What is Ethics?

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Transcript What is Ethics?

What is Ethics?
Ethics is the philosophical study of what is
right or wrong, good or bad, in that part of
human conduct for which we are
responsible, excluding areas such as
etiquette, professional codes, legal and
religious codes.
What is an issue?
• A question
• A question that is debatable
• In that it is debatable, it has no 100% right
or wrong answer
What is an ethical issue?
• It is a question
• It is an important question
• It is an important question that does not
have an exact answer
• It is an important question that does not
have an exact answer, and yet the answer to
which is fundamental to our lives
What is a ‘philosophical study’?
• It is an inexact study
• It deals with issues that are fundamental
• It deals with issues that are practical
What are the areas of human
conduct?
• Those areas for which we are not
responsible
• That area for which we are responsible
What are the areas of human conduct for
which we are not responsible?
• Nonvoluntary behavior
• Involuntary behavior
What is nonvoluntary behavior?
• Origin of the action comes from within
• We do not consciously choose to do the
action
• Examples: breathing, blinking, digestion,
reflex actions, thinking, dreaming
• Problem examples
What is involuntary behavior?
• The origin of the action comes from without
(it is external to us)
• We do not consciously choose to do the
action
• Examples: particular car accidents, being
shoved, and as a result, damaging
someone’s property
• Problem examples
What is voluntary behavior?
• Origin of the action comes from within
• We consciously choose to do the action
• Examples: coming to class, telling the
truth, registering for courses, going to work,
premeditated murder
• Problem examples
Is Ethics concerned with all
voluntary behaviors?
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NO
It is not concerned with matters of etiquette
It is not concerned with certain legal codes
It is not concerned with certain professional
codes
• It is not concerned with certain religious
codes
What are some voluntary behaviors that
Ethics is concerned with?
• Actions that affect others
• Actions that affect the environment
• Actions that affect ourselves
What are some actions that affect others that Ethics
is concerned with?
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Is it ever right to break a promise?
Fidelity
Suicide
Health care issues
Stealing
Killing
Gender roles
Discrimination
What are some actions that affect the environment
that Ethics is concerned with?
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Cloning
Pollution
Animal Rights
Nuclear War
Conservation
What are some actions that affect ourselves that
Ethics is concerned with?
• Being true to
ourselves
• Health issues
• Suicide
• Euthanasia
What is the relationship between
Ethics and morality?
• Ethics is the
philosophical study of
morality
Again, what does ‘philosophical ‘
study mean?
• Fundamental
• Concerned with issues that are at the base of
other disciplines
• Inexact
• Practical
Is the study of Ethics different
from the study of other
disciplines?
YES !!!!!!
Other sciences (Psychology):
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Descriptive in nature
Seek exactness
Describe how people do in fact act
Seek the facts
Ethics
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Inexact
Prescriptive/Normative
Is concerned with how people should act)
Practical
Why study Ethics?
Initially, Ethics was studied as a
means to improve a student’s
moral character, even if to a
slight degree.
Is the study of Ethics important?
You decide!!!!!!!
Chapters One and Two of Text
• The main questions that the author of your text is
concerned with in the first two chapters of your text are
‘What is Ethics?’ ‘What are Ethical Issues?’ are ‘How are
religion and law related to our ethical decision-making?’
The author of Chapter One (William Frankena) begins his
analysis of these questions by offering an example to us
(Socrates’ dilemma in Crito). Through this example he
arrives at questions Ethics is concerned with, the definition
of ethics, approaches to the study of morality, and
examples of ethical issues
Crito
• It means that he is using Socrates and his
discussion with Crito to display what moral
reasoning is and how ethical issues arise.
Crito
• When Crito offers Socrates a chance to escape, Socrates is
faced with a moral dilemma, which is a conflict that arises
regarding the moral rightness or wrongness of a particular
action/decision. Socrates insists on approaching the moral
question at hand—Should Socrates escape from prison?—
without giving any weight to his (or Crito's) feelings, to the
opinions of others, or to the cost of remaining faithful to
moral principle, which in the present case could not be any
higher. He appeals to a general rule, determines that his
situation falls under that rule, and finally draws a
conclusion about what he must do—namely, refuse Crito's
suggestion that he escape.
• Socrates is engaged in normative reflection,
which attempts to identify what is right,
good, or obligatory.
• Descriptive approach to morality
• Meta-ethics
• Socrates is faced with a dilemma or what
we call an ethical issue.
• Frankena also uses the Crito example
because it includes a discussion of the roles
that religion and the law should play in our
moral decision making.
Can We Use the law as our sole
guide?
Can we use religion as our sole
guide?