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PHIL 2
Philosophy: Ethics in
Contemporary Society
Week 1
Topic Outlines
Course Overview
This course examines the nature of
philosophy and ethic’s relationship to it,
including the issue of morality. Several
ethical theories are applied to individual
ethical problems and contemporary
social issues, such as health care
applications. Other moral issues, such
as abortion, euthanasia, discrimination
and animal rights, are addressed.
Week 1, PHIL2
1.2
Course Objectives

At the completion of this course,
you will be able to:


Explain the relationship between
philosophy, ethics, and morality.
Classify the characteristics, history,
application, and importance of morality.
Week 1, PHIL2
1.3
Course Objectives

(continued)
Describe several theories of morality and
ethics (for example, ethical egoism,
utilitarianism, divine command theory,
Kant’s duty ethics, Ross’s prima facie
duties, and virtue ethics). Explain
consequential theories of morality.
Week 1, PHIL2
1.4
Course Objectives



(continued)
Differentiate between absolutism versus
relativism, as well as freedom versus
determinism.
Explain reward and punishment in
relationship to justice.
Define (or outline) the system of
humanitarian ethics.
Week 1, PHIL2
1.5
Course Objectives


(continued)
Analyze case studies to determine moral or
immoral implications of actions and
behaviors.
Synthesize the major ethical theories and
the process by which they apply to current
moral problems within our society.
Week 1, PHIL2
1.6
Course Text
Thiroux, Jacques P.
Ethics – Theory and Practice, 8th ed.
Pearson-Prentice Hall, 2004.
ISBN: 0-13-183002-3
Week 1, PHIL2
1.7
Course Topics by Week
Week 1
 Course Expectations
 Components and History of Morality –
Chap. 1
 Consequential Theories of Morality –
Chap. 2
 Theories of Morality and Virtue Ethics –
Chap. 3
Week 1, PHIL2
1.8
Course Topics by Week
Week 2
 Absolutism versus Relativism – Chap. 4
 An Analysis of Freedom versus
Determinism – Chap. 5
 Reward and Punishment – Chap. 6
 Act of Setting Up a Moral System –
Chap. 7
Week 1, PHIL2
1.9
Course Topics by Week
Week 3
 Moral Implications of Taking Human Life
– Chap. 8
 Moral Implications of Allowing Someone
to Die – Chap. 9
 Moral Implications of Abortion – Chap.
10
 Applying Humanitarian Ethics
Week 1, PHIL2
1.10
Course Topics by Week
Week 4
 Moral Implications of Lying, Cheating,
Breaking Promises, and Stealing –
Chap. 11
 Morality, Marriage, and Human
Sexuality – Chap. 12
Week 1, PHIL2
1.11
Course Topics by Week
Week 5
 Bioethics and the Ethical Issues in
Medicine – Chap. 13
 Business and Media Ethics – Business
and Media Ethics – Chap. 14
Week 1, PHIL2
1.12
Course Topics by Week
Week 6
 Environmental Ethics – Chap. 15
 Key Concepts and Major Ethical
Theories – Appendixes
Week 1, PHIL2
1.13
Topic 1: Course Expectations


Philosophy, ethics, and morality
Relationships among philosophy, ethics,
and morality
Week 1, PHIL2
1.14
Philosophy, Ethics, and Morality

Philosophy is concerned with:





Epistemology (study of knowledge)
Metaphysics (study of nature of reality)
Ethics (study of morality)
Ethics: What is right or wrong in human
behavior and conduct
Morality: Human conduct and values
Week 1, PHIL2
1.15
Relationships among Philosophy,
Ethics, and Morality




Ethics is a sub-area of philosophy.
“Ethical” and “moral” are often used
interchangeably.
Ethics pertains to the individual
character of a person.
Morality deals with relationships among
people.
Week 1, PHIL2
1.16
Topic 2: Components and
History of Morality



Approaches to the study of morality
Why human beings should be moral
Morality and the law; morality and
religion
Week 1, PHIL2
1.17
Approaches to the Study
of Morality

Values as totally objective – from
external source




Supernatural theory
Natural law theory
World and objects in it have value without
the presence of valuing humans
Values as totally subjective – from
within human beings
Week 1, PHIL2
1.18
Approaches to the Study
of Morality (continued)


Values as both subjective and objective
Includes three variables:



Thing of value, or thing valued
Conscious being who values
Context or situation in which valuing takes
place
Week 1, PHIL2
1.19
Why Human Beings
Should Be Moral




Religion or the supernatural
Enlightened self-interest
Tradition and law
Common human needs
Week 1, PHIL2
1.20
Morality and the Law;
Morality and Religion




Law provides guides to human behavior
and protection from harm.
What is moral is not necessarily legal.
What is legal is not necessarily moral.
Law is the public codification of
morality.
Week 1, PHIL2
1.21
Morality and the Law;
Morality and Religion (continued)


Religion has served as a most powerful
sanction for getting people to behave
morally.
Morality is not based solely on religion.




Difficulty of proving supernatural existence
Nonreligious people can be moral
Difficulty of providing a rational foundation
Which religion?
Week 1, PHIL2
1.22
Topic 3: Consequential
Theories of Morality



Consequentialist and
nonconsequentialist views of morality
Three types of ethical egoism
Two types of utilitarianism
Week 1, PHIL2
1.23
Consequentialist and
Nonconsequentialist Views of Morality


Consequentialist ethical theories –
based on or concerned with
consequences; also called teleological
theories
Nonconsequentialist ethical theories –
not based on or concerned with
consequences; also called deontological
theories
Week 1, PHIL2
1.24
Three Types of Ethical Egoism


Ethical egoism – people should act in
their own self-interest
Three types:



Individual – everyone should act in my selfinterest
Personal – I ought to act in my self interest
Universal – everyone should act in his or
her self-interest
Week 1, PHIL2
1.25
Two Types of Utilitarianism


Utilitarianism – people should act in the
best interest of all concerned
Two types:


Act – one should perform that act that
brings about the greatest good for
everyone affected
Rule – one should follow the rule that will
bring about the greatest number of good
consequences for all involved
Week 1, PHIL2
1.26
Topic 4: Theories of Morality
and Virtue Ethics



Nonconsequentialist and Virtue Ethics
theories of morality and consequentialist
theories
Nonconsequentialism and the divine
command theory, Kant’s duty ethics, Ross’s
prima facie duties, and virtue ethics
Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics and John
Rawl’s theory of justice
Week 1, PHIL2
1.27
Nonconsequentialist & Virtue Ethics theories
of morality vs. Consequentialist theories


Nonconsequentialist theories –
consequences do not and should not
enter into judgment of morality
Two types:


Act – there are no rules
Rule – following the rules is what is moral
Week 1, PHIL2
1.28
Nonconsequentialist & Virtue Ethics theories
of morality vs. Consequentialist theories


Virtue Ethics – development of a moral
or virtuous character by doing what a
good person would do
Virtue Ethics are not concerned with
consequences or rules.
Week 1, PHIL2
1.29
Divine Command theory, Kant’s Duty
Ethics, Ross’s Prima Facie duties, Virtue
Ethics


Divine Command theory – morality is
based on commands and prohibitions
communicated by a supernatural being
or beings.
To be moral, humans must follow these
commands without concern for
consequences, self-interest, or anything
else.
Week 1, PHIL2
1.30
Divine Command theory, Kant’s Duty
Ethics, Ross’s Prima Facie duties, Virtue
Ethics (continued)

Kant’s Duty Ethics



Good will – human ability to act in
accordance with rules, laws, or principles
regardless of interests or consequences
Establishing morality by reasoning alone –
absolute moral truths exist that are
consistent and universal
Categorical Imperative – a rule is immoral
if it cannot apply to all humans
Week 1, PHIL2
1.31
Divine Command theory, Kant’s Duty
Ethics, Ross’s Prima Facie duties, Virtue
Ethics (continued)

Kant’s Duty Ethics (continued)


Practical Imperative – no human being
should be used merely as a means to
someone’s end
Duty rather than inclination – people must
act out of a sense of duty
Week 1, PHIL2
1.32
Divine Command theory, Kant’s Duty
Ethics, Ross’s Prima Facie duties, Virtue
Ethics (continued)

Ross’s Prima Facie duties: all humans
must obey in a general way before any
other considerations



Fidelity – telling the truth, keeping
promises
Reparation – making amends
Gratitude – recognizing what others have
done for us
Week 1, PHIL2
1.33
Divine Command theory, Kant’s Duty
Ethics, Ross’s Prima Facie duties, Virtue
Ethics (continued)

Ross’s Prima Facie duties (continued)




Justice – seeing that people get what they
deserve
Beneficence – helping to improve the
condition of others
Self-improvement – improving our own
virtue, intelligence and happiness
Nonmaleficence – not injuring others,
preventing injury to others
Week 1, PHIL2
1.34
Divine Command theory, Kant’s Duty
Ethics, Ross’s Prima Facie duties, Virtue
Ethics (continued)


Virtue Ethics: based on Aristotle’s
Nichomachean Ethics
Goal is the development of a good or
virtuous human being; an action is not
right or good in itself.
Week 1, PHIL2
1.35
Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics
and John Rawl’s Theory of Justice


Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics: human
beings have natural ethical tendencies
in human beings; to follow them with a
general attitude of consistent harmony
and proportion constitutes an ethical
life.
Virtue is the mean between two
extremes (vices).
Week 1, PHIL2
1.36
Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics
and John Rawl’s Theory of Justice


John Rawl’s Theory of Justice: rights
are given to humans by a just society in
which no one has an unfair advantage
over others.
Principles that shape society are agreed
upon without regard to our place in that
society.
Week 1, PHIL2
1.37
Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics
and John Rawl’s Theory of Justice

Rawl’s two basic principles:


Equality principle – each person has equal
rights to maximum liberty compatible with
the same amount of liberty for everyone
else.
Difference principle – inequality is
permissible to the extent that it is to
everyone’s advantage.
Week 1, PHIL2
1.38
Week 1
Thiroux, Jacques P.
Ethics – Theory and Practice, 8th ed.
Chapters 1-3
Week 1, PHIL2
1.39