Doing Ethics Chapter One
Ethics and the Examined Life
Ethics is the philosophical study of morality
Morality refers to beliefs concerning right and wrong, good and bad, etc. The question is: How ought we to live?
Ethics is everywhere, inescapable, necessary; it’s something that everyone does. Ethics is concerned with moral values
Some people try to not do ethics. This has its drawbacks, see p. 4 It undermines your personal freedom
Your responses to moral dilemmas will be incomplete
It is unlikely that you will grow intellectually
It is unlikely that you will be able to defend your beliefs against radical criticism Ethics shows us how to ask critical questions about morality and systematically seek answers by good reasons.
The Ethical Landscape
Ethics (aka moral philosophy) is a branch of philosophy, see def. p. 5 There are different ways to study ethics
Descriptive ethics – the scientific study of moral beliefs and practices; based on empirical research Normative ethics – the study of principles, rules or theories that guide our actions and judgments Metaethics – the study of the meaning and logical structure of moral beliefs Applied ethics – application of moral norms to specific moral issues or cases, particularly those in professions such as medicine and law
The Elements of Ethics
The Preeminence of Reason
Ethics requires critical reasoning, views supported by good reasons Logical argument is important
Feelings are unreliable, see p. 7
The Universal Perspective
Ethics must follow the principle of universalizability, i.e. what is applicable in one situation must be applied in all others that are similar The Principle of Impartiality
In Ethics, all persons are considered equal and should be treated accordingly However, differentially treatment is sometimes ok, see p. 8
The Dominance of Moral Norms
Not all norms are moral, but moral norms tend to be most important
Religion and Morality
These two are closely...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document