2 Debate dates “Smoking should be banned in public places” Oct. 19th Nov. 9th“Great Apes should be granted human rights”Nov. 16th“It is wrong to eat meat”
3 VideosVideos should be like a short documentary on a topic related to the course10-15 minutes for 2 people group15-20 minutes for 3 people group20-25 minutes for 4 people groupSome video clips from other sources may be used, but the source must be clearly indicated. No more than 30% from other sourcesYou should give me your proposed topics next week
4 Comparison of ethical systems Main ideaVirtue ethics: We should cultivate the virtues and act in accordance with them. Virtues include wisdom, generosity, kindness, justice, pride, courage, honestyDeontological ethics: follow strict moral laws, e.g. do not murder, do not lie, do not stealUtilitarian ethics: Act to maximize total happiness (and lack of suffering) among all people
5 Simplification of main idea (for discussion): Virtue ethics: be goodKantian ethics: do what’s rightUtilitarianian ethics: do what will have good consequences
6 Justification:Virtue ethics: Man’s natural function (telos) as a rational animalKantian ethics: universalizability of moral lawsUtilitarianism: Pleasure is good, pain is bad
7 Principles:Virtue ethics: be a good (well-balanced/rational) personKantian ethics: Always treat a person as an end, not just an meansUtilitarianism: Promote the greatest good for the greatest number
8 Ultimate goal: Virtue ethics: eudemonia (the good life) Kantian ethics: uphold the worth and dignity of every person Utilitarian ethics: maximize happiness
9 Main practical problems: Virtue ethics: vagueKantian ethics: rigidUtilitarianism: may justify seemingly wrong actions
10 Thought experimentsPhilosophers love thought experiments! Test consistency of beliefs.
11 Ethical thought experiments A way to compare different ethical systems.Which ethical system is consistent with our pre-theoretical beliefs?e.g. Kid breaks a vaseShould he lie to his Mom? What’s the harm?
12 A terrorist has secretly planted a bomb on Mr. G, and Mr. G A terrorist has secretly planted a bomb on Mr. G, and Mr. G. is now (innocently) walking into a crowded theatre. The bomb will be detonated in 5 minutes, killing hundreds. You are too far away to stop Mr. G, but you can shoot him down, killing him and saving hundreds. Should you?
13 Trolley caseA runaway train is about to hit 5 people on Track A. Should you throw a switch to make the train go down Track B, where one person is standing (and will be hit).A runaway train is about to hit 5 people standing on the track. Should you push a fat man in front of the train?
14 Transplant caseKill one innocent bystander and transplant his organs to five patients to save their lives
15 Required readings Suggested readings Traditional Ethical Theories (excerpt from Online Guide to Ethics and Moral Philosophy at: caae.phil.cmu.edu/Cavalier/80130/part2/sect9.html), available on MoodleStephen Law, The Philosophy Gym, Chapter 17, “Killing Mary to Save Jodie”. available on MoodleSuggested readingsStanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, at: Entries on: Consequentialism and Deontological Ethics and Virtue Ethics Mill, John Stuart, Utilitarianism (1863), available at:15
16 Quiz next weekYou will be asked about a moral dilemma and expected to discuss it in relation to one or more moral ethical systems.
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