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Moral Reasoning

by: Carly Ott

Moral Reasoning 4481

Carly Ott
GPA 3.89
Writing and Reasoning
Richard Davis

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About this Document

Week of notes on moral reasoning and ethics (theories)
Writing and Reasoning
Richard Davis
Class Notes
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Carly Ott on Tuesday April 7, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to 4481 at Washington State University taught by Richard Davis in Winter2015. Since its upload, it has received 29 views.


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Date Created: 04/07/15
Moral Reasoning ethics The Euthyphro Dilemma o Is something good or right or moral because God says so or does God say so because it is good 0 Problem If God is the source of all morality then there is no steadfast notion of what is right or wrong 0 If anything is good because God says so then that is a problem because it is arbitrary He could easily change the rules and we would have to follow it o Flipside If God wills something because it is good then that means something is good outside of God God is not father of morality source of morality outside of God Ethics Ethical Theories o Reasoning about right or wrong right or wrong varies on theory to theory 0 quotMoral Status 0 To what does morality apply I Just apply to humans Or does it extend to animals or environment 0 Standardcriteria of moral consideration I Does it only apply to humans because we actually understand morality I Extend the moral consideration different theories have different answers 0 Challenges to TET traditional ethical theory 1 Cultural relativism I As you go to different societies or cultures moral code of conduct differva ry I Ex Infanticide in a place where living conditions are bad scarce resources it is common to kill off a child because of the inability to care for it seen as merciful bc the child would never have enough 2 Moral skepticism I Denial of moral truths I Any moral proposition is nothing more than a reporting of one s feelings or opinion on something I Moral systems change from person to person 0 Big Three Ethical Theories 1 Utilitarianism I Associated with Jeremey Bentham I Often referred to as hedonism 1 Theory of actions 0 Theory of action where what constitutes morally sound action is that what brings about the best consequences 2 Consequentialist looks at the outcomes 0 The best consequences are those that generate quotthe greatest good for the greatest number of people 3 Empirical we can show that one is better than another Objections to Utilitarianism 0 Could justify anything end justify the means slavery was justified because without it the nation could have progressed the way it did All that matters is getting to the best outcome not how we get there 0 Theory is too demanding o It is always looking forward but it is supposed to look at consequences 0 Values of the collective of the individual does not account for personal realtionships 2 Deontology Kantian ethics Immanuel Kant 1734 1804 Theory of action Theory was anticonsequentialist different from Utilitarianism Had to do with Duty 9 one s duty to others respecting one s rationality Intrinsic vs instrumental value 0 means something is valuable by virtue or what it is not by what it can do For Kant humans are intrinsic value anything with life 0 something that can help us reach a goal hammers can help us with completing a task if you lost a hammer it is replaceable but humans cannot be replaced Rationality grants moral status 0 Rational agents 9 free agents capable of making their own decisions people are the only rational creatures according to Kant o No humans no morality Hypothetical vs categorical imperatives O o If x then y when faced with a moral dilemma this gives them an out o 0 You ought to do x well what is the right thing to do and how do we do it I Kant says you should follow two things you must do are 1 Treat someone as an end and not as a mean treat people not as an instrumental value don t just use people 2 Universalization test whenever you are in a moral problem you can only act in a way that you would be willing to make it into a universal law would you allow everyone to do the same thing If not then you shouldn t do it often referred to as too demanding and can be conflicting stealing and letting someone starve 3 Virtue Ethics I Based on Aristotle s philosophy I Not a theory of action but a theory of character I What is a virtue according to Aristotle o character trait manifested in habitual moderate action 0 Called quotThe Golden Mean moderate between two extremes 0 Ex cowardice and foolhardiness I Courage falls between these two I Courage would be the virtue in this example I Character is one of moderation


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