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Ethical Theories is what is not legally prohibited morally permissible

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Title: Ethical Theories is what is not legally prohibited morally permissible


1
Ethical Theoriesis what is not legally
prohibited morally permissible
  • Utilitarianism
  • an action is morally right iff it produces at
    least as much good (utility) for all people
    affected by it than any other action could
    otherwise do instead
  • Virtue
  • an excellence of character with the
    predisposition to chose those actions linked to
    human flourishing - chosen under the proper
    guidance of reason
  • Deontology
  • a moral action is done from a sense of duty
    rather than by following our natural inclinations
    to pursue our own desires
  • Divine Command Theory
  • moral principles are taken to be the laws issued
    by God to humanity - their authority derives from
    Gods supremacy
  • Interpretive Model of Adjudication
  • taken along with the positive law, the
    principles of political morality provide the best
    interpretation of the positive law the best
    justification for political decisions (Dworkin,
    2000) ? legal ? political obligation

2
Law Morality
  • if laws reflect societys customs, beliefs and
    moral values
  • then is what is legal moral, and, is what is
    not prohibited moral
  • Thomas Hobbes
  • The desires and passion of man are not in
    themselves Sin, no more then are the actions
    that proceed form them until men know of a law
    that forbids them
  • Wolfenden Report (1957)
  • Private prostitution should be permitted and
    public soliciting outlawed
  • Male homosexual acts in private between
    consenting adults over the age of 21 should be
    legalized
  • so private and individual activities that
    present no threat to other citizens or to the
    maintenance of public order and decency should
    remain beyond the reach of the law
  • but Devlins objections
  • There can be no distinction between
    public/private morality
  • A serious offence against morality constitutes an
    attack on society

3
Legal Moralism
  • if the law can legitimately be used to prohibit
    behaviors that conflict with society's
    collective moral judgments
  • ie. those behaviors do not necessarily result
    in physical or psychological harm to others
  • and a person's freedom can legitimately be
    restricted simply because it conflicts with
    society's collective morality
  • then it is permissible for the state to use its
    coercive power to enforce society's collective
    morality - Devlins criticisms of the Wolfenden
    Report
  • ie. society is entitled by means of its laws
    to protect itself from dangers, whether from
    within or from the outside
  • but Hart argues it is wrong to think that
    deviation from accepted sexual morality, even by
    adults in private, is something which, like
    treason, threatens the existence of society
  • ? no act of immorality should be made a
    criminal offense unless it is accompanied by
    some other feature such as indecency, corruption,
    exploitation

4
Legal Paternalism
  • if it is permissible for the state to legislate
    against self-regarding actions when it is
    necessary to prevent individuals from inflicting
    physical or severe emotional harm on themselves
  • then a paternalist interference is an
    interference with a person's liberty of action
    justified by reasons referring exclusively to
    the welfare, good, happiness, needs, interests
    or values of the person being coerced
  • eg. law requiring use of a helmet when riding a
    motorcycle is a paternalistic interference
    insofar as it is justified by concerns for the
    safety of the rider
  • Nevertheless, Dworkin argues that there are
    limits to legitimate paternalism
  • 1. the state must show that the behavior
    governed by the proposed restriction involves
    the sort of harm that a rational person would
    want to avoid
  • 2. the potential harm outweighs the benefits of
    the relevant behavior
  • 3. the proposed restriction is the least
    restrictive alternative for protecting against
    the harm
  • but JS Mill the only purpose for which power
    can rightly be used against anybody is to
    prevent harm to others their own good, either
    physical or moral, is sufficient warrant

5
Civil Disobedience
  • John Rawls
  • Q. At what point does the duty to obey cease to
    be binding in view of defending individual
    liberties and opposing injustice ?
  • A. Civil disobedience is justified when it
    serves to remind citizens of injustices within
    a society that is largely just
  • Civil Disobedience
  • Passive, nonviolent resistance to state power or
    passive non cooperation with the authorities ?
    involves mass defiance of unjust laws
  • Unlawful public conduct designed to appeal to the
    sense of justice of the majority ? to change the
    law without rejecting the rule of law
  • Such methods can cause considerable difficulties
    for the state which may be reluctant to use
    force against nonviolent protestors ? fear of
    inflaming the situation or alienating world
    opinion
  • Thus non-violence and non-revolutionary intent,
    as well as a willingness to accept lawful
    punishment, are often treated as defining
    conditions of civil disobedience
  • eg. Henry David Thoreaus refusal to pay a
    state poll tax enacted to finance enforcement
    of the Fugitive Slave Law and thus perpetuate
    southern chattel slavery

6
AnarchyRobert Nozick The Minimal State
  • Anarchy stems from the Greek word, anarkos,
    meaning without a chief
  • Its political meaning is the achievement of a
    social and political system without a state, or
    more broadly stated, a society that is
    characterized by a lack of any hierarchical or
    authoritarian structures
  • The general approach of the anarchist is to
    emphasize that the good life can only be realized
    without constraining or limiting structures
  • Any institution that is inconsistent with the
    life freely chosen is to be attacked, criticized,
    and rejected
  • - Utopian versions look to a universal
    egalitarianism in which each is to count for one
    and no more than one, and accordingly each
    persons values are of equal moral and political
    weighting
  • - Historicist anarchists believe that anarchy
    is the ultimate state that humanity is
    (inevitably) ascending towards it
  • - Radical anarchists claim that the future can
    only be fought for, and any imposition of
    authority on an individuals actions is to be
    defended against
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