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HU300: Shades of Morality Welcome to our sixth seminar! We will begin on time. Feel free to chat until then.

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Presentation on theme: "HU300: Shades of Morality Welcome to our sixth seminar! We will begin on time. Feel free to chat until then."— Presentation transcript:

1 HU300: Shades of Morality Welcome to our sixth seminar! We will begin on time. Feel free to chat until then

2 Finding inspiration I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after. -- Ernest HemingwayErnest Hemingway

3 Read the chapter “Morality” (ch. 8) in The Art of Being Human. Discussion Board –Answer the questions and post responses to at least two classmates. –Notice that there are 2 threads this week, so you’ll post a total of 6 messages (2 original, 4 peer responses). You do not have a formal project due this week Unit 6 Work

4 Morality How would you define morality? Why is it an important topic to discuss in relation to the twentieth century?

5 Defining Morality Why is it so difficult to define morality?

6 Defining Morality “Morality can be defined as the basis for a choice among significant options” (text, p.261) Universal questions pondered by great minds across time and cultures.

7 What is a moral system? A set of beliefs or values that help us to make moral decisions. Ex: religion, reason Absolute morality vs. moral relativism (what’s right for some, might not be right for others)

8 Art and Humanties Whatever the moral system or viewpoint, significant decisions are often painful. Much of our literature, art, cinema, and music explores people or situations involved in moral dilemmas. Can you think of examples in literature, art or film?

9 Moral Dilemmas in the Humanities Examples in the book include: The Scarlet Letter, Hamlet, and The Godfather. Art with a social conscience like Picasso’s Guernica, social realism of the twenties and thirties (The Road to Wigan Pier, Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle) Protest poetry and music of the fifties and sixties

10 Morality How do personal definitions of morality relate to philosophical ones? We’ll look at some famous moral questions in an effort to explore this question.

11 Immanuel Kant ( ) Kant believes that we are born knowing certain things, that certain “mental categories” are innate. Knowing right from wrong is inborn. “He calls this inborn faculty the moral imperative, or sense of ought: an intuitive classification of actions and choices as morally acceptable or unacceptable. Experience teaches us which specific actions are right and which are not, but “rightness” and “wrongness,” like “nextness,” cannot be taught” (text, p. 282). According to Kant, we must simply ask whether it would be okay for everyone to do a certain action. Answering this question tells us whether it is morally right or not.

12 Learned or Innate? Is morality—or learning the difference between right and wrong—something we are taught or something we are born knowing?

13 Self Interest vs. the Greater Good Socrates vs. Glaucon –Glaucon says that man always does what is best for him. He believes in self-interest. –Socrates says that man can commit a just or virtuous act for its own sake.

14 Glacon What is the “Ring of Gyges”? What would you do if you had the ring? Glacon says that many people do whatever they can get away with while maintaining their reputation. What do you think about his conclusion?

15 Altruism What does the term mean? What does the term mean? Is it possible? Is it possible?

16 Moral Authorities A Defense of Altruism A Defense of Altruism John Rawls ( ) agrees with Socrates that “reason does not support self-interest.” He also argues that self-interest colors our moral decisions. John Rawls ( ) agrees with Socrates that “reason does not support self-interest.” He also argues that self-interest colors our moral decisions. Moral Mathematics Jeremy Bentham—the good of the most people should be the basis for morals and just government: “For him, the goal was a society in which the maximum number of people achieved the maximum amount of pleasure without impinging on the rights of others. He denied the validity of moral absolutism, defining the good as the greatest good for the greatest number ” (text, p. 278). “For him, the goal was a society in which the maximum number of people achieved the maximum amount of pleasure without impinging on the rights of others. He denied the validity of moral absolutism, defining the good as the greatest good for the greatest number ” (text, p. 278). --critics argue that motives cannot be considered --critics argue that motives cannot be considered 16

17 The Morality of Work A work life that denies our individuality, our creativity, our moral and aesthetic sensibility is one that denies our dignity as human beings (text, p. 288). —Jerome M. Egal Do you agree or disagree with this? What does morality have to do with work or the workplace?

18 Feminist Morality Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man as twice its natural size. —Virginia Woolf What do you think Woolf means here?

19 Feminist Ethics Many feminists argue that much of philosophy ignores women and their viewpoints. Rosemarie Tong says that for most philosophers, including Kant and others, “the universal” only applies to males. These philosophers were not considering women and their perspective. Tong and other feminists suggest that we must consider gender needs and differences when pondering moral questions.

20 Feminist Ethics I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career. —Gloria Steinem What do you make of this quotation?

21 Feminist Ethics Feminist philosophers believe that injustices and inequalities still exist for women today. They strive to raise awareness about gender issues and their relationship to morality.

22 Moral Conundrums Does the end ever justify the means? Does the end ever justify the means? What would Machiavelli say? What would Machiavelli say? Are punishment or fear of punishment the only things that prevent people from doing wrong? Are punishment or fear of punishment the only things that prevent people from doing wrong? Do the needs of society outweigh the needs of the individual? Do the needs of society outweigh the needs of the individual? 22

23 Machiavelli How have Machiavelli’s ideas influenced the twentieth and twenty first centuries? How have Machiavelli’s ideas influenced the twentieth and twenty first centuries?

24 Moral Questions Should economic resources be owned and controlled by individuals or communities? Should economic resources be owned and controlled by individuals or communities? Are results all that matter or do intentions count? Are results all that matter or do intentions count? What would Jeremy Bentham say? What would Jeremy Bentham say? 24

25 Economic Self-Interest Adam Smith Adam Smith Laissez faire (to allow to do) Laissez faire (to allow to do) Basis of capitalism Basis of capitalism Economics in Literature Economics in Literature Ayn Rand—capitalism and complete reliance on the market Ayn Rand—capitalism and complete reliance on the market

26 Utilitarianism Revisited John Stuart Mill ( ) “Mill recognized that government was needed to balance irresponsibility on the part of the general population. But this did not give government the right to legislate morality for the responsible few” (text, p.280). –Sports stadium vs. opera house example –Letting the majority rule in all situations is dangerous. Minority must be protected as well. Can you think of how Mill’s thoughts might relate to our government, culture, or society?

27 Religion and Morality The world’s major religions offer a moral code for followers. These codes are strikingly similar in their basic tenets and are reflected in many governments as well. For example, the moral code in many western societies is based on the concepts delineated in the Ten Commandments.

28 Ten Commandments 1. require people to recognize only one God. 2. forbid the making and worshiping of any graven image. 3. forbid the taking of the Lord’s name in vain. 4. require that the Sabbath be kept holy. 5. require that people honor their parents. 6. forbid killing. 7. forbid adultery. 8. forbid stealing. 9. forbid the bearing of false witness against another. 10. forbid the coveting of another’s wife and of another’s goods.

29 Moral Basis of Society How do you see these ideas shaping society? Are they universal moral laws? If many of the tenets seem similar among the major religions of the world, why are there so many problems and wars that stem from religion?

30 Moral Relativism What does this term mean? How do you see it working in our society today? What are the advantages or positive aspects of this viewpoint? What are the downsides?

31 Defining Moral Relativism Moral Relativism means that right and wrong must be defined within a specific situation or context. There is no universal right or wrong.

32 Morality Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts. –AristotleMoral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts. Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere. –G.K. Chesterton Compassion is the basis of morality. –Arthur Schopenhauer

33 The Show is Over! Please me with any questions or concerns you have about the course. See you on the DB!!


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