How to avoid the hard work of moral decision making
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How to avoid the hard work of moral decision-making:. Stick with what you know… after all, other people with better minds have thought about these things. How to avoid the hard work of moral decision-making:. Think in bumper-stickers. It's Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.

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How to avoid the hard work of moral decision-making:

  • Stick with what you know…after all, other people with better minds have thought about these things.


How to avoid the hard work of moral decision-making:

  • Think in bumper-stickers...

  • It's Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.

  • People kill people. Guns don’t kill people.


How to avoid the hard work of moral decision-making:

  • Rationalize...

  • Rationalize…

  • Rationalize…


How to avoid the hard work of moral decision-making:

  • Practice morality by tummy-ache…

  • Passion above reason…


How to avoid the hard work of moral decision-making:

  • Dogma above reason…

  • Antidote:

    Don’t believe everything you think!


How to avoid the hard work of moral decision-making:

  • Relativism

  • Any moral opinion is as good as the rest....


PHIL 2525Contemporary Moral IssuesLec 3

What are We Talking About?

What is Morality? Rachels Chapter 1


Singular Moral Judgments vs. Moral Principles...


The Death of SocratesJacques-Louis David


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.


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.

  • Yes

  • No

  • No

  • Yes

  • No

  • Yes

  • Yes


  • Conflicting principles...


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


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


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


1.2 Baby Theresa.....Anencephaly


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."


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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."


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.”


1.3 Conjoined Twins

  • Siamese Twins

  • Chang and Eng

  • Born in 1811

  • Travelled with the circus

  • Married two sisters

  • Fathered 21 children

  • Died in 1874


1:3 Jodie and Mary


Jodie and Mary

  • 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.


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.


1.4 The Latimer Case


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…


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.


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....


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.


1.5 Reason and Impartiality

  • Moral judgments must be backed by good reasons.

  • Morality requires the impartial consideration of each individual’s interests.


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


Impartiality...and emotion...


Impartiality...and emotion...


Impartiality...and emotion...


Impartiality...and emotion...


The morally right thing to do...

  • is always whatever there are the best reasons for doing...


Jane Addams,founder of Hull House

  • The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of myself.


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


Suicide and Euthanasia

  • What is the difference?

  • What good reasons are there in favour?

  • What good reasons are there against? http://exitinternational.net/


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