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Moral Theories. By: Ronald F. White, Ph.D Professor of Philosophy College of Mount St. Joseph. Human Inquiry. Theories- Descriptive Inquiry Scientific Theories v. Metaphysical Theories Prescriptive Inquiry Normative Theories v. Metaethical Theories.

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slide1

Moral Theories

By: Ronald F. White, Ph.D

Professor of Philosophy

College of Mount St. Joseph

slide2

Human Inquiry

  • Theories-
  • Descriptive Inquiry
    • Scientific Theories v. Metaphysical Theories
  • Prescriptive Inquiry
    • Normative Theories v. Metaethical Theories
cognitive v non cognitive moral theories
Cognitive v. Non-Cognitive Moral Theories
  • Cognitive Theories (moral judgments are true or false)
    • based on reason and/or experience
      • Virtue-Based Theories
      • Duty-Based Theories
      • Consequentialist Theories
  • Non-Cognitive Theories
      • Intuitionism
      • Emotivism
      • Constructivism (Cultural Relativism)
slide4

Cognitive Moral Theories

  • Teleological Moral Theories
  • Deontological Moral Theories
  • Virtue-Based Moral Theories
slide5

Teleological Theories

  • Goal Directed: A for the sake of B
  • Consequentialism
  • Cost/Benefit Ratios
  • Hedonism
    • Pleasure=GOOD, Pain =BAD
    • Hierarchy:
      • Higher (intellectual: wisdom, beauty, friendship etc. )
      • Lower (biological: sex, eating, drinking, etc.)
    • Hedonistic Calculus
      • Intensity, Duration, Probability, Fecundity,
  • Whose Pleasures and Pains Count?
    • Egoism: self
    • Altruism: others:
  • Problems:
    • Objectivity of Pain and Pleasure
    • Predictability of Pains and Pleasures
      • (unanticipated consequences)
    • Justice: social utility v. discrimination
slide6

Deontological Theories

  • Divine Command Theory (Authority)
    • Authorities: Leaders, Texts, Conscience.
    • Universality v. Pluralism
  • Rights-Based Theories (Justice)
    • Libertarianism (Locke)
    • Egalitarianism (Kant)
  • Virtue Based Theories
slide8

Rights

  • Persons and Property
  • Rights-
    • Individual Rights
    • Group Rights
    • Right to Life
      • Non-Human Rights
      • Fetal Rights
  • Rights and Moral Principles: Utility, Beneficence, Non-Maleficence, Liberty, Justice
  • Positive Rights and Negative Rights
  • Property Rights
  • Rights and Duties-
  • Rights and Sanctions-
    • Natural sanction- enforced by nature (natural/unnatural)
    • Moral sanction- enforced by community sentiment or convention (praise/blame)
    • Legal sanction- enforced by government (legal/illegal)
      • Contingent upon governmental knowledge and authority
        • Relationship between legality and morality
  • Conflict of Claims-
    • Individual v. individual
    • Group v. group (Israelis v. Palestinians, Men v. Women, Blacks v. Whites)
    • Group v. individual
    • Natural rights, Legal rights, Moral rights
slide9

Moral Responsibility

  • Architecture
    • Praise (good acts) and Blame (bad acts)
      • Teleological context: “forward looking”
        • Change Behavior
          • More pleasurable consequences (reinforce)
          • Less painful consequences (deter)
      • Deontological:” backward looking”
        • Justice as Proportionality (retribution)
  • Issues
    • Free will (voluntariness)
    • Determinism (causation or coercion)
      • Biological determinism
      • Social or cultural determinism
      • Moral Competence
      • Individualism v. collectivism
      • Is the assessment of responsibility empirical?
slide10

Virtue-Based Theories

  • Virtue: “The Excellence of a Thing.”
  • Purpose:
  • Human Excellence
    • Intellectual Virtue:
    • Moral Virtue (Habit)
      • The Golden Mean”
        • Vice of deficiency, Virtue, Vice of Excess.
  • Moral Education
    • Deliberation
    • Vice
    • Incontinence-(weakness of the will)
non cognitive theories
Non-Cognitive Theories
  • Non-Cognitivism
    • Intuitionism
    • Emotivism
    • Constructivism
  • Emotivism
    • Moral Statements are emotive expressions like expressions of taste
      • Killing is wrong because I disapprove of it
      • Killing is wrong because my culture disapproves of it
      • Good and Bad are not properties but expressions of individual or collective preference
      • Moral disagreements are conflicts of attitude not conflicts of belief.
  • Problems
    • Universality
      • Are there universal moral sentiments?
    • Irreconcilability of moral disagreements
    • Nature of Moral Judgment
    • Reasons
    • Toleration
    • Confusion between Facts and Values
      • Does experiencing a moral feeling necessarily imply that it is good?
evolutionary psychology and emotivism
Evolutionary Psychology and Emotivism
  • Emotions are common among mammals, especially primates (monkeys and apes)
  • Foundational Moral Feelings
    • Sympathy
      • The Expanding Circle
      • In-Group Out-Group Bias
    • Consolation
    • Retribution
      • The Formal Principle of Justice