Chapter 2 Ethics

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Transcript Chapter 2 Ethics

Chapter 2 Ethics
Lesson 1 Introduction to Ethics
Ethics in TOK
Belief is the basis of all action.
What is more central to us than our ethical belief?
• How do we know what is right, and how do we
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know what is wrong?
What are the things that make up this
knowledge?
Our culture?
Our beliefs?
Our laws?
Morals and ethics
• Everyone has a set of
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morals that they live by
This set of morals
differs from other
people’s
A complicated
superstructure of moral
beliefs and ethical views
can be called a “Moral
Framework”
Like this structure’s frame is made up of beams, our
moral framework is made up of principles.
Moral Parsimony
• A parsimonious moral framework is one that is
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very stingy in its use of principles
Parsimonious moral frameworks have a very
limited number of principles that apply to all
situations
Less parsimonious moral frameworks more
principles which apply to situations depending
on the circumstance
More or less parsimonious has nothing to do
with good or bad. One is not better than the
other
Questions for the Moral Parsimony
exercise
• Question 1
• You pass someone in the street who is in
severe need and you are able to help
them a little cost to yourself. Are you
morally obliged to do so?
• Strongly Obliged, Weakly Obliged, or Not
Obliged
Question 2
• You have a brother. You know that someone has
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been seriously injured as a result of criminal
activity undertaken by him. You live in a country
where the police are generally trustworthy. Are
you morally obliged to inform them about your
brother's crime?
Strongly obliged, Weakly Obliged, or Not Obliged
Question 3
• Do you think that assisting the suicide of
someone who wants to die - and has
requested help - is morally equivalent to
allowing them to die by withholding
medical assistance (assuming that the
level of suffering turns out to be identical
in both cases)?
• Yes or No
Question 4
• You are able to help some people. Unfortunately,
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you can only do so by harming other people.
The number of people harmed will always be 10
percent of those helped. When considering
whether it is morally justified to help does the
actual number of people involved make any
difference? For example, does it make a
difference if you are helping ten people by
harming one person rather than helping 100,000
people by harming 10,000 people?
Yes or No
Question 5
• You own an unoccupied property. You are
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contacted by a refugee group which desperately
needs somewhere to house a person seeking
asylum who is being unjustly persecuted in a
foreign country. Your anonymity is assured. You
have every reason to believe that no harm will
come to your property. Are you morally obliged
to allow them to use your property?
Strongly obliged, Weakly Obliged, or Not Obliged
Question 6
• A charity collection takes place in your office. For
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every UK£10.00 given, a blind person's sight is
restored. Instead of donating UK£10.00, you use
the money to treat yourself to a cocktail after
work. Are you morally responsible for the
continued blindness of the person who would
have been treated had you made the donation?
Responsible, Partly Responsible, or Not
Responsible
Question 7
• Someone you have never met needs a
kidney transplant. You are one of the few
people who can provide the kidney. Would
any moral obligation to provide the kidney
be greater if this person were a cousin
rather than a non-relative?
• Yes or No
Question 8
• You can save the lives of a thousand
patients by cancelling one hundred
operations that would have saved the lives
of a hundred different patients. Are you
morally obliged to do so??
• Yes or No
Question 9
• Are your moral obligations to people in your own
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country or community stronger than those to
people in other countries and communities
(assuming no unusual circumstances - for
example, suffering because of famine - in either
your own country/community or other
countries/communities)?
Yes or No
Question 10
• You deliberately sabotage a piece of
machinery in your work place so that
when someone next uses it there will be
an accident which will result in that person
losing the use of their legs. Are you
morally responsible for their injury?
• Responsible, Partly Responsible, or Not
Responsible
Question 11
• You know the identity of someone who has
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committed a serious crime resulting in a person
being badly injured. Are you morally obliged to
reveal their identity to an appropriate authority
so that they are dealt with justly?
Strongly obliged, Weakly Obliged, or Not Obliged
Question 12
• You can save the lives of ten innocent
people by killing one other innocent
person. Are you morally obliged to do so?
• Yes or No
Question 13
• You see an advertisement from a charity
in a newspaper about a person in severe
need in Australia. You can help this person
at little cost to yourself. Are you morally
obliged to do so?
• Strongly obliged, Weakly Obliged, or Not
Obliged
Question 14
• You are required to send a person a gift, and
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you have bought a bottle of drink to send to
them. However, you discover it is poison and if
consumed will cause blindness in the drinker. To
replace it with a non-contaminated bottle will
cost you UK£10.00. You give the poisoned drink
as a gift anyway. Are you morally responsible for
the blindness of the drinker?
Responsible, Partly Responsible, or Not
Responsible
Question 15
• A situation arises where you can either save
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your own child from death or contact the
emergency services in order to save the lives of
ten other children. You cannot do both, and
there is no way to save everyone. Which course
of action are you morally obliged to follow?
Save your Own or Save the Others
Question 16
• You can save the lives of ten patients by
cancelling one operation which would
have saved the life of a different patient.
Are you morally obliged to do so?
• Yes or No
Question 17
• You own an unoccupied property. You are
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contacted by a welfare organisation which
desperately needs somewhere to house a person
from a nearby town who is being unjustly
persecuted. Your anonymity is assured. You
have every reason to believe that no harm will
come to your property. Are you morally obliged
to allow them to use your property?
Strongly obliged, Weakly Obliged, or Not Obliged
Question 18
• You become aware that a piece of machinery in
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your workplace is faulty and that if it is not
repaired then there will soon be an accident
which will result in someone losing the use of
their legs. Despite knowing that nobody else is
aware of the fault, you take no action. Shortly
afterwards, the accident occurs, and someone
does lose the use of their legs. Are you morally
responsible for their injury?
Responsible, Partly Responsible, or Not
Responsible
Question 19
• You can save the lives of a million
innocent people by killing a hundred
thousand others. Are you morally obliged
to do so?
• Yes or No
Lesson 2 Introducing Ideas
Ethical absolutism
• There are definite rights and wrongs that apply
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all over the world and for all people
A wrong action would be wrong for anyone,
anywhere, at any time, in any circumstances
Ethical absolutism naturally implies that there is
some sort of higher, uniting ethical code that
people must live up to
Absolutism implies that there is an objective
right and there is an objective wrong
Ethical relativism
• Claims that there is no objective right and wrong
• Ethics are created by the cultures in which the
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ethics apply
Something that is right in one culture can be
wrong in another
It is a culture’s subjective view of that action
that makes the action right or wrong
Subsequently it is impossible for one culture to
justify imposing its ethical standards upon
another culture
Lesson 3
Follow up on Moral Parsimony
• Illustrate how different people have
different ethical frameworks
• Discuss the different sub-categories
• Let the students explain their views on
their scores
• Make ties to Lesson 2
• Spend time focusing on individual
questions you find interesting
Lesson 4 Absolutism
The Expulsion from Paradise, Charles Joseph Natoire. (1740)
Ethical rules crucial to all societies
• Makes interaction possible
• Every culture in the world has ethics and
moral rules
• Knowledge about how to exist within any
given society must also know what is
considered right and what is considered
wrong
Plato and the absolute good
Is this a perfect circle? Look very closely.
Plato and the absolute good
• Like the concept of circularity, the concept of the
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“Good” is found not in the physical realm of
space and time, but instead as changeless
concepts in the world of Forms and Ideas
These things can only be known by reason
The “Good” is something which exists and which
all inherently know if they reason properly upon
it
Dualism
• Human beings are made up of a
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body and a soul
The soul originally and eternally
resided in the place of perfect
ideas and forms
When we become incarnated, our
perfect souls are taken from this
perfect ideal world and they are
trapped in our imperfect cages of
meat
This forces us to seek out the
truth through the only means we
have—our senses
We may occasionally see a beam of light filter through the confinements
which we would immediately recognize as being sunlight,
Our souls, argued Plato,
but we will never get a clear, unobstructed look at the sun itself.
understand the good and the
righteous
Plato views are hugely important
for absolutism because…
• According to this concept, there is a Good
to know
• It is a real ideal
• Our actions can be compared to this Good
• It is something all of us should try to
obtain
• It is an objective standard by which all our
actions are judged
Plato’s views are called an
“absolute” set of morals because
• This ethical reality would apply to everyone
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everywhere
All beings live by the same standard whether
they realize it or not
There is a set standard to live up to. If someone
does not live up to that standard they are living
incorrectly
This viewpoint assumes there is a standard
everyone should abide by
The Divine command Theory
states…
• “Moral,” and “right,” actions are those
which confirm to God’s will
• God’s will is the foundation for all morality
• Understanding God’s will allows people to
know if an action right or wrong
• This is a form of ethical absolutism
How absolutism ties to ethical
knowledge
• An absolutist knows that actions are either
right or wrong because of the absolute
rules
• This allows an absolutist to judge other
people around the world by the same set
of rules
Problems with absolutism
• What happens if one culture (culture A)
knows something is right (for example
eating pork) and another culture (culture
B) knows it is wrong?
• Often two different cultures will adhere to
two contrasting sets of ”absolute” rules
• Absolutism can lead to hasty judgments
and misunderstanding
Lesson 5 Ethical Relativism
Hobbes and Social Contract Theory
• Man’s natural state is
that of is that of all out
warfare
• In this state, the only
goal is to take as much
as we can get and keep
it for as long as possible
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
Social contract (contd.)
• In this natural state, “To this war of every man
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against every man, this also is consequent; that
nothing can be unjust. The notions of right
and wrong, justice and injustice, have
there no place”
“The passions that incline men to peace are:
fear of death; desire of such things as are
necessary to commodious living; and a hope by
their industry to obtain them.”
Social contract (contd.)
• In this state of total war, “every man has a right
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to every thing, even to one another's body. And
therefore, as long as this natural right of every
man to every thing endureth, there can be no
security to any man”
Because of the fact that there can be no security
at all in this state, man is inclined to seek peace.
These motives are selfish for peace is the most
reasonable means of procuring the things one
wants
Social contract (contd.)
• This leads into an agreement,
“that a man be willing, when
others are so too, as far forth as
for peace and defence of himself
he shall think it necessary, to lay
down this right to all things; and
be contented with so much
liberty against other men as he
would allow other men against
himself”
• “For as long as every man
holdeth this right, of doing
anything he liketh; so long are
all men in the condition of war”
Social contract (contd.)
• It is only at this point that the concept of
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injustice or unethical can begin to exist
“so in the world it is called injustice, and injury
voluntarily to undo that which from the
beginning he had voluntarily done”
If a person, after agreeing to give up the right
to all things, once again attempts to have the
right to all things, this is an injustice
“The mutual transferring of right is that
which men call contract”
Social contract (contd.)
• And in this law of nature consisteth the fountain
and original of justice. For where no covenant
hath preceded, there hath no right been
transferred, and every man has right to
everything and consequently, no action can be
unjust. But when a covenant is made, then to
break it is unjust and the definition of injustice
is no other than the not performance of
covenant. And whatsoever is not unjust is
just.
How Hobbes’ ideas lead into ethical
relativism
• People need certain
things to survive in
their environment
• These things are
different from place to
place
How Hobbes’ ideas lead into ethical
relativism (contd.)
• Because of this the concept of being
selfish is different from place to place
• If someone takes whatever they want,
whenever they want it, what they take will
differ from place to place due to the
conditions of that place
How Hobbes’ ideas lead into ethical
relativism (contd.)
• Subsequently, when men tire of the state of constant
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conflict and agree to give up the right to everything,
what they give up the right to will also differ (i.e. water
in one place coal in another)
Therefore the concept of what is ethical behaviour and
what is unethical behaviour will differ from place to place
because the social contract dictating proper behaviour
differs from place to place
Thus ethics and morals are relative to the cultures from
which they come since they are created by cultures so
these specific cultures can coexist
Summarizing
• The crucial point to remember is since cultures
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develop differently in different parts of the
world, what is considered selfish is also
different. Therefore, the social contracts people
make, contracts which keep them from being
selfish, will also be different. Consequently,
behaviour that breaks those contracts
(behaviour that is ethically wrong), will be
different in different places.
This implies there can be no absolute ethics
Lesson 6 The United Nations Ethics
Game
The United Nations General Assembly
The goal of this game is to produce a
document consisting of 8 human rights
• 1 Human right must deal with the
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treatment of criminals/prisoners
1 Human right must deal with
medical care
1 Human right must deal with
education
1 human right must deal with
personal freedoms
4 Human rights can be about
whatever your groups can agree
upon
The countries
• Gambakun
• Felomar
(Federated Land
Of Many Riches)
• Nanzhoushan
• Santa Sulônia
Before the original UN declaration was
signed in 1948, there were over 1400 rounds
of voting to come up with
proper wording that would please all parties
Food for thought
• "If all mankind minus one, were of
one opinion, and only one person
were of the contrary opinion,
mankind would be no more justified
in silencing that one person, than he,
if he had the power, would be
justified in silencing mankind."
- John Stuart Mill
Lesson 7 Socrates
Socrates 469 BC-399 BC
Socrates argued
• It was possible to discover ethical truth
• Reasoning is the tool which can lead to
the discovery
• The method for discovering these ethical
truths is called the Socratic Method
The Socratic Method of thought for
finding true ethical statements
• Find any (ethical) statement which you consider to be
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true. This is called an “ethical hypothesis.”
Come up with a situation in which the statement is not
true and that negates the ethical hypothesis
Nuance the original hypothesis to come up with a new
ethical hypothesis which takes into account the negation
of the first hypothesis
Find a situation in which the new hypothesis does not
apply thereby negating it, and then nuance the
statement to come up with yet another new hypothesis
Continue the process until you find a hypothesis which is
impossible to negate. Once you have done so you have
found knowledge
Rules for the Socratic Circle
• There must be
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consensus between
student and teacher on
topic of instruction
The students must agree
to attempt to answer the
questions the teacher
poses to them
Rules for the Socratic Circle
(contd.)
• Both student and teacher must agree to accept
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any answer as long as the answer is correctly
reasoned. The reasoning process is more
important than the facts
It is imperative that the teacher exposes errors
in the reasoning of the students; any fallacies
must be brought to attention and dealt with.
Any mistaken statement or logical inconsistency
must be weeded out to get a truthful answer
Rules for the Socratic Circle
(contd.)
• The teacher must be able to reason quickly and
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correctly to discover errors in the students’
reasoning, then be able to formulate questions
that students must reason correctly about if they
are to answer them
The teacher must be willing to be corrected by
the students if there is an error in the teacher's
reasoning
Lesson 8 Closing arguments
Moral relativism
• Moral relativism states that a culture’s
morality is part of an intricate framework
of tradition, beliefs, practice, history, world
view, and feelings that are comprised to
make up what we generally call culture
• Cultures differ around the world and so to
will different cultures’ ideas of morality
Arguments against the absolutist
set of beliefs
• All moral systems are sets of rules
• Second, we are blank moral slates at
birth
• Finally, we can not escape the
subjectivity of at least one moral
system
Absolutism
• Moral relativists would have us believe
that there is no right and there is no
wrong
• This is incorrect. Some things are simply
wrong
Absolutism (contd.)
• If relativism were to work at all, it would it
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only work when cultures are isolated from
one another
Belief does not make something right or
wrong in ethics any more than it does in
math or science
Relativism is a simple-minded, easy
philosophy