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Transcript of Moral Philosophy
The first is DEONTOLOGICAL ETHICAL THEORY. It holds that actions do matter whatever the effects are. An action is judged to be right by acting on it alone regardless of the consequences.
On the other hand, we have the TELEOLOGICAL ETHICAL THEORY which holds that the rightness of an ethical situation rests on the effect. The consequences dictates the rightness or goodness of any course of action.
Approaches in Studying Ethics
Scientific or Descriptive Approach – often used by the social sciences in which the emphasis is empirical i.e. how social scientists observe and collect data about human behavior and then draw conclusions
Religious Morality – refers to human beings in relationship to a supernatural being or beings.
Social Morality – refers broadly to the aspect of morality of an individual in relation to other human beings.
Moral Philosophy is the effort to understand the nature of morality – good & bad – and what it requires of us.
Focuses on the consequences that actions or policies have on the well being (“utility”) of all persons who are directly or indirectly affected by the action or policy.
The principle states: “Of any two actions, the most ethical one will produce the greatest balance of benefits over harms for the greatest number.”
Where does 'Good' come from?
The aim of studying ethics ...
It enables us to critically examine ethical dilemmas, evaluate principles that would apply to such issues, and arrive at conclusions on what is the most ethical option we ought to do.
It is practical in the sense that it is something that we should do as rational agents and develop our self-agency in conducting our lives faced with such challenging issues.
Themes in the Human Definition of 'Good'
Ethics – derived from the Greek word 'ethos' which means character or way of life.
Morality – comes from the Latin 'moralis' meaning customs or manners.
Ethics then is concerned in determining what is right or wrong in human behavior and conduct. It asks questions as what constitutes any person or action being good, bad, right or wrong and how do we know which principles to follow in conducting ourselves and the manner in which we judge actions and persons.
Normative or Prescriptive – deals with value judgments i.e. what is ought to be done or should be done; it goes beyond the descriptive approach of the sciences. Thus, we look at how our statements and its content are prescribing how human beings should behave, not merely describing how they do in fact behave.
Metaethics or Analytic Ethics – it concentrates on the analysis of ethical language; it involves analyzing the rational foundations for ethical systems or the logic and reasoning of various ethicists.
Determinants of Morality
Objective – “outside of” human beings; read off from nature or external source
There are three ways of looking at values being objective:
1) They come from some supernatural being or beings
2) There are moral laws somehow embedded and found in nature itself
3) The world and the objects in it have value with or without the presence of human beings.
Subjective – moral values stem strictly from within human beings. In other words, if there are no human beings, then there can be no moral values.
To whom morality applies?
Individual Morality – refers to individuals in relation to themselves or to an individual code of morality that may or may not be sanctioned by any society or religion. This aspect refers to the area of morality concerned with obligations individuals have to themselves such as to promote their own well-being.
Fairness (or Justice) Approach
Fairness requires consistency in the way people are treated.
Distributive justice focuses on how fairly or unfairly our actions distribute benefits and burdens among the members of a group.
The principle states: “Treat people as equals unless there are morally relevant differences between them.”
Identifies certain interests or activities that our behavior must respect, especially those areas of our lives deemed valuable to us that merit protection from others.
The principle states: Each person has a fundamental right to be respected and treated as a free and equal rational person capable of making his or her decisions.
This implies other rights (e.g. privacy consent, freedom of conscience, etc.) that must be protected if a person is to have the freedom to direct his or her own life.
This also implies that each of us has a duty to equally respect the rights of everyone else.
Focuses on attitudes, dispositions, or character traits that enable us to be and to act in ways that develop our human potential.
Examples: honesty, courage, faithfulness, trustworthiness , integrity, etc.
The principle states: “What is ethical is that which develops moral virtues in ourselves and in our communities.”
Common Good Approach
Presents a vision of society as a community whose members are joined in a shared pursuit of values and goals they hold in common.
The community is comprised of individuals whose own good is inextricably bound to the good of the whole.
The principle states: “What is ethical is that which advances the common good.”
Ethics – a branch of philosophy which studies the nature of the moral rightness or wrongness of actions (goodness or badness of actions). Moral philosophy and its theories help us to clarify, critically analyze, and rank the moral concerns raised by particular moral issues.
Applied ethics – refers to the application of normative ethics to actual cases.
Bioethics – The study of the ethical and moral implications of new biological discoveries and biomedical advances, as in the fields of genetic engineering and drug research.
An Introduction to Ethics
The case of Theresa Marie "Terri" Schiavo
Do we have a right to die?
Terri Schiavo collapsed in St. Petersburg on Feb. 20, 1990 after a full cardiac arrest. She suffered brain damage due to lack of oxygen. She was however revived when the doctors connected her into a feeding tube and is in a state of coma. 2months later, her diagnosis was changed into a vegetative state. For the next 2 years, her doctors attempted speech & physical therapy hoping to bring her awareness back. This option was to no avail.
In 1998, her husband petitioned the 6th Circuit Court of Florida to have her feeding tube removed to alleviate her from such miserable condition. Terri's parents, Robert & Mary Schindler, argued that Terri is still conscious & that removing her feeding tube would tantamount to murder.
Is it morally right to pull the feeding tube of Terri or not?
Human Sexuality: Are contraceptives immoral?
The CBCP argued against the use of contraceptives as well as its free distribution to the wider public in the Philippines. A spokesperson for the CBCP argued that "contraceptives is a corruption of the soul. It teaches people to see sex not as a sacred act reserved for married couples, but to see other people as objects for sexual gratification." More so, it is held by the Church that the distribution of such contraceptives does not address responsible parenthood but only encourages the youth to engage in pre-marital sexual relations.
Do you find this line of reasoning morally acceptable?