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Kevin K. Durand
Henderson State University
Jacques P. Thiroux
Bakersfield College
Keith W. Krasemann
College of DuPage
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
All rights reserved
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
ISBN 020567237X
Printed in the United States of America
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Preface to Instructor’s Manual
CHAPTER 1: The Nature of Morality
CHAPTER 2: Consequentialist (Teleological) Theories of Morality
CHAPTER 3: Nonconsequentialist (Deontological) Theories of Morality
CHAPTER 4: Virtue Ethics
CHAPTER 5: Absolutism versus Relativism
CHAPTER 6: Freedom versus Determinism
CHAPTER 7: Reward and Punishment
CHAPTER 8: Setting Up a Moral System: Basic Assumptions and Basic Principles
CHAPTER 9: The Taking of Human Life
CHAPTER 10: Allowing Someone to Die, Mercy Death, and Mercy Killing
CHAPTER 11: Abortion
CHAPTER 12: Lying, Cheating, Breaking Promises, and Stealing
CHAPTER 13: Morality, Marriage, and Human Sexuality
CHAPTER 14: Bioethics – Ethical Issues in Medicine
CHAPTER 15: Business and Media Ethics
CHAPTER 16: Environmental Ethics
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
This instructor’s manual follows a set procedure for each chapter. A general overview of each
chapter is followed by class suggestions. Here I have tried to draw upon those things in my
experience that I have found useful. Instructors should of course experiment to find what works
best for them. A section on key concepts and questions follows. Instructors might write these on
the board or display them on an overhead for students to copy into their notes for each topic.
Students will then have a rubric to fill out as instructors go through the key concepts in the text
in more detail. Key concepts and questions are a guide or signpost for students to the material to
be covered and instructors may use these questions as essay, homework or exam questions. The
chapter summaries are provided to help you deal with the detail of the text. Used in conjunction
with the author’s own chapter summaries (given at the end of each chapter) they should provide
a clear outline of the text and help with your own emphasis and focus. They follow the text
strictly and instructors may find that using these summaries with an overhead projector will aid
in structuring the material for a typical introductory ethics class lecture.
In general I would recommend that instructors try to deliver this material in the first 30 minutes
or so of the class period. The remainder of the class should be spent rehearsing, repeating,
developing, exploring and examining the material from different perspectives. This should lead
later on to critical and creative analysis. With the exercises for review, discussion questions and
cases, Thiroux’s text lends itself to an approach that encourages participation on the part of
students and I encourage instructors to try to get their students actively ‘doing’ philosophy both
in the classroom and outside. Many of the suggestions that I make at the beginning of each
chapter will involve groups, pairs and individuals actively ‘philosophizing’ for themselves.
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
General Overview
The objectives of this first chapter are to introduce the core terms and ideas of morality,
distinguish morality from other closely related areas and then move towards a basic working
definition of morality. Most students will have had little real exposure to these concepts so
carefully organizing and presenting the material here will enable students to begin to build a
“picture” of philosophical ethics for themselves.
Class Suggestions
In those first humbling moments of class you’ve introduced yourself and established your “right”
to speak. Perhaps before a thorough review of your syllabus and an ethics icebreaker you might
give a general introduction to the course. Students will want to know how this class will be of
interest and relevance to them. You can explain this best by tying the objectives of the course to
a current example of a moral issue. The newspapers are full of these examples every day. There
will be many current examples of moral issues that relate directly to their major and their lives.
In fact this would tie in to a first homework assignment: tell them to find a current topic or issue
that interests them in the news and tell them to be prepared next class to explain why it is a
“moral” issue, asking them to think also about the pros and cons of the issue and perhaps offer a
view on it. Having explained the relevance of ethics through a current example you might then
begin to introduce some of the key terms, concepts and questions for this chapter found in the
next section of this handbook. Towards the end of the first class I would have students in pairs
doing a basic questionnaire on what makes something moral to prepare them for the homework
assignment and next class.
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Chapter Summary
What is philosophy and ethics’ relationship to it? Philosophy – philia/sophia – means “love”
or “friend” of wisdom. Philosophers try to be a friend of wisdom by asking questions and
studying why something is the case. Ethics seeks wisdom by asking about right and wrong, good
and bad.
Terms and characteristics. Ethics comes from the Greek ethos meaning character. Morality
derives from the Latin moralis meaning customs or manners. Commonly we speak of people
being ethical or moral to mean good or right and unethical and immoral to mean wrong or bad.
Philosophical ethics is the study of what makes something moral or ethical, good or right, and
unethical or immoral bad or wrong.
Philosophers have considered what makes something morally good or bad, right or wrong in
relation to a range of characteristics. For example, does moral goodness involve some relation to
happiness or pleasure? Does the good involve excellence of some sort? Or harmony and
creativity? Is it possible to be amoral – that is, indifferent to right and wrong? What things are
non moral? For example, my pen that I write with appears neither moral nor immoral in itself but
if I use it as a weapon it enters the domain of morality.
Approaches to the study of morality. There are two major approaches to the study of morality:
1. The scientific or descriptive approach emphasizes the observation of human behavior and the
positing of conclusions based on those observations. Psychologists, for example, have
claimed that human beings are basically selfish based on observations of conduct. This
approach is descriptive in that it is “value-free” making no judgments about the rightness or
wrongness of the behavior.
2. A second approach is more properly philosophical and has two parts.
a. The first part is normative or prescriptive. How should or ought we to act?
b. The second part is metaethical. A metaethicist is committed to the analysis of the
language, concepts reasons and foundational structure of ethical systems. Thiroux’s text
is committed to synthesizing all of these approaches.
Morality and its applications.
What is morality?
In order to further define morality we need to say how it is similar to and different from other
areas and non moral uses of key terms.
Aesthetics. Ethics like aesthetics is a part of philosophy concerned with values. Ethics differs
from aesthetics in that it is concerned with moral value although moral value and aesthetic value
connect and overlap.
Nonmoral uses of key terms. Good, bad, right and wrong are often used in a non-moral sense,
e.g., good meal, bad tooth, etc. These uses often refer to function. Aristotle argued that morality
is tied to the function of a human being. This should not be confused with any idea that meals or
teeth are directly linked to the ethical use of language or the moral domain of human life.
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Manners or etiquette Manners and etiquette are forms of socially acceptable and unacceptable
behavior. For example, swearing or use of foul language is in most contexts considered
unacceptable. However there is no necessary connection between this and immorality. Of course
manners and morals overlap but care is required to distinguish them when there is no obvious
To whom or what does morality apply? Morality may be applied to four areas:
1. Religion. Morality determined by relation between human being and supernatural being.
2. Nature. Morality determined by relation between human being and nature.
3. Individuality. Morality determined by relation the individual has to him or herself.
4. Society. Morality determined by relation between human being and society.
Most moral systems involve all four of these areas with one being primary.
Who is morally responsible? Should only human beings be held morally responsible? Are all
animals non-moral?
Where does morality come from?
Morality can be considered as having a subjective or objective origin.
As objective there are three possibilities for the origin of value:
1. Values are given by a supernatural being.
2. Values are part of the fabric of nature.
3. Values are part of the “furniture” of the world, independently of human beings.
These possible explanations of the origin of values are expressed in the “supernatural theory,”
the theory of “natural law” and “objectivism.”
As subjective, the origin of value is related to human beings. Without human beings, subjectivist
theorists argue, there would be no value.
Evaluation of objective and subjective positions. Criticisms of:
1. Supernatural theories. Belief based on faith. Diversity of traditions makes it unclear what
values are best and why.
2. Natural law theories. So called “laws of nature” are descriptive Are there natural moral laws,
i.e., laws that are prescriptive?
3. Objectivism. Can something have a value if there is no one there to value it?
4. Subjectivism. Are values entirely subjective? Would the world have value without the
presence of humans?
Synthesis: values perhaps best viewed as both subjective, objective and emerging out of a
context. Thus three variables:
A. Object value – thing of value or thing valued
B. Subject value – a conscious being that values
C. Situational value – context in which valuing is situated.
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Where do values come from?
Values might be thought of then as originating in a complex relation among the three variables:
an interaction between conscious human beings, things (variously material, emotional, mental)
and a specific context.
Customary or traditional and reflective morality.
We can separate morality into two forms:
1. Customary or traditional morality. Traditional morality refers to the moral systems handed
down through custom from generation to generation. We might call this static morality
2. Reflective morality. Reflective morality requires that moral ideas are carefully examined and
tested. Traditional morality can become reflective and dynamic when those moral ideas that
are simply handed down and accepted are subjected to analysis and criticism.
Morality, Law and Religion.
Morality also overlaps with Law and Religion but shouldn’t be confused with them.
1. Morality and law. Morality and law are not the same although of course they overlap. Law
might be thought of as a public codification of morality for a culture, although certain laws in
that system, or even the system itself, might be deemed immoral, e.g., apartheid. Law is not a
necessary attribute of morality although morality may well be thought to be a necessary
attribute of law.
2. Morality and religion. Is morality dependent upon religion? Can you be moral and nonreligious?
Morality need not be based exclusively on religion for five reasons.
1. Supernatural existence cannot be proven.
2. Non religious people can be moral.
3. Religious foundation for ethics is difficult to establish.
4. Which religion would be best ethically?
5. How could it be shown that one religion is best?
Therefore, no necessary connection between ethics and religion.
Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development.
Kohlberg’s Cognitive Theory of Moral Development sets up three distinct levels of moral
thinking, and each level is arranged in two stages which are “structured whole,” or organized
systems of thought that give rational consistency to moral judgment.
Why should human beings be moral?
Why should human beings do what is right?
1. Enlightened self-interest – I will be better off.
2. Tradition and law – best to do because some authority says so.
3. Shared human needs, goals, desires and objectives.
Morality: a working definition. Morality deals with humans and how they relate to others and the
world around them. It deals with how we treat one another so as to promote what is good and
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Non moral
Descriptive ethics
Normative ethics
1. What is the relation between philosophy and morality?
2. What is morality?
3. What are the different approaches to morality?
4. How does morality differ from aesthetics, etiquette, law, religion or custom?
5. Where does morality come from?
6. Why should you be moral?
1. Philosophy means “love of wisdom.”
2. Ethics is solely concerned with the question “What is knowledge?”
3. Ethics is the study of human conduct and human values.
4. There are two major approaches to the study of morality.
5. Morality is the same as law and custom.
6. Morality is a subfield of religion.
7. Philosophical morality is the study of right and wrong actions and good and bad persons.
8. Atheists cannot be moral.
9. I already know right from wrong.
10. Morality cannot be either true of false.
11. Ethics is
a) the study of knowledge.
b) the study of the nature of reality.
c) the study of human behavior.
d) the study of right and wrong.
e) the study of what is socially acceptable.
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
12. Goodness is
a) that which brings happiness and pleasure.
b) excellence.
c) harmony and creativity.
d) whatever I say it is.
e) defined by God.
f) A combination of a, b and c.
13. A cat toys with a live mouse throwing it the air and dragging it along by its tail. After one
hour it leaves it to die on the floor. Is this
a) immoral?
b) amoral?
c) non-moral?
d) moral?
14. “Human beings should always act in the interests of others.” Is this
a) descriptive?
b) prescriptive?
c) analytic?
d) metaethical?
15. Who said that morality was bound up with the function of a human being?
a) Sophocles
b) Jacques Thiroux
c) Your instructor
d) Aristotle
e) Bill Clinton
16. The most important moral issues arise for most ethicists when human beings come together in
a) harmony.
b) religions.
c) social groups.
d) matrimony.
17. If human beings are the source of value then morality is
a) supernatural.
b) natural.
c) objective.
d) subjective.
18. Philosophers demand in general that beliefs, propositions and ideas be examined __________
a) according to tradition.
b) without evaluation.
c) with the Bible in hand.
d) critically.
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
19. According to the author of the text moral conflicts can be resolved through
a) religion.
b) tradition.
c) social acceptability.
d) rational compromise.
20. Why, according to the author of the textbook, should humans be moral?
a) Self interest
b) Law
c) Tradition
d) Common human needs
Answer Key to Chapter 1 Test Questions
True or False
1.T 2.F 3.T 4.T 5.F 6.F 7.T 8.F 9.F 10.F
Multiple Choice
11.D 12.F 13.Any 14.B 15.D 16.C 17.B 18.D 19.D 20.D
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
General Overview
The objective of this chapter is to introduce students to one of the broadest and most important
group of theories in philosophical morality. Consequentialist theories raise challenging questions
about the role, use and function of consequences in moral reasoning and in living the moral life.
Should we only consider the consequences of our actions? Should we consider consequences
only for ourselves? Should we consider consequences for others? Which others? Should we
consider short-term consequences or long term, etc. This range of questions can be extended, and
this is perhaps best done in the context of the specific moral problems that are dealt with later in
the course.
Class Suggestions
It will be useful for instructors to draw on the board a representation of a “moral decision” or
judgment or such like that depicts:
motive  action  consequences
This immediately helps students visualize and concretize what can be a difficult abstraction for
some of them. With this in their notes you can use it to set off contrasts with the
nonconsequentialist theories that you will deal with in more detail in the next chapter. After
highlighting consequences as the central part of moral decision making you might begin to
introduce some of the key terms like “egoist” and “utilitarian” sketching out how they differ in
the way they think about the “other”, consequences for whom, etc.
There are lots of different ways that students can engage this material through activities that will
help them to see strengths and weaknesses. I know instructors who “role play” with “imagine
you are the captain of a submarine on a difficult mission….”etc. My favorite is to place students
on a “health committee” with limited resources making decisions on utilitarian lines about which
patients to treat. If carefully thought out these kinds of activities really can be used to bring out
pros and cons that students might not ordinarily see. The material on “care” at the end of the
chapter could be easily developed into classroom discussion. Most students are very interested in
differences between men and women, and introducing questions early in the course about
whether ethics is in some sense “male”, or marginalizes “female” perspectives, could be useful
later on.
The philosophical material in this chapter is rich and lends itself to a wide range of activities,
seminars, group work, etc., limited only by how imaginative you can be.
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Chapter Summary
Ethics divides into two major views:
1. Consequentialism – Concerned with consequences
2. Non-Consequentialism – Not concerned with consequences
Consequentialism divides also into two major views:
1. Ethical egoism – Act out of self interest.
2. Utilitarianism – Act for interest of all.
Psychological egoism (Pe)
Pe is not to be confused with Ethical egoism (Ee).
Pe is a scientific, descriptive theory.
Ee is a normative theory.
Pe has both a strong version (sPe) and a weak version (wPe).
Strong version: Always act out of self –interest.
Weak version: Often, but not always, act out of self-interest.
Some use sPe as a basis for Ee. Redundancy: why tell people to do what they cannot help doing?
Some use wPe as a basis for Ee: Is /ought fallacy: The way I often may act has little to do with
how I should act.
Ethical egoism (Ee)
Ee has three main forms:
1. Individual ethical egoism (iEe): Everyone ought to act in my self-interest.
2. Personal ethical egoism (pEe): I ought to act in my own self-interest.
3. Universal ethical egoism (uEe): Everyone should act in their own self-interest.
Problems with individual and personal egoism:
Lack of general applicability
Egoists may need to conceal their egoism out of self –interest
Is egoism consistent?
Egoists do not consider how their actions may affect others
Universal ethical egoism (uEe)
Most common version of egoist theory: Everyone should act in their own self-interest.
1. Inconsistency
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
What is meant by everyone?
Difficulty in giving moral advice
Blurring the moral and nonmoral use of “ought” and “should”
Inconsistent with helping professions
Advantages of uEe
1. Easier to determine self-interest
2. Encourages individual freedom and responsibility
UEe overall: Works plausibly when individuals are isolated. Conflicts arise when interests
overlap. Communities are now increasingly interconnected socially, politically, economically,
etc., so egoism less plausible.
Ayn Rand’s rational ethical egoism
Ayn Rand (1905-1982) is the most prominent modern universal ethical egoist. Rand argued that
conflicts wouldn’t arise between individuals if they were “rational.” But conflicts do arise
amongst rational individuals.
Conclusion: Ee can only work if you advocate some other theory and don’t tell anyone.
Utilitarianism derives from “utility” or usefulness. Morality is or ought to be useful. Most
prominent philosophers of utilitarianism were Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and John Stuart
Mill (1806-1873).
Two kinds of utilitarianism:
1. Act utilitarianism: Everyone should perform that act that will bring about the greatest good
for everyone.
2. Rule utilitarianism: Everyone should follow that rule that will bring about the greatest good
for everyone.
Act Utilitarianism (AU).
Perform that act that will bring about the most good for everyone affected by that act. AUs
believe that each situation is different. Each individual must try to bring about the greatest
amount of good consequences for all involved in this situation at this time.
Criticisms of AU
1. Difficulty of determining consequences for others.
2. Impracticality of beginning anew: Are all acts and situations completely different?
3. Difficulty of educating young or uninitiated if there are no rules or guidelines
Rule Utilitarianism RU
RU emerges out of criticisms of AU. Rather than acts RU believes that everyone should establish
and follow that rule that will bring about the greatest good for all concerned. Human motives,
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
beliefs, actions and situations are sufficiently similar to justify setting up rules to generate the
greatest good.
Criticisms of RU
1. Difficulty of determining consequences for others.
2. Are there any rules that are exceptionless?
Cost- benefit analysis or end justifies the means – a problem for utilitarianism
Is the utility criterion understood as the “greatest good for the greatest number” always the right
thing to strive for?
Are individuals “ends in themselves” such that the “cost-benefit” type of analysis treats
individuals merely as means?
Although utilitarianism, unlike egoism, tries to consider others it runs into difficulty determining
what would be good for others. In AU there are no rules as such. In RU, which rules cover all
situations? Does the end always justify the means?
Difficulty with consequentialist theories in general.
Can we discover all the consequences of our decisions in the present? This is especially difficult
for utilitarians because they are concerned with the effects of their decisions on others.
Care Ethics
Primarily consequentialist. Most prominent exponent is Carol Gilligan (1936-).
Men and women are different when it comes to ethical decision making
Men and women think differently but unequally when it comes to morality (Kohlberg). For
Kohlberg women’s moral reasoning is inferior. Gilligan women’s moral reasoning is different
but equal. Different answers to moral dilemmas explained not by inferior moral development by
women but by tendency for men to focus on “justice” and women on “care.” For Gilligan we
need both justice and care.
Criticisms of Gilligan
Is it a woman’s “nature” to be caring? This could be divisive socially, politically, etc.
Psychological egoism
Ethical Egoism (individual personal universal) Costs
Rational ethical egoism
Greatest good
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
1. What is egoism? Explain the differences between the various “egoisms.” Are you an egoist?
2. What is act utilitarianism? Analyze its strengths and weaknesses. Is it a good theory?
3. What is rule utilitarianism? Analyze its strengths and weaknesses. Is it a good theory?
4. What is “care ethics”? Can justice and care be integrated?
5. What are the strengths and weaknesses of consequentialism generally?
1. The two major views in the history of ethics are consequentialism and nonconsequentilaism.
2. The distinction between psychological egoism and ethical egoism is that one is true and the
other is false.
3. Many philosophers believe that there is no connection between the way people do act and the
way they ought to act.
4. The problem with egoistic theories is that what they claim ought to be advocated cannot be
stated since to do so would undermine the major principle of egoism: self interest.
5. Utilitarianism was developed in its modern form by the British philosophers John Stuart Mill
and Jeremy Bentham.
6. Utilitarianism is an egoistic theory.
7. All utilitarians agree “the end justifies the means.”
8. The problem with utilitarianisms is that they are too focussed on the minority.
9. Lawrence Kohlberg believed that women and men were equal in moral reasoning.
10. Gilligan’s “Care ethics” argues for a balance between the principles of care and justice.
11. Consequentialists believe that the central part of moral action is
a) the self.
b) the virtues.
c) the other.
d) the consequences.
12. If you are a psychological egoist you believe
a) that people should help others.
b) that people ought to help animals.
c) that people always or often do help themselves.
d) that people should or ought to help themselves.
13. Who said that the self-interests of rational human beings would never conflict?
a) Albert Einstein
b) Bertrand Russell
c) Ayn Rand
d) Edward Teller
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
14. All human beings should act in their own self-interest according to the
a) universal ethical egoist.
b) psychological egoist.
c) personal ethical egoist.
d) individual ethical egoist.
15. Who argued that an action is right if it helps in “bringing about a desirable or good end”?
a) The deontologists
b) The ethical egoists
c) The Mormons
d) The utiltarians
16. You are an act utilitarian if you believe that
a) an act is wrong if it is culturally unacceptable.
b) an act should be performed if it brings about the best consequences for everyone affected.
c) an act should not be performed if there is a clear conflict of interest.
d) an act should be performed if you benefit from it.
Rule utiltarians think that
everyone should act only on universal exceptionless rules.
everyone should act only according to the rule “the end does not justify the means.”
everyone should act according to the rule that brings about the most good for all.
everyone should act according to the rule that is in their self-interest.
18. One of the main difficulties of consequentialist theories is that
a) they are based solely on our duties at the time.
b) it is very difficult to discover and determine all possible consequences.
c) they emphasize the person or character at the expense of action.
d) they are based exclusively on our selfish interests.
19. Carol Gilligan suggests that a basis for morality must include
a) care.
b) consequences.
c) the moral law.
d) virtue.
So called “feminist ethics” involves the belief that
men are more mature morally.
women are more mature morally.
women think about ethics differently than men.
men are from Mars, women are from Venus.
Answer Key to Chapter 2 Test Questions
True and False
1.T 2.F 3.T 4T 5T 6.F 7.F 8.F 9.F 10.T
Multiple Choice
11.D 12.C 13.C 14.A 15.D 16.B 17.C 18.B 19.A 20.C
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
General Overview
The objectives of this chapter are to describe and analyze nonconsequentialist theories of ethics
as well as virtue ethics. This includes distinguishing act and rule versions of
nonconsequentialism such as Intuitionism, Divine Command Theory, Kant’s Duty Ethics, and
Ross’ Prima Facie Duties.
Class Suggestions
Students will probably be confused by the diverse range of perspectives in this chapter so
structuring the material very carefully is at a premium. I recommend drawing a table on the
board to indicate the similarities and differences among these theories. Kant and Ross can be
profitably treated together although Ross should also of course be placed under intuitionism.
There are a range of activities that an instructor might use to help students learn and engage with
this material in this chapter. Getting students to practice universalizing actions in relation to
situations or examples – especially topics in the news – really helps them to see both the
strengths and weaknesses of Kant’s and Ross’ ethics. I recommend group work at this stage that
enables students to work with non-consequentialist and consequentialist approaches in order both
to consolidate previous work on consequentialism and develop critical comparisons. One
exercise that can be helpful is to evaluate the following situation. Imagine a pharmacist who has
ill motives in his heart and intentionally fills a prescription with what he thinks is poison only to
have the target of his murderous attempt to be completely healed. The consequences of his misfilling of the prescription are clearly beneficial, yet can be evaluated as less than praiseworthy.
Alternatively, imagine a pharmacist who fills the prescription with the intention of discharging
his duties exactly and properly and further because he truly aims for the well-being of the
patient. In this case, suppose the patient dies upon taking the prescription. Here, the
consequences are clearly negative, yet would students want to call the pharmacist’s actions
blameworthy? Asking students to discuss the role of motive and intention in determining the
praiseworthiness or blameworthiness of an action can be quite profitable here.
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Chapter Summary
Nonconsequentialist theories claim that consequences should not enter into our moral judgments.
Actions are to be judged right or good in accordance with other criteria (intuitions, divine
command, etc.).
Act Nonconsequentialist Theories (anc).
Only individual acts and situations count morally. Cannot generalize from rules or principles
since every situation is different. Appeal to “intuition” and “emotions” to arrive at moral
In support:
1. Immediate sense of right and wrong
2. Humans had moral ideas before the existence of philosophers. These ideas were intuitions.
3. Reasoning in morals is only used to confirm our intuitions.
4. Reasoning on it’s own too often goes awry. Fall back on what “feels right.”
Arguments against:
1. Intuitions are wild guesses
2. No proof that we have innate moral sense
3. Intuitions can’t be critiqued
4. Absence of intuitions in some suggests either lack of morals or morals based on other
Criticisms of Act Nonconsequentialism
1. If we all have different intuitions then there is no way to resolve conflicts.
2. How do we know that our intuitions are good moral guides?
3. How can we know when we have sufficient evidence to support our intuitions?
4. How can our intuitions be good for all?
5. How do we justify our intuitions?
6. Are our momentary intuitions all we have to make moral decisions?
More generally:
1. Are all acts completely unalike?
2. Is one individual’s intuition sufficient?
Rule Nonconsequentialist Theories (rnc)
Rnc’s believe that there are or can be rules to guide our moral judgments independently of their
consequences. How these theories differ is in terms of how they establish the rules to be
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Divine Command
Must follow the commands (rules) of an all good being
1. Lack of rational foundation
2. Even if we could show that the rules were morally valid we could not justify them in a
satisfactory way.
3. How do we interpret the rules correctly? Wide divergence of interpretation amongst religious
Kant’s Duty Ethics
Another prominent rnc is Immanuel Kant (1724-1804).
The Good Will
Only the good will acts in accordance with rules regardless of consequences
Morality by Reasoning Alone
Moral rules for Kant are established by reasoning alone, not God, according to
1. Logical consistency
2. Universalizability
Kant thought that one could deduce moral absolutes, in accordance with the above, through the
Categorical Imperative.
The Categorical Imperative (CI)
An act is immoral if the maxim (rule to follow) cannot be universalized.
Kant thought that the CI only authorized absolute rules with no exceptions.
Practical Imperative
Another version of CI says that one must never treat another as a means to an end. Individuals
are “ends in themselves.”
Duty rather than Inclination
One should obey absolute rules out of a sense of duty not inclination. Someone who is only
inclined to be generous –rather than generous out of duty- is not fully moral.
Summary and Illustration
Absolute moral rules are established with certainty by reason and one should obey these rules out
of a sense of duty. All persons are ends in themselves. Illustrate this with Kant’s example of a
Criticisms of Kant’s Duty Ethics.
1. Conflicting duties – how to choose?
2. Many questionable values can be universalized without contradiction or inconsistency.
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3. Reversibility criterion (in relation to 2 above, Kant would “reverse” the question and ask
would you want it done to you?) may be implicitly consequentialist. I.e. would you want
someone to help you in need because the consequences are better than someone not helping
you when you need help?
4. Qualifying a rule versus making exceptions to it. One may object to exceptions to the rule but
qualifying the rule may still be consistent with CI.
5. Duties versus inclinations. If duties and inclinations coincide, what is the difference morally?
Ross’s Prima Facie Duties
Sir William David Ross (1877-1940) agreed with Kant’s rnc but not with the absolutism that
Kant derived from it.
Prima Facie Duties
Prima facie duties literally are duties “at first glance.” They are those duties all human beings
must obey unless other considerations enter the picture. Such considerations may outweigh our
otherwise prima facie duties. With this Ross thought Kant’s absolutism and thereby conflicting
duties could be avoided.
1. Intuitionist: what criteria determine prima facie duties?
2. When is one duty “stronger” than another?
General Criticisms of Nonconsequentialist Theories
1. Why follow rules if consequences are bad?
2. If rules are absolute how do we avoid conflict?
3. Can a rule be exceptionless?
4. Is it possible to avoid consideration of consequences in all moral judgments?
Nonconsequentialist theories of morality have advantages and disadvantages overall:
1. Do not have to compute consequences
2. Provide strong guidance in rules
3. Ground systems on something other than consequences and avoid cost-benefit analysis
1. Ignores consequences of acts or rules
2. Divided over which rules are best to follow and why
3. Unclear how to resolve conflict between rules
4. Seems to close down moral discussion
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Divine Command
Good Will
Categorical Imperative
Prima Facie Duties
1. Are you an act nonconsequentialist? Explain why or why not.
2. Analyze one of the rule nonconsequentialist theories. Do the strengths outweigh the
3. Describe the differences between act and rule nonconsequentialism.
4. Compare consequentialist and nonconsequentialist approaches to morality. Which do you
think is best overall and why?
1. Nonconsequentialist theories of morality are based on a range of factors including the ends of
our actions.
2. Intuitionists believe that each of us has an immediate sense of right and wrong.
3. Rule nonconsequentialism is the belief that only the rules of God are moral.
4. The great Immanuel Kant thought that our inclinations were the best guide for morals.
5. The categorical imperative for Kant demands that you must follow absolute rules.
6. “Prima facie” duties are those duties that have no real obligation on us.
7. Divine Command Theory is the view that self-interest, consequences, and motives are lower
forms of ethical decision-making and therefore insufficient for ethical theory.
8. For a Divine Command Theorist, the demands of a higher authority can be mitigated by
human self-interest, concern for consequences, or human motivations.
9. On Kant’s view, the ends can justify the means.
10. One of the most significant difficulty with prima facie duties is that it is difficult to establish
which of them has priority over the others when there is conflict between two or more of them.
11. Who believes that reasoning in moral matters is usually used to confirm our more direct
sense of right and wrong?
a) Deontologists
b) Care theorists
c) Intuitionists
d) Psychologists
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12. “If it feels good do it” is a popular slogan associated with which moral theory?
a) Rule nonconsequentialsm
b) Transcendentalism
c) Act nonconsequentialism
d) Egoism
13. Who said that if you can’t universalize your action then it is not moral?
a) Socrates
b) Jesus
c) Joseph Fletcher
d) Kant
14. Who said that making a promise was self evidently to create a moral claim on us?
a) Immanuel Kant
b) W. D. Ross
c) Carol Gilligan
d) Martha Stewart
15. A weakness of nonconsequentialists is that they try to avoid
a) the consequences of their rules or acts.
b) the duties that all human beings have.
c) the virtues in leading the good life.
d) paying taxes like the rest of us.
16. Which of the following are examples of non-consequentialist ethical theories?
a) Intuitionism
b) Divine Command
c) Deontological Ethics
d) Prima Facie Ethics
e) All of the above
17. Which is a complaint often made against intuitionism?
a) There is an immediate sense of right and wrong.
b) Intuitions, or moral ideas, preceded professional philosophy.
c) There is no proof that we have an innate moral sense.
d) Reasoning in morals is only a matter of confirming our intuitions.
18. What is a presumed strength of Divine Command Theory?
a) There is a standard above human reasoning.
b) There is no rational foundation.
c) Even if the rules are morally valid, there is no justification procedure for them.
d) There is far too much divergence among religious people to make a determination of the
rules with any confidence.
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19. According to Kant, the only thing that is good without qualification is
a) good results.
b) good rules upon which to act.
c) good will.
d) good consequences.
20. Which of the following is a strength of nonconsequentialist approaches?
a) Rules are grounded in something other than consequences and/or cost-benefit analysis.
b) Ignores consequences
c) There is division over which rules have precedence over others.
d) Apparently shuts down moral discussion.
Answer Key to Chapter 3 Test Questions
True or False
1.F 2.T 3.F 4.F 5.T 6.F 7.T 8.F 9.F 10.T
Multiple Choice
11.C 12.D 13.D 14.A 15.A 16.E 17.C 18.A 19. C 20.A
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General Overview
The objectives of this chapter are to describe and analyze virtue ethics, from both Western and
Asian perspectives. This will involve distinguishing the ways in which virtue ethics differs from
both consequentialist and nonconsequentialist approaches. Central to this discussion will be the
investigation of the Aristotelian “good life” and the Confucian notion of “self-cultivation.”
Class Suggestions
This chapter treats the re-emerging virtue ethics approach from both Western and Asian
perspectives. Given this diversity, unique so far in the text, it will be important to distinguish the
ways in which comparative philosophical discussions can take place and also to warn students
away from making falling victim to false cognates between the two traditions.
There are a range of activities that an instructor might use to help students learn and engage with
this material in this chapter. The section on Aristotle raises the question of an end or purpose to
life. This obviously has great potential for philosophical discussions and, again, there are a
variety of exercises you might use to get students thinking about it. This is related, and yet
distinct from the Confucian notion of self-cultivation or self-development. Here is a simple but
very effective exercise involving the whole class: get students to each write their names at the
top of a blank piece of paper. Below that they should write “I attend college in order to…” and
they should complete the sentence by thinking about their reason for attending college. Students
then pass their piece of paper to the person on the left. Each student should now take the end of
the previous sentence and use it begin a new sentence. If one attends college “ to.. get a good
job”, the next sentence would begin “I want to get a good job in order to…” When the second
sentence has been completed, students should fold over the first sentence, so that only the second
sentence is visible, and once again pass it to their left. Try six or seven rounds or until they run
out of reasons. Get students to return the papers back to the person whose name is at the top and
ask students to read out what’s written on their sheet of paper. Be prepared for comedy. In a
feedback session the instructor might raise the issues of whether all actions have a purpose,
whether there is an ultimate end to all of our actions, i.e., happiness, pleasure, etc., and whether
morality should or should not serve those ends. This is usually where comedy yields to tragedy.
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Chapter Summary
Virtue Ethics, among the oldest of all ethical theories, has experienced considerable resurgence
in popularity over the last several decades. Rather than focus on consequences, rules, and/or
intuitions, virtue ethics focuses on the development of human character, the shaping or molding
of a good or “virtuous” person. It is also the locus of fruitful comparative philosophical
discussions between West and East, with particularly striking similarities to the views of
Confucius, for example.
Virtue Ethics
Aristotle is regarded as main virtue ethicist. Virtue ethics focuses on “character” and developing
this character in accordance with the virtues.
Virtue – that state that enables a thing to perform its function well.
Ethics is teleological and aims at some end. For Aristotle that end is happiness. To achieve
happiness for Aristotle one must live in accordance with reason, which prescribes a virtuous life.
Goodness of Character
Natural ethical tendencies in human beings. Following these tendencies with consistency and
proportion will lead to goodness of character and aid in living the ethical life.
Development of the Good or Virtuous Human Being
Goodness of character must be developed by practice and habit. Practicing telling the truth, for
example, will make us truthful.
Virtue and Vice
Virtue is mean between the extremes of vice – excess and deficiency.
How to determine the mean
The mean is determined as “relative to us”: too little courage is cowardice, too much is
foolhardy. Note that “relative to us” does not mean “relative” in the sense of “relativism.”
There is, on Aristotle’s view, an objective fact about the universe that dictates where the mean is
for any particular individual. For example, a very large adult man would need more calories
each day than a very small adult man would. The range may not be significant, but it is distinct
and “relative to the individual.”
Confucian Moral Self-Cultivation
The concept of virtue, de, is central to Chinese theories of moral development and the cultivation
of the self. The notion that the life of a virtuous person would have a powerful influence on the
lives of others. De is seen as the stable and guiding character from which flows good conduct,
respect and loyalty, and positive power.
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The Confucian Analects
Human beings are fundamentally social and thus defined, in part, by the relationships into which
a person is born, into which he/she grows, and within which he/she lives.
The Five Confucian Cardinal Relationships
There is a significant difference between being a good person and doing the right thing. A bad
person, for example, might well do “the right thing.” Confucian relationships are a matter of
reciprocity or shu. The notion of Confucian friendship is a profitable comparison to the
Aristotelian notion.
Confucian Harmony
Much as Aristotelian ethics is a matter of achieving a sort of balance within the soul, so one sees
in Chinese thought an aim at a grand harmony, both individual and cosmic. Two virtues are
particularly meaningful here – ren which is a matter of fellow-feeling or benevolence and li
which is a matter of ritual propriety and appropriateness.
Confucian Role Ethics
Confucian role ethics has no Western equivalent. The Confucian does not consider abstract
individuals but places the focus of attention on concrete persons in a matrix of role relationships
with others. The ground of this ethic is “family reverence” or “family feeling” (xiao).
Contemporary versions of virtue ethics
Alasdair Macintyre is the best-known proponent of contemporary virtue ethics. Human beings
must know what they are doing when they judge and act virtuously, and they should do what is
virtuous because it is so.
1. Attempts to create good human beings rather than good acts or rules
2. Virtue ethics unifies reason and emotion. Anc and Kant separate reason/emotion
3. Emphasizes moderation and situatedness rather than absolutes or grossly relativistic
1. Do humans have a telos, an end or purpose?
2. Are morals naturally implanted?
3. What is virtue and what constitutes the virtues?
Who is the ideal virtuous person?
We all have our favorite but there is no agreement of ideal traits. Virtue ethics seems to suggest
that we merely educate the virtues creating virtuous people and moral problems are solved.
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The Mean
1. How are the virtue ethics of Aristotle and Confucius similar? Distinct?
2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Aristotelian virtue ethics. Compare with its
modern equivalents
3. Compare virtue ethics to both consequentialist and nonconsequentialist approaches. Of the
three, which is the best and why?
4. How does the notion of “self-cultivation” lead to influence of society more broadly?
11. Virtue ethics is the belief that good character can be developed.
12. Aristotle’s ethics relied exclusively on the emotions in moral life.
13. Confucian “self-cultivation” can be straightforwardly substituted for Arisotelian views.
14. Virtue ethics is a relatively recent development in ethical theory.
15. Virtue ethics dates to ancient Greece and ancient China.
16. Aristotle is concerned with action, not as a matter of the action itself being right or wrong,
but as it leads to the human good.
17. The Golden Mean (or the Aristotelian Mean) is the locus of virtue.
18. The deficiency of courage is rashness.
19. Confucian Harmony and Aristotelian Balance are comparable concepts.
20. Li is a matter of “ritual propriety.”
11. Virtue ethics was most famously formulated in ancient Greece by
a) Parmenides.
b) Zeno.
c) The oracle.
d) Aristotle.
12. Who is the most significant modern proponent of virtue ethics?
a) Kant
b) Sosa
c) Macintyre
d) Nozick
13. Benjamin Franklin believed that the virtues were ______ in character.
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utilitarian or teleological
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14. Which of the following is a matter of “ritual propriety.”
a) de
b) li
c) ren
d) shu
15. Confucian disciple who viewed human beings as innately good.
a) Xunzi
b) Aristotle
c) Mencius
d) Master Xun
16. Which is the chief Confucian virtue that highlights the natural relationship between the
individual and the community?
a) de
b) li
c) ren
d) shu
17. Which of the following are Confucian Cardinal Relationships?
a) Ruler and subject
b) Father and son
c) Elder brother and younger brother
d) none of these
18. The excess and deficiency relative to the virtue courage are
a) rashness and cowardice.
b) bashfulness and Shamelessness.
c) boastfulness and Self-depreciation.
d) buffoonery and Boorishness.
19. The feeling or action related to the virtue “modesty.”
a) Shame
b) Confidence
c) Truth-telling
d) Courage
20. For Aristotle, the two endpoints (excess and deficiency) related to the mean are
a) vices.
b) virtues.
c) meaningless.
d) rituals.
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Answer Key to Chapter 4 Test Questions
True or False
1.T 2.F 3.F 4.F 5.T 6.T 7.T 8.F 9.T 10.T
Multiple Choice
11.D 12.C 13.B 14.B 15.C 16.C 17.D 18.A 19.A 20.A
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General Overview
The objective of this chapter is to acquaint students with the concepts and questions that pertain
to one of the most perplexing metaethical issues: is morality absolute or relative? This is
potentially a confusing topic for students and the either/or form of the question could be one of
the problems here. Thiroux’s text does help in breaking out of this. This chapter also presents an
opportunity for instructors to get students to think about the important relationship between facts
and values. Are any facts devoid of value? Students will often appeal to the way things are to
justify how they should be, especially in the later chapters on sexuality, nature, animals,
environment, etc., so a preparatory discussion of it now might be useful.
Those instructors new to the text will note that the author begins to develop his own moral
framework (developed more fully in Chapter 7) and instructors face a choice about whether they
will run along with it or sit back and question the text. With so much that is unsettled here the
choice is between giving students something they can hold onto - recognizing that these
principles are in principle always open to question – or letting students swim (or sink) for
Class Suggestions
This topic may present quite a challenge to instructors since many students will already believe a
version of relativism –sometimes picked up from other classes in sociology and anthropology.
Students from religious backgrounds will sometimes espouse an equally inflexible commitment
to absolutes. The challenge then is to get those on the extreme ends thinking hard about and
questioning their own and each others’ positions just as much as getting those somewhere in the
“soft middle” to not think that they have all the right answers, especially when the answer here is
all too often a preformed liberalism which says that “so long as it doesn’t harm anybody, then
it’s okay” which conceals a multitude of problems. With this topic very contemporary examples
can be used that students perhaps wouldn’t ordinarily think about in any concerted way. For
example, you might ask is there such a thing as “American values”? Are they true only in
American culture? How do these values differ from values and practices found in other parts of
the world? You could develop these questions into a discussion of September 11th, the recent war
in Iraq, treatment of women in various parts of the world (e.g., female circumcision in parts of
Africa, “widow burning” in India, etc.) and so on.
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Chapter Summary
Is morality absolute or relative?
The meanings of absolute
Absolute means variously perfect, complete, certain. However, it is difficult to prove an absolute
supernatural being exists or the presence of absolutes (laws) in nature, let alone “natural moral
The meaning of relation
Relativism: Values are relative to time, place, person, situation, etc.; no values are absolute or
independent of cultures and peoples.
Cultural relativism and cultural absolutism
Cultural relativism
1. Studies by anthropologists reveal wide variation in customs, mores, practices, etc.
2. Moral beliefs derive from culture.
3. Different cultures believe that their morality is the one true morality.
Cultural absolutism
1. Similar moral principles exist in all societies, e.g,. prohibition on murder, truth telling, etc.
2. All peoples have similar needs.
3. Similarities in situations and relationships across cultures, e.g., families, brothers and sisters
4. Similarities in sentiment, jealousy, emotion, love, need for respect, etc.
Evaluation of these theories
Moral relativism
Because cultures disagree does not mean that a particular belief cannot be right or wrong.
Moral absolutism
Similarities in societies does not suggest the existence of absolutes. Because people and
situations exist or behave in certain ways tells us little about what should or ought to be the case.
It appears that if absolutism is true then relativism is false and vice versa. If absolutism is true
how do we resolve the issue of conflict between them?
Propositions and truth
Propositions and states of affairs
Propositions are true or false statements regarding states of affairs. States of affairs are
occurrences, events or happenings that either occurs or not. They cannot be true or false.
Are there any absolute truths?
Truth is not dependent or contingent upon our ability to know at a given time. Truth is based on
whether state of affairs occur.
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Types of propositions
Analytic propositions
Logical truths – law of non-contradiction, excluded middle, identity, etc. True by definition of
Internal sense propositions
Propositions that assert something of our internal state. True by experience.
Empirical propositions
State of affairs that occur in the external world. True by evidence of the senses.
Moral propositions
Propositions that have moral import, e.g., abortion is evil. Generally, but not always, these
propositions contain words like should, ought, right, good, etc.
Emotive Theory
If some propositions are absolutely true by virtue of logic or experience, are moral propositions
ever absolute?
Some claim that morals are non-cognitive or “emotional” having no basis in fact.
Problems with the emotive theory
John Hospers has pointed out discrepancies. Moral propositions can have:
1. purpose or intention
2. effects on hearers
3. actual meaning
If a moral proposition can have these attributes then not all moral propositions are solely
emotive. Emotivist theory exaggerates its claims.
Moore’s naturalistic fallacy
If we say moral propositions are not any different from empirical propositions we are committing
the “naturalistic fallacy,” i.e, trying to get an “ought” from an “is.” However, some moral
propositions can be clearly and logically inferred from empirical propositions (example of
Moral propositions as types of empirical propositions
Perhaps moral propositions are empirical propositions with value judgments.
Normative moral statements
Some possibility that “he is a good man” could be thought similar to “that is a green table?”
Prescriptive moral statements
Can prescriptive moral claims be thought true or false? Some prescriptive non-moral statements
(chess example) appear to assert something about reality, i.e., are true or false.
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Propositions against killing human beings
Could we make some case for moral propositions? Perhaps propositions against killing human
beings is “best case scenario.”
Problems with moral propositions
Tension between true propositions and human action and between propositions that conflict. But
perhaps all moral theories require some absolute.
Near or almost absolutes
Perhaps the best to aim for are near or almost absolutes making sure we justify all the exceptions.
Are people relativists in real situations? Most will qualify this statement. What does the need to
supply or add rules to relativism tell us? Our practical lives seem to conflict with our relativist
There are absolutes in the sense of absolutely true propositions. From some of these we may
derive “near or almost absolutes” that are moral principles “don’t kill another human being” that
provide basic foundations. Each exception must be carefully justified.
States of Affairs
Moral Propositions
Naturalistic Fallacy
Near or Almost Absolutes
1. What are the problems associated with absolute conceptions of morality? Do the “facts”
suggest that these problems could be overcome?
2. Are you a relativist? Explain why or why not, making sure that you look at arguments for and
3. What is the Emotive theory? Explain the advantages and disadvantages of holding such a view.
4. Analyze Moore’s naturalistic fallacy. Is Moore right?
5. Is morality absolute or relative? Give examples and justify your view.
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1. Relativism is the belief that morality is relative to time, place, situation, people, culture, etc.
2. All anthropologists are cultural absolutists.
3. Because a view in one culture is different from another does not mean that neither view is
right or wrong.
4. One problem with relativism, according to the author of the text, is that it does not enable us
to be critical.
5. There is only one type of moral proposition.
6. According to the author of the text, truth is relativistic.
7. Emotivism is the view that moral statements have only noncognitive meaning.
8. According to the author of the text, moral propositions are analytic propositions.
9. A problem with absolutes is what to do when they conflict.
10. A “near absolute” means almost moral but not quite.
11. Similar moral principles exist in all societies is a view supported by
a) relativists.
b) absolutists.
c) colonialists.
d) deconstructionists.
12. Relativists hold that morals are relative to
a) culture.
b) individuals.
c) situations.
d) all of the above.
13. An example of a moral proposition is
a) “I feel sick.”
b) “You should not treat people badly.”
c) “Nothing can be both A and not A.”
d) “Her hair is brown.”
14. Who claims that some empirical propositions are absolutely true or false?
a) Jacques Derrida
b) Norman Malcolm
c) Marquis de Sade
d) Adolf Hitler
15. The theory of emotivism states that
a) all emotions in morals are bad.
b) emotions in morality must be balanced with reason.
c) moral propositions only express feelings.
d) we should get back in touch with our emotions.
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16. Who stated the “naturalistic fallacy” in ethics?
a) John Hospers
b) Aristotle
c) G.E Moore
d) J S Mill
17. The problem of “getting an ought from an is” means
a) what you should do is determined by how you feel.
b) what you ought to do is often very difficult.
c) what people should do has no necessary connection to what they actually do.
d) what people like to do is actually what they in fact do.
18. Who says that there are moral “near or almost absolutes” that form the basic principles of
moral life?
a) Thiroux
b) Hospers
c) Kant
d) Sting
19. The greatest problem in the absolutism/relativism debate is how to introduce
a) courage and honesty.
b) freedom and liberty.
c) stability and creativity.
d) reason and evidence.
20. Exceptions to absolutes must
a) be carefully concealed.
b) not exist.
c) be fully justified.
d) not be contemplated.
Answer Key to Chapter 5 Test Questions
True or False
1.T 2.F 3.T 4.T 5.F 6.F 7.T 8.F 9.T 10.F
Multiple Choice
11.B 12.D 13.B 14.B 15.C 16.C 17.C 18.A 19.C 20.C
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General Overview
Free will and determinism go to the heart of many philosophical, sociological, psychological,
economic and cultural theories and worldviews and are certainly central to any conception of
morality. Free will appears to separate us from nature, and yet much recent science tells us that
this not so. The concept of causality is central here and instructors will need to carefully address
the perplexities and confusions that surround this notion. Also, the author clearly opts for a
particular view so, as with the last chapter, you will need to make decisions – assuming that such
a thing exists or that they haven’t been made already – about whether to run with the author or
Class Suggestions
This topic can and should be tightly structured and laid out to prevent misunderstandings,
especially when discussing the differences between compatibilism and the other positions. I
usually begin by asking students whether they chose to come to class today. Almost everyone
will agree that they have chosen. You can then begin to sketch out the idea of determinism,
getting the key concepts up on the board and explaining how determinism is different from fate,
destiny, chance, etc. Using simple examples will draw students into the discussions and you can
build in complexity as you go along. Of course the issue of moral responsibility should be
stressed here, and asking students what they could and would do if they really believed that
everything was determined usually brings this home. Another way of setting up the problem is
to ask students whether everything has a cause. If everything has a cause then how can we be
held responsible? If, on the other hand, some things are uncaused, then how can we be held
responsible for something we didn’t cause? Either way appears to remove us from moral
responsibility. Getting them in groups to figure this out can be very productive.
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Chapter Summary
Are human beings “free” to make moral decisions or are they “determined” by forces outside of
The meaning of determinism
Determinism means universal causation. For everything that occurs there is a corresponding
cause. If this is true, how could we hold people responsible for what they cannot help doing?
Types and theories of determinism
Religious determinism – predestination
Religious determinism derives from attributes of God or Allah: an all knowing, all-powerful
being. God determines the course of events. This raises – apart from huge issues of proof – the
problem of evil and the problem of salvation.
Scientific determinism
Science is founded on universal causation and such causation means that there is no freedom.
Physical science and physical determinism
Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) is greatest exponent of physical determinism. The universe is
governed by mechanical laws. Human beings are parts of that universe. Some argue that
humans are not just physical and question physics that suggests a “freedom” even at the most
basic non-conscious level of the universe (atoms, molecules).
Biological and genetic determinism
Charles Darwin (1809-1882) argued that species evolve through “selection” of the “fittest.”
Modern genetics complements this theory.
Both physical and biological determinism leave no room for a “mental” or “spiritual” side to our
Social-cultural determinism
Historical or cultural determinism
Hegel (1770-1831). World history is manifestation of “absolute mind” realizing itself.
Character and action are determined by culture.
1. Difficult to prove
2. Culture may influence but may not fully determine actions.
Economic or social determinism
Karl Marx (1818-1883). Followed Hegel but argued that history is determined economically and
socially. People are determined by class.
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Psychological determinism, Freudianism and Behaviorism
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
Human beings determined by unconscious drives that cultures distort or repress.
Psychological determinism significantly argues from observed behavior rather than inner
psychical dynamics. B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) argued that human behavior is governed by
conditioning and environment, both physical and social.
Problems: Conditioning may work for some under certain circumstances but not for all of the
time. Skinner’s premise is a totally malleable material that can be shaped with the appropriate
Fatalism and Hard and Soft Determinism
All events are fixed and beyond our control. This is not the same as saying everything has a
Hard determinism (HD)
Everything is caused so no free will. Humans can change the future but this will be as a result of
their own personal make-up or environment, not a free choice.
Soft determinism
Everything is caused but some events are caused by humans by means of their own minds or
wills. Thus, one is neither completely free or determined. Freedom is strictly limited because
humans originate only some causes but are determined by others.
There is freedom and chance in the world especially when we look at human deliberation and
chose especially moral deliberation. William James (1842-1910) is the most prominent exponent
of this view. But if acts are “uncaused” or indeterminate then nobody could be said to be
responsible for them. Thus there may be accidents or chance but not true human freedom.
Criticism of hard determinism and arguments for freedom
For hard determinists morality is an illusion. Hospers argues that we can free ourselves of
certain desires (alcoholism, smoking, etc.).
Inaccurate use of language
Hospers argues that hard determinists have pushed the meaning of “freedom” to mean
completely free in an unlimited sense, i.e., free of biological or genetic make-up, etc. this is
ultimately self-contradictory.
Human complexity
HD ignores the complexity of human beings and reduces, for example, consciousness to physical
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Levels of differences
Rocks, plants and animals, and humans
Freedom or choice seems to increase the further up the evolutionary scale you go.
Existentialism and human consciousness
Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1980) argued that humans are confronted by freedom in that
consciousness “intends” and creates experience. We make “choices” in relation situations that
may be determined. For example, how we choose to live in relation to those things that may be
determined for us.
Conclusion: Soft determinism
Soft determinism appears as the best alternative. Freedom is limited by external factors of all
sorts. But we are free to choose or not choose how we respond to them, to act or not to act in
relation to them. Thus it makes sense to assign moral responsibility to human beings, to praise,
blame and reward them.
Free Will
Religious Predestination
Physical/Biological/Genetic Causality
Historical/Economic/Psychological Causality
Hard Determinism
Soft Determinism
1. Did you use free will in answering this question? Critically examine the arguments for and
2. Does everything have a cause? In your answer deal thoroughly with the question of moral
3. If God is all knowing there cannot be free will. Discuss.
4. Compatibilism or soft determinism is the view that free will and determinism are compatible.
Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of this view.
5. Which position is the best here and on what grounds?
1. Determinism can be understood to mean that there is no uncaused event.
2. Religious determinism is the idea that our lives are predestined.
3. Ivan Pavlov is famous for his experiments with human beings, getting them to salivate at the
sound of a bell.
4. B. F. Skinner based his behavioral theories on the groundbreaking work of Heisenberg.
5. Fatalism is the view that although things are fixed and predetermined your behavior still
makes a difference.
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6. Indeterminism is the idea that some events, especially regarding human decision making, are
uncaused. If some human decisions are uncaused then nobody is responsible for them.
7. Hard determinism maintains that if all events are caused there is no freedom.
8. Soft determinism is the view that all events are caused but there is human freedom.
9. According to the author of the text one problem with hard determinists is their inaccurate use
of language.
10. Soft determinism is the only acceptable theory because it shows that freedom is impossible.
11. Determinism means the same thing as
a) fatalism.
b) destiny.
c) universal causation.
d) chance.
12. The great exponent of physical determinism was
a) John Calvin.
b) Sir Isaac Newton.
c) Charles Darwin.
d) George Hegel.
13. The great exponent of economic and social determinism was
a) Adam Smith.
b) Karl Marx.
c) John Hospers.
d) William James.
14. If there are external causes for everything you do you are a
a) hard determinist.
b) soft determinist.
c) indeterminist.
d) fatalist.
15. Who argued that humans are physical beings conditioned by their social, cultural and natural
a) Karl Marx
b) Sigmund Freud
c) BF Skinner
d) Henri Bergson
16. All events are caused but some are caused by human beings is the doctrine of
a) hard determinism.
b) soft determinism.
c) soft indeterminism.
d) hard indeterminism.
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17. Who, according to the author of the text, is the most prominent exponent of indeterminism?
a) William James
b) Henry Ford
c) Sigmund Freud
d) Karl Marx
18. Indeterminism is the belief that
a) some things are caused.
b) all things are caused.
c) nothing is caused.
d) nothing is caused except human actions.
19. Who said that consciousness is “intentional”?
a) Sigmund Freud
b) Ivan Pavlov
c) Fred Flintstone
d) Edmund Husserl
20. Who would argue that even if you are crippled or blind how you choose to respond to that is
a) B.F. Skinner
b) Jean -Paul Sartre
c) Paul Churchland
d) Isaac Newton
Answer Key to Chapter 5 Test Questions
True or False
1.T 2.T 3.F 4.F 5.F 6.T 7.T 8.T 9.T 10.F
Multiple Choice
11.C 12.B 13.B 14.A 15.C 16.B 17.A 18.A 19.D 20.B
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General Overview
If we can be held morally responsible then apportioning rewards and punishments seems
appropriate. Who rewards or punishes and the kinds and types of reward and punishment that
might be thought appropriate are the concern of this chapter. Therefore the concept of justice is
crucial and the main forms of justice are introduced and explicated. In addition, because the
concept of rights lies at the bedrock of problems of justice, a section on human rights has been
added to this chapter.
Class Suggestions
Again, much of the material in this chapter is rich and can be explored through a diverse range of
activities, debates, presentations, group projects, etc. Simple examples to start off discussion
might be whether basketball players should receive million dollar salaries while teachers earn…
Does Bill Gates really deserve all of that wealth? In fact, is any one person entitled to more
personal wealth than that of some countries? What would be an appropriate punishment for Mr.
Smith who stole the life-saving drugs because he couldn’t afford them, etc? The issues of
affirmative action and capital punishment are almost always in the news, and a debate style class
or mini-project on one of these can be fruitful. Getting students working on particular cases will
give them a taste of this style of analysis and prepare them for some of the cases to come later in
the text. Material in this chapter connects with work done in previous chapters and instructors
may want to emphasize these connections, going over previous material and demonstrating how
it’s relevant here.
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Chapter Summary
Definition of Key Terms
Reward and punishment in relation to justice
Reward and punishment will be discussed in the context of justice.
Elements of justice
Several elements of justice apply to reward and punishment.
What justice involves
How should we distribute justice, i.e. good and bad, right and wrong, reward and punishment on
a just and fair basis?
Concern with past events
Justice concerned with the past, what has been done rather than what might or perhaps will be
done? Rewards and punishments, of course, affect the future.
Individualistic rather than collectivistic
Individuals rather than groups are punished or rewarded. Punishing groups can lead to injustice.
Comparative injustice
Deals with comparisons of treatment in terms of rewards and punishment.
Rewards can be distributed in four ways:
1. Equally without regard to ability or merit
2. According to ability
3. According to merit or desert
4. According to needs
Criteria for rewarding people
Egalitarian criterion or equal distribution of goods and rewards
Equal distribution without regard to ability or merit. Example of Swedish hospital and kidney
dialysis. How to decide who gets dialysis when need surpasses ability to provide. What criteria
are applicable? Is a lottery the most fair and ethical means of deciding?
Problems with equality of distribution
Egalitarian method ignores merit, ability, need, etc. Should those with differing aptitudes, skills,
abilities be treated the same? Equality of consideration if they have other Attributes – race, sex,
religion, age, handicap – to what extent are these important factors? Are people really equal?
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Production, or what people produce
Quality and/or quality production as criteria for reward. Those who produce better or more
should be rewarded accordingly.
Reward effort regardless of quality or quantities of work. How do you reward effort?
Natural ability. Should people be rewarded for simply having ability for which they have had no
responsibility? How should acquired ability be rewarded? Should those with ability be
rewarded even if they choose to not utilize their abilities?
Rewards based on need.
Private need – what individuals need as a result of poverty. What should be given? Money,
jobs, scholarships? Consider the latter. Should the brightest or the most needy get the
scholarship? Does reward in terms of need eliminate incentive? Is rewarding those in need fair
to those who are talented and hardworking?
Public need – Reward based on fulfilling public need. Should a basketball player receive greater
rewards than a nurse?
Other criteria
1. Long and expensive training including profession
2. Job or profession requiring expensive equipment
3. Physical danger
4. Unpleasantness of job
5. Seniority
Theories of how to reward
Two main theories deal with how to reward (and punish).
1. Retributivism (just deserts)
2. Utilitarianism (results)
People deserve rewards (or punishments) for what they have done not for what the consequences
of what they have done may be. What they have done is primarily assessed in terms of effort.
Chapter 2 showed that utilitarianism is based on good consequences for everyone affected by
acts or rules. Reward only on the basis of bringing this about. Does this tend to reward results,
not hard work or desert? Could reward an undeserving person simply because to do so may
bring good results.
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John Rawls and the Theory of Justice
John Rawls (1921-2002) is another prominent nonconsequentialist, especially his “Theory of
Natural rights versus rights of a just society
In the tradition from Locke to Nozick, human rights have been seen as natural rights. The
American Declaration of Independence was founded on this principle. Where do these natural
rights come from?
For Rawls rights are given through a “just society.” A “just society” is founded on those
principles that we would agree to from behind a “veil of ignorance.”
Two basic principles according to Rawls would be adopted:
1. Equality principle – equal rights to maximum liberty;
2. Difference principle - inequality is acceptable if everyone benefits and has equal opportunity
to receive such benefits.
These principles together would create a just society for Rawls and ought to be accepted given
that no one will know in advance how the principles will work out for them.
Difference between Rawls and Nozick
Rawls is liberal, Nozick is libertarian. For Nozick, liberty is the good that society ought to
protect. For Rawls, society needs to protect a range of goods. For Rawls, ultimately wealth
belongs to society for Nozick, it belongs to individuals.
Advantages and disadvantages of Rawls
1. Fits with ideals of liberal capitalism: individual freedoms, equitable distribution of wealth.
2. Is a “veil of ignorance” possible?
3. Is Rawls’ theory any better than its competitors?
Moral or legal punishment usually involved four elements:
1. It must involve unpleasantness
2. Punishment must be given or done for some thing
3. It should be imposed or given by those with requisite authority
4. It must be imposed according to laws or rules violated by offender
Justice perhaps best served by law rather than private individuals for two reasons:
1. Private punishment looks more like vengeance than justice
2. Public punishment more amenable to justice being carried out
Theories of punishment
Retributive, or deserts, theory
Punishment only when it is deserved not in order to accomplish anything, such as deter.
Imposed because of a crime committed not a social good to be achieved.
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Why crime requires punishment
Two reasons:
1. Re-establish balance of morality – “scale of justice”
2. Eliminate or set right advantages achieved to wrong doers
Problems with determining desert
How to match crime to punishment. Desert theory need not consider mercy or forgiveness.
Should a crime committed a lifetime ago be punished equally with the same crime committed
yesterday? Should a “mercy killing” be punished equally with a cold-blooded murder?
Problem of mercy
Should mercy be shown to criminals? To all, some, none? Should retributivists stick solely to
idea that punishment is based on desert?
Problem of determining seriousness of offenses and punishment
What are the most serious offenses and punishments? In some cultures stealing is punished with
death or hands are cut off. What offenses deserve what punishments?
“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”
1. Mirror-image theory: punishment mirrors crime
2. Punishment should be suitable, appropriate for the crime
Utilitarian or results theory
Punishment is future oriented – looks to consequences/results.
Two sanctions:
1. Internal – directed to conscience, guilt, shame
2. External – laws or penalties imposed
These sanctions are justified by the good consequences or results they bring about. If
punishment rates better than some other practice, then justified.
Consequences for the offender
Should punishment bring about good consequence for offender? Aim at rehabilitation or reform.
Can and should offenders be treated?
Consequences for potential offenders – deterrence
Does punishment deter?
1. No real evidence that punishment deters.
2. Using criminal as “means to an end”
3. If punishment deters then works with innocent as well as guilty
Effects on society at large – protection
How effective is punishment in protecting society in the long run? Would other means serve us
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Problem with justice
For the utilitarian punishment is justified by utilizing justice. Aims more at social engineering.
Restitution, or compensation for victims theory
Justice is served only if victims are compensated.
Crime against State, not individual
Is crime a violation of the individual or State? Compensation necessary for individual to
counteract crime against State. Restitution fits quite well with our other two main theories
1. How much restitution is sufficient?
2. Should rich criminals pay more than poor ones?
3. Can old or sick criminals be expected to compensate their victims?
4. Does not distinguish between intentional and unintentional injury or harm
Is a synthesis possible?
Could a synthesis of the three theories work?
Retributivism – desert or merit as reward but not exclusively. Innocent should not be punished
and punishment “fit the crime.”
Utilitarianism – modify or moderate rewards or punishments according to usefulness, especially
those that seem harsh or unfair.
Restitution – compensation can bring about good consequences to the most deserving of victims.
Some other possibilities for the distribution of goods or rewards
Distribute goods equitably in terms of need and moderate according to desert, or merit or ability
or as a result of productivity, effort, etc.
A synthetic approach appears best for both reward and punishment without losing sight of need
and the egalitarian approach.
Retributive justice
Distributive Justice
Restitutive Justice
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1. Analyze the two main theories of how to reward. Which is the best and why?
2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the utilitarian theoryS of punishment?
3. Retributivism justifies punishment on the basis of desert. What are the advantages and
disadvantages of the approach?
4. Is restitution a plausible way of punishing? Explain any difficulties with this view and
5. Is a synthesis of these theories possible? Discuss with reference to all of the models
introduced in this chapter.
6. Outline John Rawls’ theory of justice. How would you critique it?
How we dispense good or bad, reward and punishment is called distributive justice.
Justice is concerned with the future – what people will do.
Justice should be collective rather than individual.
There is only one way of distributing rewards.
The retributivist believes that the results are what really count.
All that counts for the utilitarians is whether rewards or punishments are deserved.
John Rawls believes that human rights are natural rights..
Restitution is the idea that punishment should be stopped or “rested.”
One of the weaknesses of deterrence theories is that if they work they work just as well on
the innocent as well as the guilty.
10. Someone who synthesizes all the theories of rewards and punishments together is known as a
11. As a _________ you would allocate rewards and punishments based on results.
a) Libertarian
b) Republican
c) Utilitarian
d) Kantian
12. “An eye for an eye” fits with a _______ theory of punishment.
a) utilitarian
b) conservative
c) retributivist
d) distributivist
13. Why, according to the retributivists, should people be punished?
a) Revenge
b) Utility
c) Deterrence
d) Desert
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14. As an egalitarian you would distribute rewards
a) on need.
b) on ability.
c) on merit.
d) equally without regard for need or merit.
15. The theory of deterrence is a ____________ theory.
a) desert
b) results
c) restitution
d) compensation
16. Who proposed the theory of a “just society”?
a) Aristotle
b) Robert Nozick
c) George Bush
d) John Rawls
17. Who believed that offenders should be punished only if they deserve it and not for any
consequences that may come of it?
a) Mill
b) Bentham
c) Kant
d) Sidgewick
18. Who have been accused of thinking of punishment in terms of use rather than justice?
a) The retributivists
b) The Utilitarians
c) The Quakers
d) The restitutionists
19. Restitution theories believe that when a crime is committed a victim should
a) seek compensation.
b) seek revenge.
c) seek help.
d) seek punishment.
20. What kind of case presents difficulties for all the theories of punishment?
a) Where harm occurs but the people causing it are clearly irresponsible
b) Where harm occurs but the people causing it are really without fault
c) Where harm does not occur but could if people were slightly more unlucky
d) Where harm does occur but the people causing it cannot be caught
Answer Key to Chapter 7 Test Questions
True or False
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1.T 2.F 3.F 4.F 5.F 6.F 7.T 8.F 9.F 10.F
Multiple Choice
11.C 12.C 13.D 14.D 15.B 16.D 17.C 18.B 19.A 20.B
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General Overview
In this chapter the author tries to deal with a number of issues that up to this point have been left
unresolved. These include consequentialism and nonconsequentialism, self and other, act and
rule, reason and emotion, absolute and relative, universal and particular. These are some of the
most basic poles of ethics and the lack of closure will no doubt have left some of the students
frustrated and disappointed. To address this the author proposes to state and justify five basic
principles that form the basis for an ethical system that the author calls humanitarian ethics.
Class Suggestions
That students can and should attempt independently to develop their own ethical system is the
real objective behind this chapter. Getting students to think about whether they would accept all
of the principles argued for here, which ones they might remove or add and how they might all
fit together, can be a very interesting learning experience for them. One possibility is to get
students to do a review of the coursework so far and think about the principles they might derive
from this work. This would entail looking over the chapters on consequentialism,
nonconsequentialism, etc., with a view to taking the best ideas from each theory and then
figuring out whether one might construct principles that cut across and cohere with these ideas.
One can then experiment with these principles in particular contexts or applied moral topics as
the author does here in the second part of the book. Alternatively, get students to come up with a
set of principles that they can agree to as a group (of say five) and then give them an issue to
work on where they apply and test the principles they’ve chosen. In the book the issues are
“living together without marriage” and “rape,” but any issue will do. In any case, getting students
to think hard about how they might construct their own ethics through reflection on basic
principles is valuable in itself.
Rallying points. This is also a useful point for instructors to pause, take stock, find out what
material you may need to go over again and to point to where you’re going, i.e., that the course
will now look at more “applied” issues and cases, etc. Giving students a clear sense of the course
as a unified whole with a beginning, middle and end really helps them to order, classify and
structure the things you’re asking them to think about and learn. Although learning in philosophy
is not about “banking” or building up information the quality of learning in philosophy is aided
–and at this level – by carefully shaping and guiding their learning process toward some end:
i.e., that they are on their way to being able to do something important and worthwhile that they
couldn’t do before.
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Chapter Summary
Aim at synthesizing the various theories and frameworks to move towards a workable ethical
Conflicting general moral issues
Consequentialism versus nonconsequentialism
Basic concern for consequences in any moral system but be aware that end does not justify
Self versus other – interestedness
Need to bring about best consequences for all including self.
Act versus rule
Act approach allows for more freedom, rules for more stability. Try to make both work together.
Emotion versus reason
System should be based on reason without excluding emotions.
Basic assumptions:
1. Rationally based
2. Logically consistent
3. Universalizable
4. Should be teachable
5. Have the ability to resolve conflicts
Including the rational and emotional aspects
Human nature – rational and emotional.
Humans are both rational and emotional. But moral appeals to emotion alone solve nothing
Reason should guide the emotions but recognize the prominent role they play.
Reason is a power and reasoning is the exercise of that power. There are formal rules for
reasoning that all can learn to support decisions we make.
Reasoning implies:
1. Logical argument
2. Logical consistency
3. Detachment from feelings
4. A common means to arbitrate differences
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Logical consistency with flexibility
Consistency: Similar claim/obligation/right, etc. in like circumstance but this should not become
an absolutism divorced from complexity of reality.
Including universality and particularity
Moral system must be broad based enough to include as many as possible.
Shouldn’t be so general as to not apply to particular situations and individuals.
Ability to be taught and promulgated
Moral system must be able to be taught or disseminated.
Ability to resolve conflicts
If a system cannot decide between interests then it is not a good theory. If a moral system is not
capable of resolving conflicts then it is not much use to people. If these are the assumptions of
our moral system, what basic principles support them?
Basic principles, individual freedom and their justification
Can we cut across all the principles of each system to distil our own basic principles?
Choosing principles
Number of principles
One or many?
Golden rule
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
1. Cannot be one’s only principle since others must want different things than we do
2. Doesn’t tell us what to do; it only provides a basis for evaluating what we have chosen to do
The value of life principle (all life or just human life?)
“Human beings should revere life and accept death.” All ethical systems concern themselves
with the value of some lives.
Justification of value of life principle
Life is basic without which no good or bad. Individuals have right to life and death, unless
justification can be shown otherwise. Value of life empirically proven.
The principle of goodness or rightness
Always try to do good and avoid doing harm. Ethicists argue over how to achieve this but most
agree that this is a sound objective.
Justification of the principle of goodness
If one accepts morality one is committed to the idea of goodness in one way or another.
Although ethicists differ some agree on the basic goods. Pluralism is the idea that there are
many (more than one) goods. Principle of goodness is logically prior.
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Principles of justice or fairness
Human beings should treat others fairly and justly. Justification: If goods are to be shared they
should be shared justly. Each should have an equal opportunity to acquire the goods of society.
Recognize equality of human beings and yet allow for individual difference.
Principle of truth-telling or honesty
Moral systems cannot function without this principle, ideas cannot be communicated or
agreements made if real doubt exists about the honesty of those involved.
Justification: This principle is necessary but perhaps the hardest to comply with. Because of this
vulnerability carefully justified exceptions are allowable but a very strong attempt must be made
to be truthful and honest in all relationships.
The principle of individual freedom
Principle of autonomy means that individuals must have freedom to choose how to be moral with
the framework of the first four basic principles.
Justification: Each person is unique and each has different needs, abilities, talents, etc. Must
recognize and allow for this. For a moral system to work individuals need latitude to make
decisions and choices appropriate for their individual differences.
Priority of basic principles
Two ways in which priority of principles may be determined:
1. General: logical and empirical
2. Particular: actual situation or context
A general way of determining priority – two categories
The primary category
Logical priority (goodness) and empirical priority (value of life)
Secondary category
Covers the other three principles. The principles of goodness and value of life are essential to
any moral system, although one may take precedence over the other. The other three principles
are interchangeable among themselves but not with the first two principles.
Particular way of determining priority
The five principles must be applicable in real moral situations and these situations will determine
the priority that one gives to the principles. This is an example of a mixed deontological
approach to ethics. This system is then tested with the examples of marriage and rape.
The five principles together constitute what the author calls “humanitarian ethics” and allows for
diversity and variety in the context of stability and rationality.
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Value of Life
Individual Freedom
1. Pick out one unresolved problem from our list and attempt to push through to a conclusion,
clarifying as many smaller parts as you can.
2. State and defend five basic principles that would form the basis of your own ethical system,
paying attention to strengths as well as potential weaknesses.
3. Critically evaluate the author’s stated principles and their priorities. Which ones would you
replace and why?
4. Choose a moral issue and apply your own moral principles to it, dealing with inconsistencies
and/or problems that arise.
5. How does your moral framework repeat, conflict with or depart from the moral system that
you came into class with? Explore the differences and explain what you’ve learned. You
should ask this question again at the end of the course.
One of the major problems in setting up a moral system is the conflict between self and other.
A basic assumption of any moral system ought to be the existence of God.
If morals can’t be taught then they’re not applicable.
The value of life principle means that abortion is wrong.
The principle of goodness means that what I think is good is right.
For the author of this text, situation or context has no bearing on prioritizing the principles.
One of the problems with a strict rules approach is that they do not tell us what to do in some
8. The principle of individual freedom is not limited by anything otherwise it wouldn’t be
9. According to the author there is no place for religion in moral thinking.
10. The author’s system of ethics is called utilitarianism because it tries to help others.
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11. What, according to the author, are some of the basic conflicting moral issues that need to be
synthesized into one system?
a) Pleasure and happiness
b) Love and Passion
c) Feelings and emotions
d) Consequentialism and nonconsequentialism
12. The basic assumptions or premises of a morality ought to include some reference to
a) reason.
b) animals.
c) love.
d) music.
13. A moral system needs to deal consistently with
a) all human beings exclusively.
b) particular human beings exclusively.
c) the universal and the particular together.
d) none of the above.
14. To be applicable morals should be capable of being
a) agreed upon by everyone.
b) agreed upon by a select few.
c) agreed upon by no one.
d) agreed upon by some and taught to others.
15. The most basic logical principle of the moral system developed here is the
a) Principle of Self-interest.
b) Principle of Goodness.
c) Principle of the Golden Rule.
d) Principle of Free Love.
16. The most basic empirical principle of the system developed here is the
a) Principle of Justice.
b) Principle of Freedom.
c) Principle of Life.
d) Principle of Honesty.
17. If you value a range of different goods you are a(n)
a) empiricist.
b) monist.
c) hedonist.
d) pluralist.
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18. Because everyone is different people must have some leeway to deal with these differences
in a way that best suits them. This is the principle of
a) Goodness.
b) Individual Freedom.
c) Self-interest.
d) Justice.
19. The principles can be classified into ____ general categories.
a) three
b) two
c) four
d) five
20. Putting the moral principles together forms a system called
a) Utilitarian ethics.
b) Situationist ethics.
c) Retributivist ethics.
d) Humanitarian ethics.
Answer Key to Chapter 8 Test Questions
True or False
1.T 2.F 3.T 4.F 5.F 6.F 7.T 8.F 9.F 10.F
Multiple Choice
11.D 12.A 13.C 14.D 15.B 16.C 17.D 18.B 19.B 20.D
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
General Overview
In this chapter some of the basic arguments for and against the taking of human life in various
contexts (suicide, defense of the innocent, war, terrorism, capital punishment, etc.) are laid out
and examined. The so-called “seamless garment” position appears consistent since the position
here is an opposition to the taking of human life across the board and in every context. For some
this is too “absolutist” and so each situation where life is at stake needs to be carefully examined
and to see where exceptions may be justified.
Class Suggestions
There are a large number of complex topics dealt with in this chapter so some instructors may
wish to introduce all but concentrate on one. Some instructors may have already examined
capital punishment in detail from a previous chapter. One may also see which topic is most
current and “newsworthy” to peak student interests. After September 11th, terrorism has been of
especial interest to instructors and students and can open up perspectives for students that are
often not available to them. Debates or group projects on any of these issues can also be
supplemented by showing a video or getting students to examine the wealth of material available
on all these issues in their college library, on the internet, etc.
The case material now available at the end of each chapter should also be integrated if possible.
The case approach has some real advantages for philosophy instructors, since theoretical
abstractions can be explored in the grain and detail of specific situations. Also, the author has
laid out his own “humanitarian ethics” position at the end of each chapter. Instructors may wish
to explore these ideas with students or use them as a counterfoil, but be aware that some students
may simply lift arguments from this section and repeat them back at you as the “answer.”
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Chapter Summary
This chapter examines the different types of situations involving the taking of human life and
explores how basic principles can be applied to them.
Definition of suicide
Killing – “To put to death”
Murder – Unlawful killing with malice and forethought
Suicide – Intentionally taking one’s own life. Not considered civilly or criminally unlawful.
Arguments against the morality of suicide
The irrationality of suicide
Suicides are mentally ill. If not a rational act, then immoral. Evidence that many suicides are
rational, e.g., Socrates.
The Religious argument
Only God has authority to give and take life.
1. Should not be imposed on non-religious
2. Presupposes that God intervenes directly in human affairs as prime cause of life and death.
This means that human beings do not ultimately or should not make decisions and take
responsibility for direct care of human life.
The Domino argument
If one allows human life to be taken in some cases, then you open the door for its being taken in
other instances.
The justice argument
Those who survive a suicide pay an unjust penalty.
Argument for the morality of suicide
1. Rights over one’s own body and life
2. Only the individual knows whether their life is worth living. Do not, however have absolute
rights over our life and freedom if those rights curtail others’ rights to life and freedom, etc.
Defense of the Innocent (the self included)
Argument against killing in defense of the innocent
1. Taking of human life is always wrong. May not kill, not even in self-defense.
Criticism: Does not take into consideration all complexities of situations, especially where some
do not respect the rights of others and can only be stopped by being killed themselves.
Argument for killing in defense of the innocent
1. Moral obligation to protect innocents when another does not value other’s lives
2. Good of defending innocent outweighs the bad of killing a person who kills or threatens to
kill innocents.
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Criticism: “Violence breeds violence” – the “domino effect.” Who decides “innocence” and
“guilt” here?
Arguments against the morality of war
1. Direct violation of value of life principle
2. Bad far outweighs good
Arguments for the morality of war
1. War as controller of overpopulation
2. War as the mother of invention
3. War as boon to economic gain and national unity
4. War as necessary – “just war” argument
These arguments cannot support nuclear war.
War against civilians with the objective of protecting certain ideas, policies, beliefs, etc.
Argument in support of terrorism
1. Only sure-fire way of getting recognition
2. Peaceful protest doesn’t work – indeed most often gets you beaten or killed
Argument against terrorism
1. Excessive violence against innocent cannot be morally condoned
2. Terrorism leads to more terrorism from the other side
Capital Punishment
Capital punishment – inflicting death for capital crimes like murder
Theories of punishment – (Refer to Chapter 6)
Retribution – punish only those who deserve it because of some act. Punishment should fit crime.
Utilitarian – punish to advance good of society, if it brings about good consequences, i.e., deter
crime, protect people, etc.
Restitution – compensation for harms done
Arguments against the morality of capital punishment
1. Violation of value of life principle
2. Effect on criminal’s victims or on society
3. Ineffectiveness as a deterrent
4. Executing an innocent person
5. Denial of chance for rehabilitation
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Argument for capital punishment
1. Effective deterrent
2. Economic argument – (costs too much to keep in prison)
3. Effect upon society’s laws – (sanction argument)
4. Forfeiture of killer’s rights
5. Uselessness of rehabilitation
6. Revenge
Just War
Freedom Fighter
Capital Punishment
1. Look at the arguments for and against suicide. Try to argue a position and justify your
2. Is terrorism ever justified?
3. Is killing in defense of the innocent sometimes morally justifiable? Use examples to illustrate
your answer.
4. “War is morality by other means.” Discuss.
5. Argue a position for or against capital punishment. Carefully analyze the best arguments and
try to justify your own claims.
1. According to the author the taking of human life is always wrong.
2. Various religions are opposed to suicide because they believe that only God has the authority
to give and take life.
3. Killing to defend the innocent is accepted by all moral systems.
4. The best argument for war is that it controls population.
5. The criminal deserves punishment because he or she is guilty is defended by utilitarians.
6. War always involves the massive loss of life.
7. Terrorism is a very recent phenomenon of the 20th century.
8. Capital punishment is the policy of the US government.
9. The “eye for an eye” view of capital punishment is known as the revenge argument.
10. It costs more to give a criminal capital punishment than it does to give him life
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
11. In the Platonic dialogue ______ Socrates famously discussed his decision to drink the poison
a) The Republic
b) The Georgias
c) The Crito
d) The Sophist
12. An effective argument against the morality of suicide can be the
a) religious argument.
b) justice argument.
c) irrationality argument.
d) depression argument.
13. No one really advocates suicide. But some support the value of the principle of _________ in
moral decision making
a) justice
b) freedom
c) honesty
d) beneficence
14. One good argument that attempts to justify killing in defense of the innocent says that
a) the good of defending the innocent outweighs the bad of killing a person threatening to kill
b) the good of killing a person threatening innocents is at least equal to any bad.
c) God works in mysterious ways and humans don’t understand His morality.
d) we must defend the innocent to the point of killing those who threaten them because it’s justice.
15. According to the author the most morally significant argument for war is
a) overpopulation.
b) economic gain.
c) technological development.
d) “Necessary Evil.”
16. The main argument against war is that it is a massive violation of the principle of _____
a) freedom.
b) justice.
c) goodness.
d) life.
17. Terrorism can be defined as
a) war against civilians to undermine their leaders, government and policies.
b) politics by other means.
c) an attempt by the “third world” to express anger at the “first world.”
d) war against non-religious civilians by religious groups.
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
18. Capital punishment can be justified as a deterrent is a view held by
a) Retributivists.
b) Restitutionists.
c) Pacifists.
d) Utilitarians.
19. The main argument against the morality of capital punishment is that
a) it’s cruel and inhumane.
b) we have no right to take life, only God has.
c) it is a violation of the Value of life principle.
d) it offers no chance for rehabilitation.
20. In some situation the taking of human life according to the author must be
a) always acceptable.
b) never acceptable.
c) sometimes acceptable.
d) never unacceptable.
Answer Key to Chapter 9 Test Questions
True or False
1.F 2.T 3.F 4.F 5.F 6.F 7.F 8.F 9.T 10.T
Multiple Choice
11.C 12.B 13.B 14.A 15.D 16.D 17.A 18.D 19.C 20.C
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
General Overview
In this chapter the issue of euthanasia is examined. The author uses slightly different
terminology. The standard terminology isn’t settled but instructors will have to make up their
own minds whether the terms used here offer any advantages. In the US the development of
hospice appears to have changed the nature of the debate. In any case, this is a complex and
fascinating topic and goes right to the heart of the difficult philosophical question regarding the
meaning of life and death
Class Suggestions
Many students will distance themselves from this topic and will not understand why someone
may want to choose to die or why someone might ask for help in dying. This is because of a
combination of factors including youth and lack of experience. Usually only those who have had
some experience, most often in their own families, will be engaged by the topic. The challenge
for the instructor then is to get a class of mainly 18 to 19 year olds thinking hard about this issue.
One suggestion to make this relevant and closer to home would be to explain how developing
technologies will almost certainly make this an issue for everyone in the class since someone in
their family, perhaps the student themselves, will be faced with decisions like this. Showing a
good video can bring the issue closer as can cases, preferable real ones (like the cases discussed
in the chapter). Looking at the case of Jack Kevorkian could be an interesting project, as could a
research report on the legalization of euthanasia in the Netherlands. Instructors could also try to
find a use for the “advance directive” photocopy in the textbook which is, I think, a very useful
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Chapter Summary
Euthanasia – “good death.” Author replaces euthanasia with allowing someone to die, mercy
death and mercy killing.
Allowing someone to die
Allow patient to die natural death.
Mercy death
Direct action to terminate patient’s life upon request – assisted suicide.
Mercy killing
Direct action to terminate a patient’s life without the patient requesting it.
Current legal status of mercy death and mercy killing
Thirty-two States specifically prohibit mercy death (assisted suicide), and it is generally illegal
under homicide statues. Mercy killing is outlawed in all states and most countries.
Brain death
Medically death now defined as “brain death.” Heart and lungs may still function but little or no
brain activity.
Persistent vegetative state (PVS) or irreversible coma
Distinct from brain death. PVS results from cerebral, cortex, neocortex or “front brain” death.
This controls cognitive functioning. More basic heart and lung systems still function unaided since
controlled by the other parts of the brain. May be awake but no conscious interaction with
Allowing someone to die
Die a natural death without interference from medical science. However, many are now aided by
new technologies that raise issues of quality of life and end of life care, prompting claims that we
need new ways of “allowing someone to die.”
Arguments against allowing someone to die
1. Abandonment of patients
2. Possibility of finding cures
3. Impossibility of options for death
4. Interference with God’s divine plan
Arguments for allowing someone to die
1. Individual rights over bodies and lives
2. Shortening of period of suffering
3. The right to die with dignity
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Ordinary and extraordinary means
Extraordinary or heroic means
Starting or discontinuing rare, unusual, risky or expensive treatment. To what lengths should
doctors go to save lives? In certain situations doctors are justified in using extraordinary means
to save a patient’s life though they are not obligated to use such means indefinitely.
Ordinary means
Controlling pain and other symptoms, but rare cases are unclear.
Appropriate or inappropriate care
Defined by reference to patient rather than – as with ordinary and extraordinary – by reference to
patients generally.
Patient self-determination act (PSDA)
Act of Congress (1990) stipulating rights of patients, especially the right to “formulate advance
Advance directives
Allow patients to state the kind of care they wish to receive if they become too ill to
communicate their wishes to others.
The hospice approach to care for the dying
Hospice is most prevalent approach to “terminally ill” in the U.S. Involves seven elements:
1. Comforting and caring for patients
2. A team approach
3. Pain and symptom control
4. Outpatient and home care
5. Humanized inpatient care
6. Freedom from financial worry
7. Bereavement counseling and assistance
Mercy death
Assisted suicide: Direct action taken to terminate life at patients’ request.
Arguments against mercy death
1. The irrationality of mercy death
2. The religious argument
3. The Domino argument
4. The justice argument
5. The possibility of finding cures
6. The Hospice alternative
Arguments for mercy death
1. Individual freedom and rights
2. Human rights versus animal rights
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Changes in attitude to mercy death
Hemlock society and Dr. Jack Kevorkian have both continually advocated for mercy death.
Court decision
“Death with Dignity” act passed in Oregon, 1994.
Pending legislation
AMA and government have opposed Oregon law.
Lack of autonomy of patients in medical care
Lack of autonomy of patients in medical care because physicians and pharmacists have control
over drugs and technologies.
Health care personnel have practical forms of assisted suicide
Many doctors and nurses are already assisting in patient suicides.
Strong desire for greater autonomy and control over life and death
Patients who have terminal conditions often want autonomy to decide their own death, including
physician assistance.
Suggested safeguards for mercy death
1. Permissive rather than compulsory or mandatory
2. A written request
3. A waiting period
4. Counseling
5. More than one doctor
6. Abuse of safeguards punishable
7. Assisted suicide should be painless
Other safeguards:
1. Judge approval
2. Bioethics committee
Although these two are restrictive, would make questionable mercy death very difficult.
Mercy killing
Direct action but not at patient’s request
Arguments against mercy killing
1. Direct violation of the value of life principle
2. The Domino argument
3. The possibility of finding cures
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Arguments for mercy killing
1. Mercy for the “living dead”
2. Financial and emotional burdens
3. The patient’s desire to die
The possibility of establishing legal safeguards
If mercy death and killing were sanctioned they would be abused. Can establish safeguards
against some but perhaps not all-possible abuse.
Allowing Someone to Die
Mercy Death
Mercy Killing
Assisted Suicide
Passive Euthanasia
Active Euthanasia
Brain Death
Irreversible Coma
Right to Die
Ordinary Care
Extraordinary Care
Appropriate Care
Inappropriate Care
Advance Directive
1. How does mercy death differ from mercy killing? Is one more morally acceptable than
another? Why or why not?
2. What are the arguments for and against mercy death? Is it morally justifiable in some situations?
3. Carefully examine the reasons for and against mercy killing. State and defend your position.
4. Do we have a “right to die”? Explain why or why not.
5. “Slippery slope” or “domino” type arguments are often used to oppose euthanasia. Critically
evaluate this type of argument looking at the evidence for and against.
1. Euthanasia comes from the Greek and means “a bad death.”
2. Mercy death is defined by the author as direct action to terminate a patient’s life without the
patient’s permission
3. Thirty two states specifically prohibit mercy death
4. The state of California has included brain death in its legal definition of death.
5 Mercy killing is legally acceptable in some states in the US.
6. There is no law prohibiting euthanasia in the US.
7. Hospice care is available only to those with “advanced directives.”
8. “Inappropriate care”, according to the author, is care that does not suit the situation of the
9. A recent study of 850 nurses revealed that 141 had received requests from patients for
assisted suicide.
10. The main arguments against mercy death is the possibility of finding cures.
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11. Direct action to terminate a patient’s life requested by the patient is called by the author
a) allowing someone to die.
b) mercy death.
c) mercy killing.
d) suicide.
12. Technology has created problems with the medical definition of death. This is known as
a) brain death.
b) persistent vegetative state.
c) irreversible coma.
d) the zombie problem.
13. Most arguments for allowing someone to die are based on the principle of
a) justice.
b) goodness.
c) individual freedom.
d) life.
14. Which US state has a law allowing “assisted suicide”?
a) California
b) Michigan
c) Florida
d) Oregon
15. Dr. Jack Kevorkian is infamous because he
a) murdered many people.
b) performed mercy killings.
c) performed mercy death.
d) allowed his patients or die.
16. If you have an “Advance Directive” it means that
a) your medical condition has advanced to a serious or life threatening stage.
b) you already know what God wants for you.
c) you have a legal document which states how you wish to be treated if you are seriously ill.
d) you have a legal document which allows mercy death and mercy killing.
17. According to the author one of the strongest arguments against mercy death is
a) abuse.
b) God’s will.
c) selfishness.
d) economic.
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18. A strong argument against mercy killing is based on the principle of
a) justice.
b) freedom.
c) goodness.
d) life.
19. The “domino” argument against mercy killing says that, if sanctioned, mercy killing would
a) set a dangerous precedent.
b) prevent finding cures.
c) make doctors and nurse uncaring.
d) violate life.
20. The approach to dying that emphasizes “comfort and care” is known as
a) mercy death.
b) mercy killing.
c) the “Kevorkian” approach.
d) hospice.
Answer Key to Chapter 9 Test Questions
True or False
1.F 2.F 3.T 4.T 5.F 6.F 7.F 8.T 9.T 10.F
Multiple Choice
11.B 12.A 13.C 14.D 15.C 16.C 17.A 18.D 19.A 20.D
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
General Overview
In the last chapter issues of when life ends were controversial but have tended to settle medically
at least around establishing brain death. In this chapter some of the arguments for and against
abortion revolve around when life, personhood or the ascription of moral value begins. If the
brain is used again as a guide then the development of the brain is crucial. There is a kind of
stalemate affecting each of the positions and currently some of the rights and freedoms
established in Roe v. Wade are being slowly whittled away. Abortion touches on some of the
toughest moral issues of all especially regarding when life begins and the values we give to lives.
Class Suggestions
Many students will have already thought about this issue and may well have entrenched
positions. The challenge for the instructor is to get opposed positions recognizing that the other
side may have something of value to offer. Certainly looking at the cases will help as would
getting those with clearly fixed positions to carefully analyze the positions of their opponent.
There are few neutral Internet sites, films or other materials since the issue in the US is so
polarized. Coming at the topic “against the grain” may help, perhaps approaching it from the
point of view of sexual responsibility. Does it help, for example, to tell teenagers to simply
abstain from sexual contact? Also exploring issues like adoption, RU 485, etc., might help to
break down an “us and them” attitude that often pervades discussion of this issue.
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Chapter Summary
Value of life principle versus principle of individual freedom. When does life begin and when
should it be protected? Extreme positions on each side both support absolute rights.
Abortion in American history
In 1800 abortion was tolerated.
In 1900 abortion was banned in every state.
In 1973 Roe v. Wade overturned laws against abortion.
The legal status of abortion in the United States
Legality of abortion based on “trimester” approach:
1st trimester – permitted without exception
2nd trimester – permitted with restrictions
3rd trimester – prohibited except threat to life or health of woman
When does human life begin?
1. Life is present from conception but there may be different point at which such a life can be
considered human.
2. The concept passes through various stages of development. The closer to “viability” the
more “human” it becomes.
3. Difficult to state that, in earliest stages, the life is fully human. Equally difficult to state that
after the twelfth week this is not an actual human life.
Arguments against abortion
1. Genetic view of the beginning of human life
2. Sanctity or value of life argument
3. The Domino argument
4. The dangers of abortion to the mother’s life
a. Medical
b. Psychological
5. The relative safety of pregnancy
6. The existence of viable alternatives
7. The irrelevance of economic considerations
8. Responsibility for sexual activities
9. Rape and incest
Arguments for abortion
1. Rights of women over their bodies
2. Birth as the beginning of human life
3. Problem of unwanted or deformed children
a. Adoption as poor solution
b. Lack of human institutions
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4. Relative safety of abortion
a. Medical
b. Psychological
5. Refutation of the Domino argument
6. Danger of pregnancy to mother’s life
7. Rape and incest
8. Responsibility for sexual activity
9. Abortion as woman’s choice
The more moderate position on abortion
1. Unresolvable conflicts of absolutes
2. Problem of when life begins
Sexual Responsibility
Actual Rights
Potential Rights
Developmental View
1. Discuss the arguments in favor of abortion. State your view and try to justify your claims. Is
abortion always acceptable?
2. Discuss the arguments that oppose abortion, stating your view and justifying it. Are there any
justifiable exceptions?
3. Who has the more important “rights” claim (pregnant woman, fetus, father, etc) in abortion
and why?
4. Critically evaluate the arguments that support the “developmental view” to justify some
5. What is the moral status of the fetus?
A conceptus means the developing human individual from the eighth week.
Abortion is legal in all but a few states in the US.
In 1800 there was not a single statute concerning abortion in the US.
Viability occurs between the 15th and 17th weeks.
In the famous 1977 Stove v. Wade decision at the supreme court in Wimbledon abortion
became legal.
6. Amniocentesis is the most widespread abortion procedure.
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7. The strong pro-choice position is that life begins at birth.
8. By the end of the fourth week after conception the embryo looks like a newt or tadpole with
gills and a tail.
9. For many moderates abortion is an unresolvable conflict of absolutes.
10. It was Bill Clinton who said that “killing is brutalizing and criminalizing for the killer.”
11. A zygote is defined as
a) a developing individual from the second week of gestation.
b) a developing individual from the eighth week.
c) a group of cells that result form the meeting of the sperm and egg.
d) that which has been conceived.
12. Human life begins at conception is the view generally of those
a) opposed to abortion.
b) in favor of abortion.
c) in favor of abortion very early on.
d) opposed to abortion after the sixth week.
13. The central argument for abortion is that
a) nobody knows when life begins.
b) women have primary rights over their own bodies.
c) abortion is a contraceptive practice.
d) adoption doesn’t work.
14. The moderate argument for abortion takes the
a) conception view of when life begins.
b) birth view of when life begins.
c) developmental view of when life begins.
d) viability view of when life begins.
15. From an antiabortionist point of view the domino argument is that
a) abortion will lead to a loss of reverence for human life.
b) abortion will lead to pre-teen sex.
c) abortion defies God’s will.
d) abortion will lead to the loss of humane institutions for children.
16. Who wrote the “ethical problems of abortion”?
a) Daniel Callahan
b) John Stuart Mill
c) George Bush
d) Sissela Bok
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17. Brain waves typical of adult human brains do not appear until the
a) 10th week.
b) 13th week.
c) 30th week.
d) birth.
18. The most prevalent method of abortion is
a) hysterectomy.
b) partial birth.
c) saline.
d) uterine aspiration.
19. From a pro-life perspective who is ultimately responsible for sexual activity?
a) Men
b) Women
c) Men and Women
d) Nobody
20. The conceptus does not have absolute rights to life nor does the pregnant woman have
absolute rights over her own body is the position of
a) pro-life.
b) pro-choice.
c) moderates.
d) nobody.
Answer Key to Chapter 11 Test Questions
True or False
1.F 2.F 3.T 4.F 5.F 6.F 7.F 8.T 9.T 10.F
Multiple Choice
11.C 12.A 13.B 14.C 15.A 16.D 17.C 18.D 19.B 20.C
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
General Overview
The issues that make up the content of this chapter constitute the basic fabric of everyday moral
life cutting across our public and private lives. All of us will have experience with at least one of
these topics.
Class Suggestions
Get to class early and carefully place several $20 bills at discreet but clearly noticeable locations
(that you can keep track of!). If they haven’t been handed in at the beginning of class, announce
that later you will give the results of a moral experiment that you have performed with the students.
When you come to ask for your money back you should also raise questions about the morality of
the experiment. Another less risky but equally provocative example that I sometimes begin with is
to ask students whether they have downloaded music from the Internet (or taped a copy of a CD
from a friend). Almost every 18 to 19 old has. Get them to try to justify this and a number of the
basic views on these topics will present themselves (everyone does it, it’s all right if you don’t get
caught, you’d be a naïve loser if you didn’t take advantage, etc.) and you can start to get these
reasons onto the board as a basis for further exploration. Again use the cases and encourage
students to offer up some of the relevant situations that they’ve found themselves in.
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Chapter Summary
Many of the issues dealt with here apply to the preceding chapter and the next three chapters.
Nonconsequentalist and Consequentialist views
Role nonconsequentialists views
Opposed to the four acts: Kant, for example, the acts cannot be universalized
Consequentialist and act nonconsequentialist views
Act nonconsequentialism
If one feels like lying or cheating then it’s okay.
The four acts may or may not be justifiable depending upon the perceived consequences.
Arguments against lying
1. Dupes and deprives others
2. Causes distrust in human relationships
3. The Domino argument
4. Unfair advantage or power for liars
5. Self-destructiveness of lying
6. Effect of lying on society
Arguments for lying
1. Defense of the innocent, including self-defense
2. National security
3. Trade secrets in business
4. “Little white lies”
Moderate position
1. Lying only acceptable to save life or as last resort
2. How you tell the truth – different ways of telling truth
Arguments against
1. Unfair and unjust to others
2. Falsified qualifications
3. Effects on the cheater
Arguments for cheating
1. Surviving and winning
2. Everybody does it
3. As long as you don’t get caught
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Breaking promises
Implies certain agreements
1. Breaking promises is a form of dishonesty
2. A person’s word as an indication of person’s integrity and reputation
Arguments against breaking promises
1. Destruction of personal relationships
2. Domino theory
3. Effects on people’s life choices
4. Destruction of general social trust
5. Loss of personal integrity
Arguments for breaking promises
1. Changed circumstances
2. When there are moral conflicts
3. When it’s a trivial issue
4. Where unusual situations justify it
5. No promise is sacred
Arguments against stealing
1. Property rights
2. Breakdown of trust
3. Invasion of privacy
4. Domino argument
5. Material losses to victim
6. Effect on thief
7. Overall effect on society
Arguments for stealing
1. Corrupt economic system
2. Crucial emergency situation
3. Thrills and adventure
4. From institutions and organizations
5. As long as you don’t get caught
6. Military and government secrets
White lies
Acts and Omissions
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1. Is lying ever morally justifiable? What about “white lies”? Use examples to illustrate your
2. “If you don’t cheat to get ahead you’ll be a loser.” Discuss the morality of this statement. On
what grounds is it justifiable or not?
3. According to what principles and in what situations might it be acceptable to break a promise?
4. Is stealing morally acceptable in some situations? Critically examine the arguments for and
against stealing.
5. Compare and contrast the consequentialist and nonconsequentialist positions on some of
these issues. Which position is the best overall and why?
Lies of commission involve leaving out vital information.
Kant would argue that we cannot universalize stealing, cheating, lying and breaking promises.
Shakespeare’s character Iago in Othello is a wonderful example of honesty and truthfulness.
“Cheating is okay so long as you don’t get caught” could work on a nonconsequentialist view.
Cheats always prosper.
Kant would say that breaking a promise is never justified.
Stealing is acceptable on some consequentialist arguments.
When asked by a prison chaplain why he stole from banks the great Willie Sutton replied:
“cause that’s where the money is.”
9. “Everything I say is a lie” – “including what I’ve just said and including this sentence.”
10. Honesty is the best policy.
11. What philosopher believed that lying and cheating were always wrong?
a) John Stuart Mill
b) Jeremy Bentham
c) Augustine
d) The guy who sits next to you in class
12. A major argument against lying is that
a) it gives unfair advantage to women.
b) it misinforms the people lied to.
c) it doesn’t help anyone.
d) men lose self-esteem.
13. “I know lying is bad but I just felt like it.” Who might say such a thing?
a) Consequentialists
b) Hippies
c) Act utilitarians
d) Act nonconsequentialists
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
14. A major argument in favor of lying is
a) that companies would go out of business .
b) that politicians would lose all credibility .
c) the defense of the innocent.
d) relationships would collapse.
15. Who said that the important question is not whether I tell the truth but how I should tell the truth?
a) Woody Allen
b) Elizabeth Kübler Ross
c) Your instructor
d) Immanuel Kant
16. Breaking a promise is acceptable to me on those occasions when I stand to benefit. This is
a(n) ____ argument.
a) Deontological
b) Utilitarian
c) Retributivist
d) Egoistic
17. People ought to cheat because the world is “dog eat dog.” This is an example of
a) deriving an ought from an is.
b) moral honesty and truthfulness.
c) male pseudo logic.
d) what the world is like.
18. Who justified stealing on the basis that it was exciting?
a) Willie Sutton
b) The Penguin
c) John Stuart Mill
d) Enron
19. The moderate position on lying entails
a) telling lies as much as you can get away with.
b) never telling even a “little white one.”
c) trying to tell the truth as much as possible.
d) telling the truth when it suits.
20. What would the domino argument say about the four issues studied in this chapter?
a) They are all justifiable in certain situations.
b) They are likely to lead to more of the same.
c) They are all likely to lead to a happier society.
d) They are all unjustifiable.
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Answers Key to Chapter 12 Test Questions
True or False
1.F 2.T 3.F 4.F 5.F 6.T 7.T 8.T 9.T&F 10.T
Multiple Choice
11.C 12.B 13.D 14.C 15.B 16.D 17.A 18.A 19.C 20.B
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
General Overview
The topics in this chapter link up with the previous chapter and the chapter on abortion since
sexuality is behind a good deal of lying, cheating, etc., as well as abortion and numerous other
topics. Quite a few of these topics are covered here and the advantage of this approach is that
students will come away with a broader sense of concept in sexual morality than they might
otherwise get from studying pornography or prostitution on their own.
Class Suggestions
Because of the broad range of topics you might assign one topic to, say, groups of 5 or 6 students
to report back to the class on later, perhaps in the form of a group presentation. You might also
show a good video or two– on these issues that usually receives a round of applause, primarily
from the males. However, the main point is to provide alternative perspectives and factual
information that may enable students to see topics in new ways. Students are usually keen to
discuss these issues and are curious about what their peers think. This natural interest can be
used to generate interesting discussions, projects, essays, etc. The cases in the textbook are
useful and the recent Supreme Court decision on the Texas sodomy law is worth discussion and
analysis. Questions here about “nature”, “natural law”, etc. are paramount, and instructors may
want to begin with an examination of these concepts, perhaps revisiting the “naturalistic fallacy”
as well as the notions of individual freedom.
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Chapter Summary
Major aspects of human sexuality
Public aspect – adversely affects others not directly involved
Private aspect – directly affects consenting adults only
Meaning and purpose of human sexuality
1. Procreation
2. Pleasure
3. Expression of love
4. Expression of friendship/liking
Moral issues and the public aspect of human sexuality
1. Rape, child molestation and sadism considered harmful to the public and controlled by law
2. Pornography, homosexuality, sex outside marriage, prostitution, masturbation,
nonmonogamous marriage and “unnatural” or “perverted” sex are all activities considered by
some to be against public interest
Arguments against sexual freedom
1. Violation of tradition and family values
2. Domino argument
3. Offense to public taste
4. Social diseases and AIDS
Arguments for sexual freedom
1. Individual freedom
2. Traditions seen as irrelevant
3. Refutation of the Domino argument
4. Offensive to public taste (don’t do, look, buy, etc. of??)
5. Social diseases and AIDS promote responsibility without restricting choice
Premarital sex
Arguments against
1. The undermining of traditional morality and family values
2. The encouragement of promiscuity
3. Social diseases and AIDS
4. Fostering of guilt and ostracism
5. Having children
6. The compatibility and experience fallacy
Arguments for
1. The obsolescence of the old traditions
2. Social diseases and AIDS – responsibility without elimination of choice
3. The promiscuity fallacy
4. The guilt and ostracism fallacy
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Contraception and responsibility
Sexual experience and compatibility
Sexual pleasure
A private, not a public matter
Sex in marriage – type relationships (including non-legal)
Continuous and lasting
Purpose of sex in this relationship
1. Intimate expression of love
2. Procreation
Various types of marriage relationships
1. Monogamy
2. Polygamy
3. Group Marriage
Arguments against non-monogamous marriages
1. Bible advocates marriage
2. Tradition
3. Exclusivity required by law
4. Social diseases and AIDS eliminated (or greatly reduced)
5. Better for children
Argument for
1. Encourages alternative lifestyles and arrangements where all enter freely and willingly into
Homosexual marriage – Purpose of sex as an expression of love
Arguments against homosexuality
1. “Unnatural” and “perverse”
2. Against laws of God
3. Sets bad example for children
4. Homosexuals regarded as main cause of AIDS
5. Offensive to “family values”
Arguments for homosexuality
1. Non conclusive “proof” of “natural” laws or God’s law
2. Private issue (recent Supreme Court decision striking down Texas sodomy laws)
3. No link between homosexuality and inclination to child abuse
4. Non incompatibility between homosexuality and “family values”
Arguments against
1. Violation of most personal and intimate human contract
2. Bad consequences for all affected
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Arguments for
1. Private sexual freedom
2. Need not be bad consequences if affairs conducted discreetly
Arguments against
1. Religious – abusing oneself
2. Domino argument
Arguments for
1. Natural and harmless and safe
Arguments against
1. Degrading to human beings
2. Criminal – causes harm
3. Degrading to women
4. Encourages “perversions”
Arguments for
1. Individual discretion
2. No proof of degradation
3. Help to eliminate repression
4. Crimes covered by other laws
5. “Exploitation” is matter of opinion
Arguments against
1. Extramarital and commercialized sex is immoral
2. Causes crime
3. Social diseases and AIDS
Arguments for prostitution
1. Safe sexual release
2. Victimless crime
3. Social acceptance and governmental control
Sexual perversion or “unnatural” sexual activity
Conservative view: All bad
Liberal view: Varies, some bad, some okay, so long as consenting adults is okay
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Gay Marriage
Group Marriage
Premarital Sex
Natural law
1. Examine the arguments for and against sexual freedom. State your view and carefully justify
it making reference to the distinction between private and public.
2. Is gay marriage morally acceptable? Why or why not? What moral principles underlie your
3. “Pornography is an acceptable practice because it brings a lot of pleasure to a lot of people.”
What kind of argument is this? What are its strengths and weaknesses?
4. “Prostitution exploits women and children, supports the drug trade, spreads sexual disease
and breaks up families”- Discuss.
5. Examine the role and function of the concept of “nature” in the morality of sexuality.
1. The two major aspects of sexuality are public and private.
2. The main argument for sexual freedom is that it feels good.
3. Those opposed to premarital sex say that it encourages promiscuity and the spread of sexual
4. The main argument against adultery is that it is a violation of traditional family values.
5. Condoning homosexuality is also condoning child abuse.
6. The ancient Hebrews depicted in the Bible practiced polygamy.
7. If you masturbate you will go to Hell.
8. The main argument for the acceptance of pornography is individual sexual freedom and the
fact that no proof exists that it degrades people.
9. The main argument for prostitution is that sex can be enjoyed solely for pleasure.
10. It is far more immoral to kill an animal without its consent and eat it than have sex with it
without its consent and let it live.
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11. The purpose of human sexuality is
a) fun/pleasure.
b) procreation.
c) an expression of love.
d) an expression of friendship.
e) all of the above.
12. The public aspect of sexuality is concerned with those matters that overtly
a) affect nonparticipating others.
b) appear on television.
c) contravene public decency.
d) disturb the majority.
13. The main argument against sexual freedom is that
a) it violates tradition and family values.
b) sex is very bad for you.
c) sex is for procreation only.
d) it’s against God.
14. The approach to marriage that openly accepts “free love” amongst it’s members is known as
a) monogamy.
b) polygamy.
c) group marriage.
d) homosexual marriage.
e) having your cake and eating it.
15. Monogamy is considered a good form of marriage because
a) the love relationship can become so intimate and involved.
b) the Bible says so.
c) children need one mother and father.
d) human sexuality can be carefully controlled.
16. If adulterers are discreet, avoid breaking up or causing harm to their families and practice
safe sex, then what’s wrong with that?
a) Nothing
b) Adultery always involves deception of some kind
c) Sexual diseases
d) Could lead to “wife swapping” or “swinging”
17. The main “argument” against the morality of homosexuality is
a) it’s unnatural: God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.
b) gays are responsible for the AIDS crisis.
c) the gay lifestyle is offensive to family values.
d) the “Homosexual Agenda.”
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18. Pornography creates a lot of pleasure and happiness for a lot of people that far outweighs
any unhappiness that may spin off from it. Who might argue this line?
a) Kantians
b) Calvinists
c) Utilitarians
d) Hugh Heffner
19. The main argument for masturbation is that
a) it is perfectly natural.
b) it is very safe.
c) there’s nothing wrong with going “solo.”
d) it’s very private.
20. Why does bestiality present a “special problem” in sexual morality?
a) Because the statistics show a large number of American and Australian men participate
b) Because it has not been approved by the government
c) Because it’s against nature
d) Because it doesn’t involve consenting adults
Answer Key to Chapter 12 Test Questions
True or False
1.T 2.F 3.T 4.T 5.F 6.T 7.F 8.T 9.T 10.T/F –get them to think about it.
Multiple Choice
11.E 12.A 13.A 14.C 15.A 16.B 17.A 18.C 19.A 20.D
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
General Overview
This chapter engages a range of issues that revolve around the rights and obligations of those
involved in health care either as patient, a member of the patient’s family, or health care
professional and associates. The topics of truth, confidentiality, informed consent, research and
experimentation are broad- but here explored specifically in the context of medicine - and apply
to many areas of professional concern including education, law and other fields.
Class Suggestions
You might start by sketching out broad lines of possible responses to some of the issues in terms
of the consequentialist and nonconsequentialist approaches or perhaps rights and consequences.
Once these are on the board you can tackle some of the more specific issues. Some students
might be encouraged to share some of their hospital experiences with you. Homework projects
might include questioning someone in their family about the doctor-patient relationships that
they have experienced or heard about. The cases here could be used to spark discussion or for
group or pair presentations.
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Chapter Summary
Bio-ethics – life ethics or relations between sick and dying, health and medical professionals.
Health care professionals and patients and the families – rights and obligations
Relation between doctors and patients is like parent and child.
Engineering model
“Value-free” or purely technical approach to patients.
Priestly model
Opposite of engineering model – doctor-priest does what is considered best by avoiding harm.
Radical individualism
Patients have absolute rights over their bodies.
Reciprocal view
Patients, families and health workers make decisions together as part of a team approach. This
can develop into two models:
1. Collegial model – patient and doctor as colleagues
2. Contractual model – covenant between doctor and patient
Truth letting and informed consent
Two issues:
1. To what extent should patients be told the truth?
2. Informed consent as formalized procedure for patient to accede to treatment.
Paternalistic view of truth telling
Patients have a right to know the truth about their condition even if it will affect them adversely.
Moderate position
In between- telling patients what they want to know when they want to know it. Requires careful
judgments about patients and their capacity to deal with the truth.
Informed consent
Now necessary because of complexity of medical procedures. In order to fully and intelligently
“consent” to such procedures the patients must be thoroughly “informed” about the details,
effects, complications etc.?
Doctors’ reactions to truth telling and informed consent
1. Patient doesn’t need to be fully informed
2. Patients often don’t want to hear complicated explanations
3. Risks shouldn’t frighten patients
4. Risk may deter patients from agreeing to necessary procedures
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5. Psychosomatic risks
Patients and families reactions to truth telling
Patients may deny existence of their conditions but may want to know the truth. Patients and
families should be kept as fully informed as possible, especially when it is clear they do want to
Confidentiality problematic in relation to STD’s.
Positive HIV tests and AIDS
Spouses and partners
Should spouses or partners of HIV positive patients be told if the patient is unwilling to tell
them? HIV positive patients are protected by confidentiality procedures.
Health caregivers with HIV/AIDS
Should caregivers have the same protection/confidentiality, etc. as patients?
Guilt and innocence in treating patients
Do judgments regarding the extent to which patients are responsible for their condition affect the
quality of care they receive? Should this be the case?
Ethical issues in medicine
Ethics and behavior control
Should behaviors considered “socially unacceptable” be controlled by medical technologies?
Problems with behavior control
What is “normal” behavior? Who decides and on what basis?
Human experimentation
In favor:
1. Justified if it advances human knowledge
2. Prisoners or mentally ill who are capable of consent
1. Human beings shouldn’t be treated as means to end (e.g., Nazi experiments)
2. Should not be performed on mentally incompetent or those not free to consent
Genetics and stem cell research
Arguments for experimentation
Scientific knowledge should proceed without hindrance.
Arguments against
Experimenting with God’s or nature’s plan, especially artificially creating life, should not be
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Stem cell research
Stem cells are capable of developing into many different kinds of cells
The moral issue
Stem cells can be developed into tissues which could potentially cure diseases like Parkinson’s,
Alzheimer’s diabetes, etc. Extracting stem cells from 5 to 7 day old embryos kills them.
Government limits
To receive federal funds, George Bush decided that stem cell lines that were derived
1. With the consent of the donor
2. From excess embryos (created for reproductive purposes)
3. Without any financial inducement to the donors
No federal funds for:
1. Stem cell lines derived from newly destroyed embryos
2. The creation of human embryos for research
3. The cloning of human embryos
Could the use of adult stem cells resolve this dilemma?
Radical individualism
Informed Consent
Right to Know
Behavior Control
Stem Cell Research
1. “Doctor knows best.” Evaluate this claim looking at its advantages and disadvantages in
terms of patient care.
2. Critically explore the rights and obligations involved in doctor-patient confidentiality. Try to
illustrate your answer with examples and/or cases.
3. Examine the ethics of behavior control. What are the problems and advantages of such an
4. Are human experiments ever justified?
5. Should embryonic stem cells be used in research? Discuss in relation to the dangers and
potential benefits.
1. Bioethics means “life ethics.”
2. Paternalism, as the name suggests, is that position that argues that health care professionals
know only what they learn from patients.
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3. Radical individualism is the view that some patients have very strong and extreme political
4. Informed consent refers to a formalized procedure whereby patients consent to treatment
usually in writing.
5. If doctors kept patient information strictly confidential there would be no moral issues.
6. Behavior control in bioethics refers to technologies that alter a person’s behavior with or
without their consent.
7. In some cities in the US hyper kinetic children have not been allowed to go to school unless
their parents agree to give them a drug that slows down their activity levels.
8. Those strongly in favor of experiments on both humans and animals argue that anything that
advances scientific knowledge or aids humanity is justifiable.
9. Sexually transmitted diseases do not have to be reported by law.
10. Stem cells have the potential to become any kind of body cell.
11. Paternalism in medicine is best captured in the phrase
a) doctors know best.
b) patients know best.
c) nurses know best.
d) all of the above.
12. The engineering model of doctor-patient relations suggests that
a) the patient is the engineer of his illness.
b) the doctor is a qualified technician treating and improving the body-machine.
c) the patient is valued above all else.
d) doctor and patient are part of a team.
13. That doctors should tell their patients what they want to know and when they want to know it
is referred to as the _____ approach to truth telling.
a) paternalistic
b) patient’s rights
c) moderate
d) worst
14. If doctors all agree that patient related-information is private then why is confidentiality an
a) Doctors find it difficult to keep quiet.
b) Doctors get paid from the newspapers for releasing secret information.
c) Doctors are known for breaking confidences.
d) Protecting the innocent.
15. The assumption behind informed consent is that
a) patients don’t understand their condition.
b) doctors might abuse their trust.
c) doctors and nurses often do things against a patient’s will.
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d) in order to consent to a procedure a patient must be informed about it.
16. A _________ approach to human behavior control would insist that we don’t know what the
standard for normal behavior is.
a) behaviorist
b) antibehaviorist
c) kantian
d) caring
17. So called ____________ is a technique used to deal with overeating, drug or alcohol abuse.
a) brain surgery
b) “hot wax” treatment
c) carrot ‘n’ stick
d) aversive conditioning
18. The main moral argument against the use of human beings in experiments is that
a) humans do not make good subjects.
b) humans should not be used as a means to an end.
c) animals are less squeamish.
d) animals don’t think or reason.
19. The central view of those opposed to stem cell research is that
a) no good can come of it.
b) the slippery slope or domino effect will make us like Nazis.
c) humans can’t “play God.”
d) the procedure kills the embryo.
20. How will the use of adult stem cells resolve some of the moral issues involved here?
a) Because they’re older they can deal with it
b) Because an embryo is not involved
c) Because adult stem cells are more useful
d) None of the above
Answer Key to Chapter 14 Test Questions
True or False
1.T 2.F 3.F 4.T 5.F 6.T 7.T 8.T 9.F 10.T
Multiple Choice
11.A 12.B 13.C 14.D 15.D 16.B 17.D 18.B 19.D 20.B
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General Overview
As with the last chapter rights and obligations are explored but this time in relation to business
and the media. The basic dispute with respect to business is whether making profits is the only
obligation it has or whether it has other obligations to the consumer, the employee, the
environment, etc. Business might, for example, be obligated to make positions available to
certain groups because they have been discriminated against. In media ethics the topic of
advertising is problematic since pressure to sell the product might offend against truth,
responsibility and other values. The basic moral issue in journalism often boils down to a contest
between the “public’s right to know” and the “individual right to privacy.”
Class Suggestions
There are a number of good recent cases that fit into the ambit of this chapter, including Enron,
the recent Supreme Court decision regarding affirmative action and the University of Michigan
and numerous high profile cases involving the media (particularly the ones mentioned in the
textbook). I recommend that instructors use these to bring out and focus on the main concepts
and questions. A mini research project on affirmative action at their own college might be
illuminating. Many students will already have work experience, so drawing on that could also
prove to be a very useful source of data for moral examination.
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Chapter Summary
Rights and obligations in business
Both general and specific rights and obligations are involved in business, e.g., right to pursue
opportunities for employment as well as right to fairness, honesty and truth in business dealings.
Two ways of approaching rights and obligations in business
1. Competitive approach – “Dog eat dog” or “free enterprise” winner makes biggest profits,
losers go out of business
2. Government control – State ownership of business enterprises
3. Moderate position – Free enterprise with some government controls, as system of checks and
balances to overcome the excesses of the other approaches
Justice, truth telling and honesty in business
Three types in business:
1. Exchange justice
2. Distributive justice
3. Social justice
Honesty and truth telling
Honesty and truth telling important in a range of activities especially advertising and safety
Ethical issues in business
Two main approaches:
1. Anything goes approach
2. The truthful approach
Business and the environment
Three positions:
1. Primacy of business – Business gives consumers what they want. This is their only
2. Primacy of environment – Businesses must take responsibility for their part in maintaining
the environment or putting right any damage it causes.
3. Moderate position – All to blame, not just business. Must work together to safeguard
Affirmative action and reverse discrimination
Argument for discrimination
1. Business practices are the employer’s own affairs.
2. Business should not be singled out to make amends for practices that occurred everywhere.
3. Businesses should not be prevented from hiring the employees they prefer.
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Argument against
1. Discrimination in employment is one of the worst kinds of discrimination since its effects are
so far reaching.
2. Owed recompenses for actions committed against them
3. Affirmative action will right the wrongs of the past.
Moderate position
1. Affirmative action should be implemented but not by hiring less qualified workers.
Sexual harassment
Unwanted, sexual advances, or unwanted visual, verbal or physical conducts of a sexual nature.
Arguments that sexual harassment is not immoral
1. Enlivening the workplace
2. Women and men are naturally sexually attracted to one another
3. Positions of power imply certain rights
4. Often those being harassed ask for or cause sexual harassment
Arguments that sexual harassment is immoral
1. Unfairness of treatment
2. Creation of a hostile or offensive working environment
3. Positions of authority do not imply power over personal lives
4. Attraction does not imply involvement
5. Harassed often “ask for it” is false.
Media ethics
Journalism’s ideal
The “pursuit of truth.” Does the pursuit of the ideal legitimate any method of acquiring
information? Is lying to get the truth acceptable?
Public right to know versus individual right to privacy
Perhaps the most significant moral problem. Test problem in relation to examples, e.g., Princess
Diana, President Clinton, etc. Where should the lines be drawn?
Corporate greed - Enron
1. Lied about profits
2. Conflict of interest with auditors (Arthur Anderson)
3. AA’s shredding of evidence
How to prevent this from happening again?
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Affirmative Action
Reverse Discrimination
Sexual Harassment
Right to Know
Right to Privacy
1. Do businesses have any obligations other than profits? Use examples in your answer to
critically evaluate this question.
2. Is it immoral for a company to exaggerate or even “stretch the truth” in their advertising if
jobs are at stake? Discuss the moral principles involved here and try to justify your position.
3. Is affirmative action morally justifiable?
4. If one person takes offense at a titillating office email does that constitute sexual harassment
or is this a case of someone being overly sensitive? Discuss the moral concerns that relate to
this issue.
5. When Princess Diana died, were journalists pursuing a story that the public had a “right to
According to the author “business ethics” is an oxymoron.
An obligation is what I am entitled to by law.
There are two highly divergent ways of approaching rights and obligations in business.
Social justice is concerned with how business and the media treat consumers and members of
5. Doing anything you can to get the customer to buy the product is known in advertising as the
fairest approach.
6. Prejudice means literally “prejudgment” before having any experience of that which one
7. One argument for discrimination is that a company’s business practices are its own affair.
8. One survey found that 4 in 5 students have been sexually harassed at some point in their
school life.
9. Enron had a 65 page long code of ethics.
10. The media represent events – they do not create them.
11. According to the author no right is so important that it _________ supersedes all the others.
a) often
b) always
c) mostly
d) never
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12. The approach to rights and obligations in business – which stresses a laissez faire attitude
without controls - is sometimes called
a) the government control approach.
b) the moderate position.
c) the competitive approach.
d) the ethical approach.
13. The type of justice that involves reimbursement for services rendered is called
a) Exchange Justice.
b) Distributive Justice.
c) Social Justice.
d) Retributive Justice.
14. The moral approach to advertising is the ____________ approach.
a) anything goes approach
b) buyer beware approach
c) the truthful approach
d) the moderate approach
15. Business has no responsibilities to the environment or society only consumers and
shareholders. This is known as the
a) primacy of the environment view.
b) primacy of business view.
c) moderate view.
d) primacy of society view.
16. The moderate position on affirmative action says that
a) blacks and women are inferior.
b) a business employer’s practices are private.
c) quotas, goals and timetable must be established.
d) AA must be taken at all levels and employers should have the freedom to hire who they wish.
17. The bases for arguments against sexual harassment are that
a) all people deserve to be treated with respect.
b) it is now socially unacceptable.
c) in the end it brings profits down.
d) it’s unfair on the men and women who don’t get any attention.
18. Who said that the ideal of journalism was the “communication of truth”?
a) The Disney corporation (who own ABC amongst others)
b) Patterson and Wilkins
c) Princess Diana
d) Bill Clinton
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19. One of the main moral dilemmas in the media and journalism is
a) to get as many viewers/readers/listeners as possible.
b) the public’s right to know versus the individual right to privacy.
c) journalists expense accounts.
d) what to do about Ted Koppell’s hair.
20. What does the Enron episode show?
a) How useless a code of ethics is unless embedded in practices
b) How greedy human beings can be
c) How important ethics is
d) All of the above
Answer Key to Chapter 15 Test Questions
True or False
1.F 2.F 3.T 4.T 5.F 6.T 7.T 8.T 9.T 10.T or F. Get them to think about it
Multiple Choice
11.B 12.C 13.A 14.C 15.A 16.D 17.A 18.B 19.B 20.D
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General Overview
In this final chapter our obligations to the larger non-human community and the rights that that
community may have are explored, especially practices involving animals whether it be for food,
sport, amusement, etc. What justifies our treatment of animals in this regard since many of our
practices involve inflicting pain, injury and death? Are animals simply inferior to humans – like
sticks and stones as Plato said, or soulless machines according to Descartes- such that the pain
we inflict requires little or no justification? How important is the possession of reason? Are we
separate from and superior to nature or inextricably bound to it? Appropriately, this final chapter
raises again some of the hardest questions of moral philosophy.
Class Suggestions
There are numerous exercises that you might get students to engage in here for this topic. One
popular scenario is to get students to imagine they have landed on a new planet with all kinds of
things that they don’t recognize flying, crawling and swimming. Some creatures appear to be
very intelligent. Their food supplies have run out and desperation will soon set in. They will have
to decide what they can eat and what they can’t. What criteria do they use? This kind of activity
will bring out assumptions that are often hidden, perhaps by the fact that animals seem to be
almost invisibly embedded in every part of our lives and that their use is taken for granted. Other
activities might include getting students to work out a hierarchy of animals based on categories
like “Kill /destroy it because it interferes with your quality of life” or “Own it or deprive it of its
freedom without any reason,” “Perform harmful experiments on it,” etc. This will bring out
many of our inconsistencies regarding how we treat animals, as would a careful consideration of
pets and why this particular group of animals are given special rights and to which we, as
“owners,” have special obligations.
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Chapter Summary
Nature and Morality
What relations are there between nature and morality?
What obligations do we have to nature?
Environmental ethical issues
There are a number of issues of concern:
1. Waste and destruction of natural resources
2. Exploiting, misusing and polluting the environment
3. Exploiting, abusing and destroying animals
a. Hunting and destroying animals for food and body parts
b. Raising animals for food
c. Using animals for scientific experimentation
d. Endangerment, decimation and extinction of animal species
Our attitudes toward nature and what lies behind it
Native Americans one with nature
Eastern religions also see nature and humans as unified.
Western view more dualistic. Two sources of dualism.
1. Platonic dualism
2. Judeo-Christian
Rise of science and scientific progress
Sources of dualism also give rise to science, technology, industrialization and the encroachment
of nature by civilization.
Arguments for use and exploitation of natural environment
1. Dominance over nature
a. Religious basis
b. Natural order/evolution
2. Human reasoning versus nature as blind and non-reasoning
3. Civilization more important than nature
4. Moral rights and obligations – humans more important
Arguments against the use and exploitation of nature
1. Monistic wholism versus dominance and domination?
2. Reasoning should not separate humans from nature and nature should not be subordinated to
Moderate position
Treat nature with respect but still (carefully) use nature for human good.
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Criteria for animal rights
1. Life and being alive
2. Having interests
3. Attributes of soul, mind and feelings
4. Reason
Ways of dealing with animal rights
1. Vegetarianism
2. Sentimentalism
3. Wholism
Use of animals for food
Ways of raising animals for food
1. Factory farming
2. Free range
Vegetarianism – opposed to 1.
Carnivores – whichever method delivers best quality meat
Moderate position – condone animals as food, except by clearly cruel methods like factory
Use of animals for experimentation
Arguments for
Scientific and medical purposes.
Arguments against
Not justified in making an animal suffer for human benefit
Moderate position
Not opposed to experiments but they must be absolutely necessary
Killing animals for sport
It should be allowed
1. An ancient activity of man
2. Controlling animal population
3. Desire for animal meat and other body parts
It should not be allowed
1. An ancient activity no longer required
2. The animal population will control itself
3. No further need for wild game or body parts
Moderate position
1. Killing for sport allowed on a limited basis
2. No reason to kill wild animals for meat
3. No killing animals for body parts and skins
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Protection of endangered species
1. Irreverence for segment of life is irreverence for all life
2. Species are beautiful and should be preserved for all
3. All animals contribute to balance of nature
Is it possible to achieve a balance between the progress of civilization and natural environment?
Factory Farming
Animal Rights
Endangered Species
1. What justifies our treatment of animals? Reason, intelligence, superior nature, rights?
Critically examine the basis for our practices here.
2. Is hunting justified any longer? Explore grounds for and against and try to justify your own view.
3. Is experimentation on animals morally acceptable in some/all cases? Explain and defend your
4. “The environment and the animals in it are a resource for human beings to use as they see
fit.” Do you agree with this claim? Say why or why not and carefully define and justify the
principles that ground your view.
5. Does nature have any value over and above the value we confer upon it? Explore in relation
to the models of dominion and wholism.
Speciesism is the belief that all species are equal.
There is a growing recognition that natural resources are being wasted and destroyed.
Sentientism is the view that only beings with bodies should be the subject of moral concern.
The Western view has tended to adopt an adversarial relation to nature.
Science and technology have tended to aid and abet the adversarial relation to nature.
The “evolution argument” supports the idea that human beings have dominion over nature.
The difference between a vegetarian and a vegan is that vegans cannot eat pinto beans or
wear leather shoes.
8. The main argument for hunting is that men like it.
9. Veal calves are raised in cruel and immoral ways.
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
10. It is possible to achieve a balance between the progress of civilization and sustaining the
natural environment.
11. If you believe that humans and nature together form a moral community you are a _______.
a) speciesist.
b) wholist.
c) sentientist.
d) hippie.
12. The different traditions approach nature in various ways. The wholistic approach has always
been part of the _________ tradition
a) Western
b) Native American/Eastern
c) Christian
d) Jewish
13. The predominant attitude to nature in the Bible and the Judeo-Christian tradition generally
has been
a) oppositional.
b) harmonious.
c) relaxed.
d) subordinate.
14. The basis for the use and exploitation of nature is the view that
a) nature will destroy us if we don’t control it (as the poet says “nature is red in tooth and claw”).
b) we are superior reasoning beings– nature is a resource to do with as we please.
c) we can make profit from nature.
d) all of the above.
15. The moderate position on the use and exploitation of nature is that
a) nature is at our disposal.
b) humans are far more important than the environment.
c) trees have rights.
d) nature and humans are intimately related.
16. A vegan is someone who does not eat
a) meat.
b) meat and fish.
c) meat and animal products.
d) pizza.
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
17. The main argument for the use of animals in experiments is that
a) we would have to use humans to find cures for disease but humans are more important than
b) they don’t complain (too much).
c) animals don’t have rights (since they can’t claim them).
d) none of the above.
18. Which architect tried to design buildings as an organic and integral part of nature?
a) Le Corbusier
b) Philip Johnson
c) Brunelleschi
d) Frank Lloyd Wright
19. Choose which arguments support the protection of endangered species.
a) An irreverence for a small segment of life affects one’s reverence for all life.
b) Nature always allows species to become extinct.
c) All animals contribute in some way to the balance of nature.
d) If species are going extinct as a result of what we do that is part of nature.
20. What should our relationship to nature be
a) wholistic.
b) dominion over.
c) use it or lose it.
d) don’t worry, be happy.
Answer Key to Chapter 16 Test Questions
True or False
1.F 2.T 3.F 4.T 5.T 6. T 7.F 8.T 9.T 10.T The last 3 here require discussion
Multiple Choice
11.B 12.B 13.A 14.D 15.D 16.C 17.A 18.D 19A/C 20.A This last requires discussion
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