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ETHICS DEFINED: The study and philosophy of human conduct with emphasis on the determination of right and wrong. Normative Ethics Descriptive Ethics Metaethics.

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Presentation on theme: "ETHICS DEFINED: The study and philosophy of human conduct with emphasis on the determination of right and wrong. Normative Ethics Descriptive Ethics Metaethics."— Presentation transcript:

1 ETHICS DEFINED: The study and philosophy of human conduct with emphasis on the determination of right and wrong. Normative Ethics Descriptive Ethics Metaethics

2 Normative Ethics: [often called philosophical ethics] search for norms, not in the sense of what is average, but in the sense of authoritative standards of what it “ought” to be. Descriptive Ethics: empirically based, aims to discover and describe the moral beliefs of a specific culture. Metaethics: the study of the discipline of ethics. It attempts to determine meanings of normative terms, e.g. right, wrong, good, bad, ought, etc.

3 Normative Ethics – Major Theories Consequentialist (Teleological) Maintains the morality of an action is determined by its consequences. Teleological theories interpret moral judgements as dependent on values and evaluation, hinging on value theory. Hedonism as a value theory says ONLY PLEASURE IS GOOD AS AN END.

4 Utilitarianism is hedonistic because it interprets happiness as a balance of pleasure over pain. [John S. Mill] Ideal (Social) Utilitarianism is nonhedonistic, maintaining that one ought to do that act of all acts available (under the circumstances) that would produce the most good. [G.E. Moore]

5 Self-Realization (Perfectionism) is also nonhedonistic, holding that the ultimate end is the full development or perfection of the self. Egoism is based on the idea that everyone always acts out of self-interest, i.e. an action is only right if it’s in the best interest of the person. Situationism claims that morality of an action depends on the situation, not on application of law to the case.

6 Nonconsequentialist (Deontological) Deontological theories claim that the morality of an action depends on its intrinsic nature, on its motives, or on its being in accord with some rule or principle. Theological (divine command) theory maintains that it’s the will of god that determines rightness/wrongness an action. Is it in accord with the will of God? [St. Augustine]

7 Categorical Imperative: For morally right action, one must be willing to have everyone act in the same way, i.e. qualify as a universal law. [Immanuel Kant] Additionally, one’s actions can only have moral worth if one’s motive for acting was to do what is right. (no accidental moral worth allowed)

8 Metaethics Principle approaches in metaethics are: Naturalism, Cognitivism, Intuitionism, and Subjectivism


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