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A2 OCR RS - Religious Ethics
Transcript of A2 OCR RS - Religious Ethics
Conscience from God
Conscience from society
Ethical Theory Application
Ethical Theory Application
Stems from Plato's highest good. Final end = eudaimonia. Intellectual (learned)/moral (habit) virtues. Achieving eudaimonia can depend on social factors, and we must use reason.
The Golden Mean - extremes are unhelpful. Need to apply phronesis to become autonomous and achieve golden mean.
Examples of virtuous people go beyond minimum to "moral heights"
Free Will & Determinism
Ethical Theory Application
- morality is just people's opinions. Boo/Hurrah Theory. Ethical statements are subjective and sentimental.
Ethical statements aren't analytically and synthetically verifiable, so there are no moral facts. (changed after WWII - experiencing the thought that something was wrong is verifiable)
- moral statements are approving/disapproving of something, so when we say one we are trying to persuade others to believe the same. Rather than emotions, they are deeply held beliefs (political, social, religious). Not just "boo murder", but that person should feel wrong for murdering.
Moral statements are the result of subjective opinions or beliefs.
- Ethical statements prescribe how to act. Uses the universalizability principle - a moral claim should apply to everyone (Golden Rule).
Four ideas: - sentiment isn't sufficient
- action must be consistent
- belief must be in harmony
- agent can't be hypocritical
Gives direction how we ought to act - Hare attacks Hume's Is-Ought Fallacy. Statements are universalizable but not absolute or objective - there is nothing to say whose view is better and should be followed. We can still change our preferences.
Absolutist/Realist theory independent of experience.
- we know good is good like we know yellow is yellow. It's intuitive. "Murder is wrong" has a self-evident nature because we haven't experienced murder, we just know it's wrong.
- Prima Facie duties: Beneficence, faithfulness, gratitude, justice, non-maleficence, promise keeping, self improvement.
These are self-evidently true on the face of it.
- reason looks at facts, intuition decides what to do. Diff morals = development. If there's a conflict of obligation, we look for the bigger obligation in that situation. However, you can't prove what is good with intuition.
Naturalist view may support Utilitarianism (good = pleasure) or Natural Law (good = precepts). Moral laws are understood by analysis of natural world or human nature. Good links to something else.
- human nature is the only basis for morality. "Murder is wrong" is true because human nature promotes self-preservation.
Therefore for every human, "murder is wrong" is non-negotiable. It's a universal moral law revealed by nature (our ambition to survive).
Prescriptivism is best
Non Cog better
World is subjective
We can reason to find suitable ones for our society
Human law system
All actions have prior causes. Incompatible with free will.
- there's always something that compels us internally & externally to perform an action that we see of free will.
- Bobby Franks murder case
Modern versions point to genetics, social conditioning and our subconscious.
- responses can be conditioned by manipulating the environment.
Darwin --> Pinker --> Dawkins
- emotions are a part of natural selection.
Isaac Newton-> Laplace
- universe is governed by laws of nature like gravity which create a cause and effect system. If we know all causal factors, we can make predictions about the outcomes of moral choices.
- no room for reward/punishment because there's no choice.
- free will is an illusion (locked room analogy)
Determinism is compatible with free will. Some actions are determined but we are still responsible. People get determinism mixed up with fatalism which is whatever will be will be. We must include our own values, choices and desires. Human actions are caused, but aren't unchangeable. We can link this to the development of physics - it can change radically in 20 years time (quantum physics).
Allows for moral responsibility and accountability. It is "being able to choose" than "being able to do". Kant says that we do have free will - it is a postulate of practical reason. We have self-awareness, so we have free will.
So what is determined, and what is chosen?
Cause and effect cannot be applied to humans. Moral actions are a result of values and character. Liberty appeals to our intuitions because we feel intuitively like free agents.
Peter Van Inwagen
uses the analogy of libertarianism being like branches off a road. If we do something wrong we generally feel guilty and like we should have done something else. We would only blame if we had an alternative.
- uncertainty principle (some things are uncaused). Get down to minute structures and patterns are random and unpredictable. Therefore determinism is false. However, random causes could equally compel us to act in certain ways.
- existentialism sees that freedom is the goal and measure of our lives. We create ourselves from nothing.
- saying A causes B every time goes beyond observation.
We are determined
Many places choices come from
Chance for soft - people with strong will may use free will but usually even that comes from somewhere (subconscious)
- VE doesn't depend on God and doesn't neglect community because it is not act-based. VE is adaptive to modern beliefs/varied cultures.
- virtues benefit the individual by leading to flourishing. Not a virtue when turned to a bad end. They help us correct harmful temptations/passions.
- People think that there are no moral truths and everything is just opinion. Age of Enlightenment (when ethical theories came about) lost sense of morality. Wanted to restore that morality is human purpose. Function depends on community as community helps cultivate virtues. Opposes individualism - "any virtues which sustain the households and communities in which men and women seek for good together"
Modern Virtue Ethics
- corporate finance not virtuous. Usury goes against primary precepts.
- pleasures of consumers should be met because they're the biggest stakeholder.
- consumer happiness important but shouldn't replace employee happiness.
- consumer satisfaction/employee welfare mid point of prefs should be met.
batch of cars faulty, made cheaper compensation so everyone was pleased despite potential accidents.
Can't use people as means to end. Duty to customers.
- "You shall not cheat in measuring length, weight or quantity".
Virtuous business treats consumers with respect/honesty, and this should be practiced.
Should work in harmony. End = profit, final end = happiness. Everyone should be happy.
Encyclical Rerum Novarum
supports right to join trade union.
- fine to exploit workers if GGFGN.
- higher pleasure is taking care of employees. Code of conduct are rules to follow.
- pref to keep employees happy because it improves motivation/productivity. Maximise welfare by following worker's rights.
Have duties to each other and shouldn't use as means to an end.
- "You shall not keep for yourself the wages of a labourer until morning"
- "You must not exploit workers to poverty"
- executive must have courage, compassion, fairness, honesty which should be integrated into life. Manager should not abuse power - virtuous boss makes virtuous decisions.
Agrees because it supports catholicity and oecumene.
- benefits developing countries like china so lots of people benefit.
- child/slave labour is wrong.
- we have intrinsic human worth which should prevent exploitation. Deforestation etc is okay for act but rule/pref have problems.
Making money for it's own safe is morally wrong but is step to kingdom of ends.
- globalisation is utilitarian not Kantian. Global economy can only be as ethical as any other type of economy.
Oecumene - universal nature of the church, breaking barriers is good (enhances global family).
- globalisation works against hunger.
- globalisation exploits the poor and "destroys human communities".
Depends if the aims and effects are virtuous.
Exploitation is wrong so it should be stopped.
Maximises welfare and benefits society as a whole. Openness and accountability produces pleasure for most groups.
Depends who you have the bigger duty to. May have a duty to the law and it's good if you have a good will.
Stresses honesty -
"Thou shalt not bear false witness". If people aren't honest, you need to be honest and whistle blow.
Character traits of person whistleblowing - justice, honesty and integrity.
Examines business in terms of telos of virtue. Sex industry/arms trade go against telos because they exploit others.
GGFGN but also includes human respect and autonomy.
Lying goes against universalizability. Don't treat people as a mean to an end. Must fulfill obligation of duty.
Trust and honesty. Love thy neighbour. Golden rule.
- compassion, courage, fairness etc should be included in a company's ethical policy.