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The Source of Morality is Emotional Empathy

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on 29 September 2013

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Transcript of The Source of Morality is Emotional Empathy

The Source of Morality is Emotional Empathy
A presentation by Julien Vetterhoeffer and Chanseo Jung
What is...
Moral Relativism
Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior
Behavior as it is affected by the observation of these principles
What about empathy?
The feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else's feelings
Carol Giligan's Theory
Step 1
All individuals are interdependent for acheiving thier interests
Step 2
Those particularly vulnerable to our choices and outcomes deserve extra consideration to be measured according to:

1) The level of vulnerability to one's choices
2) Their level of affectedness by one's choices and no one else's
Step 3
It is necessary to attend to the contextual details of the situation in order to safeguard and promote the actual specific interest of those invlved
Adapting to Kholberg's Theory on moral reasonning
What is Kohlberg's theory?
Kohlberg identified three distinct levels of moral reasoning each with two sub stages. People can only pass through these levels in the order listed. Each new stage replaces the reasoning typical of the earlier stage. Not everyone achieves all the stages.

Level 1- Pre conventional morality
Authority is outside the individual and reasoning is based on the physical consequences of actions.
• Stage 1. Obedience and Punishment Orientation. The child/individual is good in order to avoid being punished. If a person is punished they must have done wrong.

• Stage 2. Individualism and Exchange. At this stage children recognize that there is not just one right view that is handed down by the authorities. Different individuals have different viewpoints.
Level 2- Conventional Morality
Authority is internalized but not questioned and reasoning is based on the norms of the group to which the person belongs.
• Stage 3. Good Interpersonal Relationships. The child/individual is good in order to be seen as being a good person by others. Therefore, answers are related to the approval of others.

• Stage 4. Maintaining the Social Order. The child/individual becomes aware of the wider rules of society so judgments concern obeying rules in order to uphold the law and to avoid guilt.
Level 3- Post Conventional Morality
Individual judgment is based on self-chosen principles, and moral reasoning is based on individual rights and justice.
• Stage 5. Social Contract and Individual Rights. The child/individual becomes aware that while rules/laws might exist for the good of the greatest number, there are times when they will work against the interest of particular individuals. The issues are not always clear cut. For example, in Heinz’s dilemma the protection of life is more important than breaking the law against stealing.

• Stage 6: Universal Principles. People at this stage have developed their own set of moral guidelines which may or may not fit the law. The principles apply to everyone. E.g. human rights, justice and equality. The person will be prepared to act to defend these principles even if it means going against the rest of society in the process and having to pay the consequences of disapproval and or imprisonment. Kohlberg doubted few people reached this stage.
Heinz’s wife was dying from a particular type of cancer. Doctors said a new drug might save her. The drug had been discovered by a local chemist and the Heinz tried desperately to buy some, but the chemist was charging ten times the money it cost to make the drug and this was much more than the Heinz could afford.

Heinz could only raise half the money, even after help from family and friends. He explained to the chemist that his wife was dying and asked if he could have the drug cheaper or pay the rest of the money later. The chemist refused saying that he had discovered the drug and was going to make money from it. The husband was desperate to save his wife, so later that night he broke into the chemist’s and stole the drug
Carol thought she could adopt this theory with a feminist aproach
She thought men and women viewed morality differently
She realised that not many women were put into his his experiments which led her to the conclusion that men had a tendancy of being more morally mature then women
When both perspectives were put together it was discovered that women accentuate empathy in regards to their views morality while men tend to have a more impartial view on morality
The difference in the model between men and women is not to accentuate a superior gender but to show that this perspective on morality is from experiential standpoint.
Experience has a lot to do with how people view situation where empathy can be applicable
Do our morals act as a way of justification ?
These two assumptions have some problems...
Everyone can have their own morals growing from their ability to feel emotions
Although our emotions become more powerful, once we know people's ethical situations, it can result in an even stronger sens of the moral
Assume all people are born with good intentions. This theory does not take into account an individual's influences. People's opinions are changed by their mood, experiences and people that influence them. Obviously people have poor influences in their lives at some point or another.

For example, Behaviorism conveys the idea that we behave in ways that are beneficials to us
This leads to another theory called...
People's identity = capacity to feel empathy
People having the disorder Asperger's have a limited ability to feel empathy for others
If this theory is correct then how are people with this disorder to form morals ?
Any of several philosophical positions with the differences in moral judgements across different people and culture

Morals are subjective because we cannot see the society in a same way
So, one could say ...
"morality is in the eye of the beholder"

Thank you
Full transcript