Phil 164 Reading Assignment 1 Notes
Phil 164 Reading Assignment 1 Notes Phil 164H
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Elizabeth on Wednesday September 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Phil 164H at University of Massachusetts taught by J. Dixon in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 89 views.
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Date Created: 09/07/16
Phil 164 Medical Ethics I University of Massachusetts, Amherst Professor Dixon Reading Assignment 1 *In this document, a detailed outline of the reading is provided first with a condensed, shorter summary of concepts provided at the end of the document (summary will be posted by 9/8/16)* I. Intro A. Euthanasia the act of killing or allowing to die on grounds of mercy for the victim 1. Voluntary active euthanasia patient consent and doctor brings about patient's death a) ex) D r. Jack Kevorkian ended T homas Yourk’s life (1) Tried and convicted of 2nd degree murder (2) Morally wrong? (a) No respect for individual’s freedom of choice (b) Yes possible bad side effects over time of euthanasia; could be abused (i.e. no patient consent) B. Philosophical approach aims to arrive at correct justified answers about morality 1. Must defend with reason II. What is a moral theory? A. Intro 1. John Rawls said: a) Two main concepts of ethics (1) concepts of right (2) concepts of good b) The structure of an ethical theory is determined by how it defines and connects them B. The Main Concepts: The Right and the Good 1. Right and wrong shortened to simply “right” in this text 2. Right simply means not wrong 3. Is action right? Then ask is it THE right thing (only right option)? If yes, it is an obligation a) See table Obligatory Actions Optional Actions Wrong Actions Actions one morally ought to Actions that are not Actions that one ought not to do; failure to do so would be obligatory and are not wrong. do morally wrong They are all right to do and all right not to do 1. Intrinsic Value when value depends on features inherent to the thing b) ex) happiness c) Things can be intrinsically good, bad, or neutral (1) Intrinsically neutral things can have extrinsic value 2. Extrinsic Value when goodness or value is a matter of how it is related to something intrinsically good 4. Moral Theory theory about the nature of the right and the good and the proper method for making correct or justified moral decisions a) Answers three questions (1) What makes an action right or wrong? (2) What makes something good or bad (its intrinsic value)? (3) What is the proper method for reasoning ourselves to correct moral conclusions? (what should I do in an ethical dilemma) C. Two Main Aims of a Moral Theory a) Theoretical Aim to discover underlying features of actions, persons, etc. of moral evaluation that make them right or wrong, good or bad and explain why they have the moral properties they have (i.e. answers questions ‘a’ and ‘b’ under “answers three questions”) b) Practical Aim to offer practical guidance for how to arrive at correct moral verdicts or moral concern (i.e. answers question ‘c’) D. The Role of Moral Principles 1. Moral Principles general moral statements that specify conditions under which an action is right or wrong and if something is good or bad 2. Principles of right conduct principles that state conditions for an action being right or wrong a) An action is right if it brings about as much overall happiness as would any alternative action (1) This can be reversed to discuss wrongness (an action is wrong if it would likely not bring as much overall happiness…) (2) Principes about wrongness can be derived from principles of moral rightness b) Address the practical aim of moral theory 3. Principles of value principles that specify conditions under which something has intrinsic value (good or bad) E. The Structure of a Moral Theory a) How the theory connects the right and the good (intrinsic value) 1. Value based moral theories take the concept of good to be more basic than the concept of right and thus define the rightness of actions in terms of intrinsic goodness a. Consequentialism b. Natural Law Theory c. Virtue Ethics 2. Duty based moral theories theories that take the concept of duty to be basic and so define or characterize the rightness of actions independently of consideration of goodness a) Deontological (1) Immanual Kant = deontological (2) Kantian Moral Theories (3) Prima Facie Duty III. Seven Essential Moral Theories A. Consequentialism A type of moral theory according to which consequences of actions are all that matter in determining the rightness and wrongness of actions (1) Right action is entirely understood in terms of the overall intrinsic value of the consequences of the action compared to the intrinsic value of the consequences of alternative actions (2) An action is right only is the consequences are as good as the consequences of any alternative action 1. Consequentialism is a… a. Value based moral theory defines right in terms of intrinsic value b. Comparative theory the rightness of an action depends on how it compares to other alternative options c. Maximizing theory we are to perform an action whose consequences have a t least as much intrinsic value as any other d. Impartialist theory values of consequences refer to consequences for everyone equally 2. Consequentialism refers to… a. Alternative actions refers to a choice between different actions B. Consequentialism rightness or wrongness of action depends on the net intrinsic value of the consequences of either individual actions or rules 1. Utilitarianism a) Developed by J eremy Bentham a nd refined by John Stuart Mill b) Happiness or human welfare alone has intrinsic value and rightness and wrongness of actions depends entirely on the actions effect on happiness and human welfare c) Maximizing theory d) Impartialist theory e) Utility net value of the consequences of actions (1) Happiness created by action minus unhappiness created by action (2) Principle of Utility an action is only right if net utility of action is as high as any alternative action (a) Comparative f) Happiness= pleasure (bodily, aesthetic, intellectual) g) Unhappiness= displeasure or pain h) Bentham and Mill’s theory of intrinsic value is called v alue hedonism only states of pleasure have intrinsic positive value and only states of pain have intrinsic negative value. Everything else is of only extrinsic value. i) Principle of Utility + Value hedonism = H edonistic Utilitarianism (1) An action is right if it produces a high net balance of please as any alternative action would 2. Perfectionist Consequentialism a) Human perfections have intrinsic value (1) Ex. intelligence b) Action is right if it would bring a greater net balance of perfectionist goods than any alternative action c) Difference between Utilitarianism and Perfectionism = definition of intrinsic value 3. Rule Consequentialism rightness or wrongness of an action depends on the acceptance values of competing rules that are relevant to the situation a) Acceptance Value the value associated with rules b) Action is right if it is permitted by a rule whose acceptance value is as high as the acceptance values of any other rule applying to the situation c) Example: (1) Options = (a) Keep a promise > rule that goes along with this action is when you make a promise you keep it (b) Break a promise> rule that goes along with this action is when you make a promise you break it (2) The rule applying to option ‘a’ has a higher acceptance value so option ‘a’ is morally right 4. Act Consequentialism rightness or wrongness of an action depends on the value of its consequences 5. Applying Consequentialism Example a) There are two speakers you must choose from for a presentation: Mr. Brilliant or Mr. Flash. Mr. Brilliant is more accomplished. Mr. Flash is more engaging. Students will like Flash. Professors will like Brilliant. There are 5 professors and 50 students coming to the presentation. b) Applying Utilitarianism (1) Calculate total happiness as result of each speaker (2) Calculate total unhappiness as result of each speaker (3) Calculate net value associated with each speaker (4) Speaker with higher net value = right moral decision 6. Critics of Consequentialism say too implausible to calculate with so many factors 7. Supporters say just estimate; do not need precise calculations C. Natural Law Theory a) How natural or unnatural something is = right or wrong b) Morality = natural c) Developed by S t. Thomas Aquinas d) It is a value based theory because it bases right action on intrinsic value e) Opposed to consequentialism denies that only consequences matter 1. Theory of Intrinsic Value a. Four basic intrinsic goods creation of any is good while destruction of any is evil i. Human life ii. Human procreation iii. Human knowledge iv. Human sociability 2. The Core a) An action is right if it does not directly violate the basic values 3. The Doctrine of Double Effect an action that would have one good and one evil effect is permissible if the following conditions are met: (1) Intrinsic permissibility the action, apart from its effects, is morally permissible (2) Necessity it is not possible to bring the good effect except by performing the action that will also bring the evil one (3) Nonintentionality the evil effect is not the intention, it is only an effect (4) Proportionality the evil is not out of proportion to the good being aimed at 4. Natural Law compared to Consequentialism a) Consequentialism (1) Good results justify the means (best consequences = morally right) b) Natural Law (1) Good results don’t always justify the means 5. Applying Natural Law Theory a) See if action violates a basic goods if not, the action is not wrong b) If it does then go to Doctrine of double effect, if it meets the 4 conditions it is not wrong
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