Study of Ethics
the study of how we try to live our lives according to a standard of “right” or “wrong” behavior–in both how we think and behave toward others and how we would like them to think and behave toward us.
a structured community of people bound together by similar traditions and customs
A set of personal principles formalized into a code of behavior
The quality by which a value is a good thing in itself and is pursued for its own sake, whether anything comes from that pursuit of not
For example: health, happiness, self-respect
Sources of moral standards
-Personal role models and mentors
The quality by which the pursuit of one value is a good way to reach another value.
For example: the pursuit of money
Four Basic Categories of Ethics
1. Simple Truth – Right vs. wrong
2. Someone’s personal character
3. Rules of appropriate individual behavior
4. Rules of appropriate behavior for a community or society
“Doing the Right Thing”
Ethics seen from an internal viewpoint
For example: Superman has a lot of character and personal integrity
Rules of Appropriate Individual Behavior
An individual’s value system used to solve everyday problems and decisions
Rules of Appropriate Behavior for a community or society
Beliefs about how an individual should function in a society filled with people of differing values
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, or “treat others as you would like to be treated”
Paraphrase of Matthew 7:12
A concept of living your life according to a commitment to the achievement of a clear ideal–what sort of person would I like to become, and how do I go about becoming that person?
Ethical choices that offer the greatest good for the greatest number of people
Actions that are taken out of duty and obligation to a purely moral ideal rather than based on the needs of a situation, since the universal principles are seen to apply to everyone, everywhere, all the time
Concept that the traditions of your society, your personal opinions, and the circumstances of the present moment define your ethical principles
Study of Applied Ethics
the study of how ethical theories are put into practice
A situation in which there is no obvious right or wrong decision, but rather a right or right answer
3 Steps to Solving Ethical Dilemmas
1. Analyze the consequences
2. Analyze the actions.
3. Make a decision.
Arthur Dorbin’s 8 Steps of Solving Ethical Dilemmas
1. What are the facts?
2. What can you guess about the facts you don’t know?
3. What do the facts mean?
4. What does the problem look like to the eyes of the people involved?
5. What will happen if you choose one thing rather than another?
6. What do your feelings tell you?
7. What will you think of yourself if you decide one thing or another?
8. Can you explain and justify your decision to others?
Attempting to resolve an ethical dilemma
Lawrence Kohlberg’s Stages of Ethical Reasoning:
What are the first three levels?
Preconventional, conventional, and postconventional
Two stages in the Preconventional level
1. Obedience and Punishment
2. Individualism, instrumentalism, and exchange
Two stages in the Conventional level
3. “Good boy/nice girl”
4. Law and order
Two stages in the Postconventional level
5. Social contract
6. Principled conscience
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