Ethical Theories: A Very Brief Overview

advertisement
Ethical Theories:
A Very Brief Overview
Phil. 334-04:
Ethics @ the Frontiers of Science
& Technology
Spring, 2012
Lawrence M. Hinman
02/05/12
Professor of Philosophy
University
Diego
Lawrenceof
M. San
Hinman
1
Table of Contents
The Basic Question of Ethics
Three Approaches
Act-oriented Theories
•
Consequentialist Approaches
•
Rule-based Approaches
Character-based Theories
•
Aristotle on Character and Virtue
Religion
Conclusion
02/05/12
© Lawrence M. Hinman
2
Three Approaches
There are three main approaches to ethics:
• Consequence-based approaches
• Rule-based approaches
• Character-based approaches
The first two approaches address the question of how we
ought to act, the third approach responds to the question
of what kind of person we should be.
02/05/12
© Lawrence M. Hinman
3
The Basic Question of Ethics
Historically, philosophers have disagreed about what
the basic question of ethics is. They fall into two
camps:
...on the basis of
consequences.
How ought I to act?
...by following rules
and thus doing our
duty.
Fundamental
Question
What kind of person
ought I to try to be?
02/05/12
...develop character
and virtues.
© Lawrence M. Hinman
4
Act-oriented Approaches
There are two basic ways of answer the question, “How
should I act?”
Consequentialism:
Act-oriented
approaches
•Look at the consequences and
choose the action that has the
best consequences
Deontology:
Look
at the rules and follow the
rules (ten commandments, duty,
human rights, justice).
02/05/12
© Lawrence M. Hinman
5
Consequentialist Approaches
Issues for consequentialist approaches:
• Consequences for whom?
• Yardstick for measuring consequences
• Act or rule consequentialism
02/05/12
© Lawrence M. Hinman
6
Consequences for whom?
For whom?
Just for me
My group
Name
of Position
Egoism
Group Conse
Just for me
Egoism
Just for my group
Group consequentialism
•Family
•Country
•Religion
For everyone
Utilitarianism
•All human beings
•All sentient beings
02/05/12
© Lawrence M. Hinman
7
What yardstick do we use for measuring
consequences?
What yardstick or standard of utility do we
use when we measure consequences?
Pleasure/pain
• (Bentham)
Happiness
• (John Stuart Mill)
Ideals
• (G. E. Moore)
Preference satisfaction
• (Kenneth Arrow)
02/05/12
© Lawrence M. Hinman
8
Do we try to measure the consequences of
each individual decision?
By definition, consequentialism –not surprisingly--considers
consequences, but do we look at the consequences of?
Consequences
Each individual act
02/05/12
Everyone following a
general rule
© Lawrence M. Hinman
9
Act Consequentialism
Some consequentialist approaches maintain that we should
calculate the relevant consequences on an act-by-act basis.
Objections and replies
Objection #1
• Time consuming to compute each act
• Reply: use rules of thumb unless problems arise
Objection #2
• Can permit small number of morally outrageous cases (torture,
deception, etc.)
• Reply: Perhaps it’s justified. Anything less is rule worship.
02/05/12
© Lawrence M. Hinman
10
Rule-oriented Approaches
Numerous approaches have one thing in
common: rules trump consequences.
No matter how much good might be
accomplished, you cannot break the rules
• Ticking bomb example
Examples of rule-oriented approaches:
•
•
•
•
•
The Golden Rule
Human Rights
Justice
Kant & Deontology
Ten Commandments
02/05/12
© Lawrence M. Hinman
11
Character-oriented Approaches
Fundamental Question: What
kind of person do I want to be?
Emphasizes strengths of
character necessary to
human flourishing
• Example: courage
Emphasizes flexibility of rules for
new situations
02/05/12
© Lawrence M. Hinman
12
Religion and Ethical Theories
Religious Rule-oriented Approaches
• 10 Commandments
• Islamic Sharia
Religious Consequentialism
• Possible consequences to maximize
- Increase chances of salvation
- Maximize influence of church
• Karmic consequentialism
Character-based traditions
• Central to most religious traditions: the formation of character
02/05/12
© Lawrence M. Hinman
13
Pluralism
How do these approaches relate to one another?
Possible answers:
1. One is right, others are wrong
2. Each tells part of the story, none tells the whole
story
3. It is helpful to have a diversity of opinion,
including those who hold alternative positions.
02/05/12
© Lawrence M. Hinman
14
Download
Related flashcards

Ontology

34 cards

Scientific method

20 cards

Philosophy of science

42 cards

Design

26 cards

Create Flashcards