10/1/13 • Turn outlines in to black tray. • Papers: Resubmissions due Friday. • Ethics—college, career? • Ethics—Chalk talk—add to the list or checkmark ones you agree with. • Developmental psychology and ethics.
Ethics 2 Theories and Approaches to Ethics Arguing Ethics Ethics and Culture/Religion
Piaget’s Stages of Development(1896-1980—Swiss Psychologist)
Lawrence KohlbergStages of Moral Development—Began work in this area 1958
Write a minute…(comp book) • What are 1-2 Knowledge Issues you could develop from Dr. Scott’s discussion on ethical systems yesterday? • What are 1-2 ideas that he brought to the floor that made you think about ethics differently, in a new way, or just think?
Theories Self-Interest Theory: Human beings are always selfish. Definitional Argument Evolutionary Argument Hidden Benefits Argument Fear of Punishment Argument
Self-Interest: Definitional Argument • Being altruistic or helpful is good, but in a sense you are still being selfish. We want people to like us, we want to be seen as ‘good’. “Genuine altruism is impossible” according to this definition. Criticism: We do have intuition that is ‘other’-regarding.
10/9/13 • Reminder: Draft 1 of Paper due IN CLASS on Friday. 50% if you don’t have it in class. • Reminder: presentation brainstorm due next Monday. • Reminder: IB Exam Registration due next Wed. • Lady or the Tiger: • What did the princess do? Why? • What would you do? Why?
Self-Interest: Evolutionary Argument • We look out for #1 because that’s how we survive and get our genes into the next generation. • Criticism: Empathy and altruism aren’t necessarily nature over nurture…although, cooperative mammals generally survive longer.
Self-Interest: Hidden Benefits Argument • We get hidden benefits (or incentives) from acting ethically…gratitude, praise, positive self-image, social advantages. Karma? • Criticism: Are all incentives or hidden benefits necessarily bad? Isn’t there a hidden benefit behind most behavior?
Self-Interest: Fear of Punishment Argument • People associate with “Old Testament”: Be good or serve eternal punishment. • Keeps us in line and prevents us from doing wrong (but doesn’t necessarily force us to do what’s right!) Why don’t you murder? Because I don’t want to go to jail. • Criticism: Moral decisions run more deeply than what can be done to us by other humans as a threat if we don’t do the right thing.
Immanuel KantDuty Ethics The way to decide if something is your duty is if you can generalize it. No individual should have preferential treatment. I is we. What would happen if everyone did this? Apply this philosophy to stealing, cheating, polluting, voting, suicide.
Duty Ethics • Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. • Putting the good of the group before your own. • Obeying authority—could you pull the trigger? • Fulfilling obligation. (NPR Clip) Who determines our duties? Make a list!
Criticisms of Kant • Moral Absolutism: The idea that certain rules (ie, you should never lie) should always be followed is too rigid. I can’t lie; we’re on our way to your surprise party. • Rule Worship: Following rules regardless of the consequences or details or better judgment. Someone is bleeding to death in my car, but the light is red so I need to wait to go. • Moral Coldness: If we follow prescribed morals or rules without judgment, we end of making decisions without feeling because we are told they are ‘right’. My commander told me that Jews were parasitic and would poison the human race. Of course they should be exterminated.
UtilitarianismJeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill early 1800s • Maximize Happiness! What makes the most people the happiest? GNH. • Democratic theory because each individual is considered to be the best judge of what makes him/her happy. • Rational theory because it encourages us to think long term. • Egalitarian because it justifies spreading happiness to everyone, regardless of other variables.
Critics of Utilitarianism • Constant stream of pleasure=happy life? • What is forgotten when all we focus on is happiness? • Too self-serving? • Are there bad or malicious pleasures? How do we decide bad and good pleasures? • Does not respect obligations or rights violations. • Sacrifice the individual for the happiness of the group?
Rule Utilitarianism • Base an action on if it conforms to a rule that promotes general happiness. • Who decides? • Close to duty-ethics, but more flexible than Kant’s ideas.
John RawlsThe Veil of Ignorance • Think as though you are blind to your role in society—you don’t know if you are upper or lower class, what health problems you have, what your family structure looks like,etc. Now…approach ethical dilemmas from behind this veil. • Obama uses many of Rawls’ ethical approaches.
Religious Ethics • Plato says we cannot get ethics from religion. • It is the source of guidance for billions of people— • What are some ethical guidelines provided by religion? • Which came first, religion or ethical behavior? • Does religion adhere too much to the Fear of Punishment argument? • Are there any ‘wrong’ ethics in religion?
Where it comes from… Aristotle’s Virtue EthicsCatholocism Kant’s Duty EthicsProtestantism Do religious differences boil down to a difference in ethical philosophies, then?
Are you able to predict someone’s moral beliefs if you know their cultural or religious background?
Find out what these philosophers have to say about ethical systems : • Camus • Aristotle • Plato • Nietzsche • Sartre • Modern Philosopher: John Rawls
Does motive matter? Should motive matter? • Our actions should be determined ethical or not based on what motivated us, not the consequences. • I helped the old lady because I knew she would give me $5.00. • I cheated on my exam because I needed an A to get into college. • I killed that man because he was about to throw a grenade into the orphanage.
Ethical Intuition • We inherently know right from wrong. • Cannot prove our moral intuitions are true; is intuition the best way to go when it comes to deciding a moral action? • Is conscience part of intuition?
Consistency Impartiality is important. You can’t apply one set of standards to one person’s action but not the same action performed by someone else. Special Pleading—ie, a teacher with a really strict tardy policy is late to class all the time. Hypocrisy—NOT the same thing as relativism. I hate thieves, but one of my best friends will steal gum for me anytime I ask her.
Do you think people are consistent, generally speaking, or do they apply their value judgments haphazardly? • Think about the ad hominem fallacy!
4 Questions/Ethical Systems when evaluating a moral dilemma • Did you evaluate the action with emphasis on the moral actor and intentions? • Did you evaluate the action with emphasis on features of the act itself, and principals of what is right and wrong? • Did you evaluate the action with emphasis on the effect on others—the consequences of the action? • Did you evaluate the action with emphasis on the moral code of the surrounding society?
Ethical Systems • Based on consequence aim for maximum human happiness. • Based on principals present doing good as an obligation. • Based on care stress empathy and nurturing relationships. • Most people identify more strongly with one system. Does this have anything to do with our personality types?
Arguments and Counter-Arguments • The goal is to reach the conclusion which has the best reasons given in support. Remember, to strengthen your argument, acknowledge that there is a counter-argument! • P. 224 gold chapter
Ethical Relativism • No such thing as right and wrong outside of the values of the particular individual or given society.
Ethical Absolutism • There is such a thing as right and wrong that is universally applicable.
Discuss… Are there any morals that are assumed in social media? (Facebook, Twitter, texting, etc) What morals should there be? Ex: New law prohibiting “Revenge Pornography” posting—People post nude photos of their exes on social media.
Ethical argument pattern: (generally) we appeal to a common moral principal and then attempt to show that a particular action falls under it.
Don’t ignore the facts! Because arguments that involve ethics and morals can be emotionally rich, we often ignore the facts. Some disputes that are seemingly about morals are really about FACTS. Look for empirical evidence; maybe one’s perception of the evidence is ‘bad’ or ‘good.’ Can you think of examples?
Example I think your boyfriend is a jerk. Why? Because he never thanks me for giving him a ride to school. Well, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Maybe he just forgets.
Which facts are often ignored when arguments take place over these topics? • Rich people should not get tax cuts. • Cigarettes should be outlawed. • Rapists should be put in prison for life without parole.
Moral Reasoning Moral Principalfactvalue judgment. People try to use logic and reason when discussing ethics…is this a good approach or do you eventually reach a point of circular reasoning?
How can you convince someone in an ethical debate that they are wrong? If we can’t, does that mean that our values have no ultimate justification?
Ethics and Culture/Religion This is why I sometimes say that religion is something we can perhaps do without. What we cannot do without are these basic spiritual properties. –Dalai Lama
RELIGION • Do unto others as you would have done unto youis an axiom found in nearly every religion currently practiced. Assumes that practicing empathy is the best way to determine what is right. What do you think? • Do you think that religion provides a reliable source of ethical guidance? • Does every religion have a foundation of ethical guidelines?
Questions • What religious or cultural ethics do we consider outdated? WHY? • Should religion be taken literally or as metaphor?
Human Rights and Global Ethics • Are there human rights that are universal? • Are there ethics that can be considered global? • http://www.ted.com/talks/gordon_brown.html “Human Rights for a New Millennium”
Moral Relativism • Our values are determined by the society we grow up in and/or by what the environment allows. REAL LIFE EXMPLE: NPR Clip: REI and LL Bean allow returns on anything at anytime. Moral relativism. • DIVERSITY Argument and LACK OF FOUNDATIONS Argument support this.
Diversity Argument Variety of moral practices suggests that there are no objective moral values. Morality is in the eye of the beholder. Example: there really is no argument against cultures who keep slaves, stone adulterers (women only), beat litterers, cannibalize, etc, because they are culturally relative values.
Lack of Foundations Argument • Moral values are ungrounded or lacking in foundations. There is no way to test our moral convictions to see if they hold ‘truth.’ Logic does not apply—we use ought in the place of is.