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Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan 2- 1 Chapter Two Ethical Theories: Religion and Reason.

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Presentation on theme: "Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan 2- 1 Chapter Two Ethical Theories: Religion and Reason."— Presentation transcript:

1 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan 2- 1 Chapter Two Ethical Theories: Religion and Reason

2 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan 2- 2 Major Theories on Ethics: Overview Chapter 2 Divine Command Theory (Religion) The Healthy Soul (Socrates and Plato) Virtue Ethics (Aristotle) Chapter 3 Deontology (Immanuel Kant) Teleology (John Stuart Mill) Chapter 4 Enlightened Self-interest (Thomas Hobbes) Contractarianism (John Rawls) Feminist Ethics Ethical Relativism and Absolutism

3 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan 2- 3 Divine Command Theory 1. God decides what is good A thing is good because God says so Good is dependant upon God 2. God defines what is good God shows humans what is inherently good Good is external to God (Continued)

4 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan 2- 4 Divine Command Theory Ethics are transferred to humans by: 1. Direct Command Requires unquestioning obedience Example: “Thou shalt not kill.” (Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:1–18) 2. Indirect Message Requires interpretation Example: Parables and Myths

5 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan 2- 5 Applying Divine Command Theory Example: One of the Ten Commandments is, “Honour your father and your mother.” One way I would apply this to my life is by respecting their house rules when I’m at home. Give some examples of other ways you could apply this religious principle to your life. (Continued)

6 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan 2- 6 Applying Divine Command Theory Consider a religious command or parable you are familiar with. How would you apply it at work? How would you apply it at home? How would you apply it to your important relationships?

7 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan 2- 7 Proponents’ and Critics’ View of Divine Command Theory What are some arguments that someone who believed in divine command would give to support this ethical framework? What are some arguments that someone who did not agree with divine command would make to criticize this ethical framework?

8 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan 2- 8 Socrates and Plato— The Healthy Soul The Three Principles (or elements) of the Soul 1. The rational element (reason, reflection) 2. The irrational appetites (hunger, thirst, sexual gratification, etc.) 3. The spirited element (emotions)

9 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan 2- 9 What is Happiness? Happiness is defined as inner peace or contentment. It is the lack of inner turmoil that results when the three elements of the soul are in harmony. Happiness can only occur in a person with a healthy soul.

10 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan The Healthy Soul Argument 1. When a soul is in balance, the reason is in control of the appetites and the emotions. 2. When a soul is unbalanced, the appetites and/or the emotions are in control. 3. When a person is ill he does not have as much control over what he says and does, or what he is capable of doing, as when he is healthy. (Continued)

11 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan The Healthy Soul Argument 4. When a person’s soul is ill (or out of balance) she does not have rational control over her decisions and behaviour. 5. Every time a person lets his appetites or emotions overcome his reason, his soul becomes a little more unhealthy and it becomes harder to regain control, or to become healthy again.

12 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Applying the Healthy Soul Theory Example 1: If I let my emotions control my reason, I might react with anger in a situation instead of responding more reasonably. This could harm a relationship that is important to me or in some other way harm me. Example 2: If I let my appetites control my reason, I might eat or drink substances that are harmful or even fatal. I might not notice when I am overindulging in a substance that is okay in moderation but harmful in excess. (Continued)

13 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Applying the Healthy Soul Theory How would you apply this theory to your behaviour at work? Give an example. How would you apply this theory to your behaviour at home? Give an example. How would you apply this theory to your important relationships? Give an example.

14 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Proponents’ and Critics’ View of the Healthy Soul Theory What are some arguments that someone who believed in this theory would give to support this ethical framework? What are some arguments that someone who did not agree with this theory would make to criticize this ethical framework?

15 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Virtue Ethics —Aristotle What is Happiness? Everything has a function or purpose. A thing is good when it performs its function well. The essential function of humans is to act in accordance with reason and virtue. A good person is one who uses reason to act in a virtuous manner. Happiness is the result of performing our function well.

16 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan What is Virtue? Virtue = the golden mean between extremes Cowardice  Courage  Recklessness (too much fear) (virtue) (too little fear) Self-effacement  Self-confidence  Arrogance (too little self-esteem) (virtue) (too much self-esteem) Miserly  Generous  Extravagant (too little generosity) (virtue) (too much generosity) ________________  _________________  _________________

17 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Developing a Virtuous Character In virtue ethics, one’s actions are governed by the integrity of a person’s character. Requires a combination of: Reason (to determine the golden mean) and Habit (to make virtuous behaviour consistent and continuous). Character is usually defined by one’s community.

18 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Applying Virtue Ethics What virtuous habits could you develop at work? Give an example. What virtuous habits could you develop at home? Give an example. What virtuous habits could you apply to your important relationships? Give an example.

19 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Ethics of Purpose A course of action is ethical if it achieves the purpose of the organization. An organization is ethical if it is fulfilling its function and its function is ethical. The purpose of a medical lab is to perform diagnostic tests on patients. What are some actions that support this goal? What are some that don’t? The purpose of a bookstore is to ______________ What are some actions that support this goal? What are some that don’t?

20 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Proponents’ and Critics’ View of Virtue Ethics What are some arguments that someone who believed in virtue ethics would give to support this ethical framework? What are some arguments that someone who did not agree with virtue ethics would make to criticize this ethical framework?


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