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Transcript of TOK Ethics
Meta-Ethics, Applied Ethics, Normative Ethics, Situational Ethics, Duty Ethics, Utilitarianism, Emmanuel Kant, Plato, Aristotle, Jeremy Bentham Deontology, Moral/Ethical Relativism, Self Interest Theory, Ethical Dilemmas, altruism, values, morality, Religious Ethics, virtues, Consequentialism, Greater Good, Empathy, Equality, Equity, Business Ethics, Legal Ethics, Bioethics, Golden Rule, Hedonism, Justice, Natural Law, Paternalism, Human Rights, Rules of War, Slippery Slope, Universal, Utility, Sympathy, Egoism, Dignity, Moral Agent, Moral Choice
Find a film clip from one of your favorite movies that deals with an ethical dilemma. Bring it in to share with the class.
WHAT MAKES SOMETHING RIGHT? WHAT MAKES SOMETHING WRONG?
THE ONES WHO WALK AWAY FROM OMELAS
Who Gets the Liver?
There are five people desperately in need of a life saving liver transplant. As a class, you will meet these people, along with the liver donor, ask them questions, and decide which person gets the liver. Before meeting them, discuss the criteria by which you would judge someone's worthiness for a transplant.
Who should get the liver and why?
Is there anyone you felt did not deserve the liver? Why?
How did you come to your decision? Which WOKs did you focus on? What ideas helped you to make your decision?
Can you come up with a rule that might help you to make future decisions?
“There is no good or evil, there is only power and those with the will to use it.” Lord Voldemort
The Moral Side of Murder
Putting a Price Tag on Life
Free to Choose
This Land is My Land
Mind Your Motive
A Lesson in Lying
What's a Fair Start?
Arguing Affirmative Action
The Good Citizen
Michael Sandel is a philosopher, ethicist, political theorist and Harvard Professor best known for his course "Justice". You can watch the entire course here!
TYPES OF ETHICS
Attitudes towards Business Ethics Questionnaire
Part 1 -Reflect on the following statements about business attitudes in questions 1-22.
Indicate your position regarding each statement:
1 =Strongly disagree, 2=(Disagree), 3=(Not sure), 4=(Agree), 5=(Strongly agree).
The only moral of business is making money.
A company's only responsibility is to the shareholders.
Act according to the law, and you can't go wrong morally.
Business decisions involve a realistic economic attitude and not a moral philosophy.
Moral values are irrelevant to the business world.
The lack of public confidence in the ethics of business people is not justified.
"Business ethics" is a concept for public relations only.
The business world today is not different from what it used to be in the past. There is nothing new under the sun.
Conditions of a free market economy will serve best the needs of society.
Limiting competition and regulating business can only hurt society and actually violates basic natural laws.
As a consumer when making a car insurance claim, I try to get as much as possible regardless of the extent of the damage.
Making money is more important than serving the community.
Employee wages should be determined according to the laws of supply and demand.
For every decision in business the only question I ask is, "Will it be profitable?" If yes-I will act according; if not, it is irrelevant and a waste of time.
A good business person is a successful business person.
Making money is more important than protecting the environment.
Acting ethically will limit the success I will have in business, which is not good for my family.
Businesses will act ethically even without government regulation.
If people get hurt by my business decisions it is ok because I do not know them personally.
Business students would not benefit from taking a course in business ethics.
Read the short story by Ursula Leguin for homework.
What is the ethical dilemma in Omelas?
What moral/ethical values are involved in this society?
Would you walk away? Why? Which WOKs are you using to make your decision?
Quiz: Draw Omelas
Is a totally free market economy ethical?
What does Wen Jiabao think?
Why has China been successful according to Wen?
Should the government regulate the economy to protect people against the excesses of greedy businessmen?
Should businesses be free from government regulation so they can better create jobs?
"The perfect theory for rules of what you kan and kant do!"
“I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no person should witness: gas chambers built by learned engineers. Children poisoned by educated physicians. Infants killed by trained nurses. Women and babies shot by high school and college graduates. So, I am suspicious of education.
My request is:
Help your children become human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths or educated Eichmanns. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more human.”
- An excerpt of a letter written by a Holocaust survivor to educators, published in “Teacher and Child” by Dr. Haim Ginott, child psychologist and author
WAR AND MORAL INJURY
ETHICS and the WOKs
Which WOKS do you rely on mostly when determining if something is right or wrong? What are the strengths and weaknesses of using these WOKs in ethics?
What is the nature of ethical knowledge itself?
Deals with the very broad, general questions associated with ethics, like whether there are universal ethical values that exist independent of humanity or if specific people & cultures invent moral values dependent on specific contexts.
How do we know whether we are doing the right thing?
Attempts to provide answers using general approaches' that act as guides to thought and action. These approaches are called ethical theories and provide answers to the question "What should I do?
How does ethical thinking apply to specific circumstances?
Is the most specific of the types of ethics & tries to answer specific questions in areas of bioethics, business ethics, sexual ethics, medical ethics, etc. At this level area specific ethical frameworks are formed
Why should we act ethically?
To what extent do you agree with this statement?
"The greatest good for the greatest number"
Deontology/Rule based ethics/Duty Ethics
Humans, as rational beings, possess innate worth & dignity, and that needs to be respected.
This is the basis for human rights and known as rule based ethics.
Many professions have rule based ethical systems to prevent members from ethical dilemmas.
Moral duties are formed through reason and
! They MUST be followed.
What are our duties? Generalize a rule by asking "what would happen if everyone did it?".
What are the strengths and weaknesses of duty ethics?
Utilitarianism is often summed up by saying that it is equivalent to the ‘GREATEST HAPPINESS PRINCIPLE’. Good actions maximize happiness, bad actions minimize happiness and cause pain. Not all utilitarians are the same, but all agree that....
Jeremy Bentham was the founder of Utilitarianism.
He considered that the interests of society and the interests of the individual coincide.
Implemented his ideas in education, prisons, sex laws and even the laws regarding corruption.
"Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters: pain and pleasure... They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think: every effort we can make to throw off our subjugation will serve but to demonstrate and affirm it."
CONSEQUENCES OF AN ACTIONS MATTER!
Focuses on the rightness/wrongness of the CHOICE itself
What are the strengths and weaknesses of utilitarianism?
John Stewart Mill was a utilitarian but of a different type to Bentham.
Bentham was a close friend of his father and he was brought up on Benthamite principles.
He differed from Bentham, as he focused on higher & lower pleasures & the realization of
true human potential.
Believed we should forget our own happiness & focus on the happiness of others. He argued for
– the commitment to the good of others not ourselves.
If we follow this, then we may one day discover we are happy – but if we seek happiness we will not find it.
“Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so."
What would Kantian Ethics and Classical Utilitarianism conclude about OMELAS?
Should people walk away? Why or why not?
How do reason and emotion play a role in each of these theories?
Pick and ethical situation and apply Kantian ethics and Utilitarianism to it.
There are universal morals and ethics that should apply to everyone
Moral values and ethics are "
" to particular cultures and societies.
ABSOLUTISM vs RELATIVISM?
Find a clip from a movie you like that deals with an ethical dilemma. Break down the dilemma looking at some of the theories and WOKs that apply. Be ready to share with the class.
For many religious people, decisions about what is right and wrong depends on revelations put forward in religious texts like the Bible, Koran, and Torah. What is right depends on what God says is right.
Which text should be used? How should the text be interpreted? Are some rules more important than others?
"Is something good because God says it is good, or does God say that it is good because it is good?"
Because of these problems, philosophy tends to focus on ethics based on reason rather than revelation
No set of rules can tell you what to do in a situation before the situation occurs. Appealing as it allows for nuances in particular situations.
It is individualistic. It can easily lead to self-interest becoming dominant
emphasizes the virtues, or moral character, of the moral agent instead of the choice itself or the consequences of the choice.
developing morally desirable virtues for their own sake will help aid moral actions when such decisions need to be made
focus on being, rather than doing
Most associated with Plato and Aristotle.
Problems: disagreement as to what the virtues are
wisdom; prudence; justice; fortitude; temperance; liberality; magnanimity; courage; humility; love; courage; honesty?????
HOW ETHICAL IS YOUR CAS?
The above editorial/opinion article look at voluntourism, where wealthy people combine tourism of exotic places with their desire to "do good". It deals with TOK in the sense that it brings up the knowledge question "How do we know if the service we do is ethical?" I want you to read this article and explore this question for your weekly reflection. Bring in the ethical theories if you can and issues like motivations, intentions, and consequences to help us explore the issue.
The above article has a slightly more humorous take on voluntourism, but highlights the same point as the article from Al Jazeera. Note: the article is satire and made up. Or dare I say a lie that shows us the truth?
Focus should be on promoting agape, or unconditional love.
As Thomas Jay Oord defined it, agape is "an intentional response to promote well-being when responding to that which has generated ill-being."
There may be no agreed standards available.
It denies the authority of the Church to decide what is right and wrong.
It is very difficult to decide what is the 'loving' thing to do. Who are you to be loving to in the abortion debate?
Diversity Argument- sheer diversity of cultural practices suggests that there are no objective moral values. Forcing ones values on another is paternalistic and cultural imperialism. Seems more tolerant than the alternative
Believing “All morals are Relative” disproves moral relativism, as the believer is expressing the strict adherence to a universal moral value that "all morals are relative"..
The Nazis would say "In our culture it is ok to kill Jews". Are you ok with this?
Lack of Foundations Argument- does not seem to be an independent 'moral reality' against which we can test our values to see if they are true or false.
Choose one of the following real life situations that relate to moral relativism. Research the topic; understand the who? what? when? why? where? of the practice. Analyze the arguments for an against the practice. Consider the ethical theories we have discussed in class and come to a conclusion as to whether the practice is acceptable or not.
Female Genital Mutilation
'I cannot see how to refute the arguments for the subjectivity of ethical values, but I find myself incapable of believing that all that is wrong with wanton cruelty is that I don't like it.'
Questions to consider:
What, according to the author, is the problem with her friend Jack?
What are the examples she uses as costs of voluntourism?
What does the author mean when she says "In simple terms, the lack of knowledge of other cultures makes them easier to help."?
How can voluntourism be "saved" according to the author?
What matters to the author: Motivations? The act itself? Consequences? The actor's virtue?
How does this article relate to the Ways of Knowing?
1. Finish up Preparation for Presentation
2. Jigsaw groups (1 member of each topic group in each new group)
3. Each topic leader reports to the others on the results of their research and analysis. Others take notes. (15 minutes)
4. Unjigsaw groups- go back to original groups.
5. 10 minutes to review information on your new topic.
Original FGM group now Torture
Original Torture now Child Marriage
Child Marriage now Honor Killing
Honor Killing now FGM
6. Presentations on new topics.
PREPARE A 3 MINUTE PRESENTATION
the Bhopal disaster in India
the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
the effects of tobacco on health or of leaded petrol on health and forests
the effects of manufacturing and building using asbestos
the pollution of water supplies by fracking for shale-gas in the USA
the destruction of half a million acres of Australian farmland by irresponsible irrigation
the destruction of historic sites caused by dams in Egypt and China
miners left to die below ground for want of safety procedures
the personal tragedies of workers forced to suicide by workplace bullying.
BUSINESSES BEHAVING BADLY
READ THE ARTICLE ON SOMALI MAM HERE:
AFTER READING, COME UP WITH A SOLID KNOWLEDGE QUESTION RELATED TO THE REAL LIFE SITUATION
HOW DOES THE RLS IN THE CLIP BELOW RELATE TO UTILITARIANISM?
COME UP WITH A KQ FOR THE CLIP ABOVE.
TO WHAT EXTEND SHOULD WE TOLERATE THE PRACTICES OF OTHER CULTURES?
Culture/tradition should not be taken into account when determining what is acceptable and what is not.
We should be accepting of others' cultural and religious practices and others should be accepting of ours.
AT WHAT POINT WOULD IT BE OK TO FORCE YOUR MORALS AND ETHICS ON ANOTHER GROUP?
SHARK FIN SOUP
ETHICS AND THE HUMAN SCIENCES
Which picture represents absolutism? Which represents relativism? Explain.
Today utilitarians often describe benefits and harms in terms of the satisfaction of personal preferences or in purely economic terms of monetary benefits over monetary costs.
not "action guiding", so gives no guidelines on what sorts of activity are prohibited. Hard to base law upon something like this.
Some argue it is too self centered, as ethics and morality pposed to be focussed on other people.
TO GET SPOCK OR NOT TO GET SPOCK?
Who do you agree with? Spock or Kirk? Explain.
What is the moral dilemma?
Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few? Why or why not?
Spock argues the rule must be followed. Which rule is he talking about? Why do you think this rule exists? Should rule always be followed?