Mistakes in Moral Reasoning

Mistakes in Moral
Relying on gut feeling
Selfishness and Partisanship
Appealing to Moral Authorities
– Religion
– Culture
Selfishness and
• Appealing solely to self interest
or interests of one’s group when
you should appeal to moral
• Problem
– becomes habitual
– results in “war of all against all”.
Morality and Religion
• “Morality depends on religion.”
– Motivational claim: Religion
motivates people to do the right
thing and is the only motivation
for right action.
• Problem: Some people do the wrong
thing for religious reasons, some
people do the right thing for reasons
which are independent of religion.
• Justification: Religion provides the
only justification for morality.
Religion as a
justification for morality
• Practical problem: people with
differing religions will not be
able to share moral reasons.
• Theoretical problem: Right and
wrong cannot just be a matter of
God’s will.
Cultural Relativism
• Definition: You morally ought
to do whatever your society
thinks is right.
• Problems
– How do I know the rules?
– Suppose I disagree with my
– What about moral reformers?
– How can we criticize other
Good Moral Reasoning
• Moral judgments are not mere
preferences, but must be:
– based on facts,
– defended in terms of objective
– which can be articulated.
Characteristics of
Leaders with Integrity
• Awareness
– of own values, of other values
• Ability to communicate and
build consensus about values
• Ability to assess consequences
• Respect for others
• Care for others, and ability to
foster relationships
• Virtues
– courage, honesty, humility
• Fairness
• Professional Ethics