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What are We Talking About? What is Morality? Rachels Chapter 1.

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Presentation on theme: "What are We Talking About? What is Morality? Rachels Chapter 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 What are We Talking About? What is Morality? Rachels Chapter 1

2 Singular Moral Judgments vs. Moral Principles...

3 The Death of Socrates Jacques-Louis David

4 General moral principle…or not? Hurting a friend is wrong. The Bible says that thou shalt not kill. Shoplifting might get you into trouble. Stealing is ok. Helping others helps ourselves. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Honour thy father and thy mother.

5 General moral principle…or not? Hurting a friend is wrong. The Bible says that thou shalt not kill. Shoplifting might get you into trouble. Stealing is ok. Helping others helps ourselves. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Honour thy father and thy mother. YesNoNoYesNoYesYes

6 Conflicting principles...

7 So, back to our arguments... Premise 1 states the case (the way the world is) Premise 2 appends a moral principle The conclusion follows from the interplay

8 Moral arguments are arguments with a moral judgment as the conclusion We describe the case: the way the world is We append a moral principle We conclude based on the interplay

9 1.1 The Problem of Definition “Moral philosophy is the attempt to achieve a systematic understanding of the nature of morality and what it requires of us… Socrates: We are discussing no small matter, but how we ought to live

10 1.2 Baby Theresa.....Anencephaly

11 1.2 Baby Theresa dilemma... Parental request: allow her organs to be harvested to benefit other newborns. Legal resolution: "Florida law does not allow the removal of organs until the donor is dead."

12 Moral arguments are arguments with a moral judgment as the conclusion The parents:  Transplanting Baby Theresa’s organs would benefit other children without harming her.  If we can benefit someone, without harming anyone else, we ought to do so  Therefore, we ought to transplant the organs.

13 Moral arguments are arguments with a moral judgment as the conclusion Anonymous ethicists:  Transplanting Baby Theresa’s organs would be using her as means for another’s ends.  It is wrong to use people as means  Therefore, we ought not transplant the organs.

14 Moral arguments are arguments with a moral judgment as the conclusion One more argument: Taking Baby Theresa's organs would be killing her to save another. It is wrong to kill one person to save another Therefore, we ought not to take her organs for transplantation.

15 On the Baby Theresa dilemma... Dr. Norman Fost, director of the University of Wisconsin's medical ethics program:  “The problem is almost entirely one of a slippery slope...”  “We have to be careful who we take organs from, because there are a lot more than anencephalic infants out there.”

16 On the Baby Theresa dilemma... Dr. John Fletcher, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Biomedical Ethics:   “There's a refusal to accept the reality of death at work in this...   “...and an overvitalistic understanding of personhood, one dependent on biological functions."

17 On the Baby Theresa dilemma... Dr. John Fletcher, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Biomedical Ethics:  “...what makes us human is what goes on upstairs in the brain, not downstairs in the brain.”

18 1.3 Conjoined Twins Siamese Twins Siamese Twins Chang and Eng Chang and Eng Born in 1811 Born in 1811 Travelled with the circus Travelled with the circus Married two sisters Married two sisters Fathered 21 children Fathered 21 children Died in 1874 Died in 1874

19 1:3 Jodie and Mary

20 Jodie and Mary Pro-separation: Pro-separation: Separating the twins will save the one; otherwise both will die. When it's a choice between saving one of two people or letting both die, we should save the one :. The twins should be separated.

21 Jodie and Mary Anti-separation: Mary is an innocent human being and the separation will kill her. It's wrong to kill an innocent human being :. The twins shouldn't be separated.

22 1.4 The Latimer Case

23 Mercy or Murder? 12 year old Tracy Latimer, killed by her father in 1993 Quadriplegic and severely mentally disabled, she functioned at the level of a three- month old and was in constant pain…

24 1.4 The Latimer Case Argument against Latimer’s action: Killing Tracy was discrimination against the handicapped. It is wrong to discriminate against the handicapped :. Tracy's father did wrong: he shouldn't have killed her.

25 1.4 The Latimer Case Rachels’ response: Discrimination against the handicapped? It’s discrimination only if there is no good reason for the different treatment....

26 1.4 The Latimer Case Euthanizing Tracy was "opening the doors to other people to decide who should live and who should die." It is wrong to do things which would open the doors :. Euthanizing Tracy was wrong and shouldn't have been done.

27 1.5 Reason and Impartiality 1. Moral judgments must be backed by good reasons. 2. Morality requires the impartial consideration of each individual’s interests.

28 1.5 Reason and Impartiality We describe the case: the way the world is We append a moral principle We conclude based on the interplay

29 Impartiality...and emotion...

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33 The morally right thing to do... is always whatever there are the best reasons for doing...

34 Jane Addams, founder of Hull House The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of myself.

35 1.6 The Minimum Conception of Morality The effort to guide one’s conduct by reason...to do what there are the best reasons for doing... James Rachels

36 Suicide and Euthanasia What is the difference? What good reasons are there in favour? What good reasons are there against?

37 Ethics in the news: Globe and Mail Sept. 28, 2011 Sept. 28, 2011 Ontario's 'Baby Joseph' dies at home after sparking fierce end-of-life ethical debate

38 Attendance Question Your name Your year in school Your major Where do you want to be in 10 years?


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