Studying Ethics

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Transcript Studying Ethics

Studying Ethics
Why
bother?
To get you thinking…
“Doing the right thing means…”
How would you complete this sentence?
The Nature of Morality
How do we know what is right and what is wrong?
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• From Society
From God
Rules to live by • Made by
society
Unchanging
• No fixed rules
Fixed
• Dependent on
Perfect
situation
ABSOLUTE
• Flexible
• RELATIVE
Absolutism
For some, morality consists of
“absolute truths” – if things are
right or wrong, then they are
always right or wrong,
regardless of the circumstances.
Most of these “absolutists” will
say such laws come from God.
Other absolutists will say moral
truths do not come from God but
we are capable of working them
out for ourselves using human
intelligence.
If it is true that murder is wrong, it is always wrong,
regardless of the situation.
Relativism
For others, called
“relativists” what is right
or wrong will depend on
the situation or culture.
This means there are no
such things as moral
laws, except those
which are decided upon
by the community. For
example, polygamy is
wrong in the UK, but
right in Saudi Arabia.
For relativists, morality is
simply “socially approved
habits” – what is right or
wrong depends on the
perspective of the group.
This can change according
to time as well as culture or
country.
Evaluating each approach:
ABSOLUTISM
STRENGTHS:
WEAKNESSES:
1. Clear guidelines
2. Fixed code by
which to
measure actions
3. No danger of
“Slippery Slope”
1. Too rigid?
2. Doesn’t allow for
moral autonomy
3. Relies on the
existence of God
Evaluating each approach:
RELATIVISM
STRENGTHS:
WEAKNESSES:
1. Flexible & takes
different situations into
account
2. Allows for cultural
differences
3. Demands moral
autonomy
1. May allow for morally
questionable acts?
2. No objective
measure of morality
3. Danger of the
Slippery Slope