Some Classic Characteristics of Ethics
Central concern is the well-being of people.
Consider not just yourself, but also all others who stand to be affected.
Moral evaluations and judgments should be impartial.
Moral evaluations and judgments should be universalizable.
Moral evaluations and judgments are inescapable.
Moral considerations typically override other considerations.
Approaches to Ethics
Metaethics and Conceptual Analysis
Some Neighbors of Ethics
Other Social Factors
Some Challenges to Ethics
Ethical Nihilism: ethics do not exist.
Cultural Ethical Relativism: ethics are relative to particular cultures.
Individual Ethical Relativism: ethics are relative to particular individuals.
Traditional Ethical Theories: The Big Picture
Principle of Nonmaleficence
Principle of Beneficence
Principle of Utility
Principle of Respect for Autonomy
Principle of Justice
Justice can help us navigate between conflicting values.
Justice can help steer social science and policy.
Justice has practical significance.
Classic Formulation of Formal Justice: “Equals must be treated equally, and unequals must be treated unequally.”
So what counts as relevant conditions for equal or unequal treatment?
Material Conditions of Justice
Equal and unequal treatment concerns how burdens and benefits are distributed. This could be based on some of the following:
5. Full Equality
7. Race and Ethnicity
9. Economic Class
10. Country of Origin
This concerns what material conditions are used to determine how burdens and benefits are distributed.
Distributive Justice = Equity.
Most past and contemporary theories of justice focus almost exclusively on distributive justice.
How can we justify a particular environmental ethic?
1. Anthropocentrism a. Use traditional moral theories b. Create some new ethical theory or approach
2. Moral Extensionism
3. Novel Features Approach
How can we flesh out a particular environmental ethic?
1. Anthropocentrism: a. Strong
D. Future Generations
2. Zoocentrism (variants include psychocentrism and sentientism)
More Ways to Flesh Out an Environmental Ethic
5. Universal Moral Consideration
And the three “radical ecologies”
6. Social Ecology
7. Deep Ecology
8. Ecological Feminism or Ecofeminism
Environmental Ethics are based on values.
But what are values?