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An Introduction to Ethics.  It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the.

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Presentation on theme: "An Introduction to Ethics.  It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the."— Presentation transcript:

1 An Introduction to Ethics


3  It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

4  Why is this such a significant date in American History?  Life before 2001  Life after 2001  The Age of Terrorism

5  Iraq prison known for torture and execution  Retained as a prison  Americans took control  2004 Photos of abuse were released

6 Use of dogs to inflict terror on prisoners

7 Humiliating Poses





12  Assume morals involve good and evil  Choices we make  ETHICISTS ◦ Selfishness vs. unselfishness ◦ Informed consent ◦ Moral principles vs. Consequences ◦ Group rights vs. Individual right  Traditionally good and evil are religious concepts – which means we pass judgment and take sides - do not remain objective

13  Ronald Reagan 1980 “The Evil Empire”  George W Bush 2001 “Evil acts”  There is a fine line between religion and politics since our country was founded on belief in religious freedom.

14 It exists outside of human beings and tempts us, or influences us.

15 It exists within us – or is something that might be missing.


17 Stanford Prison Experiment 1971

18  Culture based  Religion based  Compassion  Consideration  Duty  Moral and non-moral values

19  Values by the age of 7 or it’s too late  Morals and values depend on environment  Should elementary schools teach values?

20  Greek ethos – character ◦ Theories about the rules we follow ◦ Ordering, questioning, investigation of what we believe

21  Latin mores – character, custom, habit ◦ The moral rules we follow ◦ What our social life is composed of

22 EthicsMorals Conduct defined by a group, culture, etc. Conduct defined by an individual’ ideals and principles Social System - ExternalIndividual - Internal Society says it is rightI say it is right Fear of social/peer disapproval, legal aspects, etc. Fear of being uncomfortable, remorse, depressed, etc. Flexible depending on othersUsually consistent

23  What is important  What has worth  Likes and dislikes

24  Religious reasons – Decrees from God(s)  Philosophy ◦ Head – use reason, sense, rationality ◦ Heart – emotion, intuition ◦ Biology – needed for survival ◦ Nature of Morality – fear of being caught

25  Errors of reasoning  Jumping to conclusions based on partial, or imperfect evidence, or personal biases

26  Hasty Generalizations – jumping to conclusions based on a small sample ◦ The last two mechanics I went to tried to cheat me, therefore no mechanics can be trusted.  Appeal to Authority – referring to “experts” ◦ Spokesmen ◦ High profile personalities ◦ Generalized statements … “they”  Begging the Question – assuming what you are trying to prove is a fact ◦ I’m right because it’s true.

27  Ad Baculum (by the stick) – using threats to gain favor ◦ If you don’t agree with me I won’t talk to you again.  Ad Hominem (to the man) – who a person is or where they are from determines correctness or incorrectness ◦ While on the way to lunch you get stuck behind an elderly person driving 25 mph in a 35 mph zone and claim all old people drive slow. ◦ When, “They’re from California” explains it all

28  Slipper Slope – assuming that drastic consequences will follow a certain decision ◦ If abortion is continued the human race will cease to exist.  Straw Man – inventing a viewpoint so radical that hardly anyone holds it, so you can knock it down ◦ Gun advocates want to allow criminals and children to carry weapons, so we should work toward a gun ban.

29  Bifurcating; false dichotomy – creating a situation with no true third option ◦ We either have to respect all individual rights or curtail people’s rights in order to achieve security, it’s one or the other. ◦ Only applies to a situation with no third possibility, such as being pregnant – you can’t be a little bit pregnant; it’s ether yes or no.

30  Red Herring – created or placed to deflect away from the truth.

31  Ad misericordiam – appeal to pity – The teacher’s favorite fallacy! ◦ I know I didn’t do that great but I have to get an “A” or my parents will kill me! ◦ I had to stay at my friends house and I left my bag in their car and they aren’t here today. ◦ I didn’t have time to finish because my printer ran out of ink and we didn’t have anymore because we’re poor.

32  Inductive ◦ Based on the evidence the conclusion is uncertain, but likely.  Socrates was Greek.  Most Greeks eat fish.  Conclusion: Socrates ate fish.  Deductive ◦ Based on the evidence the conclusion is certain  Humans are mortal.  I am a human.  Conclusion: I am mortal.

33  It’s not about right and wrong  Aim for preferable responses  Reach conclusions based on a balance between reason and emotion – avoid logical fallacies  Agree to respectfully disagree and accept other’s values

34  Stories have value – they teach us lessons, ask us to consider our values and question our morals ◦ What stories have you learned from?  20 th Century – Movies, television and music have similar value ◦ What alternate media have you learned from?

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