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Morality and Ethics The Philosophy of Morality is called Ethics.

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1 Morality and Ethics The Philosophy of Morality is called Ethics

2 What is the concept of Morality? Morality is the study of intentions, decisions and actions Can we define actions that are good and actions that are wrong? Who decided what is right and wrong? Do we intuitively know what is right? Is this knowing a learned behavior?

3 What is a Moral Code? Moral Codes define aspects of Culture, Religion and Law Judeo / Christian Moral Code refers to virtues (right) and sins (wrong actions) Moral Codes such as the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament followed by both Jews and Christians shape the moral ethic of Western Society at large

4 Ten Commandments 1.I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange gods before Me. 2.Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. 3. Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day. (Saturday for Jewish People, Sunday for Christians) 4. Honor thy father and thy mother. 5.Thou shalt not kill. 6.Thou shalt not commit adultery. (Institution of marriage) 7.Thou shalt not steal. 8.Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. (Lie, Oaths) 9.Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife. 10.Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.

5 Buddhist Principles 1.Thou shalt not take another's life. 2.Thou shalt not take that which is not given. 3.Thou shalt not engage in sexual misconduct. 4.Thou shalt not engage in false speech. 5.Thou shalt not use intoxicants. 6.Thou shalt not eat after midday. 7.Thou shalt shun worldly amusements. 8.Thou shalt not adorn with ornaments and perfumes. 9. Thou shalt not sleep on high or luxurious beds. 10. Thou shalt not accept gold or silver.

6 Islamic Tenants 1.Do not set up another god with God. 2.Be good to your parents, look after them with kindness and love. 3.Give to your relatives what is their due. 4.Do not be niggardly, nor so extravagant that you may later feel reprehensive and constrained. 5.Do not abandon your children out of fear of poverty. 6.Do not go near fornication, for it is an immoral and evil way. 7.Do not take a life, which God has forbidden, except in just cause. 8.Do not touch the property of others, except for bettering it. 9.Do not follow that of which you have no knowledge. 10.Do not strut about the land with insolence.

7 Cultural Comparison Certain virtues prevail across all cultures: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance. Each of these virtues includes several divisions. For example humanity encompasses: love, kindness and social intelligence These values shape our sense of what is right and informs our choices Did the Pedestrian Die? by Fons Trompenaars A study of moral dillema

8 Evolutionary Perspective Some sociobiologists believe that behaviors of morality evolved largely because they provided possible survival and/or reproductive benefits. Humans evolved "pro-social" emotions include feelings of empathy or guilt. According to this view moralities are sets of behaviors which encourage human co-operation which are obviously key to survival and evolution.

9 Biologists note that: Group animals must impede immediate selfishness in order to improve their evolutionary fitness or survival of the group Human morality is more sophisticated than that of animals but it can be argued that it is essentially a natural phenomenon that evolved to restrict individualism that restricts group cohesion

10 Morality vs. Ethics Morality is primarily about making the correct choices, while ethics is about proper reasoning Ethics does provide good tools for thinking about moral issues.

11 How do we approach Ethics? Contemporary philosophers tend to divide ethical theories into three areas: metaethics, normative ethics and applied ethics. Meta-ethics Meta-ethics deals with the nature of moral judgement. It looks at the origins and meaning of ethical principles. Normative ethics Normative ethics is concerned with the content of moral judgements and the criteria for what is right or wrong. Applied ethics Applied ethics looks at controversial topics like war, animal rights and capital punishment

12 Why do we study Ethics? Ethics can provide a moral map: abortion and euthanasia are emotional issues and we often let our hearts do the arguing. Philosophers offer us ethical rules and principles that enable us to take a more objective view of moral problems Ethics can pinpoint a disagreement: Using the framework of ethics, two people who are arguing a moral issue can often find that what they disagree about is just one particular part of the issue, and that they broadly agree on everything else. Ethics doesn't give right answers: There isn't a single right answer - just a set of principles that can be applied to particular cases to give those involved some clear choices. Ethics can give several answers: Often there isn't one right answer - there may be several right answers, or just some least worst answers - and the individual must choose between them

13 Are there Universal Moral Rules? Are there unchanging moral rules that apply in all cultures and at all times? Moral absolutism says: Yes. There are universal rules that apply to everyone. Moral relativism says: No. Good" refers to the things that a particular group of people approve of at a particular time.

14 Breakdown: Moral Absolutism Immoral acts break these moral rules and are wrong in themselves, regardless of the circumstances or the consequences of those acts. Holds a universal view of humanity - there is one set of rules for everyone. This enables the drafting of universal rules - such as the Declaration of Human Rights. Religious views tend to be absolutist

15 Breakdown: Moral Relativism Different cultures or different periods in history have different moral rules Dispute the idea that there are some objective and discoverable 'super-rules' that all cultures ought to obey. Believe that relativism respects the diversity of human societies and responds to the different circumstances surrounding human acts

16 Moral Philosophy: Utilitarianism What is Utilitarianism? Supports this idea of the greatest happiness principle This principle states that one must act to produce the greatest amount of happiness amongst the largest group of people

17 Utilitarianism: Key Thinkers Jeremy Bentham (1748 – 1832) says: All forms of happiness are equal John Stuart Mill ( ) says: There is a hierarchy of pleasure Intellectual and Moral pleasures are higher Physical pleasures are categorized as lowly

18 Understanding Mills Pleasure Ranking Mill defines the difference between higher and lower forms of happiness with the principle that those who have experienced both tend to prefer one over the other. Bentham would disagree. If a simple child's game like hopscotch causes more pleasure to more people than a night at the opera house, it is more imperative upon a society to devote more resources to propagating hopscotch than running opera houses.

19 Mills Pleasure Ranking Cont. Mill's argument is that the "simple pleasures" tend to be preferred by people who have no experience with high art, and are therefore not in a proper position to judge

20 How does Mills theory Apply? Mill supported legislation that would have granted extra voting power to university graduates on the grounds that they were in a better position to judge what would be best for society. = more exposed to varied experiences Wrote: On Liberty which promoted the idea the development and exercise of rational capacities as we strive to achieve a "higher mode of existence (one in which we are properly happy)

21 Mills Theory Cont Mill rejected censorship and paternalism. With them he thought it impossible to provide the necessary social conditions for the achievement of knowledge and the greatest ability for the greatest number to develop and exercise their freedom and rational capacities which would eventually lead to the greatest amount of happiness Mill remarks: …it is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question.


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