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Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan 4 - 1 Chapter Four Ethical Theories: Enlightened Self-interest Contractarianism Feminist Ethics.

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Presentation on theme: "Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan 4 - 1 Chapter Four Ethical Theories: Enlightened Self-interest Contractarianism Feminist Ethics."— Presentation transcript:

1 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Chapter Four Ethical Theories: Enlightened Self-interest Contractarianism Feminist Ethics Ethical Relativism and Absolutism

2 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan 4- 2 Enlightened Self-interest Thomas Hobbes The natural condition of humans is constant conflict. We must impose moral and legal structures upon ourselves in order to live together. This means subjecting our natural egoism to the following eight restraints: (Continued)

3 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan 4- 3 Enlightened Self-interest 1. Claim as much liberty as we are willing to grant to others. 2. Keep promises and perform contracts to which we have agreed. 3. Acknowledge the equality of all. 4. Do not demand of others what we are unwilling to do ourselves. (Continued)

4 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan 4- 4 Enlightened Self-interest 5. Things that cannot be divided should be shared in common. 6. People who disagree should submit their dispute to arbitrators. 7. Judges should be impartial. 8. We should not do to others what we don’t want them to do to us. (Continued)

5 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan 4- 5 Enlightened Self-interest It is in our own best interest that everyone, including we ourselves, lives by these restraints, in order to escape anarchy. Therefore, according to enlightened self- interest, an action is morally acceptable if it benefits an individual (or organization) without intentionally harming others, and the benefits counterbalance the harm.

6 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan 4- 6 Applying Enlightened Self-interest Dr. Kevorkian was convicted and imprisoned for performing physician-assisted suicide on his terminally-ill patients at their request. According to enlightened self-interest (an action is morally acceptable if it benefits an individual without intentionally harming others, and the benefits counterbalance the harm) were his actions ethical or unethical?

7 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan 4- 7 Proponents’ and Critics’ View of Enlightened Self-interest What are some arguments that someone who believed in enlightened self-interest would give to support this ethical framework? What are some arguments that someone who did not agree with enlightened self- interest would make to criticize this ethical framework?

8 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan 4- 8 Contractarianism John Rawls An implied agreement or social contract intended to ensure equality and justice for all members of a society. We reach this agreement by three steps: 1. Consider your contingent attributes (the physical, psychological, intellectual, cultural and social attributes which limit one’s freedom and cause inequity between people.) (Continued)

9 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan 4- 9 Contractarianism 2. Imagine an unbiased original position (a condition of not yet knowing our personal contingent attributes.) 3. Determine what moral and legal rules you would agree to in a state of ignorance, to protect your primary goods.

10 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Rawls’ Three Primary Goods 1. Health (access to health care) 2. Liberty (freedom to pursue our interests within acceptable bounds) 3. Opportunity (to achieve secondary wants [wealth, etc.] through our own efforts)

11 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Applying Contractarianism Consider a rule at work or in school, which you do not agree with. Why do you consider it wrong? Under what circumstances (consider different contingent attributes) would you appreciate this rule? If you did not know what your contingent attributes would be, would you make this rule? If not, what rule would you make (from the original position) for this situation? Does your rule protect the primary goods of everyone concerned?

12 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Proponents’ and Critics’ View of Contractarianism What are some arguments that someone who believed in contractarianism would give to support this ethical framework? What are some arguments that someone who did not agree with contractarianism would make to criticize this ethical framework?

13 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Feminist Ethics “Ethics of Care”—intent is to strengthen relationships and sense of community Originated in Carol Gilligan’s studies of female moral development Emphasis is on sensitivity, caring and one’s responsibility to others, rather than on objectivity and individuality (Continued)

14 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Feminist Ethics Rules must be substantively equal for women and men, and take into consideration the different roles and responsibilities men and women hold at work and also outside of work.

15 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Applying Feminist Ethics Name some workplace issues that affect female employees. How might the following be perceived to be substantively unfair to women: Equal numbers of sick days and personal leave days? Hiring practices that rely on networking? Promotions and salary grids measured in months of work accrued? (Continued)

16 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Applying Feminist Ethics What policies would be substantively fair to all employees? Consider a current social issue, such as same-sex marriage. Which side of that issue shows a more caring approach to others? Which side promotes and strengthens relationships between people?

17 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Proponents’ and Critics’ View of Feminist Ethics What are some arguments that someone who believed in feminist ethics would give to support this ethical framework? What are some arguments that someone who did not agree with feminist ethics would make to criticize this ethical framework?

18 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Ethical Relativism and Absolutism Ethical relativism means that what is morally right or wrong is relative to the situation or to the culture you are in. Ethical absolutism means that what is morally right or wrong is absolute, no matter what the situation is or what country or culture you are in.

19 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Absolutism Moral truths are the same for everyone. All morals are Some morals are absolute no matter absolute in any what the situation. situation, others are relative to the situation.

20 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Cultural Relativism Moral truths are relative to each culture but the same for everyone within the culture. All morals are Some morals are relative to the relative to the culture, culture. others are absolute.

21 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Individual relativism Moral truths are relative to each individual. All morals are Some morals relative to the are relative to individual. the individual, others are absolute.

22 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Theoretical Approaches Deontological (duty or principles) Teleological (ends or consequences) Divine Command TheorySocrates’ Healthy Soul Kantian Duty EthicsUtilitarianism (J. S. Mill Virtue Ethics (Aristotle)Enlightened Self-interest Contractarianism (Rawls) Feminist Ethics AbsolutismRelativism

23 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Normative and Descriptive Ethics Descriptive ethics describes the ethical culture of an organization. Normative ethics sets a norm or standard for ethical behaviour. They are often used to analyze the current ethical climate or culture within an organization (descriptive) and to compare it to an ideal or desired standard of ethical behaviour (normative). (Continued)

24 Copyright  2010 Pearson Education Canada / J A McLachlan Normative and Descriptive Ethics Descriptive EthicsNormative Ethics Observes and describes people’s actual behaviour Sets a standard for how people ought to behave Explains why people behave this way Justifies why people ought to behave this way The behaviour we exhibit defines us Our conscious choices of action define us


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