Last week • Arguments composed of • Premises • Conclusions • Ways to validate arguments • Are premises logically linked to lead to the conclusion? • Are premises established facts or debatable?
Taxi Driver Argument • You can win any argument with facts can’t you?
Evaluating premises What evidence supports the premise? Is the earth flat?
Reliable References • Accurate (source, methods& procedures) • Author’s qualifications • Current (based upon most recent information) • Purpose of publication (potential bias or stakeholder agenda) • Primary vs. secondary source
Ways to lose an argument • Use false, poorly documented or even laughable premises
Making Ethical Decisions Your perspective or how you view the situation can greatly effect your ethical decision.
Find 3 boxes in the corner 1 3 2 1 or 2 3 The boxes you find depends upon your perspective?
Making Ethical Decisions What are some methods to reliably make ethical decisions?
Decision 1 ? You are an emergency room physician, and you only have five doses of a certain drug left. Five patients have mild versions of a condition and only require a single dose to save their lives. One patient is so severely ill, that all five doses would be required to save this one patient’s life. Any patient that is not treated will die! What should you do? What moral principle can guide your decision?
Utilitarian Ethics • Decisions based upon the greatest future good (utility) for the greatest number • “good” may be individual pleasure, absence of pain, intellectual pleasure, etc. • Cost-benefit approach to decision making • Negative consequences may occur and even outweigh positive for some individuals or groups
Utilitarian Ethics Identify a moral decision for which you feel comfortable using a utilitarian approach
Decision 2 ? You are an excellent transplant surgeon and all your transplants work! You have five patients and each needs a transplant. One needs a heart, one a brain, one a lung, one a kidney and one a liver. Another patient comes in to find the results of his blood tests. You know from the test results that this male patient would be an excellent donor. You have no other prospects for donating transplants. You decide to ask the patient if he would be willing to donate his life to save the lives of the other 5 patients that need a transplant. The male patient declines your kind offer, but you realize that you could overpower him and cut him up without his consent. What should you do? What moral principle can guide your decision?
Deontological Ethics • Decisions are based upon: • The Rights of Others (i.e. The “Bill of Rights” in the US Constitution. “All people are endowed with certain unalienable rights…”) • Our Duties (i.e. We have a duty to help people when they are devastated by a natural disaster.) • Similar to golden rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
Is it morally wrong to beat on • your rock? • your car? • your tree? • your dog? • your child?
Question of Animal Rights?Are non-human animals? Beings with value & rights If so, what rights do they have? Unconscious machines
Deontological Ethics Identify a moral decision for which you feel comfortable using a deontological (rights/duties) approach
Decision 3 You are given the assignment in class to read a chapter in your textbook and answer a set of questions. Your instructor has clearly indicated that you are expected to complete the assignment, but the assignment will not be used in any way to determine your grade in the class. You are on your honor to complete the assignment. You find a sheet in your used textbook with the answers from the previous semester. You can complete the assignment but as always there are many other activities you could choose to occupy the time. What would you do? What moral theory can guide your decision?
Virtue Ethics • Based on motives and moral character • What action has the greatest virtue? • What sort of person should I be and how should I live?
Virtue Ethics Identify a moral decision for which you feel comfortable using a virtue approach
3 methods for making ethical decisions • Utilitarian What is the greatest good? • Deontological What are the rights and/or duties of those involved? • Virtue Theory What is the most virtuous action?
Decision 4 The driver of a trolley has passed out at the wheel, and his trolley is hurtling out of control down the track. Straight ahead on the track are five people who will be killed if the trolley reaches them. You are a passerby, who happens to be standing by the track next to the switch. If you throw the switch, you will turn the trolley into a spur of track on the right, thereby saving the five. Unfortunately, one man is also on that spur and will be killed if you turn the trolley. What would you do? What moral principle can guide your decision?
Ethical Theories Sometimes Collide • Switching the track to save the five has more utility than saving the one. • Switching the track to save the five violates the rights of the one by doing something that will cause harm to another person. • Arguing about the value of saving five is not likely to convince someone who is concerned about violating the rights of another person. • A virtuous person might devise a method to sacrifice himself/herself to save both the five and the one.