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Ethics Lesson #3 Challenges to Ethics PowerPoint Presentation
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Ethics Lesson #3 Challenges to Ethics

Ethics Lesson #3 Challenges to Ethics

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Ethics Lesson #3 Challenges to Ethics

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  1. Ethics Lesson #3 Challenges to Ethics Much of this presentation comes from Questions that Matter, by Miller (Chapter 16)

  2. Two Ethical Approaches • Intent Ethics • What did the person taking the action expect to happen? Did they have ethical intent? If the outcome turns out poorly, it doesn’t matter as long as their intent was pure/ethical.

  3. Consequence Ethics • Intent of person is irrelevant, only the outcome matters. If the outcome is ethical, then that is what is important

  4. Morality Bah! • Logical positivism • Morality is meaningless • Ethical Relativism • No absolute morality, it is based in a culture or individual • Determinism • External factors control people’s lives, they have no moral control themselves

  5. Logical Positivism Ethics and Morality are meaningless • Emotivism - Moral principles are emotional expressions; reflections of likes and dislikes • Verification Principle • A position is only cognitively meaningful if it is either analytic or empirically verifiable • Can science see Ethics? -NO! so it’s fluff, not real

  6. Logical positivism • Bottom Line: • You can’t “test” morality with science, so it is only a pseudo-concept; not real • If I say, “You killed that man.” That is a fact. However if I think it is wrong that you killed him, well, that’s just my emotion in play; not any real ethic or morality • A proposition is meaningful only if it is analytical or empirically verifiable

  7. Problems for Logical Positivism • Why do only empirical events have meaning? • Because Logical Positivists say so? See the rub? • Is this point of view practical? • Law, legislation, moral disputes • Famous Saying for Logical Positivists: There is no justice; there’s just us.

  8. Ethical Relativism • Also called Ethical Subjectivism • Nothing is absolute, but is only based on the point of view of the individual or culture • Morality, therefore, depends on who you are and where you’re from

  9. Ethical Relativism • There is a right and a wrong; It’s just not universal to everyone • Depends on the person or group • It’s Subjective • Most who embrace this approach believe the culture defines morality

  10. Strength of Relativism • There is one big argument in support • People are conditioned by their circumstances. If you think X is wrong and Y is right, it is very much dependent on your upbringing, education, religion, etc. • If a person’s circumstances are different, say born in a different culture, they would likely have a morality based on that culture • Relativism explains this obvious difference

  11. Weakness with Relativism • Why does this apply only to morality? • Should we then suspend our judgment of other culture’s actions? (child labor, human welfare, slavery, genocide?) • What about the inherent paradox? Two rules in direct conflict: how can both be right at the same time? • How can there be morality with no independent rules then? *It is important to distinguish between our opinions of morality and morality itself

  12. Where does this leave us? • It seems that you must either accept or reject relativism • If you reject it, the remaining option is something called ethical absolutism • Definition: Moral values are independent of individual opinions; they are fixed and common to all

  13. Determinism • There is no free will • Moral “choices” are impossible • Morality may still exist • Actions may be right or wrong, but people have no control over actions • There are different types of Determinism • Hard • Soft

  14. Morality Bah! • Logical positivism • Morality is meaningless • Ethical Relativism • No absolute morality, it is based in a culture or individual • Determinism • External factors control people’s lives, they have no moral control themselves