Ethic and morals
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Ethic and Morals. Deciding what is right?. Metaphysics. Rationalists: Objective Reality Knowledge is finding all properties of an object (Plato’s forms) One reality, we need to find it We are born with the ability to reason Empiricists: Subjective reality- senses tell us

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Ethic and Morals

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Ethic and Morals

Deciding what is right?


  • Rationalists:

    • Objective Reality

    • Knowledge is finding all properties of an object (Plato’s forms)

    • One reality, we need to find it

    • We are born with the ability to reason

  • Empiricists:

    • Subjective reality- senses tell us

    • Knowledge is sensing/experiences

    • Multiple reality, we need an impression it

    • We are born a “blank Slate”

Moral Reasoning

  • Making ethical decisions

    • Doing what is right for the right reasons

  • Competing forces

    • Individual– Moral Compass

      • Moral values: most important

      • What you think is good and what cost to you

      • More reaon: Evidence? Justification?

    • Society- Social Contract

      • Moral sentiment: Common views or opinions

      • Rules to live in a given society

      • More emotional: Acceptance? Comfort?

Moral Values

  • What do you do when no one is watching?

  • What would you do if there were NO consequences?

  • Leaned moral values

    • When do you stop and change

    • Seek justification over approval

  • Means vs. Ends

    • We want to be “good” (own sake)

    • Good as an Ends (not to get something)

  • Foundation of Moral Compass

    • Makes our character

Morals and Critical ThinkingNothing New

  • Emotional intelligence

    • Become aware of our values

  • Empathy

    • Know and respect other people’s options/values

  • Open minded to other morals

  • Always question other options

    • Best solution at the time?

    • Flexible to change?

  • Goal: Avoid moral tragedy

    • Let influences trump moral compass

    • Act against what we know is right

    • Regret our decisions

Individual Ethic and Morals

Steps to our Moral Compass

Moral Development- Preconventional

  • Morality is based off of you, what you were taught or learned from others DisregardOTHER different morality than your own

  • Morals are based on means to individual goals

    • Morality is based on feeling good (emotion)

    • Morals driven to avoid punishment and personal gain

    • Self centered

  • Usually moral compass has little or no outside justification

    • Based totally on moral values and not sentiment

  • Egotistical

    • What I think is right is right

  • ME


    Moral Development- Conventional

    • Expect others moral code, but don’t defend your moral code. A need to fit in trumps maorallity.

    • Please others whom you deem important

      • Morality is based on fitting in and feeling comfort (emotion)

      • Maintain good relationships at all costs

      • Peer Pressure, family and friends

      • Others’ needs are more important

      • Maintain social norms

    • May lead to moral tragedy

      • My reputation drives my moral compass

      • Based totally on moral sentiment and not moral values



    Moral Development-Postconventional

    Moral reasoning and social conventions must be justified with moral compass. Not one size fits all.

    • Use moral compass and question the outcome of each ethical situation AND theprocessby which you find a solution

    • Moral sentiment and moral values are well balanced

    • Allow reason to balance emotion.

    Me and You

    Four Resultsof a good moral compass

    • See that everyone's basic rights need to be safeguarded (freedom)

      • What are these basic right?

    • Social contract must be fair to all (laws)

      • Need to change and be flexible to suit most (majority)

    • Recognize the need to balance individual needs and societal needs

      • When do we sacrifice individual needs (freedoms) for the good of society (laws)?

    • Need to reason through ethical dilemmas

    History of Ethic

    Big Division

    Big Camps

    Relativism:(subjective right)

    create morality in context of our surrounding; furthermore, different groups of people ought have different moral standards for evaluating acts of right and wrong.

    Universalism: (objective right)

    morality is give to us and we need to live up to those rights and responsibilities. Groups of people need to live up to the moral code decided on by an outside entity (natural science, God, judge)

    -Socratic (Plato, Aristotle)

    • Socrates, 400 BC, ethic becomes education, and teaching

      • Reason becomes virtue

      • Virtue becomes truth and morality

      • No person wants to be bad

        • just lack of knowledge on how to be good

          Thus morality becomes an objective, universal truth and each person must discover by being taught ethics


    • Christian Rule, 65 AD

      • God rules are the 10 commandments

      • Virtue becomes following these rules

      • Bible gives you in guidance how to live in the natural world

        • Jesus is the Human God

      • We will be judged by how well we lived up to God’s laws on the “day of reckoning”

      • Be rewarded by entry into heaven


    • Descartes, 1500s

      • Man is not a servant of God, but should act in a Godly way.

        • Virtue becomes a decided action

        • Even if the outcome is bad, the process by which you get there is good and virtuous

        • God is the ultimate virtue, not demanded by his law but discovered by man

        • Man has freewill, must decide to be good

          Virtue becomes acting on our best judgment and the right use of free will.

    Rousseau, 1700

    • People are born with compassion and naturally will continue to have it, but it is suppressed

      • People are taught injustice and tyranny from others

    • This forces people away from their true nature of freedom, justice and self contentment.

    • As we grow (smarter) we build our conscience and we learn by ourselves to respect social justice over all else.

      • Not by the teaching of others, but by self realization

    • General Will:

      When we learn to form morality on the rules that are “general in application and universal in scope.”

    Rousseau"man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains," – Social Contract

    • We are born with moral instincts (the self), but this lacks moral reasoning (good of all).

    • We deceive ourselves about how moral we are because we start to believe our morality is the overall good.

    • As we grow and learn we build our, Amore Propre, or proper love, (balanced self-love vs. love of justice for all).

    • Justice becomes equal to being moral. Justice when you compare yourself to the rest of society

    • “the right of the strongest” is not justice need to try to balance between the individual and civil authorities.

    Kant’s Categorical ImperativeUniversal Duty

    “Always act in such a way that the maxim of your action can be willed as a universal law of humanity.”

    --Immanuel Kant

    Through reason we come up with maxims, or our rules

    - KantCategorical Imperative

    You have a personal duty to be good. There is one right. You are commanded to do this.

    • Three Qualities

      • Universality:

        • Can I rationally will that everyone act as I propose to act?

      • Overall good:

        • Does my action respect the goals of all human beings rather than merely using them for my own purposes?

      • Treat morality as an ENDS:

        • Do it for the good of itself and results don’t matter

    Kant’s Virtue

    Morality must be based on the categorical imperative because morality is such that you are commanded by it, and is such that you cannot opt out of it or claim that it does not apply to you.

    • You create the maxims (rules)

    • They cannot be changed just to suite your greed or needs as a means to an end.

    • Cannot be used to be rewarded

    • Cannot be used to manipulate results

    Social Contract Ethics


    • Personal opinion or feeling dictates moral code

    • What feels right is right.

    • Problems (Emotion is key)

      • May exploits to suit own needs

      • Insanity conclusions

        • Hurt others if it FEELS right

        • Rape people

        • Kill babies


    • Public opinion and societal norms develop own personal moral code.

    • Socially approved customs and rules

    • Problems (acceptance is key)

      • Peer pressure

      • Do what the group says

        • Slavery

        • Hate crimes

        • Nazism


    • The best consequences for all

      • Group happiness is the goal

    • Greatest amount of happiness and the least pain for the greatest number

      • Utilitarian calculus: determines course of action by giving the factors to the action.

    • Problems:

      • Only looks at


      • Group Happiness

        is all that matters


    • Duty based Ethics

      • Obligated moral code

        • no matter what the consequences

        • We have duties to do right

        • “The Path” becomes important

    • Problems

      • Absolutes: lying is always wrong?

      • Two maxims oppose each other

        • Lying is always wrong and hurting someone's feelings is always wrong?

    Libertarianism- Rights Based

    • Every individual possess inalienable (cannot be divorced) rights

      • Moral rights, not legal

        • For example a right to eat, may mean steal

    • We respect all these rights in all people

    • Limited government– manage conflict

      • Free Speech vs. Inflict harm

      • Stealing to feed children

    Libertarianism-foundation of our Constitution

    A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government…

    - Thomas Jefferson

    Moral Argument

    • Moral arguments have two premise:

      • Prescriptive (moral) premise: What ought to be the case

      • Descriptive (factual) premise: What is the case

      • A conclusion: Either prescriptive and descriptive are same or different

        To be moral, I ought to be kind to everyone

        I am not kind to everyone


        Therefore, I am not moral.

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