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This 4 page Study Guide was uploaded by Kirsten Notetaker on Wednesday September 21, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to at Lewis University taught by Dr. Sever in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 8 views.
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Date Created: 09/21/16
Normative Theory Normative theory - a means of assessing how bad or how good the morality of a situation that is perceptual in nature o Primarily it is a critically reflective means of thinking about human intentional actions observed in reality of those that are proposed o Engaging in the use of normative theories, helps to determine what one ought to do (because the action is good and should be pursued) or ought not to do (because the action is evil and should be avoided) All intentional human actions: o intentions --> means --> ends -->consequences will Diagram explained: o Human beings search for purpose and meaning in life, that which one identifies as bringing fulfillment serves as the basis of the human's intentions o Human beings use the mind to discern the types of actions (like the means) which will convey that sense of satisfaction o Without the exercise of the will, intentions and thoughts of the means constitute nothing more than "wishful-thinking." the movement of the will is what makes the human's imagination a reality o The end or ends is the consummation of the intentioned, will-driven behavior in which one finds their goals, dreams and desires actualized o Consequences are the human being's bi-products, these are things, for the better (or the worse), that the human being did not want or intend, the person may or may not had been able to foresee the consequences of their action Focusing on different theories: o Intentions and will - Aretaic (virtue) o Means - Deontology o Ends and consequences - Teleology Aretaic normative theory: o Aretaic (Greek: arete - virtue or excellence) o The oldest normative theory in Western thought o Focuses on the intention and the will of the ethical subject o An action is right, or wrong, based on a consideration of the ethical subject's character (their virtues and/or vices) o Famous thinkers: Plato, Aristotle, Ayn Rand, Mother Teresa, Buddha, and Jesus Teleological normative theories: o Teleology (Greek: telos-, end, and -logia, a study of) o Evolved from modern ethical thought which perceives individuals as having the autonomy and freedom to pursue their own ends o Focuses on the ends and consequences of a human beings actions o Teleological thinkers: Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and Richard McCormick, SJ o Emphasis can shift from thinker to thinker o Jeremy Bentham Utilitarianism school of teleology "Father of Utilitarianism" An Introduction to the Principles and Morals of Legislation The greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of individuals Quantitative analysis Looks at society as a collection, an aggregate, of discrete individuals, the action is good/bad depending on whether it benefits the greatest number of individuals in society o John Stuart Mill Utilitarian school of Teleology Utilitarianism The best happiness for the greatest number of individuals in a polity Qualitative analysis Looks at society as a collection of interdependent individuals, to focus on an exclusively individual level is crass, an action is good/bad depending on whether or not our common good is benefited o Richard A. McCormick, SJ Utilitarian school of consequentialism Doing Evil to Achieve Good Maximize good; minimize evil Refined qualitative analysis Certainly individuals and community aim for ends to find fulfillment/happiness, but our actions have, for the better or worse, consequences, the ends we seek are good/bad depending on whether or not there are negative repercussions Deontological normative theories: o Deontology (Greek: deon-, duty and -logia, a study of) o Characterized by rules, principles, duties and/or rights o Focuses on the means used o Examples of deontological thinkers are Immanuel Kant, W.D. Ross, and John Rawls o Emphasis on interpretation can shift from thinker to thinker o Immanuel Kant Rule-based deontology (absolutist) The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals The universe is animated by laws. If one were to shrink their duty to observe rules and duties, disorder would ensue: "Act only to that maxim by which you can also will that it would become a universal law." Anal-retentive reverence for laws in and of themselves Very rigid and strict interpretation of rules/commandments and duties Tries to make law sacred o W.D. Ross Rule-based deontology (non-absolutist) The Right and the Good Laws ought to be observed for the sake of order. Yet, laws are "pro tanto" or "prima facie." In essence, laws, rules, and duties ought to be observed unless there are mitigating circumstances. In these cases, the law is either temporarily suspended or its full force is to be minimized. Nuanced appreciation for laws are aware of their limits in applicability o John Rawls Rights-based deontology A Theory of Justice Cultural and economic/material rights like people having access to public health care What matters is not the rules, laws, principles, etc.. But the people whom deontological principles are meant to protect. In our day and age, we should talk about right and discern whose humanity needs to be protected and enhanced with rights. Connection of law to human dignity/human fulfillment in society Procedural normative theories o A reflection of postmodern society o Acknowledges our global, multicultural, morally pluralistic society o Sees that normative theories give us a perspective, an angle of understanding, but there are even variances of interpretation within a give normative theory and its specific sub-school of thought o How do we decide without falling into relativism? o If, and how, a procedure is followed determine whether something is morally correct, or incorrect o "What makes something right is if the "procedure" is followed" o May endorse an amalgam of normative theories that characterize the procedure o Examples of procedural thinkers: Jurgen Habermas and H.T. Englehardt o Jurgen Habermas Theory of Communicative Action Citizenship invested in public discourse Individuals are rooted in communities Interested in the common good It’s “We the People” and not lobbyists and special interests. We need public forums to air our concerns, despite our differences, respectfully. We need to be humble and step aside at times to allow consensus-building. When consensus has been achieved, we need to create responsive policy tailored to our situation. When policy is enacted, we can revisit and re-open discussion on the effects of policy on our community. If this process is observed the outcome is right. o H.T. Englehardt System: Western style democracy/Western (Libertarian) political philosophy We are entitled to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, it is our right and we should defend it The Foundation of Bioethics Individuals are distinct and separate from one another We compete against one another Poses "self-interest" (generosity & magnamity) as an arch virtue Rule/duty aspect can't be rape, murder, or theft The best procedure is Western-styled democracy and it political liberties. Every individual is responsible for his/herself. We ought to be free form government interference and the influence of others. So we each can pursue happiness as we each see fit (so far as we do not infringe upon the life and property of others, then law should step in). So the best government is the one with the least law and the lowest taxes. If this process is observed the outcome is right.
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