Theory of Knowledge: Ethics Lecture Notes

Pages: 5 (1339 words) Published: August 17, 2013
TOK Lecture – Ethics
Value, NORMATIVITY AND ETHICS
Value
e.g.
“I prefer vanilla ice cream over chocolate ice cream”
Value judgment becomes a normative judgment when it starts being expressed as an ought Normative
e.g.
“You ought to prefer vanilla over chocolate” – normative judgment A normative judgment is one that affirms how things should or ought to be. It is a value judgment about values others should have and abide by. Types

* Cultural norms Nobody should put their feet up on chairs/tables * Norms of etiquette Don’t use dessert fork during
* Businesses work related “don’t’ be a slacker” “be punctual” Ethics
* Moral norms/judgments are but one type of norm/normative judgment * Moral norm “one should not torture young children solely to see them writhe in pain” * Vs.
* Thai cultural norms nobody should put their feet up on chairs/tables * Moral norms are norms that apply to everyone
Value – judgments about valueNormative – about values that others should have Ethics – judgments about values that everyone should have (universal value) Value| Normative| Moral|
Ice-cream flavor| Ice-cream flavor| Etiquette| Etiquette| Prohibitions on torture| Cultural practices| Blondes/brunettes| Blondes/brunettes| Cultural practices| | | Sexual orientation| Mobile phone OS allegiances| | Sexual orientation| | | Prohibitions on torture|

3 BRANCHES OF ETHICS
Normative Ethics
* What decides what’s the right thing to do
* Concerns itself which moral theory to endorse, wherein these theories help dictate what is the right thing to do * The big three: Virtue, consequentialism, Deontology
* What determines our ‘moral oughts’
Applied Ethics
* What’s the right thing to do with respect to specific cases? * Concerns itself with determining which course of action is morally right or wrong in controversial issues * E.g. abortion, euthanasia, killing vs. letting die, * What are some of these ‘moral oughts’?

Metaethics
* What’s does ‘the right thing to do’ even mean?
* Concerns itself with the origin and meaning of our moral statements and ethical concepts * E.g. where does our ethical sense come from? Is there an objective set of ethical values? What do we mean when we make ethical judgments? * What do we really mean when we set moral ought-statements? WHAT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO? – the big three normative ethical theories Virtue ethics

* Normative, ethical approachemphasizes the cultivation of virtues * Aristotle
* Goodperforms its function well.
* E.g. courage, temperance
* From Aristotle’s “Golden Mean” Middle between two extremes * Criticisms
* Provides a self-centered conception of ethics human flourishing seen as an end in itself and does not sufficiently consider the extent to which our actions affect other people. * Does not provide sufficiently clear guidance on how we should act as there are no clear principles for guiding all actions * Falls pretty to issues of constitutive and circumstantial luck – the ability to cultivate the right virtues will be affected by a number of different factors beyond a person’s control due to education, society, friends, and family * Does not give very good reasons as to why some of these virtues are worth having in the first place. Consequentialism

* A class of normative ethical approaches that hold that the consequences of one’s act are the ultimate determinants of the rightness of that act * Crudely – all that matters are the consequences

* Most famously – Utilitarianism
* A specific normative ethical theory that holds that the right act is the one that results in the greatest net utility. * Utility something desirable or of use
* Classical utilitarianism – Equates Utility with Pleasure * Classical Utilitarianism – Jeremy Bentham
* The greatest happiness...
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