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Recap on Ethical Theory

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1 Recap on Ethical Theory

2 The Euthyphro Dilemma ‘Are actions good because the gods command them, or are they good in themselves?’ Problem = where does our sense of right and wrong come from? This was the start of moral philosophy If it comes from the gods, how can we trust it is right, and not just an arbitrary decision without meaning? If it is right in itself, then how do we know this? Also, it takes power away from god. If it comes from us, then it is also just arbitrary and meaningless

3 Absolute and Relative Morality
Theories can fall into two different ‘camps’ regarding moral philosophy If morality is seen to be absolute then some things are ALWAYS right and others ALWAYS wrong – regardless of the situation If morality is relative, then there are general moral principles that should be followed most of the time, but might change depending on the situation.

4 Heteronomy and Autonomy
Morality can also be said to have 2 different groundings: If morality is heteronymous then it is linked with religion. There may be other influences on you, but you will look to religion for main guidance (e.g. scriptures, traditions, leaders). If morality is autonomous it is separate from religion – it may be a philosophy, based on what your parents taught you, etc. You will not look to religion for guidance, although it may be a small influence.

5 Divine Command Theory Morality based on religion
This is the main type of heteronomy People who are religious will follow: Scripture Tradition Religious Leaders / Key figures Own Conscience and Reason BE ABLE TO GIVE EXAMPLES OF EACH FROM CHRISTIANITY OR BUDDHISM

6 The Golden Rule This can be autonomous or heteronymous.
Value System Quote Christianity “Do for others what you would want them to do for you.” (Matt.) Buddhism “Since the self is dear, let him who desires his own advantage not harm another” Humanism “Don’t do things to others you wouldn’t want to have done to you.” This can be autonomous or heteronymous. It is the idea that if people treated others as they would wish to be treated, then for the majority the world would be a better place. Almost all religions and philosophies have a version of this rule.

7 Kantian Ethics Theory by Immanuel Kant
Morality is based on reason not emotion Therefore what you intend and why is the important focus. Good intentions come from Good Will. The use of Reason to inform Good Will helps highlight your Duty in any situation. You duty can be role-based, but also based on categorical imperatives. You also need your reason to figure out if you are acting by a universalisable maxim.

8 Utilitarian Ethics Bentham and Mill
Believed people were hedonists (ruled by pleasure and pain) but needed an objective way of figuring out morality. The right thing is to do the ‘greatest good for the greatest number’ (or the least harm) Objective and measurable account of morality – based on the Hedonistic Calculus which considers aspects like the duration, strength, and reach of pleasure/pain. Bentham = an act utilitarian = each moral situation should be calculated to get the correct course of action (as each is unique) Mills = a rule utilitarian = we have experience that has led us to general moral rules which usually provide the greatest good. Only in situations of conflicting rules would you use the calculus. Also difference between higher and lower pleasures.

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