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THE TERRAIN OF ETHICS “What’s Ethics All About?”.

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Presentation on theme: "THE TERRAIN OF ETHICS “What’s Ethics All About?”."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE TERRAIN OF ETHICS “What’s Ethics All About?”

2 PHILOSOPHY “Love of wisdom” Pondering … Wondering … Reflecting … Questioning … Reasoning … Speculating... ABOUT LIFE

3 “Philosophy is everybody’s business. The human being is endowed with the proclivity to philosophize.” Mortimer Adler 20th Century philosopher

4 PHILOSOPHY Ontology “What (Who) Am I?” Epistemology “What (How) Can I Know?” Ethics “What Should I Do?”

5 ETHICS is the branch of the discipline of philosophy that studies morality. It is the “science” of the moral. MORALITY is that domain of understanding that relates us to our world, and to other humans in our world. Moral behaviors are those actions that can be evaluated as good or right using reasoned, objective criteria. *The distinction is between the object of study and the study itself.

6 TWO MAJOR QUESTIONS OF ETHICS What is the good life? that is What should I value? “ETHICS OF ASPIRATION” What is right? that is What duty do I have to others? “ETHICS OF OBLIGATION”

7 Ethics Is Reflection On the Ultimate Good... the “Summun Bonum” Good and Badness Rightness and Wrongness Virtue and Vice Approval and Disapproval Oughts and Ought Nots Ends and Means Judgments of Value and Judgments of Obligation Goals of Living and Methods of Achieving Those Goals.

8 “We are all moralists perpetually, geometers (or dentists) only by chance.” Samuel Johnson English lexiographer 1709-1784

9 Our Moral Obligation “To be what on e is potentially … A person in a community of persons.” Paul Tillich German-American theologian/philosopher

10 LAW The Societal Institution of Binding Rules Of Conduct, With Enforcement By That Authority. Law Is Public Consensus And Not Infrequently A Temporary One.

11 Justice (Ethics) Rules (Morality) Laws (Government)

12 “Ethics is HIGHER than the law, but not ABOVE the law.”

13 RELIGION Literally, a binding together or reuniting. Religion is a means of overcoming the estrangement or separation man feels from Nature or God

14 PHILOSOPHY Structure of Being “What It Means to Be” Man’s Quest to Understand Existence RELIGION Structure of Meaning “What Being Means” Man’s Quest for Meaning in Existence

15 “Is conduct right because the gods command it, or do the gods command it because it is right?” Socrates Plato’s Euthyphro

16 1.God commands us to do what is right, then: a)The actions are right because God commands them or b)God commands them because they are right. 2.If a) then, from moral perspective, God’s commands are arbitrary and the doctrine of goodness of God meaningless. 3.If b) then, admit standard of right and wrong independent of God.

17 4.From religious point of view, undesirable to regard God’s commands as arbitrary, or to give up in goodness of God. 5.THEREFORE, even from religiousperspective, a standard of right and wrong independent of God must be accepted. Theory of Natural Moral Law Thomas Acquinas

18 Christian Scriptures “It is not by having the law but by doing it that one will be justified (judged) before God. When Gentiles who do not possess the law carry out its precepts by the light of nature, then, although they have no law, they use their own law, for they display the effect of the law inscribed on their hearts.” Romans 2:13,14,15



21 TRANSITIONS A TRANSITION driven by technology and information. A TRANSITION from an industrial society to an information one. A TRANSITION from a society rooted in a Judeo-Christian ethic to a more humanistic and pluralistic one. A TRANSITION from the rural to the urban. A TRANSITION from dependency to autonomy. A TRANSITION from a national economy to a world one.

22 TRANSITIONS (continued) A TRANSITION from an intense nationalism to a “global village.” A TRANSITION from a younger society to an older one. A TRANSITION from a male- dominated society to a more gender-balanced one. A TRANSITION from discrimination to egalitarianism.

23 SOCIETAL ISSUES Role of Government Capital Punishment Evolution/Creationism Hand Guns and Assault Weapons Equal Rights Amendment Social Security Benefits Legalization of Drugs Widening Income Disparities Homelessness Abortion Integrity of Public Officials

24 BIOMEDICAL ISSUES PAST AND PRESENT Defining Death Foregoing/ Withdrawing Treatment Permanently Unconscious Patients Withholding Food and Fluids In Vitro Fertilization Surrogate Parenting Fetal Tissue Research Euthanasia, Active and Passive Abortion Genetic Engineering Assisted Suicide Organ Transplantation Do Not Resuscitate Orders Informed Consent Access to Care/ Indigent Care Allocation of Scarce Resources

25 QUESTIONS OF VALUES What is important? What matters? What endures? What is meaningful? What is worthwhile? What is good? What is right?

26 AND... This is what ethics is all about!

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