pagbuhat sa action makapaayo sa result
The END justifies the MEAN
-ang resulta makapaayo sa action
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DEONTOLOGY
Immanuel Kant
- Antithesis of utilitarianism
- The rightness or wrongness of actions does not depend on their consequences but on whether they
fulfil our duty.
- All moral duties are expressed in the form of CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE
CATEGORICAL
-it applies without exception and without regard for particular needs or purposes
IMPERATIVE
-a command to do something
CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE
2 Imperatives:
- Hypothetical (a command to do something if we want to achieve to particular aims)
- Categorical (do this --- regardless)
THREE FORMS
The Universal Law
Treat humans as ends themselves
Act as if you live in a kingdom of ends
THE UNIVERSAL LAW
“Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal
law.”
Example: Borrowing money
- You know that you cannot pay it back
- So to get the loan, you lied by falsely promising to pay
Is it permissible?
What if everyone did this?
Would you allow it to become a universal law?
--the result, no one will ever lend money to anybody.
TREAT HUMANS AS ENDS THEMSELVES
“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 means, but always at the same time as an end.”
RESPECT FOR PERSONS
- Inherent worth of persons free & rational
- The maxim forbids treating a person simply or merely, as means (nothing but means)
- Respect for the personhood for everybody by:
-thwarting people’s chosen action by coercion, lying, and discrimination
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JUSTICE AND FAIRNESS
-promoting the common good
-John Rawls - defined justice as fairness
FAIRNESS
- showing no bias towards some people or individuals
- an ability to judge without reference to one’s feelings or interests
JUSTICE
- a part of the central core of morality
- giving each person what he or she deserves
- standard of rightness
- we cannot treat other with goodness or morals if there’s no justice. - reference to the standard of
rightness
EQUALITY VERSUS EQUITY
EQUALITY
- everyone will benefit from the same support
EQUITY
- individuals are given different supports to make it possible for them to have equal access or
benefit.
INEQUITY
-without support or accommodations because the cause of inequity was addressed.
COMMON GOOD
- that which benefits society as a whole
- refers to either what is shared and beneficial for all or most members of a given community, or
alternatively, what is achieved by citizenship, collective action, and active participation in the
realm of politics and public service.
PLATO’S THEORY OF JUSTICE
- justice is that an individual life, and in social life, means placing each individual and each class
is in its proper place.
POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
Soul Class
Rational ------- Rulers (Politicians)
Spirited ------- Soldiers (Law Enforcers, Military)
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Appetitive ----- Artisans (Peasants and Workers)
- capacity or quality of an individual is his natural ability and is not hereditary
ARISTOTLE’S JUSTICE
- obeys the law
- acting what is just
CATEGORIES
General Justice and Particular Justice
General Justice
- is virtue expressed in relation to other people
- treating them justly, or according to laws or rules
- treating others equally in terms of social welfare
Particular Justice
- is the correct distribution
Rectificatory (Commutative) justice
- called for in business where unfair advantage or undeserved harm has occured. - demands remedies or
compensations to the injured party. Distributive Justice
- concerns what measurement should be used to allocate society’s resources
- Proportional Equality ; unequal people get unequal shares
DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE THROUGH EGALITARIANSM
Egalitarianism
-is a political doctrine that holds that ll people should be treated as equals and have the same
political, economic, social, and civil rights. Generally it applies to being held equal under the law
and society at large. In actual practice, one may be considered an egalitarian in most areas listed
below, even if not subscribing to equality in every possible area of individual reference.
DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE THROUGH CAPITALISM
Capitalism
- an economic system in which the means of production of goods or services are privately owned
and operated for a profit.
DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE THROUGH SOCIALSM
- Society as a whole, therefore, should own or at least control property for the benefit of all its
members.
DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE THROUGH COMMUNISM
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- a philosophical, social, political and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is
the establishment of a communist society, namely a socioeconomic order structured upon of the
means of production and the absence of social classes, money and the state.
EX.
How is government put into power? - Revolution
Who controls the distribution of Goods? - The State
Who controls the government? - The State
Who controls the production of goods? - The Sate
What roles do people have? - Work for the state’s benefit
JOHN RAWLS (February 21, 1921 - November 24, 2002)
-An American political and ethical philosopher, best known for his defense of egalitarian
liberalism in his major work , A Theory of Justice (1971). He is widely considered the most
important political philosopher of the 20th Century.
THEORY OF JUSTICE
- Rawls defends a conception of “justice as fairness”. He holds that an adequate account of justice
cannot be derived from utilitarianism, because that doctrine is consistent with intuitively
undesirable forms of government in which the greater happiness of a major is achieved by
neglecting the rights and interests of a minority. “Individuals should be treated the same, unless they
differ in ways that are relevant to the situation in
which they are involved”.
RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE
-refers to the extent to which punishments are fair and just
Ex. Death Penalty for stealing food
COMPENSATORY JUSTICE
- refers to the extent to which people are fairly compensated for their injuries bu those who have injured
them; just compensation is proportional to the loss inflicted on a person.
Ex. Insurance for mine or construction workers. Sequence of the situation by John Rawls “The stability of
the Society lies on justice ----> Injustice ----> Social Unrest, Disturbances, Strife”
According to Kant
-Human beings are all equal in this respect: they all have the same dignity and in virtue of this dignity
they deserve to be treated as equals. So if individuals are treated unequally on the basis of characteristics
that are arbitrary and irrelevant, their fundamental human dignity is violated.
Justice, then is a central part of ethics and should be given due consideration on our moral lives. So before
doing an action, evaluate first if you are treating the other person equally. Justice is an expression of our
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mutual recognition of each other’s basic dignity, and an acknowledgement that if we are to live together
in an interdependent community, we must treat each other as equals.
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ETHICS OF CARE
- The ethics of care is a normative ethical theory; that is, a theory about what makes the actions right
or wrong in human relationships.
- Ethics of Care is a feminist approach to ethics. It challenges traditional moral theories as male
centric and problematic to the extent they omit or downplay values and virtues usually culturally
associated with women or with roles that are often cast as “feminine”.
The basic beliefs of this theory are:
- All individuals and organizations, including nations are interdependent for achieving their interests
Those particularly vulnerable to the to the choices of others and the outcomes of such choices deserve extra
consideration to be measured according to:
- the level of their vulnerability to other’s choices
- the level of their affectedness by other’s choices
According to Carol Gilligan “The shift in moral perspective is manifested by a change in the moral question
from “what is just?” to “how to respond to those troubled situation?” How to care!
Care ethics focuses on the unique demands of specific situations and to the virtue and feelings that are
central to close personal relationships empathy, compassion, love, and fidelity
Emotion is considered during the moral decision making.
Deontology and Utilitarianism = rational and logical but unemotional
On this view, there is not a dichotomy between reason and the emotions as some emotions may be
reasonable and morally appropriate in guiding good decisions or actions. Feminist ethics also recognises
that rules must be applied in