Presentation on theme: "HUMAN VALUES Thinking Critically About Ethical Issues 6 th Edition Vincent Ryan Ruggiero."— Presentation transcript:
HUMAN VALUES Thinking Critically About Ethical Issues 6 th Edition Vincent Ryan Ruggiero
The Need for Ethics Chapter One Ethics is the study of choices people make regarding right and wrong. Each of us make dozens of moral choices daily: 1.Go to school or to work or play sick. 2.Use someone else’s work as our own or study and do your best. 3.Tell the truth or tell a lie. 4.Obey the speed limit or ignore it.
The Need for Ethics 1.Keep our marriage vows or break them. 2.Meet our children’s emotional need or ignore them. 3.Pet the cat or kick it.
Morals definition Morals are concerned with the judgment of the goodness or badness of human action and character. Teaching or exhibiting goodness or correctness of character and behavior. Conforming to standards of what is right or just in behavior; virtuous. Arising from conscience or the sense of right and wrong.
Moral Standards In most times and places, people acknowledge the existence of an objective moral standard binding on all people regardless of their personal desires and preferences. There has not always been complete agreement on what that standard was.
Moral Standards Over the past several decades, that need has been called into question. It is fashionable today to believe that decisions about right and wrong are purely personal and subjective. This belief is known as moral relativism.
Moral Standards Moral Relativism: According to it, whatever anyone claims to be morally acceptable is morally acceptable, at least for that person. Supposedly, there is only one exception to this rule: Judging other people’s conduct is considered intolerant.
Moral Standards In the 1960’s moral relativists challenged the traditional view that fornication and adultery are immoral. “Only the individual can decide what sexual behavior is right for him or her and the individual’s decision should be respected.” Given the mood of the time and strength of the sex drive, it was not surprising that many people were disposed to accept this view.
Moral Standards Critics raised serious objections, of course. They argued that even the wisest among us are capable of error and self deception, especially where the emotions are involved. They predicted that the idea that everyone creates his or her own sexual morality would spill over into other areas of morality and provide an excuse for everything from petty pilfering, plagiarism, perjury, child molesting, rape, spouse abuse, and murder.
Critics Raise Serious Objections More important for our purposes, critics of relativism warned that “anything goes” thinking would undermine the subject of ethics. “If morality is merely a matter of preference, and no one view is better than any other,” -- “then there is no way to distinguish good from evil or civilized behavior from uncivilized, and any attempt at meaningful discussion of moral issues is futile.”
Moral Standards Evidence that civility has declined and human life has become cheapened can be found any day in the news. Equally significant, many people are so possessed by the “who can say?” mentality that they find it difficult to pass moral judgment even on the most heinous deeds.
Why Do We Need Ethics Many people reason that we don’t need ethics because of our system of laws, when consistently enforced, provide sufficient protection of our rights. In order to assess this idea we must understand who makes laws and how they make them.
Why Do We Need Ethics Who makes them: local, state, and national legislators. How they are made is somewhat more difficult. Legislators must get together to talk about a particular behavior and then vote on whether they want to criminalize it. On what basis do they conclude that one act deserves to be classified criminal and another one doesn’t?
Why Do We Need Ethics What kinds of reasons do they offer to support their views? How can they be sure those reasons are good ones? The fact that 2 or 10 or 500 legislators expressed that personal view would not be sufficient reason to conclude that a law should be passed preventing other people
Why Do We Need Ethics …from committing the act. The only rational basis for a law against sexual harassment is that the act is wrong, and not just for those who think so but for everyone. The proper focus for lawmakers is not on their subjective preferences but on the nature of the actions in question.
Why Do We Need Ethics Why do we need ethics if we have laws? Because law is not possible without ethics. The only way for a law to be enacted or repealed is for one or more people to make a decision about right and wrong. Often laws must be revised.
Ethics Defined Ethics is the study of right and wrong conduct. In the philosophical sense, ethics is a two-sided discipline. Normative ethics – answers specific moral questions, determining what is reasonable and therefore what people should believe. The term normative means setting “norms” or guidelines.)
Ethics Defined The other side of philosophical ethics is; Methaethics – it examines ethical systems to appraise their logical foundations and internal consistency. The focus of ethics is moral situations – that is, those situations in which there is a choice of behavior involving human values (those qualities that are regarded as good and desirable).
Ethics Defined Whether we watch TV at a friend’s house or at our own is not a moral issue. But whether we watch TV at a friend’s house without his or her knowledge and approval is a moral issue. Filling out an application for a job is a morally neutral act. But deciding whether to tell the truth on the application is a moral decision.
Ethics Defined An ethicist observes the choices people make in various moral situations and draws conclusions about those choices. An ethical system is a set of coherent ideas that result from those conclusions and form and overall moral perspective. Ethicists are not lawmakers.
Ethics Defined They merely suggest what ought to be done. If people violate their own or their society’s moral code, no ethics enforcement officer will try to apprehend them – though if their action also violates a law, a law enforcement agency may do so. The idea of varying degrees of responsibility for one’s actions is applied in ethics, too.
Ethics Defined There are no court of ethics. The ethicist nevertheless is interested in the question; “Under what circumstances is a person to be considered culpable (deserving blame)?”
Ethics and Religious Belief Somehow the idea has arisen that ethics and religion are unrelated and incompatible. When religious thinkers discuss ethical issues in political policy, they are thought to be exceeding their reach and perhaps even committing an offense against the principle of separation of church and state.
Ethics and Religious Belief How ironic that such a notion should arise at a time when popular culture no longer values the distinction between informed and uninformed opinion! The notion is without historical basis. In fact an interesting case can be made for ethics having originated in religion.
Ethics and Religious Belief G.K. Chesterton argued as follows: Morality did not begin by one man saying to another, “I will not hit you if you do not hit me”; there is no trace of such a transaction. There is a trace of both men having said, “We must not hit each other in the holy place.” They gained their morality by guarding their religion. They did not cultivate courage. The fought for the shrine, and found they had become courageous. They did not cultivate cleanliness. They purified themselves for the altar, and found that they were clean.
Ethics and Religious Belief Throughout our civilization’s history, religious thinkers have spoken to the larger society on moral issues, and society has generally profited from their guidance. To be productive, ethical discourse must take place on common ground; using understanding and intellectual procedures and judgment criteria that all participants – Christians, Jews, Moslems, atheists, and others – affirm.
Ethics and Religious Belief A focus on faith rather than reason can also prevent us from presenting the most persuasive ethical argument. Some ethical questions cannot be adequately answered by reference to religious beliefs alone. Religious ethics is the examination of moral situations from a particular religious perspective. In it, the religious doctrine is not a substitute for inquiry.
The Need For Ethics Ethics fills and even more basic need in helping up interpret everyday human actions and decide what actions we approve in others and want to emulate ourselves. It is a guide for living honorably.
Preliminary Guidelines The basic problem you will encounter is the tendency to judge issues on the basis of preconception and bias rather than careful analysis. The reasons for prejudging will vary – from traumatic experience to personal preference to simple opinion.
Preliminary Guidelines The alternative to the closed mind is not the empty mind – even if we wished to set aside all our prior conclusions about human behavior and right and wrong we couldn’t. The mind can not be manhandled (manipulated) this way. We can expect a flood of impressions and reactions will rush in on our thoughts when we consider a moral issue.
Preliminary Guidelines It is not the fact of that flood that matters, nor its force. It is what we do to avoid having our judgment swept away by it. Here are some suggestions: 1.Be aware of your first impressions. Note them carefully. Knowing the way your thinking inclines is the first step toward balancing it (if it needs balancing).
Preliminary Guidelines 2.Check to be sure you have all the relevant facts. If you do not have them get them. 3.Consider the various opinions on the issue and the arguments that have been (or could be) used to support them. The position that directly opposes your first impression is often the most helpful one to consider.
Preliminary Guidelines 4.Keep your thinking flexible. Do not feel obligated to your early ideas. 5.Express your judgment precisely and explain the reasoning that underlies it. It is too easy to say something you don’t mean, especially when the issue is both complex and controversial.
Making Discussion Meaningful At its best, discussion deepens understanding and promotes problem solving and decision making. At its worst, it frays nerves, creates animosity, and leaves important issues unresolved. Here are simple guidelines for ensuring that the discussions you engage in will set a good example for those around you.
Making Discussion Meaningful 1.Whenever possible, prepare in advance. 2.Set reasonable expectations. 3.Leave egotism and personal agendas at the door. 4.Contribute but don’t dominate. 5.Avoid distracting speech mannerisms. 6.Listen actively. 7.Judge Ideas responsibly. 8.Resist the urge to shout or interrupt.
Making Discussion Meaningful Whenever Possible, Prepare in Advance 1.Not every discussion can be prepared for in advance, but many can. In college courses, the assignment schedule provides a reliable indication of what will be discussed in class on a given day. Decide how to expand your knowledge and devote some time doing so. Try to anticipate the different points of view that might be expressed in the discussion and consider the relative merits of each.
Making Discussion Meaningful Set Reasonable Expectations 2.If you have ever left a discussion disappointed that others hadn’t changed their views or felt offended when someone disagreed with you; you probably expected too much. People seldom change their minds easily or quickly, particularly in the case of long-held convictions.
Making Discussion Meaningful Leave Egotism and Personal Agendas at the Door 3.To be productive, discussion requires an atmosphere of mutual respect and civility. Egotism produces disrespectful attitudes toward others notably, “I’m more important than other people,” “My ideas are better than anyone else’s,” and “Rules don’t apply to me.” Personal agendas can lead to personal attacks and an unwillingness to listen to others’ views.
Making Discussion Meaningful Contribute But Don’t Dominate 4.Discussions tend to be most productive when everyone contributes ideas. For this to happen, loquacious (excessive talker) people need to exercise a little restraint, and More reserved people need to accept responsibility for sharing their thoughts.
Making Discussion Meaningful Avoid Distracting Speech Mannerisms 5.Such mannerisms include; Starting one sentence and then abruptly switching to another; mumbling or slurring your words; and punctuating every phrase or clause with audible pauses (“um,” “ah”) or meaningless expressions (“like,” “you know,” “man”). They distract from your message. Aim for clarity, directness, and few expressions.
Making Discussion Meaningful Listen Actively 6. If the speaker says something you disagree with, you may begin framing a reply. The best way to maintain your attention is to be alert for such distractions and to resist them. Strive to enter the speaker’s frame of mind, understanding each sentence as it is spoken and connecting it with previous sentences.
Making Discussion Meaningful Judge Ideas Responsibly 7.Ideas range in quality from profound to ridiculous, helpful to harmful, ennobling to degrading. It is therefore appropriate to pass judgment on them. Fairness demands that you base your judgment on thoughtful consideration of the overall strengths and weaknesses of the ideas, not on your initial impressions or feelings.
Making Discussion Meaningful Resist the Urge to Shout or Interrupt 8.No doubt you understand that shouting and interrupting are rude and disrespectful behaviors, but do you realize that in many cases they are also a sign of intellectual insecurity? It’s true. 9.If you really believe your ideas are sound, you will have no need to raise your voice or to silence the other person. Make it your rule to disagree without being disagreeable.
HHH CHAPTER TWO HUMAN VALUES
The Role Of The Majority View Chapter Two What is a majority? Nothing more than 51 percent or more of the individuals in a group. If we were to examine a particular majority and compare their individual thinking on a particular issue, what would we find? First, we would find that actual knowledge of the issue varied widely among the individuals.
The Role Of The Majority View Chapter Two Some would be well informed about all details. Others would be completely uninformed, yet unaware of their ignorance. Some individuals would have read or listened to the views of authorities, sorted out irrelevancies, appraised each authority’s position in light of available evidence, and weighed all possible interpretations of the facts. Others would have taken the ultimate shortcut and forgone all inquiry on the assumption that their intuition is infallible.
The Role Of The Majority View Chapter Two Finally some would have judged quite objectively, avoiding preconceived notions and prejudices, and being critical of all views, including those to which they were naturally disposed. Others would have been ruled by emotion, un-tempered by reason. For this reason, know that there is no magic in majorities.
CHAPTER THREE THE ROLE OF FEELINGS
The Role of Feelings Chapter Three As we have seen, it is fashionable to believe that morality is subjective and personal. This means that whatever a person believes to be right or wrong is so for that person. The conclusion that follows from this reasoning is that no one person’s view is preferable to another’s. One person’s sacred ritual may be the next person’s cardinal sin.
Feelings Chapter Three Two centuries ago French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote, “What I feel is right is right, what I feel is wrong is wrong.” The child, in Rousseau’s view, is inherently good; The only corrupting influence is society with it artificial constraints.
How Feelings Came to Be Emphasized “Values Clarification” is a system that asserts that there is no universal, objective moral standard, that the only norm is that each person decides to value It is the job of the educator to encourage students to decide for themselves and to remain completely nonjudgmental of the student’s choices.
Carl Rogers “One of the basic things which I was a long time in realizing, and which I am still learning is that when an activity feels as though is valuable or worth doing, it is worth doing. Rogers’ goal in therapy was to persuade the client not only to “listen to feelings which he has always denied and repressed,”
Carl Rogers Chapter Three Including feelings that have seemed “terrible” or “abnormal” or “shameful.” but also to affirm those feelings. Rogers was convinced that the therapist should be totally accepting of whatever the client expressed and should show “an outgoing positive feeling without reservations, without evaluations.”
Carl Rogers The “only question that matters” for a healthy person, he maintained, is, “am I living in a way which is deeply satisfying to me, and which truly expresses me”? Pleasing others or meeting external, objective standards of behavior – such as the moral code of one’s society or religion – have no role in Rogers’ process.
Carl Rogers Rogers’ impact on American thought, and on Western thought in general, has been profound. Together with his associate, William Coulson, Rogers developed and successfully implemented a plan to promote his value-free, nonjudgmental, nondirective approach in the teaching of both psychological
Carl Rogers … counseling and ethics. Coulson later renounced the approach, claiming that it ruined lives and harmed society. Subsequently, two generations of psychologists, guidance counselors, student personnel staff in colleges, social workers, and even members of the clergy were trained in his method
Carl Rogers Chapter Three And proceeded in good faith to counsel millions of people to follow their feelings. The idea has been most enthusiastically embraced by the entertainment industry, which has made it a central theme of movies and television programs.
Feelings In the space of a few decades feelings have become the dominate ethical standard. In recent years a number of psychologists have addressed this error. William J. Doherty, a therapist and professor of psychology, argues that “it is time for psychotherapists to stop trying to talk people out of their moral sense
William J. Doherty “I don’t believe that all moral beliefs are created equal. The moral consensus of the world’s major religions around the Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have others do unto you – is a far better guide to moral living than the reflexive morality of self- interest in mainstream American society.”
Are Feelings Reliable? Chapter Three Can feelings be trusted to guide human behavior? …some feelings, desires, and preferences are admirable and therefore make excellent guides. Albert Schweitzer, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa and countless other caring people the world over, are moved by love of neighbor to make the world a little better.
Are Feelings Reliable… Honesty, demands acknowledgment of the other aspect of feelings. When Hitler exterminated more than six million Jews and Staling massacred 30 million Russian peasants, they were following their feelings. In this case, Rousseau’s and Rogers’ idea to be unreasonable.
A Better Guide Is Needed When we are thinking clearly and being honest with ourselves, we realize that there is a potential in each of us for noble actions of high purpose and honor; But there is also a potential for great mischief and wickedness.
Subjective Behavior “Whatever the person prefers to do is right to do” is hollow. Good sense suggest that the right action may be at odds with the individual’s preference. Ironically, morality by feelings completely ignores other people’s feelings.
Subjective Behavior…. Chapter Three To say that we should be free to do as we wish without regard for others is to say that others should be free to do as they wish without regard for us. If such a rule were followed, the result would be social chaos. Since our feelings, desires, and preferences can be either beneficial or harmful, noble or ignoble, praiseworthy
Subjective Behavior….. Or damnable, and since they can be either in harmony or in conflict with other people’s feelings, desires, and preferences, they are obviously not accurate criteria for analysis of moral issues or trustworthy guidelines to action.
Feelings, Desires, & Preferences… Feelings, desires, and preferences need to be evaluated and judged. They need to be measured against some impartial standard that will reveal their quality. To make them the basis of our moral decisions is to ignore those needs and to accept them uncritically as the measure of their own worth.
CHAPTER FOUR The Role of Conscience
The Role of Conscience Chapter Four The term conscience is so common and often so carelessly used, that for many people it has little meaning. Precisely what is a conscience? Does everybody have one or are some people born without one? Are all consciences “created equal”? Are our consciences influenced by the attitudes and values of our culture?
The Role of Conscience…. Can we do anything to develop our consciences, or are they fixed and unchangeable? These important issues must be considered before we can decide whether conscience is a reliable moral guide.
The Role of Conscience…. Philosophers have disagreed in their definitions of conscience. Some have defined it as the voice of God speaking directly to the individual soul. The problem with this definition is that in cases where conscience does not inform a person that an act is wrong (or mis-informs the person),
The Role of Conscience…. …the implications is that God has failed that person. Such an idea is unacceptable to religious people. Others have defined conscience as a mirror of custom, a mere reflection of what our culture has taught us. This definition also creates problems: It leaves unexplained those cases in which conscience directs us to defy custom.
The Role of Conscience… Still others have argued that conscience is a special sense, a moral sense, that is innate in human beings. This may come closest to being a workable definition, but it also poses difficulties that must not be overlooked. The term sense usually suggests developed faculties associated with organs; sight, hearing, etc.
The Role of Conscience…. Conscience cannot be that kind of sense… we are not talking of any physical condition. Conscience may be defined as the faculty by which we determine that we are guilty of a moral offense.
Conscience and Shame We know our conscience has judged us harshly when we feel a sense of shame Shame:”the painful emotion arising from the consciousness of something dishonoring, ridiculous, or indecorous (marked by a lack of good taste) in one’s own conduct or circumstances…” …an emotion totally without redeeming value that is responsible for a broad
Conscience and Shame…. …range of psychological disorders, including depression, addiction, sexual dysfunction, and emotional problems linked to gender, age, and race… Think back to a time in childhood when you felt ashamed of something you said or did, such as being disrespectful to a parent or a teacher…
Conscience and Shame…. If your shame prompted you to apologize, or at least to do the person a kindness to make up for the wrong, your self-respect was restored. Feeling bad about yourself was a necessary step toward feeling good about yourself again.
Individual Differences …the intensity of conscience differs from person to person. Some people are very sensitive to the effects of their actions, acutely aware when they have done wrong. Others are relatively insensitive, unconscious of their offenses, free from feelings of remorse.
Individual Differences Some see right and wrong as applying to only a limited number of matters… Still others were at one time morally sensitive, but have succeeded in neutralizing the promptings of conscience.
Individual Differences…. There are the extremists: scrupulous (having moral integrity) people are morally sensitive beyond reasonableness and their counterparts (opposites) are virtually without conscience, using other people as things, unmindful of their status as equal persons, and pursuing only what satisfies the almighty me.
The Shapers of Conscience Many people have the vague notion that their consciences are solely a product of their own intellectual efforts, without outside influence. The thought that one’s life is and has always been completely under one’s control is very reassuring. In any case, the notion is wrong.
The Shapers of Conscience…. Conscience is shaped by two forces that are essentially outside our control – Natural endowment and social conditioning. – and one that is, in some measure, within our control – moral choice. The specific attributes of our conscience including its sensitivity to moral issues and the degree of its influence on our behavior…
Natural Endowment A person’s basic temperament and level and kind of intelligence are largely “in the genes.” Both temperament and intelligence play a considerable role in shaping the total personality. The person with practical intelligence and the person with philosophic intelligence will not have the same potential for ethical analysis or the same potential for perceptiveness in moral issues.
Social Conditioning…. Conditioning is the most neglected shaper of conscience...it is in many ways the most important. Conditioning may be defined as the myriad (enormously large) effects of our environment; the people, places, institutions, ideas and values we are exposed to as we grow and develop.
Social Conditioning…. We are conditioned first by our early social and religious training from parents. This influence may be partly conscious and partly unconscious on their part, and indirect as well as direct. It is so pervasive that all our later attitudes-political, economic, sociological, psychological, theological –in some way bear its imprint.
Social Conditioning…. If children are brought up in an ethnocentric (favoring one’s own ethnic group) environment, that is one in which the group (race, nationality, culture, or special value system) believes it is superior to others … will tend to be less tolerant than other people.
Social Conditioning….. If they cannot identify with a group, they must oppose it. In addition, they will tend to need an “out group,” some outsiders whom they can blame for real and imagined wrongs. This makes it difficult or impossible for them to identify with humanity as a whole or to achieve undistorted understanding of others.
Social Conditioning….. We are also conditioned by our encounters with brothers, sisters, relatives, friends. We imitate others’ strategies for justifying questionable behavior. We are conditioned by our experiences in grade school, by our widening circle of acquaintances, and perhaps by our beginning contact with institutional religion.
Social Conditioning…. All these situations...that affects un in dramatic, though subconscious, ways. Though memory may cloud, experience remains indelible (not capable of being removed). We are then conditioned by our contact with people, places, and ideas through books, radio, newspapers, magazines, tapes and CDs (music) and especially television programming.
Social Conditioning…. What we see and hear makes an impact on our attitudes and values, sometimes blatantly, sometimes subtly (hardly noticeable). Situation comedies instruct us as to what may appropriately be laughed at and or ridiculed. Soap operas and dramatic programs train our emotions to respond favorably or unfavorably to different behaviors.
Social Conditioning Commercials tell us what possession and living styles will make us happy and are desirable. As the entertainment and communications media have grown more numerous and more sophisticated, the number of individuals and groups involved in social conditioning has multiplied, and their messages are often at odds with home and church and school.
Moral Choices Long before we were able to make authentic (real) moral choices, heredity and social conditioning had already shaped our conscience. Children’s choices are not fully conscious acts but mere assertions of will that express their inherited traits or imitation of others’ behavior.
Moral Choice A toddler’s obeying or defying their parents’ directions is an example of such choosing. Only in later childhood do we develop the ability to weigh alternatives and make reasoned choices.
A Balanced View of Conscience The conscience is not an infallible moral guide. Conscience is the most important single guide to right and wrong and individual can have. …when circumstances demand an immediate moral choice, we should follow our conscience.
C CHAPTER FIVE
Comparing Cultures Chapter Five Before continuing our search for a dependable standard of ethical judgment, it will be useful to consider the issue of whether moral judgments are ever appropriate outside one’s own culture. Contemporary scholarly discussion of cultures and subcultures is significantly affected by the social movement known as multiculturalism.
Comparing Cultures…. Among the central tenets (belief) of this movement are that every race or ethnic group has its own values and characteristic behaviors, that no group’s values are any better or worse than any other’s and that criticism of another culture’s ideas and actions is wrong.
Comparing Cultures…. Cultures differ in their ideas about right and wrong, and the differences are not always slight. Sex before marriage has been generally viewed as immoral in the West. Yet in some island cultures, it is encouraged.
Interpreting the Differences Cultural relativity, derives from observation of cultural differences and two important realizations: 1) that a culture’s values, rituals, and customs reflect its geography, history, and socioeconomic circumstances and 2) that hasty comparisons of other cultures with one’s own culture tends to thwart (oppose or defeat) scholarly analysis and produce shallow or erroneous conclusions.
Interpreting the Differences…. In themselves these realizations are truisms (undoubted or self-evident truths); no reasonable person would deny that a people’s experience influences its beliefs and behaviors or that careful, objective thinking is preferable to careless, biased thinking.
Interpreting the Differences… Cultural relativity means, that the appropriateness of any positive or negative custom must be evaluated with regard to how this habit fits with other groups habits.
The question? Is it possible for a custom or habit within a culture to be long-standing and completely consistent with other behaviors of the group – yet at the same time be immoral? Remember, the differing values among cultures with consideration of similarities.
The Similarity or Values Christianity is not unique in affirming the importance of keeping a pure and honest mind; early Buddhism (Dhammapada), begins with these words:
The Similarity or Values… Those who harbor resentful thoughts toward others, believing they were insulted, hurt, defeated or cheated, will suffer from hatred, because hate never conquers hatred. Yet hate is conquered by love, which is an eternal law.
The Similarity or Values The Bible Thou shalt not use God’s name in vain. Thou shalt honor thy mother and thy father. Thou shalt not kill. The Koran Make not God’s name an excuse for your oaths. Be kind to your parents if one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not a word of contempt nor repel them but address them in terms of honor. If anyone has killed one person it is as if he had killed the whole mankind.
The Similarity or Values The Hindus’ refusal to use cattle to feed starving people shows a wanton (unjust) disregard for human life. Yet the real explanation for the refusal is that their religion prevents them from butchering cattle for any purpose.
Mortimer Adler Alder rejects the illusion that there is a Western mind and an Eastern mind, a European mind and an African mind or a civilized mind and a primitive mind. There is only a human mind and it is one and the same in all human beings. In other words, all people have the same basic physiological, psychological and intellectual equipment.
Is Judgment Appropriate? People who accept an extreme interpretation of cultural relativism say that moral judgment of other cultures is never appropriate. In other words, multiculturalism… implies “one culture should not criticize another.”
Three Important Cautions 1.Understanding is no substitute for moral judgment. 2.The time and place of an act have no bearing on its moral quality. 3.Culpability for immoral acts may vary widely.
1.Understanding is no substitute for moral judgment. Because speaking from ignorance is irresponsible, we should refrain from judging any act until we understand the context in which it occurred.
2. The time and place of an act have no bearing on its moral quality Actions we have unhesitatingly denounced in our own time and place have a way of sounding morally acceptable for other times and places.
3.Culpability for immoral acts may vary widely. Culpability applies in ethics as well as in the law… the responsibility of the perpetrators varies according to the circumstances. -30-
CHAPTER SIX A FOUNDATION FOR JUDGMENT
A foundation for moral judgment (that is) surer than the majority view, feelings, or conscience, is said to be non-existent or that no such foundation exists.
A Foundation For Judgment David Hume, English Philosopher says, no logical way to get from knowing what is (factual knowledge) to knowing what ought to be (objective moral standards). Hume held that no amount of observation of the way people actually behave can ever lead to a conclusion about the way they should behave.
David Hume Hume was not denying morality, but only denying that reason can tell us what is moral. He believed that we all have a “moral sentiment” that guides us by responding to sensations of pleasure and pain.
Assessing Ought Statements If morality were subjective, and knowing what is could never lead to knowing what ought to be, we might reasonably expect that (a) only foolish or irresponsible people would say what other people should or should not do, and (b) the statement they utter would be demonstrably shallow and irrelevant to other people’s lives.
Assessing Ought Statements… On the other hand, if intelligent, responsible people make such statements and the statements prove to be reasonable and relevant, then we are justified in concluding that Hume was mistaken. Let us see.
Assessing Ought in Ancient Cultures… Babylonian – Slander not. Hindu – One should never strike a woman; not eve with a flower. Chinese – Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you. Ancient Egyptian – Love thy wife studiously. Gladden her heart all thy life long.
Assessing Ought in Ancient Cultures Old Norse – Be blameless to thy kindred. Take no vengeance even though they do thee wrong. Greek – Choose loss rather than shameful gains. Roman – Death is to be chosen before slavery and base (under-handed) deeds.
Assessing Ought Statements… The authors of these sayings we can not judge them personally, but we do know that their words were generally regarded as wise sayings in their culture. Also, even though we are ages removed from those times, they still speak meaningfully to the contemporary human condition.
Governmental Ought The Declaration of Independence is not usually thought of as a collection of moral judgments, but it is. It begins with the moral judgments that “all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”:
Governmental Ought… Further, it states that the people empower the government to “secure these Rights” and when the government fails to do so, the people have not only the right but also a duty to overthrow it.
The Founding Fathers’ /Governmental Ought… The U.S. Constitution was created out of moral offenses – allegedly committed by King George against the colonists. The Bill of Rights is properly viewed as a safeguard that the moral obligations affirmed in the Declaration of Independence would not be violated.
Governmental Ought… The United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights contains similar references to rights. It begins, by declaring that “human rights should be protected by the rule of law” and goes on to say that all human beings “should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
Governmental Ought… And the Nuremberg Code, enacted after the Second World War in response to Nazi atrocities, specifies the rights and safeguards that should be guaranteed in medical experiments.
Organizational Ought The search for organizational statements of right and wrong behavior is not difficult to conduct. College of Alameda has a code of conduct which is a code of ethics.
Organizational Ought Virtually every sizeable corporation has a carefully framed code of ethics. Except however, the American Philosophical Association, which has no published code of ethics. This is ironic since ethics has historically been a sub-discipline of philosophy.
Organizational Ought The American Medical Association’s code of ethics states that “physicians are ethically and legally required to protect the personal privacy and other legal rights of patients” and that they “have an ethical obligation to report impaired, incompetent, and unethical colleagues.”
Organizational Ought The code is filled with shoulds and musts and obligations…which is, the language of ought. Violations of the code generally result in formal reprimand or, in serious cases, dismissal. In the case of professional organizations, violations can result in the loss of one’s license to practice the profession.
Our Own Everyday Ought Each day’s news brings a wide assortment of reports that prompt us to make moral judgments. To these deeds, we express not a personal moral sentiment but an objective moral assessment. Can be conclude that David Hume was mistaken?
Our Own Everyday Ought According to the author we don’t say, “I myself wouldn’t do such a thing, but I can’t say whether others ought to do it.” Instead we say, what millions of morally sensitive individuals say, “That is a moral outrage and the perpetrators ought to be punished.”
Our Own Everyday Ought We judge the deed to be wrong no matter who does it. In other words, we express not a personal moral sentiment but an objective moral assessment. Is David Hume right and all the Ought we have considered or can we conclude that he is mistaken?
The Principle of Right Desire The fact that people do act in a certain way does not prove that they should act in that way. There is nothing to test the ought sentence against. Hume decided that it is impossible to get from is to ought. Adler demonstrates that it is possible. He found the key in the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics.
The Principle of Right Desire Aristotle noted that although prescriptive (ought) statements cannot be tested for their correspondence with reality, They can be tested for conformity with right desire. The principle of right desire, Adler terms “the first principle of moral philosophy,” is as follows:
The Principle of Right Desire “We ought to desire what is really good for us and nothing else.” Adler notes that this principle is self-evident, meaning that the words “ought” and “really good for us” are related in such a way that the sentence can not be contradicted. (To say that we ought NOT desire what is really good for us, or that we ought to desire what is really BAD for us would be illogical.
The Principle of Right Desire This self-evident principle as our major premise, we can confidently make moral judgments. Adler offers this example: We ought to desire what is really good for us. Knowledge is really good for us. We ought to desire knowledge.
The Principle of Contradiction One of the most dramatic ethical issues of the millennium has exploded during the final decade of the twentieth century. The creation of human embryos for research. In vitro fertilization unites sperm and egg outside the female body in a test tube.
The Principle of Contradiction Then the fertilized egg would be implanted in the woman’s uterus and the pregnancy would proceed. In a proposed controversial use, an egg would be fertilized in a test tube, allowed to develop into an embryo, used for Scientific experimentation then discarded after 14 days; the point which the nervous system begins to function.
The Principle of Contradiction Former Presidents Clinton and Bush ban federal funding on this research. “The creation of human embryos..that will destroy them is unconscionable.” Principles of contradiction is expressed as follows: An idea cannot be both true and false at the same time in the same way.
The Principle of Contradiction Where we are dealing with a genuine contradiction, we can no more imagine both sides being true than we can imagine a stick with one end or a square circle. Contradiction is not always blatant; sometimes it is subtle and thus may escape detection for years.
Challenges to Judgment The principle of right desire, is bridging the gap between is and ought, to provide a foundation for judgment.
Relativism Relativism is the view that no objective moral standard is possible; hence, issues of right and wrong are personal and subjective, and may be decided by each person for himself or herself without danger of being wrong.
Absolutism A moral absolute is a norm or principle that is true at all times and in all places and admits no exceptions. Many moral norms do admit exceptions and therefore cannot be considered absolute. -30-
THE BASIC CRITERIA CHAPTER 7 THINKING CRITICALLY ABOUT ETHICAL ISSUES
Brief Review In the previous chapters we noted that religion and law cannot substitute for ethics, although they are related to and compatible with ethics; That the majority view is as apt to be mistaken as correct; That feelings are often capricious (unpredictable) and therefore unreliable; and that conscience, though in some cases trustworthy, is susceptible to negative influences and error.
Brief Review… We also found that, moral judgments of other cultures are appropriate when they are based on understanding and thoughtful analysis. Finally, we observe that despite skepticism’s claim that moral prescriptions (“ought” statements) are illogical
Brief Review… and we observed that the principle of right desire provides the necessary foundation in logic and together with the principle of contradiction, enables us to approach ethical analysis with confidence. In this chapter we will build upon that foundation.
A FOUNDAMENTAL GOOD: RESPECT FOR PERSONS One example of something that is “really good for us,” is knowledge. Another significant “good” is respect for persons, which, as Errol E. Harris explains, includes three requirements: 1) that each and every person should be regarded as worthy of sympathetic consideration, and should be so treated;
A FOUNDAMENTAL GOOD: RESPECT FOR PERSONS… 2) that no person should be regarded by another as a mere possession, or used as a mere instrument, or treated as a mere obstacle, to another’s satisfaction; 3)that persons are not and ought never to be treated in any undertaking as mere expendables.
A FOUNDAMENTAL GOOD: RESPECT FOR PERSONS… Respect for persons is an important value in most ethical systems. This is not to say that respect for persons in always interpreted in the same way or that it is always given precedence over other values. In some cultures person is defined not broadly as “all members of the species Homo sapiens” but narrowly, as “a member of our tribe” or “one who enjoys the rights of citizenship.”
A FOUNDAMENTAL GOOD: RESPECT FOR PERSONS Simply stated, some may learn respect for persons with whom they share something in common; race, economic status, religious beliefs, neighborhood, age groups, educational status, clubs or gang affiliates, languages, etc. In the Roman Empire many of the freedoms now associated with personhood were denied to noncitizens
A FOUNDAMENTAL GOOD: RESPECT FOR PERSONS… In the philosophical sense, respect for persons may be considered an extension of the principle of right desire. Just as we should desire only what is really good for us, so too we should desire the same thing for other people because they are essentially no different from us.
A FOUNDAMENTAL GOOD: RESPECT FOR PERSONS… In the theological sense, respect for persons reinforces the idea that human beings are created in the image and likeness of God And therefore, their many differences notwithstanding (in spite of), are children of God.
THREE BASIC CRITERIA Criteria is a standard on which a judgment may be based. Harris suggest, respect for persons is not merely a theoretical (existing only in theory) construct but a practical standard for the treatment of other in everyday situations. Over the centuries 3 basic criteria have been associated with that standard and have informed ethical discourse (discussion).
THREE BASIC CRITERIA… These criteria – obligations, moral ideals and consequences will be our principal concern throughout this and subsequent chapters.
Obligations Obligations; every significant human action occurs, directly or indirectly, in a context of relationships with others. Relationships usually imply obligations;
Obligations The most obvious kind of obligation is a formal agreement. A contract with someone – for example to sell something or to perform a service – we consider that person ethically (as well as legally) bound to live up to his or her agreement.
Obligations There are obligations; of friendship, keeping confidences, of citizenship in a democracy participation in the electoral process, of business employer and employee- morally bound to use fair hiring practices, judge workers impartially, and pay them reasonable wage. Employees are morally bound to do the job as efficiently and competently as possible.
Obligations When we say obligation bind morally, we mean they exist to be honored. To honor them is right; to dishonor them is wrong. The obligation has moral force.
Moral Ideals Ideals are notions of excellence, goals that bring greater harmony in one’s self and between self and others. One group of moral ideals that can be traced back to the time of ancient Greece and continues to be relevant to contemporary living is the “cardinal Virtues” – prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude.
Moral Ideals Prudence: having good sense Temperance: self restraint Justice: Fairness Fortitude: strength and endurance in a difficult or painful situation. The word cardinal derives from the word for hinge; and it would not be an exaggeration to say that moral living, in large part, hinges on these virtues.
Moral Ideals Religious thinkers have added another group of virtues, the “theological virtues” of; faith, hope, and charity. Other ideals that have moral significance are fairness, tolerance, compassion, loyalty, forgiveness, amity (friendship), and peace. Moral ideal invite us all to be better human beings in what we think, say, and do.
Consequences Consequences are the beneficial or harmful effects that result from an action and affect the people involved, including, the person performing the action. Some consequences are physical; others are emotional. Some occur immediately; others occur with time.
ANALYZING ETHICAL ISSUES You now have a set of criteria to use that can be of considerable help as you examine ethical issues. Step 1: Study the detail of the case. Step 2: Identify the Relevant Criteria Step 3: Determine possible courses of action Step 4: Decide which action is most ethical.
Double Standard The error of the double standard consists of using one set of criteria for judging cases that concern us or someone we identify with, and another set for judging other cases.
Unwarranted Assumptions The error of unwarranted assumptions consists of taking too much for granted. The fact that it usually occurs unconsciously makes it a particularly troublesome error. Does this mean that you should never speculate about what is not known or stated? Not at all. It means only that you should do so responsibly…
OVERSIMPLIFICATIONS Exists whenever our treatment of a case goes beyond reducing it to manageable proportions and distorts it. In moral reasoning it is usually caused by omitting consideration of some important criterion – an obligation, for example, or a significant consequence.
HASTY CONCLUSIONS Drawing hasty conclusions refers to embracing a judgment before we have examined the case fully. To avoid making a hasty conclusion, make no conclusion until you have completed your analysis of the issue.
HASTY CONCLUSIONS… One approach to take to avoid errors: Think of yourself as two people, an idea producer and an idea evaluator. Let the first “you” generate as many varied ideas as it wishes, but before accepting them or presenting them to others in speaking or writing, Submit them to the scrutiny of the second “you.” This approach will help you form the habit of going beyond mere thinking to thinking about thinking. -30-
CONSIDERING OBLIGATIONS CHAPTER EIGHT THINKING CRITICALLY ABOUT ETHICAL ISSUES
CONSIDERING OBLIGATIONS The numerous obligations noted in the previous chapter are classified as obligation of fidelity (faithfulness) and are characterized by an actual or implied promise to others. W.D. Ross identified the following ones: Obligations of reparation: require us to make amends for the wrongs we commit.
CONSIDERING OBLIGATIONS… Obligations of gratitude: require us to demonstrate our appreciation for the considerateness others have shown us. Obligations of self-improvement: these arise simply from the potential each of us has for improvement in virtue or (moral) intelligence.
CONSIDERING OBLIGATIONS… Obligations of justice: demand that we give each person equal consideration. Obligations of beneficence: require us to do good acts for their own sake; that is, for no other reason than the they are good. Obligations of non-maleficence: require us to avoid doing injury to others.
CONSIDERING OBLIGATIONS…. Taken together, obligations of beneficence and non-maleficence are a logical extension of an idea that is fundamental to all ethical systems – that morality consists of both avoiding evil and doing good.
When Obligations Conflict Any one of these obligations may be present by itself in a moral situation. But more often two or more are present; and many times they conflict. In such cases the problem is to choose wisely among them.
Weighing The Obligations Consider the relative importance of each and give preference to the more important one.
TWO MORAL DILEMMAS The famous attorney, Clarence Darrow, is said to have won a case by stealing the jury’s attention during the prosecutor’s summation… To judge fairly we would have to know more than the details given here or available in the news accounts of his case.
THE ALABAMA SYPHILIS CASE A government sponsored medical experiment where 600 Black men were selected for the experiment. They were promised free transportation to the hospital, free medical treatment for diseases other than syphilis, and free burial. The purpose was to determine the extent of the damage that syphilis would do if left untreated.
THE ALABAMA SYPHILIS CASE… Professionals already knew or suspected that blindness, deafness, degeneration of the heart, bones and central nervous system, insanity, and death would occur. Of the 600, a third never developed syphilis. Half of those who did received the arsenic-mercury treatment that was standard before the discovery of penicillin.
THE ALABAMA SYPHILIS CASE… Even after the discovery of penicillin a decade later and its widespread use as a cure for syphilis, they received no treatment. They remained human guinea pigs. There were several obligations the researcher should have weighed. 1 st, there was their obligation as physicians to care for their patients. 2 nd, there was their obligation to justice,
THE ALABAMA SYPHILIS CASE… 2 nd, there was their obligation to justice, to respect other human beings and treat them in a manner consistent with their humanity. Finally, there was their obligation as researcher to serve mankind by seeking cures for deadly diseases. Apparently they thought of the men not as patients, but as “subjects”
THE ALABAMA SYPHILIS CASE… During the very period in which the experiment was conducted, Nazi doctors performed similar barbarities (mercilessly, harsh or cruel) on the inmates of concentration camps. After World War II at the Nuremberg trials, the United States and its allies condemned those doctors for “crimes against humanity.”
THE ALABAMA SYPHILIS CASE… The shock felt by sensitive person at this disclosure reveals the importance of choosing well among conflicting moral obligations. President Clinton apologized to the five survivors in 1997.
THOROUGHNESS IS IMPORTANT It is difficult to reach wise decisions in cases with conflicting obligations when we have identified all the obligations. It is important to consider all possible obligations- including those of reparation (making amends), gratitude, justice, and beneficence, as well as those of fidelity before attempting to judge.
CONSIDERING MORAL IDEALS CHAPTER NINE THINKING CRITICALLY ABOUT ETHICAL ISSUES
Considering Moral Ideals How can we reconcile conflicts between moral ideals or between a moral ideal and an obligation? …the word ideal has acquired the connotation of impracticality. We may call people idealistic when they produce grand but unworkable ideas.
Among the ideals that figure prominently in ethical reasoning, we saw, are fairness, tolerance, compassion, loyalty, forgiveness, and peace. Other important ideals are truthfulness, honesty, integrity, social responsibility, and the four cardinal virtues conceptualized by the ancient Greeks.
Four Cardinal Virtues: Prudence. The virtue, known also as “practical wisdom,” consists of choosing one’s behavior judiciously by consulting experience and deliberating thoughtfully about what response is most appropriate. Justice. Justice denotes the evaluation of situations according to their merits, without prejudice, and giving each person his or her due.
Four Cardinal Virtues: Temperance. Socrates considered temperance to be almost synonymous with self-mastery. The temperate person, he argued, is the one who exercises control over his or her desires and thereby escapes domination by them. Aristotle took a similar view, holding self indulgence to be childish.
Four Cardinal Virtues: Courage. This virtue “does not consist only in conquering fear and in withholding the body from flight no matter what the risk of pain. It consists at least as much in steeling the will, reinforcing its resolutions, And in turning the mind relentlessly to seek or face the truth.
Four Cardinal Virtues To the cardinal virtues Christian philosophers added the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity. Today the term charity is most closely associated with giving material goods to the poor, but that is very different from its historical meaning.
Four Cardinal Virtues The term derives from the Latin word caritas, which means affection; in Christian ethics it means love - Specifically, the love of God and one’s neighbors. Although all three of the virtues are important components of religion- based ethics, only the third, charity, is widely accepted in philosophy-based ethics.
Ideals In Professional Ethics Codes Although popular culture often treats ideals and virtues casually…they continue to be honored in the ethical codes of professional organizations (in areas of); truthfulness, honesty, integrity, social responsibility, fairness, prudence, justice, and temperance.
Ideals in Conflict Ideals, like obligations, do not always harmonize with one another. In many situations they compete with one another. Students on a bus tease another student about his or her clothes, shoes, hair, etc. An older students is also repulsed by his or her appearance but decides to sit with the student and talk with him or her despite possible protest from friends.
Ideals in Conflict By choosing to honor the ideal of kindness the girl violates the ideal of honesty. (In other words the truth that she was repulsed by the younger student’s appearance, did not stop her from honoring her ideals of kindness).
Ideals Versus Obligations Moral ideal compete not with themselves but with obligations. Example: the body of a man who died from a rare form of cancer arrives at a funeral home. The mortician receives a call from a medical university who are studying this form of rare cancer. The university want the body for research. The man and the family said no.
Ideals Versus Obligations The mortician is being asked to set aside his obligation to the relatives to treat the body as they wish, and instead to honor the ideal of concern for the suffering of other human beings. Since the research offers only a possibility, and since his obligation to the family is not casual, but serious and formal, the mortician should refuse. 30
CONSIDERING CONSEQUENCES How do we deal with cases in which the consequences are not neatly separable into good and bad, but are mixed? CHAPTER 10
CONSIDERING CONSEQUENCES The relationship between actions and consequences is a cause-and-effect relationship. In human affairs the responses are never completely predictable. The main difference between the laws of cause and effect in the physical universe and cause and effect in human affairs is that humans have the capacity to choose how they respond to events.
CONSIDERING CONSEQUENCES To be sure, natural endowment and social conditioning exert a powerful influence and make some patterns of response more likely than others. But in the vast majority of cases, these forces only diminish, rather than eradicate, one’s freedom to choose.
CONSIDERING CONSEQUENCES Free will enables people to resist outside influences, defy psychological and sociological axioms (a fundamental truth), and behave unpredictably. Let’s be clear that free will doesn’t suspend the laws of nature. If a woman jumps out a 5 th floor window, she is not likely to get up and walk away, no matter how robust her will to survive.
DEALING WITH PROBABILITY The fact that people can and do behave unpredictably makes consideration of consequences more difficult than it might otherwise be. Often…unable to arrive at certainty but must be content with probability.
MAKING THE ANALYSIS THOROUGH For moral judgment to be reliable, all significant consequences must be identified-the indirect as well as the direct, the subtle as well as the obvious, the unintended as well the intended, the delayed as well as the immediate, the emotional and intellectual as well as the physical.
MAKING THE ANALYSIS THOROUGH The temptation to judge quickly and /or self-servingly poses a serious obstacle to thorough analysis. To ensure that you account for all significant consequences, develop a habit of using your imagination: Visualize the action taking place at a particular time and place, and ask probing questions.
THREE DIFFICULT QUESTIONS The basic rule of ethics is to do good and avoid doing evil. But real-life situations are often messy and raise difficult questions, notably the following: 1.Is it justifiable to perform an evil act in order to achieve good consequences?
THREE DIFFICULT QUESTIONS Many ethicists answer no, arguing that an evil act remains evil and therefore unacceptable even when done with good intentions or with a good result. 2.Is it justifiable to perform an act that is not in itself evil but produces mixed consequences, some of them beneficial and others harmful.
THREE DIFFICULT QUESTIONS Most ethicists would say yes, provided three conditions are met: The good consequences are inseparable from the bad, The good consequences outweigh the bad, and The bad consequences are not directly intended.
THREE DIFFICULT QUESTIONS 3.When only two actions are possible and both produce good consequences, which should be chosen? The morally preferable action is the one that produces the greater good. Similarly, in cases where two actions are possible and both produce harmful effects, the morally preferable action is the one that produces the lesser evil.
A CAUTION …in dealing with what is contemplated or hypothetical, it is wise to keep the following caution in mind: However clear and logical our determination of consequences may be, it is a prediction of future events and not a certainty. The particular set of responses that occurs and the changes in the thoughts, attitudes, and behavior of everyone affected by the action are intricate and sometimes in some ways, unpredictable.
DEALING WITH DILEMMAS In evaluating a moral dilemma, consider first whether it can be avoided altogether; whether it is a true dilemma or only an apparent one. In a true moral dilemma, you must choose between two alternatives-there is no third.
THREE DIFFICULT QUESTIONS Once you determine that you are dealing with a true dilemma, look for an indication that one of the two goods is greater than the other, …or that one of the evils is less evil. -30-