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Moral Reasoning

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Waseem Mohd.

on 31 October 2012

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Transcript of Moral Reasoning

Moral Reasoning Moral Reasoning Moral Behavior GOLDEN RULE Moral reasoning can be defined as being the process in which an individual tries to determine the difference between what is right and what is wrong in a personal situation by using logic.

This is an important and often daily process that people use in an attempt to do the right thing.

Every day for instance, people are faced with the dilemma of whether or not to lie in a given situation. People make this decision by reasoning the morality of the action and weighing that against its consequences. Components of Moral Behavior Moral Sensitivity Moral behavior is action or actions that produce good outcomes for the individuals as members of a community,or society,it can be applied to the whole global society. "An act is moral if you treat others the way you would wish to be treated" The ability to see an ethical dilemma, including how our actions will affect others Moral Judgement The ability to reason correctly about what 'ought' to be done in a specific situation Courageous persistence in spite of fatigue or temptations to take the easy way out Moral Motivation A personal commitment to moral action, accepting responsibility for the outcome Moral Character While facing a dilemma we need to think rationally.
We need to measure the pros and cons of our action.
We also need to analyze the outcome and consequences of our action.
We need to do Moral Reasoning !
People engage in Moral Reasoning and that moralists can influence each other, not simply by modifying each others’ intuitions, but by transmitting moral principles that may be used to override moral intuitions, including intuitions that would otherwise dominate behavior.
Moral principles prohibit or allow certain types of actions based on the features of those actions, as opposed to their consequences. Importance of Moral Reasoning There are times when we cannot think of what is right or wrong or what we should do or we shouldn't.
Moral dilemma generally refers to the situation, where you have to choose between two alternatives, that generally are equally unpleasant.
There is no exact definition for moral dilemma, as it is related to human emotions and not all the emotions can be explained in words. Moral Dilemma Mark, a hard working student prepared his best for the entrance exam of one of the best universities, but couldn’t pass it. Next day, his friend informed him that he could get admission in that university with a donation. Few days later, his father gave him some money to donate to a orphanage.
Should he keep it in the bank or should he get his admission?
Moral dilemma for high school students Some common dilemmas Kohlberg's theory of moral development outlined six stages within three different levels.

He proposed that moral development is a continual process that occurs throughout the lifespan. Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development In Europe, a woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to make. He paid $200 for the radium and charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug.
The sick woman's husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about $ 1,000 which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said: "No, I discovered the drug and I'm going to make money from it." So Heinz got desperate and broke into the man's store to steal the drug-for his wife.

Should the husband have done that? Heinz Dilemma Stage one (Obedience): Rules obeyed for own's sake and to avoid punishment Stages of Moral Development Heinz should not steal the medicine because he will consequently be put in prison which will mean he is a bad person. Or: Heinz should steal the medicine because it is only worth $20,000 and not how much the druggist wanted for it; Heinz had even offered to pay for it and was not stealing anything else Stage two (self-interest): Follow rules when in doing say is in one's own interest. Heinz should steal the medicine because he will be much happier if he saves his wife, even if he will have to serve a prison sentence. Or: Heinz should not steal the medicine because prison is an awful place, and he would more likely languish in a jail cell than over his wife's death. Stage three (conformity): Good boy/girl stage. One must live upto what is expected by people close to you. Heinz should steal the medicine because his wife expects it; he wants to be a good husband. Or: Heinz should not steal the drug because stealing is bad and he is not a criminal; he has tried to do everything he can without breaking the law, you cannot blame him. Stage four (law-and-order): Law and Order. Must uphold laws. Heinz should not steal the medicine because the law prohibits stealing, making it illegal. Or: actions have consequences. Stage five (human rights): Being aware that people hold a variety of values. Heinz should steal the medicine because everyone has a right to choose life, regardless of the law. Or: Heinz should not steal the medicine because the scientist has a right to fair compensation. Even if his wife is sick, it does not make his actions right. Stage six (universal human ethics): Understanding universal principles but also the importance of following self-chosen principles. Heinz should steal the medicine, because saving a human life is a more fundamental value than the property rights of another person. Or: Heinz should not steal the medicine, because others may need the medicine just as badly, and their lives are equally significant. Research shows that the longer a student spends in sports, their social reasoning - sacrificing for the good of the team - rises, however, their moral reasoning skills - doing what is fair, just, honest, and noble - decline. The result is athletes are willing to lie, cheat, and steal to get their teammates ahead. Moral Reasoning among Athletes NOT a choice between right and wrong
IS a choice between two things that could both equally be right. Moral Dilemma is: If doing what is right produces something bad, or if doing what is wrong produces something good, the force of moral obligation may seem balanced by the reality of the good end.
This pattern of dilemma may be presented in the chart: Scenario:
A runaway trolley is headed for 5 people who will be killed if it proceeds along its present course. The only way to save them is to divert the trolley onto an alternate set of tracks by pulling a switcher lever. However, this could mean death of one person on those tracks. Trolley Problem 1: Switch Dilemma

WOULD YOU PULL THE SWITCH ? Save as many as you can.
The few of many outweighs the good of the few.
Act so that you provide the maximum benefit to the maximum number of people. What justifies your judgement? Scenario:
A run-away trolley is headed for 5 people who will be killed if proceed along with its present course. The only way to save them is to stop the trolley by pushing a person off a footbridge in front of the trolley.
However, this mean the certain death of that person, Trolley Problem 2: Footbridge Dilemma WOULD YOU PUSH THE PERSON IN FRONT OF THE TROLLEY ? Most people answer YES to the trolley dilemma and NO to the footbridge dilemma.
Similar responses were found in:
Europe, Asia, North and South America
Men and Women
Teenagers and 80 years old
Jews, Christian, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and atheists
People with elementary school education and P.H.D.'s. Trolley problem Survey Results Philosophers have puzzled over why people believe it is morally acceptable to sacrifice one life for five in one case, but unacceptable in the other.
Difficult to find a unifying set of principles that explains what is morally acceptable?
But maybe COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE can provide insights Explanation ? Two dilemmas vary in extent to which they engage the subject emotionally.
These differences in emotional engagement affects people's judgement.
Trolley Dilemma: "IMPERSONAL" Moral Dilemma
Inflict harm from a distance
Activates memory area.
Less emotional activation
Rational Decision- Maximize Good
Footbridge Dilemma: "PERSONAL" Moral Dilemma
personally inflict harm
Activates brain areas associated with emotion.
Emotional reaction interferes with rational decision
Refuse to push man off the bridge. Some philosophers and scientists believe that we may be born with universal ability to judge what is wrong and right. Baby Morality -> 1 day old infant cry when other infant cry. ->6 to 12 months baby prefer good guys to bad guys. ->Toddlers try to comfort people in distress Two approaches to moral reasoning Carol Gilligan Justice Focusing on abstract moral concepts such as equality , fraternity , fairness,equality under the law . Caring Focusing on how a decision would affect others around us.Would it promote harmony or dissention? It was growing cold, and a porcupine was looking for a home. He found a most desirable cave but saw it was occupied by a family of moles.

"Would you mind if I shared your home for the winter?" the porcupine asked the moles.

The generous moles consented and the porcupine moved in. But the cave was small and every time the moles moved around they were scratched by the porcupine's sharp quills. The moles endured this discomfort for as long as they could. Then at last they gathered courage to approach their visitor.

"Pray leave," they said, "and let us have our cave to ourselves once again."

"Oh no!" said the porcupine. "This place suits me very well. If you're not happy, then you should leave!"

According to you what should be done? The Porcupine and the Moles Lyons (1988) participants: 60 adolescents, aged 11 & 15 years Example Response Justice "The porcupine has to go definitely. It's the mole's house." "It's their ownership and nobody else has a right to it." Caring "Wrap the porcupine in a towel" (so he can stay but he won't prick the moles). "The both of them should try to get together to make the hole bigger." Statistical Result -> Cultural Bias:Post Conventional is very Western Criticism of Kohlberg's Theory -> Gender Bias -> Reasoning may not correspond to behaviour Emotions also plays an important role. -> Ignored Moral Feelings Questions? Thank You ! Sehaj Singh Kalra (2010CS10251)
Mohammad Waseem (2010CS10223) You discovered that your older brother is using illegal drugs.
He has sworn you to secrecy.
He says he will run from home if you tell on him.
What do you do ? Adam has annual exam and his father promised him to buy a cycle if he tops.
He being weak in science, prepared to his best but in the exam, he wasn’t sure for his 1 answer.
He knew he would top in other exams.
He was easily able to peep in his friends paper.
So should he cheat from his friend? Level 1: Pre-Conventional
Actions are good if they lead to reward.
Actions are bad if they result in punishment or loss for the self WHO: Most children under nine, some teens, many adult criminals Level 2: Conventional
Good actions improve relationship or society.
Bad actions harm relationship or society. WHO: Most teens and adults. Level 3: Post-Conventional
Good actions are in accord with universal ethic principles.
Bad actions violate universal principles. Solving Dilemma There is only one way to solve the moral dilemma and that is opting for one of the situations.
Parents and teachers play a major role in this task of solving moral dilemmas for students. One need to realize that life is not only about black and white, but it is full of myriad grey shades.
Elders need to explain not only what is wrong but also why a certain thing is wrong.
For example, If your child is studying hard, appreciate it but do not say that you will reward his hard work only if he gets good marks.
References "The psychology of moral reasoning"
Monica Bucciarelli (University of Turin)
P. N. Johnson-Laird(Princeton University)
2008 " Moral Reasoning"
Joseph M. Paxton , Joshua D.Greene
Harvard University
2009 Websites http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_reasoning
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