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Chapter 11.  Basis for a choice among significant options  Right vs. Wrong  Among the first words babies learn are good and bad  Samuel Butler defined.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 11.  Basis for a choice among significant options  Right vs. Wrong  Among the first words babies learn are good and bad  Samuel Butler defined."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 11

2  Basis for a choice among significant options  Right vs. Wrong  Among the first words babies learn are good and bad  Samuel Butler defined it as, “the customs of one’s country, and the current feelings of one’s peers.”  Divided by subgroups even further ex. which peers? which part of the country?

3  Arts have played a prominent part in influencing moral attitudes  Some encourage censorship “for the good of society”  The Scarlet Letter- questions if an inflexible moral code was more sinful than an adulterous relationship which grew out of sincere love.

4 Picasso’s Guernica remains one of the most potent statements about the horrors of attacking an enemy city and killing civilians. Sentiment has been echoed by Christians and Muslims, by opponents of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Non-supporters of war ask whether even a just cause can excuse acts of inhumanity

5  Does the end ever justify the means?  Are punishment and the fear of punishment the only things that keep us from doing wrong?  Doe the needs of society outweigh the needs of the individual?  Should all economic resources be controlled by individuals or communities?  Are results all that matter, or do intentions count also?

6  Network of related values on which moral choices are based is called a moral system  Most religions believe a divinity has set down certain rules that must be followed whether or not they interfere with your personal desires  Usually outlined in the holy book

7  Based on reason, not faith  Reason determines what is right and therefore doing wrong is irrational  May consult a moral authority (philosopher, friend, religious official)  If the two sources offer different opinions, which one do we follow?  Intuition? Self-interest? Follow moral authority?

8 GLAUCONSOCRATES  Everyone does the right thing out of motives that have nothing to do with reason or innate goodness  Society expects virtue to be only an appearance, the result of societal pressure  Always on side of reason  Nothing bad can happen to a good person  Good is done for it’s own sake  “To know the good is to do the good”

9  Plato admits majority of people (governed and governing) will be driven by self-interest unless held in check by one supreme ruler  Leader should be motivated solely by reason, advises rules because he has a clear vision of justice  Who chooses the credentials of the “wisest person in society?” Only the wisest could do that!

10 -Transcendentalist- he refused to pay a tax for the privilege of voting, announced he was “seceding from the Union” and moved to a woodland hut. -Individualism  “ ‘That government is best which governs least’ ….I also believe- ‘That government is best which governs not at all…’”

11 MACHIAVELLITHOMAS HOBBES  Wrote The Prince, which offers advice to all aspiring rulers  Suggests leaders intimidate, exhibit signs of their power, to impress their subjects  Did not trust citizens enough to make rational decisions  Machiavellian-reference to cynical individuals who considered themselves superior  Tight autocratic control was necessary because the masses were evil and solely out for themselves  Leviathan  Monarch must be feared or order will disintegrate

12 ADAM SMITHAYN RAND  Economic well-being is the guiding force in humans  Greed is not necessarily a bad thing as long as you don’t break laws or harm others  Laissez-faire  Modern economists agree there is no such thing as an ideally self-regulating market  Capitalism was close to divine  Believed in encouraging the strong and self-reliant to make the most of their talents without spending a lifetime helping others (they would grow weaker and lose their incentive to help themselves)

13  Transcends self-interest  Some argue what seems like altruism really springs from selfish motives  Donating an organ, firemen rushing into a burning building, Secret Service agent taking a bullet for the president

14  Greatest good for the greatest number of people  Assign positive or negative values the action might cause for the most people, account for duration and intensity, do the arithmetic and get your answer  Allows for self-interest to be defended and restricted

15  We are born with an innate sense of right and wrong  Categorical Imperative- an intuitive classification of actions and choices as morally acceptable or unacceptable  We should ask, “Would it be ok for everyone else to do this?”  Parable of the lost wallet

16  Major world religions provide moral orientation fro most of the world’s population  All believe that the world was not created for humans to do as they please  Humans owe an obligation to God or the moral order of the universe  None are free to behave irresponsibly toward themselves, others, or the Earth

17  As people describe their work they reveal their cherished values (the basis for their decisions).  For job seekers, times of prosperity have offered the opportunity to search for a career that matches their talents and desires. Not finding one diminishes their self-worth. “Liking” a job can seem a luxury, and can create a moral dilemma, should they work even if it is dangerous?

18  People who feel uncomfortable with an absolute “should” are apt to reject the word in favor of moral relativism  “Who’s to say what is right?” “What’s good for one may not be good for another.”

19  Flexibility and tolerance  Most relativists point out that genocide, prison and torture have been inflicted by those believing there is only one truth  Globalization had led to increased contact with variety of belief systems causing us to question western viewpoints

20 “Being human is an art, and nowhere is that assumption more critical than in moral matters…a ringing declaration in the humanities is that moral integrity is worth the risk.”


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