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4/29/2015 ©Lawrence M. Hinman1 Why Study Ethics? n Moral concerns are unavoidable in life. n Analogy: morality is a lot like nutrition. –Principal concern: health –The role of experts –Disagreement –Doing, not just saying, the right thing leads to joy.
Ethics: A Pluralistic Approach to Moral Theory 5 th ed. By Lawrence M. Hinman Ch 1 The Moral Point of View 4/29/2015 ©Lawrence M. Hinman2
4/29/2015 ©Lawrence M. Hinman3 Ethics as an Ongoing Conversation n Professional discussions of ethical issues in journals. n We come back to ideas again and again, finding new meaning in them.
4/29/2015 ©Lawrence M. Hinman4 Ethics and Morality n Morality: first-order set of beliefs and practices about how to live a good life n Ethics: a second-order, conscious reflection on the adequacy of our moral beliefs.
Public and Private Moral Beliefs n Distinguish between overt and covert moral beliefs. n Self-knowledge required for awareness of moral beleifs. n One aim of the course is discussion to promote this self-knowledge. 4/29/2015 ©Lawrence M. Hinman5
4/29/2015 ©Lawrence M. Hinman6 Moral Health n The goal of ethical reflection is moral health. n Thus we seek to determine what will nourish our moral life and what will poison it.
4/29/2015 ©Lawrence M. Hinman7 Ethical Inventory n Take the ethical inventory on pp. 7-9 It is a first step in self-knowledge of your moral beliefs. n Return to your answers after finishing each chapter.
4/29/2015 ©Lawrence M. Hinman8 The Moral Point of View n What makes something a moral issue? –Content: duties, rights, human welfare, suffering, character, etc. –Perspective: impartial, compassionate, etc.
4/29/2015 ©Lawrence M. Hinman9 Example: Cheating Imagine a situation in which you see a classmate cheating. There are several elements from a moral point of view: –Some people are hurt by the cheating –There is deception in the situation –Cheating seems to be unfair to those who don’t cheat –There are conflicting values—honesty, loyalty, etc. –There are questions of character.
4/29/2015 ©Lawrence M. Hinman10 The Language of Moral Concerns n Some philosophers have argued that moral issues are characterized by a particular kind of language—terms such as duty, obligation, right, and good.
4/29/2015 ©Lawrence M. Hinman11 Impartiality Many philosophers have argued that the moral point of view is characterized by impartiality, that is, I don’t give my own interest any special weight. –Immanuel Kant –John Stuart Mill
4/29/2015 ©Lawrence M. Hinman12 Compassion n Other philosophers have seen the origin of the moral life to be in compassion, feeling for the suffering of other sentient beings. n Josiah Royce: “Such as that is for me, so is it for him, nothing less.”
4/29/2015 ©Lawrence M. Hinman13 Universally Binding n Moral obligations, some philosophers maintain, are universally binding and that is what gives them their distinctive character. n Kant: morality is a matter of categorical imperatives. –Distinguish between hypothetical and categorical imperatives.
4/29/2015 ©Lawrence M. Hinman14 Concern for Character n Philosophers from Aristotle onward have seen the primary focus of morality to be character. n Two questions: –What ought I to do? (Kant and Mill) –What kind of person ought I to be? (Aristotle)
4/29/2015 ©Lawrence M. Hinman15 The Point of Ethical Reflection n Ethics as the Evaluation of Other People’s Behavior –We are often eager to pass judgment on others n Ethics as the Search for Meaning and Value in Our Own Lives
4/29/2015 ©Lawrence M. Hinman16 Ethics as the Evaluation of Other People’s Behavior n Ethics often used as a weapon n Hypocrisy n Possibility of knowing other people n The right to judge other people n The right to intervene n Judging and caring
4/29/2015 ©Lawrence M. Hinman17 Ethics as the Search for Meaning and Value in Our Own Lives n Positive focus n Aims at discerning what is good n Emphasizes personal responsibility for one’s own life
4/29/2015 ©Lawrence M. Hinman18 What to Expect from a Moral Theory Functions of theory: n Describe n Explain n Give strength (Stockdale) n Prescribe –Open new possibilities –Wonder
4/29/2015 ©Lawrence M. Hinman19 What to Expect from a Moral Theory, 2 What is ethics like? n Physics –Clear-cut, definitive answers n Engineering –Several possible ways of doing things, many ways that are wrong
4/29/2015 ©Lawrence M. Hinman20 Conclusion: Ethics & Good Health n Ethics is like nutrition –One studies bodily health, the other moral health –Significant disagreement in both fields –Still there is a significant common ground.
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