Presentation on theme: "Ethics: A Brief Overview"— Presentation transcript:
1 Ethics: A Brief Overview ByAlyse AndalmanChristine SmithLindsay Wuller
2 Refresh our memory… Which framework do you think you use the most? Hunter-Gatherer societies needed to behave with some uniformity in order to have collective societies…is this to be considered ethics?From Hesiod’s Theogony, we see that ethics consists in doing what the Gods want…but the Gods conflict…hmm…Heraclitus – World is governed and constructed out of LOGOS…constantly changingParmenides- Change is impossible…reality is stable…the appearances deceive
3 Having Read the Trolley Problem… We’re going to take a vote!Hunter-Gatherer societies needed to behave with some uniformity in order to have collective societies…is this to be considered ethics?From Hesiod’s Theogony, we see that ethics consists in doing what the Gods want…but the Gods conflict…hmm…Heraclitus – World is governed and constructed out of LOGOS…constantly changingParmenides- Change is impossible…reality is stable…the appearances deceive
4 History Pre-Historic Mythology Pre-Socratic “Texts” Hunter-Gatherer BehaviorMythologyHesiod’s TheogonyPre-Socratic “Texts”Heraclitus and ParmenidesNot much about EthicsHunter-Gatherer societies needed to behave with some uniformity in order to have collective societies…is this to be considered ethics?From Hesiod’s Theogony, we see that ethics consists in doing what the Gods want…but the Gods conflict…hmm…Heraclitus – World is governed and constructed out of LOGOS…constantly changingParmenides- Change is impossible…reality is stable…the appearances deceive
5 Socrates & Plato Euthyphro Dilemma: The Theory of the Forms Is it pious because the Gods love it?ORDo the Gods love it because it’s pious?The Theory of the FormsThe Form of the GoodThat by virtue of which all other Forms are true qua formex. Beautiful (the form) v. beautiful
6 Socrates & Plato The Form Virtue From the Apology: Virtue = Knowledge = HappinessBeing virtuous requires one to tend to the health of his soul which results in happinessThose who know the right thing to do will always act accordinglyFrom the Apology:No one knowingly harms himself or does evil things to others because that would harm his soul.
7 Real World Application Is it ethical to give medications to people who do not have a “disease”?Enhancement?
8 Socrates & Plato Assumptions and Premises: The soul is immortal. The body is not immortal.THEREFORE, the soul does not permanently reside in one particular body.Parallel to The Matrix : The soul is placed in the body at the moment of birth and leaves the body at the moment of death, only to be inserted into another bodyCLASS DISCUSSION QUESTION: What kinds of repercussions would Socratic or Platonic Ethics have for modern neuroethical theories?-End of Life/Beginning of Life-How many of you believe in this type of a theory?
9 Aristotle Terms: Ergon: function Arete: skill (that allows it to function well)Telos: purpose or ultimate end/goalExample: A knifeErgon- to cutArete- its sharp edgeTelos- to cut steak with clean edges
10 AristotlePer his knowledge of biology, Aristotle believed in the following, as regards living things:3 Degrees of SoulsNutritive – plantsSensitive – animalsRational – humansThe purpose of life is the pursuit of eudaimonia.Overall happiness, fulfillment, flourishing, doing well, living to your highest potentionPLEASURE IS NOT AN END IN ITSELF!SOOOO…then what would living eudaimonistically require for humans? What makes a human a human? ACTING RATIONAL!
11 Aristotle Human Soul: Ergon: To live Arete: Justice Telos: Eudaimonia According to Aristotle, the just live well and are happy, but happiness is not the purpose of life, as later theories might conclude.
12 AristotleIn summary, his ethical framework consists of two main principles:1. Humans must live a life consisting of acting well according to our natural human capacities.2. Doctrine of the Mean:Individuals must act appropriately rational AND emotional in a given situation.AVOID THE EXTREMES!Human capacities…ENHANCEMENT? What are our natural capacities? Are they limited to acting rationally and appropriately emotional? What about people who can’t feel pain? Who can’t experience certain emotions? Is medication allowing us to achieve certain otherwise unattainable goals in line with or beyond our natural capacities?
13 Real World Application “Teaser” for next class…If animals have a different purpose from humans, does this change the “rules” for research?
14 Real World Application What does Aristotle consider a full human? How does this impact the way we view those with mental illness?
15 Major Ethical Frameworks ConsequentialismKantianismVirtue Ethics
17 Consequentialism Main Proponents: Jeremy Bentham John Stuart Mill “The ends justify the means.”“All’s well that ends well.”
18 Consequentialism Basic Tenets: -The moral worth of an action is to be judged by its consequences or utility; intentions do not matter.-Utilitarianism: The act which is “right” is the one that provides for the greatest good for the greatest number—the maximization of pleasure and the minimization of pain.
19 ConsequentialismGreatest Happiness Principle: “Act so as to achieve the greatest happiness for the greatest number”Problems: How do we calculate happiness?Is utilitarian calculus inherently flawed?Can we know the exact consequences of an action beforehand?
20 Consequentialism Act Consequentialism: -Act by act evaluation of what would provide for the greatest good for the greatest number (Situational)Rule Consequentialism:-There is a given set of rules governing behavior which maximizes the greatest good for the greatest number.Problems with these?Who is best able to calculate the GGN?
21 Consequentialism Ethical Egoism: -The well-being of an individual has more weight than the happiness of society as a whole.Ethical Altruism:-When performing the utilitarian calculus, you must consider all individuals’ well-being equally and always give to others whenever possible as long as that provides for the greatest amount of pleasure.*Higher and lower pleasures according to Bentham, in line with Aristotle, based on our human capacities…humans have higher pleasures than frogs…but we still enjoy the same things that frogs do too!
22 Kantian Deontology Main idea: The only thing which is good without conditions is good will or rationality.*If a person with good will cannot bring about good consequences, the individual is still acting morally.(non-consequentialist)
23 Kantian DeontologyAccording to Kant, we have basic “duties” that he describes in ethical rules he calls “formulations.”The First Formulation:-An individual ought never to act except in such a way that he could also will that his maxim become a universal law.“Will” means to rationally desireSustainability & UniversalizabilityTALK ABOUT SUICIDE…You cannot rationally will suicide upon yourself because rationality/the will desires to preserve itself.
24 Real World Application Suicide-You cannot rationally will suicide upon yourself because rationality/the will desires to preserve itself.
25 Kantian Deontology The Second Formulation: -We ought to treat human beings always as ends in themselves, never merely as means to another end.-e.g. Trolley Problem and the Fat Man
26 Real World Application “Savior Siblings”-My Sister’s Keeper
27 W.D. Ross Prima facie duties - “Other things being equal” - “On its first appearance”- e.g. lying- not absolute
28 Virtue Ethics We ought to act in accordance with virtue. Based on rules which govern how we should act in any given situationEx. Aristotle’s ethical frameworkThe question remains…Who decides what is virtuous? Who decides the rules?
29 Modern DivideCognitivism: Ethical statements express propositions that are truth-apt (meaning they can either be true or false)versus…Non-cognitivism: Ethical statements are not truth-apt, suggesting that moral propositions reduce to “Boo!” or “Hooray!” or the expression of an emotion but NOT something objective in the world.If the non-cognitivists are right and there’s nothing in the world that makes an ethical statement true or false, then ethics becomes merely emotion driven.*ASK THE CLASS WHAT THEY THINK!
30 Moral Relativism Different Levels Between societies Between members of the same society or groupWithin the same person (intrapersonal)