Chapter One: Why Be Ethical?

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Chapter One: Why
Be Ethical?
Taylor Smith
Miki Romanovschi
Asfa Shaikh
Wardah Malik
In Search of the Good
 The device depicted on the cover of the
textbook, In Search of the Good: A Catholic
Understanding of Moral Living is a sextant
 The device is used by sailor to aid navigation
 Why is this an appropriate
image for this specific course?
Ethics
 Stems from the Greek word “ethiko”, which
means a “Focus on Good Character”
 Ethics can be defined as the “should”; what we
feel is the good and the just thing to do
 Ethics is about searching for the good in all
things, such as day to day actions, and
responsibilities. This good is infinite.
 Catholic Ethics- relates to the Ten
commandments, which state how people are
meant to act.
 Ethics leads to morality
Morality
 From the Latin word: “Moralitas”
 Putting our ethics (search for good) into actions
through our works and words (our conduct)
 Focuses on our actions shaping life, and how
they lead us to attain the good
Catholic Morality
 An objective right (values, virtues, patterns of life)
and wrong ( sins, vice, faults)
 Not all moral issues are clear cut, but good over
evil should be the main focus
 Our conscience is something we do
 Morality is learned from others, and taught to
others through our actions
Four Types of Ethical
Experiences
The Scream
The Experience of Personal Response
•There is a spontaneous decision
to help
• it is not a decision that you make
•There is an AUTOMATIC RESPONSE
which urges you to you not
to think but to ACT
•You are aware of your
RESPONSIBILITY to the “other”
Four Types of Ethical
Experiences
The Beggar
The Experience of Other
•
•
•
ALL FACE TO FACE INTERACTIONS ARE ETHICAL
• RESPONSIBILITY FOR OTHERS.
THE OTHER PERSON TAKES YOU HOSTAGE AS THEY
ELICITS A RESPONSE FROM YOU (it can be guilt)
and make you responsible
The face stays with you even after you
decide what to do
• he or she is inside you while you are
busy defending your decision to give
or not to give.
Four Types of Ethical
Experiences
Obligation
•
The Experience of Duty (Change of Ethical
Framework)
This
experience of feeling obliged
to
obey a rule or law has everything to
do with your ethical side. YOU ARE
FORCED TO RESPOND.
•
You feel an intrinsic duty to oblige (i.e.
To follow parent’s rules). THE “RIGHT THING
TO DO.”
•
If you choose to ignore the ethical
response, the unrest stays with you.
Four Types of Ethical
Experiences
Intolerable
The Experience of Contrast
•
This experience occurs when you feel
outraged by something unfair
happening to yourself or to others. IN
CONTRAST TO WHAT WE EXPECT OF
FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS.
•
When you feel overwhelmed by the
unjust suffering of others, the
indignation you feel is an experience of
contrast with what the world should look
like.
Four Types of Ethical
Experiences

These experiences lead us to thoughts of “This is
intolerable!”

HOW WE BELIEVE THINGS NOT “OUGHT TO BE”.
Aristotle (384-322 BCE)
•Happiness lies within community
•Pleasure is simply moment’s response
to stimuli, while happiness is long
lasting, and is when humans are most
human.
•Humans always try to do good
Aristotle
 The highest capacity of humans is to be rational
 the highest form of happiness is rational behaviour
 Central issue was question of character or personality
 What does it take for an individual human to be a
good person?
 Since good is finite, there must be a highest good at
which all human activity ultimately aims. This end
could be called happiness.
Aristotle
 Good in human beings must involve the entire proper
function of human life as a whole, and this must be an
activity of the soul that expresses genuine virtue or
excellence.
 To act ethically is to engage our capacity to reason as
we develop good character
 A person who is truly happy exhibits a personality
between reason and desire with moderation
characterizing it all.
 True happiness can only be attained through
cultivation of virtues that make human life complete.
Aristotle
 THE MEAN
 “ virtuous habit lies between the vices of excess and
deficiency”. Basically, life must be balanced
between too good and not good enough.
 HAPPINESS
 the condition of a good person who succeeds in
living and acting well.
 Virtue of character is the habits of behaving in a
certain way.
Aristotle
 Good conduct arises from habits arising from
repetition and correction.
 A person is not responsible for their actions if:
 Produced by some external force or against the person’s
will
 Actions are performed under ignorance
 Voluntary decisions involve careful thought about the
choice and alternative actions.
 Moral actions are in our power to perform or avoid
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
•Theoretical reasonexamines what people
actually do
•How humans come to
learn things, as a result of
the laws of nature and the
laws of cause and effect
•Practical reason-how to
evaluate moral choices
•Beyond scientific
knowledge, focus on
moral directions guiding
behaviour
Kant’s Ethics
 Cannot be quantified like math, and therefore cannot be
proven rationally
 Ethics is based off of practical certainty based of 3
areas:
1.
GOD

2.
FREEDOM

3.
Humans cannot achieve supreme good by the selves, so
God is needed to control the uncontrollable circumstances
Humans are free, so therefore to achieve supreme good we
have a duty to do something if we are able to do it
IMMORTALITY
 Achieving supreme good is impossible to do in one life, so
there is a life beyond so we can achieve the supreme good
Kant’s Ethics
 Good will
 The will to do our duty for no other reason than it is
our duty
 This is the only thing unconditionally good, it is an
independent and internal factor
 Deontological
 A human action is morally good when it is done for
the sake of duty
 Therefore moral worth is not measured by the
results of actions, but by the motive behind
Kant’s Ethics
 Moral Maxims
 Duty is determined by principles/maxims
 An ethical action must have an ethical principle and
apply to everyone
 So an ethical maxim would be how rational
beings act they were solely using reason
 Ends, not a means
 Treats people as a means for productions sake,
but also combine this with treating
a person as a an end never just as a means
 MEANS: Providing benefit, providing a service/
purpose, to be used
 ENDS: take into consideration the
life and dignity of the person providing the means
Emmanuel Levinas (1901993)
According to Levinas his philosophy as a
whole is ethical
For Levinas the good is the central of all
philosophy
Levinas went in search of the Good which
he said goes beyond the Being
For Levinas the concept of Being is
dangerous, because it takes away from the
reality
Levinas calls these unique things and
persons traces of the Good or God
We do not encounter God anywhere, but
only a trace of God
Emmanuel Levinas: The
Face as Witness of the
Good
 The experience of a face to face
encounter is significant in our lives
 The other has power over us
 God has the responsibility to do good
for us, so we also have to do good
for the other
 Ethics is found when people have
face to face contact
Emmanuel Levinas: The
Face as Ethical
 The face of the stranger demands that you recognize
it and provide it hospitality
 The face reveals you as someone concerned mostly
about yourself and this is the face that makes us
responsible
 The face suggests that there is another order of
existence
 -the order of an incredible good calling us to be
responsible for the beggar with bent head and a
mumbling voice
 The face is the trace of God, who has already passed
by
Emmanuel Levinas: Made
responsible by the face
 For Levinas the face makes us responsible and this
responsibility is our human vocation
Scenario
 A young African American man was shot outside
of his apartment by a random pedestrian.
Witness claim that it that the victim was breaking
and entering and the shooting occurred in order
to stop a felony. The victim was found innocent
of all charges and the random pedestrian is still
under inspection by authorities. How would
Aristotle, Kant and Levinas approach this action
from a moral standpoint?
Chapter One Discussion
 Is it important to study ethics and morality?
 How does one succeed at living the “good” life?
 Definition of “good” is universal or subjective to
each individual?
Vocabulary
 Teleology
 Empiricism
 Autonomy
 Deontological Ethics
 Subjective
 Desire
 Objective
 Good
 Ethics
 Passions
 Morality
 Universal Law
 Obligation
 Amoral
 Responsibility
 Infinite
 Revelation
 Duty
 Beautiful
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