Chapter 2: Ethical Traditions
Section 6: Ethical Theory
(NOTE: You must read only those linked materials that are preceded by the capitalized word READ.)
Normative Ethical Relativism is flawed and cannot provide for a basis for
moral society for humans on planet earth, then what is to provide that basis?
If Normative Ethical Relativism is flawed and cannot provide for a basis for moral society for humans on planet earth, then what is to provide that basis?
What would provide a basis for universal moral codes?
Morality by Lowell Kleiman
So, if the theory of Normative Ethical Relativism
is flawed and cannot be used to determine the ethical nature of an act or
as a basis for morality then what is the alternative to it?
Can there be an ethics? Can
there be a basis for moral rule making? Can
there be a basis for rule making concerning how humans ought to behave
that can and does apply to all humankind?
Since Socrates Philosophers have sought that basis in REASON.
All humans have reason and if through the use of reason certain
principles of ethics, the principle of the GOOD, can be discerned or
discovered, then all humans would have contact with the basis for the
moral life that all cultures and societies need.
Plato believed he had found those principles. After him several others in the West have reached similar
conclusions concerning the existence of principles that might have
universal application. Unfortunately,
they have not all agreed as to what those principles are.
There are some fundamental distinctions to be
made in the approaches taken to thinking about the GOOD. What makes something, an action, GOOD? Is it something in the act or in the intention behind the
act? Is it the result of the
act or what is in the act itself?
There is a terrorist with a gun pointed at a
group of innocent hostages being held by the terrorists. There is the declaration that he will kill them.
Someone nearby has a gun and points it at the terrorist and shots.
The would-be hero misses the target and kills one of the innocent
hostages. No is the act of
the would-be hero good or bad. Is
it the intention behind the act or the result of the act that makes it
good or bad?
If something is good is it good because of what
it is or because of what it results in?
Intrinsic vs. instrumental value
is said to have intrinsic value if it is good ``in and of itself,'' i.e.,
not merely as a means for acquiring something else.
is said to have instrumental value if it is good because it provides the
means for acquiring something else of value.
Consequentialist vs. non-consequentialist theories of ethics
are two broad categories of ethical theories concerning the source of
value: consquentialist and non-consequentialist.
consequentialist theory of value judges the rightness or wrongness of an
action based on the consequences that action has. The most familiar
example would be utilitarianism--``that action is best that produces the
greatest good for the greatest number'' (Jeremy Bentham).
non-consequentialist theory of value judges the rightness or wrongness of
an action based on properties intrinsic to the action, not on its
should be free to do as they like as long as they respect the freedom of
others to do the same.
Contractarianism--No policy that causes uncompensated harm on anyone is permitted (Pareto safety).
As a consideration of these matters in detail
is now the focus the reader may want to examine some of the basic terms
and concepts to be employed in considering ethics. GLOSSARY of Terms associated with Ethics and
As a consideration of these matters in detail is now the focus the reader may want to examine some of the basic terms and concepts to be employed in considering ethics.
GLOSSARY of Terms associated with Ethics and
READ:Teleological Theories: Consequentialist Approach
In the next few
shall cover these theories and their advantages and disadvantages or their
weaknesses and problems.
In the next few sections we shall cover these theories and their advantages and disadvantages or their weaknesses and problems.
On VALUES and ETHICS READ Dallas Roark http://www.emporia.edu/socsci/philos_book/chp16.htm
BRITISH SOCIETY FOR
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