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E thical A nalysis and E thical E goism. Based on Kernohan , A. (2012). Environmental ethics: An interactive introduction . Buffalo, NY: Broadview Press, Chapters 3 & 4. David Kistler Auburn University 2013. Ethical Decision Making.

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E thical a nalysis and e thical e goism

Ethical Analysis andEthical Egoism

Based on Kernohan, A. (2012). Environmental ethics: An interactive introduction. Buffalo, NY: Broadview Press, Chapters 3 & 4.

David Kistler

Auburn University 2013


Ethical decision making
Ethical Decision Making

  • When making ethical decisions, we’re making normative decisions.

    • How things ought to be.

    • Decisions that guide action and seek agreement.

  • Ethical situations generally involve

    (1) a moral agent,

    (2) an action or series of actions,

    (3) consequences, and

    (4) a recipient of the consequences.

David Kistler

Auburn University 2013


Ethical analysis
Ethical Analysis

  • Giving an ethical analysis of an environmental policy recommendation, or writing environmental policy in an ethically informed way, requires six steps:

  • Recognize the ethical claims that the policy recommendation makes.

  • Identify the ethical reasons explicitly or implicitly given.

  • Classify these reasons according to the ethical theories that the recommendation assumes.

  • Investigate who or what the recommendation assumes to have moral standing.

  • Reflect critically on the strengths and weaknesses of these assumptions.

  • Decide which policy to adopt or recommend.

David Kistler

Auburn University 2013


E thical a nalysis and e thical e goism

1. Recognize-When trying to determine the ethical claim being made, you need to determine whether the situational ethical claims are explicit or implicit.

  • Explicit claims often use vocabulary such as ‘must’, ‘ought’ and ‘duty’.

    “We ought to not shoot people because shooting people causes them pain and pain is bad.”

  • Impliedclaims are often harder to identify because they are the product of an already existing situation. If the claim is implied then a restructuring of analysis may be necessary.

    “We should not shoot people.” because once I shot someone and went to jail and I don’t want to go to jail again.

    2. Identify-When identifying ethical reasoning you should look for the underlying reasoning of the claim while considering the possible implications. Here is where we are looking at the many ways the case may play out and the implications of said scenarios.

  • Start by examining the facts, observations and evidence offered in the statement and look for the ethical reasons underlying them.

David Kistler

Auburn University 2013


3 classify ethical reasoning
3. Classify Ethical Reasoning

  • Consider agent, action, recipient, and consequences.

  • Decide which type of approach you will be taking.

  • Virtue/Vice

  • Deontological (Divine Command, Rights and Justice)

  • Consequentialist (Subjective or Objective)

David Kistler

Auburn University 2013


E thical a nalysis and e thical e goism

4. Determine Moral Standing- Here, we must determine who/what has moral standing—is ethically considerable.

  • Humans?

  • Animals?

  • Ecosystems?

    5. Reflect on Assumptions- Here, we question our decision making. (Strengths vs. Weaknesses)

  • Why are we making these choices?

  • What does our choice suggest?

    6. Make a decision and Justify our reasoning.

David Kistler

Auburn University 2013


E thical a nalysis and e thical e goism

Black Mesa, near Kayenta Arizona, ca. 1978. Photo NAU.PH.95.55.91 by Don Lyngholm courtesy of Cline Library Special Collections, Northern Arizona University

David Kistler

Auburn University 2013


Ethical egoism
Ethical Egoism

  • Kernohan (2012) stated “Ethical Egoism is the theory that people should always act in their own self-interest, that they are morally obligated to do what is best for themselves.” p. 41

    • Contractarianism- ethics are social contracts between egoists.

  • Only the self has moral value.

    • Strong (Psychological Egoism): morally required to maximize self-interests.

    • Weak (Ethical Egoism): moral people ought to act in their own self-interest.

  • Prisoner’s Dilemma.

David Kistler

Auburn University 2013