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Basic Moral Orientations Overview


Title: Basic Moral Orientations Overview Subject: Basic moral orientations Author: Lawrence M. Hinman Last modified by: Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic Created Date – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Basic Moral Orientations Overview

Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic School of Innovation,
Design and Engineering Mälardalen University 26
August 2009
  • http//
  • http//

Professional Ethics Course
  • Information about the course
  • http//
  • http//
  • Website provides ethics resources including case
    studies and contextualized scenarios in
    applied/professional ethics, working examples of
    applied ethical problems used in teaching to
    highlight relevant ethical principles, materials
    on informed consent, confidentiality, assessment,
    privacy, trust and similar.

  • Identifying Ethical Issues
  • Basic Moral Orientations
  • Ethical Relativism, Absolutism, and Pluralism
  • Immanuel Kant The Ethics of Duty (Deontological
  • Utilitarianism
  • Rights
  • Justice
  • The Ethics of Character Virtues and Vices
  • Egoism
  • Moral Reasoning and Gender
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Professional Issues
  • Plagiarism
  • Criticism of the Sources
  • Conclusions

Identifying Ethical Issues
Based on Lawrence M. Hinman, Ph.D. Director, The
Values Institute University of San Diego
Ethics and Morality
  • The terms ethics and morality are often used
    interchangeably - indeed, they usually can mean
    the same thing, and in casual conversation there
    isn't a problem with switching between one and
    the other. However, there is a distinction
    between them in philosophy!

Ethics and Morality Etymology
  • Morality and ethics have same roots, mores which
    means manner and customs from the Latin and etos
    which means custom and habits from the Greek.
  • Robert Louden, Morality and Moral Theory

Ethics and Morality
  • Strictly speaking, morality is used to refer to
    what we would call moral standards and moral
    conduct while ethics is used to refer to the
    formal study of those standards and conduct. For
    this reason, the study of ethics is also often
    called "moral philosophy."

Ethics and Morality
  • Morality first-order set of beliefs and
    practices about how to live a good life.
  • Ethics a second-order, conscious reflection on
    the adequacy of our moral beliefs.

Philosophers commonly distinguish descriptive
ethics, the factual study of the ethical
standards or principles of a group or tradition
 normative ethics, the development of theories
that systematically denominate right and wrong
actions applied ethics, the use of these
theories to form judgments regarding practical
cases and meta-ethics, careful analysis of the
meaning and justification of ethical claims
Identifying Moral Issues
  • Moral concerns are unavoidable in life.
  • They are not always easy to identify and define.

Ethics as an Ongoing Conversation
  • Professional discussions of ethical issues in
  • We come back to ideas again and again, finding
    new meaning in them.
  • See http//

The Focus of Ethics
  • Ethics as the Evaluation of Other Peoples
  • We are often eager to pass judgment on others
  • Ethics as the Search for Meaning and Value in Our
    Own Lives

Ethics as the Evaluation of Other Peoples
  • Ethics often used as a weapon
  • Hypocrisy
  • Possibility of knowing other people
  • The right to judge other people
  • The right to intervene
  • Judging and caring

Ethics as the Search for Meaning and Value in Our
Own Lives
  • Positive focus
  • Aims at discerning what is good
  • Emphasizes personal responsibility for ones own

What to Expect from Ethics
  • Identificationa and description of an issue
  • Explanation
  • Support in deliberation

The Point of Ethical Reflection
  • Ethics as the evaluation of other peoples
  • Ethics as the search for the meaning of our own

Basic Moral Orientations
On what basis do we make moral decisions? (1)
  • Divine Command Theories -- Do what the Bible
    tells you or the Will of God
  • Utilitarianism -- Make the world a better place
  • Virtue Ethics -- Be a good person
  • The Ethics of Duty -- Do your duty
  • Immanuel Kants Moral Theory
  • Ethical Egoism -- Watch out for 1

On what basis do we make moral decisions? (2)
  • The Ethics of Natural and Human Rights -- ...all
    people are created ...with certain unalienable
  • Social Contract Ethics
  • Moral Reason versus Moral Feeling
  • Evolutionary Ethics

Divine Commands
  • Being good is equivalent to doing whatever the
    Bible--or the Quran or some other sacred text or
    source of revelation--tells you to do.
  • What is right equals What God tells me to do.

  • Hedonistic utilitarianism Seeks to reduce
    suffering and increase pleasure or happiness
  • Epicurus (341-270 BC) GreekWe count pleasure as
    the originating principle and the goal for the
    blessed life. (Letter to Menoeceus)
  • Frances Hutcheson (1694-1747) IrishThe action
    is best, which procures the greatest happiness
    for the greatest number and that worst, which in
    like manner, occasions misery. (An Inquiry
    Concerning Moral Good and Evil, 3.8)
  • Benthams Utilitarian Calculus
  • Mills UtilitarianismActions are right in
    proportion as they tend to promote general
    happiness wrong as they tend to produce the
    reverse of general happiness. (Utilitarianism,
  • http// (in Swedish)

Virtue Ethics
  • One of the oldest moral theories. Ancient Greek
    epic poets and playwrights Homer and Sophocles
    describe the morality of their heroes in terms of
    virtues and vices.
  • Plato - cardinal virtues wisdom, courage,
    temperance, and justice. Even accepted by early
    Christian theologians.
  • Aristotle The Nichomachean Ethics
  • Morality is a matter of being a good person,
    which involves having virtuous character traits.
  • Seeks to develop individual character

The Ethics of Duty(Deontological Ethics)
  • Ethics is about doing your duty.
  • Cicero (stoic) On duties (De Officiis)
  • http//
  • Medieval philosophers duties to God, self and
  • Kant only moral duties to self and others
  • Samuel von Pufendorf (1632-1694)moral duties
    spring from our instinctive drive for survival
    we should be sociable in order to survive.
  • Intuitionism we dont logically deduce moral
    duties, we know them as thy are!
  • For each duty there is a corresponding virtue.
  • deon duty

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 - 43) BC
Immanuel Kant1724-1804
Immanuel Kants Moral Theory
  • Human reason makes moral demands on our lives
  • The categorical imperative Act so that the maxim
    determining motive of the will may be capable
    of becoming a universal law for all rational
  • We have moral responsibility to develop our

Immanuel Kant1724-1804
Ethical Egoism
  • Says the only person to look out for is yourself
  • Ayn Rand, The Ethics of Selfishness
  • Well known for her novel, especially Atlas
  • Ayn Rand sets forth the moral principles of
    Objectivism, the philosophy that holds that
    man's life--the life proper to a rational
    being--as the standard of moral values.
  • It regards altruism as incompatible with man's
    nature, with the requirements of his survival,
    and with a free society.

shrug - To raise (the shoulders), especially as a
gesture of doubt, disdain, or indifference
The Ethics of Rights
  • The most influential moral notion of the past two
  • Established minimal conditions of human decency
  • Human rights rights that all humans supposedly
  • natural rights some rights are grounded in the
    nature rather than in governments.
  • moral rights, positive rights, legal rights,
    civil rights

The Ethics of Rights
  • Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) right from nature
    implies a liberty to protect myself from attack
    in any way that I can.
  • John Locke (1632-1704) principal natural rights
    life, health, liberty and possessions.

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
John Locke (1632-1704)
Evolutionary Ethics
  • Human social behavior is an extended development
    of biological evolution.
  • Evolutionary ethics moral behavior is that which
    tends to aid in human survival.
  • Darwin Origin of Species focuses on the
    evolutionary mechanisms of nonhuman animals.
  • Biologists and philosophers of nineteenth century
    attempted to frame morality as an extension of
    the evolutionary biological process.
  • Problem of the theory what is progress? What is
    good? Any signs of moral improvement since Plato?

Moral Reason versus Moral Feeling
  • Morality is strictly a matter of rational
    judgment Samuel Clarke (1675-1729)
  • Since time of Plato moral truths exist in a
    spiritual realm.
  • Moral truths like mathematical truths are
  • Morality is strictly a matter of feeling
    (emotion) David Hume (1711-1729)
  • We have a moral sense

Samuel Clarke (1675-1729)
David Hume (1711-1729)
Ethical Relativism, Absolutism, and Pluralism
Based on Lawrence M. Hinman, Ph.D. Director, The
Values Institute University of San Diego
Classical Ethical/Cultural RelativismThe Greek
Skeptics (1)
  • Xenophanes (570-475 BCE)
  • Ethiopians say that their gods are flat-nosed
    and dark, Thracians that theirs are blue-eyed and
    red-haired. If oxen and horses and lions had
    hands and were able to draw with their hands and
    do the same things as men, horses would draw the
    shapes of gods to look like horses and oxen to
    look like ox, and each would make the gods
    bodies have the same shape as they themselves
  • The historian Heroditus(484-425 BCE)
  • Everyone without exception believes his own
    native customs, and the religion he was brought
    up in, to be the best.

Classical Ethical/Cultural RelativismThe Greek
Skeptics (2)
  • Sextus Empiricus (fl. 200 CE)
  • Gives example after example of moral standards
    that differ from one society to another, such as
    attitudes about homosexuality, incest,
    cannibalism, human sacrifice, the killing of
    elderly, infanticide, theft, consumption of
    animal flesh
  • Sextus Empiricus concludes that we should doubt
    the existence of an independent and universal
    standard of morality, and instead regard moral
    values as the result of cultural preferences.

Later Ethical Relativism (1)
  • French philosopher Michael de Montaigne
  • Custom has the power to shape every possible
    kind of cultural practice. Although we pretend
    that morality is a fixed feature of nature,
    morality too is formed through custom.
  • Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776)
  • fashion, vogue, custom, and law are the chief
    foundation of all moral determinations

Later Ethical Relativism (2)
  • The fact of moral diversity
  • We should not pass judgment on practices in other
    cultures when we dont understand them
  • Sometimes reasonable people may differ on whats
    morally acceptable

Insights of Ethical Relativism
  • Ethical relativism has several important
  • The fact of moral diversity
  • The need for tolerance and understanding
  • We should not pass judgment on practices in other
    cultures when we dont understand them
  • Sometimes reasonable people may differ on whats
    morally acceptable

Ethical Relativism Limitations
  • Presupposes an epistemological solipsism
  • Is unhelpful in dealing with overlaps of
    cultures--precisely where we need help.
  • Commerce and trade
  • Media
  • World Wide Web
  • Solipsism - belief in self as only reality the
    belief that the only thing somebody can be sure
    of is that he or she exists, and that true
    knowledge of anything else is impossible

Ethical RelativismOverlapping Cultures, 1
  • Ethical relativism suggests that we let each
    culture live as it sees fit.
  • This is only feasible when cultures dont have to
    interact with one another.

Ethical RelativismOverlapping Cultures, 2
  • The challenge of the coming century is precisely
    overlapping cultures
  • Multinational corporations
  • International media--BBC, MTV, CNN
  • International sports--Olympics
  • World Wide Web

Ethical RelativismOverlapping Cultures, 3
  • The actual situation in todays world is much
    closer to the diagram at the right.

Ethical Relativism Our Global Village, 5
  • What if our world was a village of 100 people?
  • 58 would be Asians, 15 Europeans, 13 would come
    from the Western Hemisphere, 12 would be Africans
  • 70 would be non-white
  • 67 would be non-Christian (33 Christians 18
    Moslems 14 Hindus 6 Buddhists 5 atheists 3
    Jews 24 other.)
  • 16 would speak Chinese 8 English 8 Hindi 6
    Spanish 6 Russian and 5 Arabic.
  • 50 of the wealth would be held by 6 people.
  • 70 could not read and
  • only one would have a university education.

Ethical RelativismA Self-Defensive Position
  • Ethical relativism maintains that we cannot make
    moral judgments about other cultures
  • The corollary of this is that we are protected in
    principle against the judgments made by other

How Much Dressed? Naked?
Rembrandt Monk Reading, 1661
Fencer protective suit
Apollo Belvedere 320 BCE
Taliban law requires women in Afghanistan to wear
a chador or burqa that covers the face and entire
From the solitude of the Holy Cross Abbey in
Virginia, a monk works on the Internet, 21th
A proper dress?
Amazonian indigenous woman with child
Nuns uniforms
How Much Dressed? Naked?
Arguments Against Ethical Relativism
  • There Are Some Universals in Codes of Behavior
    across Cultures
  • Three core common values
  • caring for children
  • truth telling (trust) and
  • prohibitions against murder
  • The society must guard against killing, abusing
    the young, lying etc. that are at its own peril.
    Were the society not to establish some rules
    against such behaviors, the society itself would
    cease to exist.

Ethical Objectivism
  • The view that moral principles have objective
    validity whether or not people recognize them as
    such, that is, moral rightness or wrongness does
    not depend on social approval, but on such
    independent considerations as whether the act or
    principle promotes human flourishing or
    ameliorates human suffering.
  • What is moral depends on the fabric of human

Plato (427-347 BCE)
Immanuel Kant1724-1804
Ethical Absolutism/Universalism
  • Ethical Absolutism
  • Morality is eternal and unchanging and holds for
    all rational beings at all times and places. In
    other words, moral right and wrong are
    fundamentally the same for all people. (Morality
    is considered different than mere etiquette).
  • There is only one correct answer to every moral
    problem. A completely absolutist ethic consists
    of absolute principles that provide an answer for
    every possible situation in life, regardless of

Ethical Absolutism
  • Absolutism comes in many versions--including the
    divine right of kings
  • Absolutism is less about what we believe and more
    about how we believe it
  • Common elements
  • There is a single Truth
  • Their position embodies that truth

Louis XIV(1638 1715)Louis the Great, The
Sun King
Ethical Absolutism
  • Ethical absolutism gets some things right
  • We need to make judgments
  • Certain things are intolerable
  • But it gets some things wrong, including
  • Our truth is the truth
  • We cant learn from others

Ethical Pluralism (1)
  • Combines insights of both relativism and
  • The central challenge how to live together with
    differing and conflicting values
  • Fallibilism recognizes that we might be mistaken
  • Sees disagreement as a possible strength

Ethical Pluralism (2)
  • Moral pluralists maintain that there are moral
    truths, but they do not form a body of coherent
    and consistent truths in the way that one finds
    in the science or mathematics. Moral truths are
    real, but partial. Moreover, they are
    inescapably plural. There are many moral truths,
    not just oneand they may conflict with one

Ethical Pluralism (3)
  • Pluralism is the cultural manifestation of
    ethical individualism it is implied by the
    respect for the human being, for what it means to
    be human.
  • We have differing moral perspectives, but we must
    often inhabit a common world.

Ethical Pluralism (4)
  • Ethical pluralism offers three categories to
    describe actions
  • Prohibited those actions which are not seen as
    permissible at all
  • Absolutism sees the importance of this
  • Tolerated those actions and values in which
    legitimate differences are possible
  • Relativism sees the importance of this
  • Ideal a moral vision of what the ideal society
    would be like

Ethical Pluralism (5)
  • For each action or policy, we can place it in one
    of three regions
  • Ideal--Center
  • Permitted--Middle
  • Respected
  • Tolerated
  • Prohibited--Outside

Five Questions
  • What is the present state?
  • What is the ideal state?
  • What is the minimally acceptable state?
  • How do we get from the present to the minimally
    acceptable state?
  • How do we get from the minimum to the ideal state?

Immanuel Kant The Ethics of Duty
(Deontological Ethics)
deon duty
Living by Rules
  • Most of us live by rules much of the time.
  • Some of these are what Kant called Categorical

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
Categorical Imperatives
  • Always act in such a way that the maxim of your
    action can be willed as a universal law of
  • --Immanuel Kant

The Ethics of Respect (1)
  • One of Kants most lasting contributions to moral
    philosophy was his emphasis on the notion of
    respect (Achtung).

The Ethics of Respect (2)
  • Respect has become a fundamental moral concept in
    contemporary West
  • There are rituals of respect in almost all
  • Two central questions
  • What is respect?
  • Who or what is the proper object of respect?

Kant on Respect
  • Act in such a way that you always treat
    humanity, whether in your own person or in the
    person of any other, never simply as a means, but
    always at the same time as an end.

Kant on Respecting Persons
  • Kant brought the notion of respect (Achtung) to
    the center of moral philosophy for the first
  • To respect people is to treat them as ends in
    themselves. He sees people as autonomous, i.e.,
    as giving the moral law to themselves.
  • The opposite of respecting people is treating
    them as mere means to an end.

Using People as Mere Means
  • The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments
  • More than four hundred African American men
    infected with syphilis went untreated for four
    decades in a project the government called the
    Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro
  • Continued until 1972

Treating People as Ends in Themselves
  • What are the characteristics of treating people
    as ends in themselves?
  • Giving them relevant and accurate information
  • Allowing them freedom of choice

Additional Cases
  • Plant Closing
  • Firing Long-Time Employees
  • Medical Experimentation on Prisoners
  • Medical Donations by Prisoners
  • Medical Consent Forms

What Is the Proper Object of Respect?
  • For Kant, the proper object of respect is the
    will. Hence, respecting a person involves issues
    related to the will--knowledge and freedom.
  • Other possible objects of respect
  • Feelings and emotions
  • The dead
  • Animals
  • The natural world

  • Is lack of proper self-respect a moral failing?
  • The Deferential Wife
  • See article by Tom Hill, Servility and

Deferential Respectful, considerate
  • Aristotle and Self-Love
  • What is the difference between self-respect and
    self-love? Clearly, there is at least a
    difference in the affective element.

The Kantian Heritage What Kant Helped Us to See
  • The Admirable Side of Acting from Duty
  • The person of duty remains committed, not matter
    how difficult things become.
  • The Evenhandedness of Morality
  • Kantian morality does not play favorites.
  • Respecting Other People
  • The notion of treating people as ends in
    themselves is central to much of modern ethics.

The Kantian Heritage Critique of Kants
  • The Neglect of Moral Integration
  • The person of duty can have deep and conflicting
    inclinations and this does not decrease moral
    worthindeed, it seems to increase it in Kants
  • The Role of Emotions
  • For Kant, the emotions are always suspect because
    they are changeable.

The Kantian Heritage Critique of Kants
  • The Place of Consequences in the Moral Life
  • In order to protect the moral life from the
    changing of moral luck, Kant held a very strong
    position that refused to attach moral blame to
    individuals who were acting with good will, even
    though some indirect bad consequences could be

The Kantian Heritage Conclusion
  • Overall, after two hundred years, Kant remains an
    absolutely central figure in contemporary moral
    philosophy, one from whom we can learn much even
    when we disagree with him.

Basic Insights of Utilitarianism
  • The purpose of morality is to make the world a
    better place.
  • We should do whatever will bring the most benefit
    to all of humanity.

The Purpose of Morality
  • The utilitarian has a simple answer to the
    question of why morality exists at all
  • The purpose of morality is to guide peoples
    actions in such a way as to produce a better
  • Consequently, the emphasis in utilitarianism is
    on consequences, not intentions. (At times, the
    road to hell is pawed with good intentions)

Fundamental Imperative
  • The fundamental imperative of utilitarianism is
  • Always act in the way that will produce the
    greatest overall amount of good in the world.

The Emphasis on the Overall Good
  • Utilitarianism is a demanding moral position that
    often asks us to put aside self-interest for the
    sake of the whole.
  • It always asks us to do the most, to maximize
    utility, not to do the minimum.
  • It asks us to set aside personal interest.

The Dream of UtilitarianismBringing Scientific
Certainty to Ethics
  • Utilitarianism offers a powerful vision of the
    moral life, one that promises to reduce or
    eliminate moral disagreement.
  • If we can agree that the purpose of morality is
    to make the world a better place and
  • If we can scientifically assess various possible
    courses of action to determine which will have
    the greatest positive effect on the world then
  • We can provide a scientific answer to the
    question of what we ought to do.

Standards of Utility Intrinsic Value
  • Many things have instrumental value, that is,
    they have value as means to an end.
  • However, there must be some things which are not
    merely instrumental, but have value in
    themselves. This is what we call intrinsic
  • What has intrinsic value? Four principal
  • Pleasure - Jeremy Bentham
  • Happiness - John Stuart Mill
  • Ideals - George Edward Moore
  • Preferences - Kenneth Arrow

Jeremy Bentham1748-1832
  • Bentham believed that we should try to increase
    the overall amount of pleasure in the world.

  • Definition The enjoyable feeling we experience
    when a state of deprivation is replaced by
  • Advantages
  • Easy to quantify
  • Short duration
  • Bodily
  • Criticisms
  • Came to be known as the pigs philosophy
  • Ignores spiritual values
  • Could justify living on a pleasure machine or
    happy pill

John Stuart Mill1806-1873
  • Benthams godson
  • Believed that happiness, not pleasure, should be
    the standard of utility.

  • Advantages
  • A higher standard, more specific to humans
  • About realization of goals
  • Disadvantages
  • More difficult to measure
  • Competing conceptions of happiness

Ideal Values
  • G. E. Moore suggested that we should strive to
    maximize ideal values such as freedom, knowledge,
    justice, and beauty.
  • The world may not be a better place with more
    pleasure in it, but it certainly will be a better
    place with more freedom, more knowledge, more
    justice, and more beauty.
  • Moores candidates for intrinsic good remain
    difficult to quantify.

G. E. Moore1873-1958
  • Kenneth Arrow, a Nobel Prize winning Stanford
    economist, argued that what has intrinsic value
    is preference satisfaction.
  • The advantage of Arrows approach is that, in
    effect, it lets people choose for themselves what
    has intrinsic value. It simply defines
    intrinsic value as whatever satisfies an agents
    preferences. It is elegant and pluralistic.

KENNETH J. ARROW Stanford University Professor of
Economics (Emeritus)
May this help? Lets make everyone happy!
Happy pill as a universal solution?
The Utilitarian Calculus
  • Math and ethics finally merged all consequences
    must be measured and weighed!
  • Units of measurement
  • Hedons positive
  • Dolors negative

What do we calculate?
  • Hedons/dolors defined in terms of
  • Pleasure
  • Happiness
  • Ideals
  • Preferences

What do we calculate?
  • For any given action, we must calculate
  • How many people will be affected, negatively
    (dolors) as well as positively (hedons)
  • How intensely they will be affected
  • Similar calculations for all available
  • Choose the action that produces the greatest
    overall amount of utility (hedons minus dolors)

How much can we quantify?
  • Pleasure and preference satisfaction are easier
    to quantify than happiness or ideals
  • Two distinct issues
  • Can everything be quantified?
  • The danger if it cant be counted, it doesnt
  • Are quantified goods necessarily commensurable?
  • Are a fine dinner and a good nights sleep

the problems of three little people dont
amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.
  • Utilitarianism doesnt always have a cold and
    calculating facewe perform utilitarian
    calculations in everyday life.

Criticisms of Utilitarianism 1. Responsibility
  • Utilitarianism suggests that we are responsible
    for all the consequences of our choices.
  • The problem is that sometimes we can not foresee
    consequences of other peoples actions that are
    taken in response to our own acts. Are we
    responsible for those actions, even though we
    dont choose them or approve of them?

Criticisms of Utilitarianism 2. Integrity
  • Utilitarianism often demands that we put aside
    self-interest. Sometimes this may mean putting
    aside our own moral convictions.
  • Integrity may involve certain identity-conferring
    commitments, such that the violation of those
    commitments entails a violation of who we are at
    our core.

Criticisms of Utilitarianism 3. Intentions
  • Utilitarianism is concerned almost exclusively
    about consequences, not intentions.
  • There is a version of utilitarianism called
    motive utilitarianism, developed by Robert
    Adams, that attempts to correct this.

Criticisms of Utilitarianism 4. Moral Luck
  • By concentrating exclusively on consequences,
    utilitarianism makes the moral worth of our
    actions a matter of luck. We must await the
    final consequences before we find out if our
    action was good or bad.
  • This seems to make the moral life a matter of
    chance, which runs counter to our basic moral

Criticisms of Utilitarianism 5. Who does the
  • Historically, this was an issue for the British
    in India. The British felt they wanted to do what
    was best for India, but that they were the ones
    to judge what that was.
  • See Ragavan Iyer, Utilitarianism and All That
  • Typically, the count differs depending on who
    does the counting

Criticisms of Utilitarianism 6. Who is included?
  • When we consider the issue of consequences, we
    must ask who is included within that circle.
  • Classical utilitarianism has often claimed that
    we should acknowledge the pain and suffering of
    animals and not restrict the calculus just to
    human beings.

Concluding Assessment
  • Utilitarianism is most appropriate for policy
    decisions, as long as a strong notion of
    fundamental human rights guarantees that it will
    not violate rights of minorities, otherwise it is
    possible to use to justify outvoting minorities.

RightsChanging Western History
  • Many of the great documents of the last two
    centuries have centered around the notion of
  • The Bill of Rights
  • The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen
  • The United Nation Declaration of Human Rights

Human Rights
  • After the King John of England violated a number
    of ancient laws and customs by which England had
    been governed, his subjects forced him to sign
    the Magna Carta, or Great Charter, which
    enumerates what later came to be thought of as
    human rights.

Human Rights
  • Among rights of Magna Carta were the right of
    the church to be free from governmental
    interference, the rights of all free citizens to
    own and inherit property and be free from
    excessive taxes. It established the right of
    widows who owned property to choose not to
    remarry, and established principles of due
    process and equality before the law. It also
    contained provisions forbidding bribery and
    official misconduct.

RightsA Base for Moral Change
  • Many of the great movements of this century have
    centered around the notion of rights.
  • The Civil Rights Movement
  • Equal rights for women
  • Movements for the rights of indigenous peoples
  • Childrens rights
  • Gay rights

Justifications for Rights
  • Self-evidence
  • Divine Foundation
  • Natural Law
  • Human Nature

  • We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that
    all Men are created equal, that they are endowed
    by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,
    that among these are Life, Liberty and the
    Pursuit of Happiness.
  • Declaration of Independence
  • July 4, 1776

Divine Foundation
  • We have granted to God, and by this our present
    Charter have confirmed, for us and our Heirs for
    ever, That the Church of England shall be free,
    and shall have her whole rights and liberties
    inviolable. We have granted also, and given to
    all the freemen of our realm, for us and our
    Heirs for ever, these liberties underwritten, to
    have and to hold to them and their Heirs, of us
    and our Heirs for ever.
  • The Magna Carta, 1297

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Article 1.
  • All human beings are born free and equal in
    dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason
    and conscience and should act towards one another
    in a spirit of brotherhood.
  • http//

Rights-related Questions
  • Freedom of Speech
  • Death Penalty
  • The Disappeared
  • Economic Social Rights
  • Terrorism Anti-Terrorism
  • Corruption

Natural Law
  • According to natural law ethical theory, the
    moral standards that govern human behavior are,
    in some sense, objectively derived from the
    nature of human beings.

Natural Law Human Nature
  • Arguments for natural rights that appeal to human
    nature involve the following steps
  • Establish that some characteristic of human
    nature, such as the ability to make free choices,
    is essential to human life.

Natural Law Human Nature
  • Establish that certain empirical conditions, such
    as the absence of physical constraints, are
    necessary for the existence or the exercise of
    that characteristic
  • Conclude that people have a right to those
    empirical conditions.

Two Concepts of Rights
  • The distinction depends on the obligation that is
    placed on those who must respect your rights.
  • Negative Rights
  • Obliges others not to interfere with your
    exercise of the right.
  • Positive Rights
  • Obligates others to provide you with positive
    assistance in the exercise of that right.

Negative Rights
  • Negative rights simply impose on others the duty
    not to interfere with your rights.
  • The right to life, construed as a negative right,
    obliges others not to kill you.
  • The right to free speech, construed as a negative
    right, obliges others not to interfere with your
    free speech

Positive Rights
  • Positive rights impose on others a specific
    obligation to do something to assist you in the
    exercise of your right
  • The right to life, construed as a positive right,
    obliges others to provide you with the basics
    necessary to sustain life if you are unable to
    provide these for yourself
  • The right to free speech, construed as a positive
    right, obligates others to provide you with the
    necessary conditions for your free speech--e.g.,
    air time, newspaper space, etc.
  • Welfare rights are typically construed as
    positive rights.

Positive RightsCritique
  • Who is obligated to provide positive assistance?
  • People in general
  • Each of us individually
  • The state (government)

The Limitations of Rights Concept
  • Rights, Community, and Individualism
  • Rights and Close Relationships

The Limitations of Rights Concept Contradicting
rights Athos and Women
  • Greek public community is indignant at the
    decision recently taken by the Dutch court and at
    the resolution of European parliament.
  • In January, a Greek law that allows monks from
    the Athos Monastery not to let women to the Holy
    Mount was officially declared in court as
    contradicting human rights.

The Limitations of Rights Concept Contradicting
rights Athos and Women
  • An official response to the declaration was
    immediate governmental spokesman told European
    human rights activists that the right of the
    Athos monastery republic not to let women to the
    Holy Mount was confirmed in the treaty of
    Greece-s incorporation into the European Union.

Concluding Evaluation
  • Rights do not tell the whole story of ethics,
    especially in the area of personal relationships.
  • Rights are always defined for groups of people
    (humanity, women, indigenous people, workers etc).

Personal Integrity vs Public Safety
  • All of us have been the recipients of demands of
  • My 6 year old daughter protesting, Daddy, its
    not fair for you to get a cookie at night and I
  • All of us have also been in the position of
    demanding justice.
  • I told the builder of my house that, since he
    replaced defective windows for a neighbor, he
    should replace my defective windows.

Conceptions of Justice
  • Distributive Justice
  • Benefits and burdens
  • Compensatory/Recompensatory Justice
  • Criminal justice

Distributive Justice
  • The central question of distributive justice is
    the question of how the benefits and burdens of
    our lives are to be distributed.
  • Justice involves giving each person his or her
  • Equals are to be treated equally.

Goods Subject to Distribution
  • What is to be distributed?
  • Income
  • Wealth
  • Opportunities

Subjects of Distribution
  • To whom are good to be distributed?
  • Individual persons
  • Groups of persons
  • Classes

Basis for Distribution
  • On what basis should goods be distributed?
  • Equality
  • Individual needs or desires
  • Free market transactions
  • Ability to make best use of the goods

Strict Egalitarianism
  • Basic principle every person should have the
    same level of material goods and services
  • Criticisms
  • Unduly restricts individual freedom
  • May conflict with what people deserve

The Difference Principle
  • More wealth may be produced in a system where
    those who are more productive earn greater
  • Strict egalitarianism may discourage maximal
    production of wealth.

Welfare-Based Approaches
  • Seek to maximize well-being of society as a whole

Desert-Based Approaches
  • Distributive systems are just insofar as they
    distribute incomes according to the different
    levels earned or deserved by the individuals in
    the society for their productive labors, efforts
    or contributions. (Feinberg)

desert - förtjänst förtjänt lön,
vedergällning according to one's deserts efter
Desert-Based Approaches
  • Distribution is based on
  • Actual contribution to the social product
  • Effort one expend in work activity
  • Compensation to the costs
  • Seeks to raise the overall standard of living by
    rewarding effort and achievement
  • May be applied only to working adults

  • Try to run Wealth Distribution, a model that
    simulates the distribution of wealth.
  • http//

The Ethics of CharacterVirtues and Vices
  • Concern for character has flourished in the West
    since the time of Plato, whose early dialogues
    explored such virtues as courage and piety.

Plato (by Michaelangelo)
Two Moral Questions
  • The Question of Action
  • How ought I to act?
  • The Question of Character
  • What kind of person ought I to be?
  • Our concern here is with the question of character

An Analogy from the Criminal Justice System
  • As a country, we place our trust for just
    decisions in the legal arena in two places
  • Laws, which provide the necessary rules
  • People, who (as judge and jury) apply rules
  • Similarly, ethics places its trust in
  • Theories, which provide rules for conduct
  • Virtue, which provides the wisdom necessary for
    applying rules in particular instances

  • Strength of character (habit)
  • Involving both feeling, knowing and action
  • Seeks the mean between excess and deficiency
    relative to us
  • Dynamic balance
  • Secure desirable behavior

Aristotle (by Michaelangelo)
The Seven Essential VirtuesDefining Moral IQ
  • Empathy
  • Conscience
  • Self-Control
  • Respect
  • Tolerance
  • Fairness
  • Kindness
  • Wisdom
  • Courage
  • Temperance
  • Justice
  • Integrity
  • Responsibility
  • Honesty

Aristotles cardinal virtues
Virtues (1)
Virtues (2)
Two Concepts of Morality
  • In a simplified scheme, we can contrast two
    approaches to the morality.
  • Restrictive concept
  • Child vs. adult
  • Comes from outside (usually parents).
  • Dont touch that stove burner!
  • Rules and habit formation are central.
  • Affirmative concept
  • Adult vs. adult
  • Comes from within (self-directed).
  • This is the kind of person I want to be
  • Virtue-centered, often modeled on ideals.

Rightly-ordered Desires and the Goals of Moral
  • Moral education may initially seek to control
    unruly desires through rules, the formation of
    habits, etc.
  • Ultimately, moral education aims at forming and
    cultivating virtuous conduct.

Virtue As the Golden Mean
  • Strength of character (virtue), Aristotle
    suggests, involves finding the proper balance
    between two extremes.
  • Excess having too much of something.
  • Deficiency having too little of something.
  • Not mediocrity, but harmony and balance.

Virtue and Habit
  • For Aristotle, virtue is something that is
    practiced and thereby learnedit is habit
  • This has clear implications for moral education,
    for Aristotle obviously thinks that you can teach
    people to be virtuous.

Two Types of Egoism
  • Two types of egoism
  • Psychological egoism
  • Asserts that as a matter of fact we do always act
  • Purely descriptive
  • Ethical egoism
  • Maintains that we should always act selfishly

What does it mean to be selfish?
  • If we are selfish, do we only do things that are
    in our genuine self-interest?
  • What about the chain smoker? Is this person
    acting out of genuine self-interest?
  • In fact, the smoker may be acting selfishly
    (doing what he wants without regard to others)
    but not self-interestedly (doing what will
    ultimately benefit him).

What does it mean to be selfish?
  • If we are selfish, do we only do things we
    believe are in our self-interest?
  • What about those who believe that sometimes they
    act altruistically?
  • Does anyone truly believe Mother Theresa was
    completely selfish?
  • Think of the actions of parents. Dont parents
    sometimes act for the sake of their children,
    even when it is against their narrow
    self-interest to do so?

Mother Theresa (1910-1997)
Re-conceptualizing Psychological Egoism
  • In addition to having two independent axes, we
    must distinguish between the intentions of
    actions and their consequences. Thus we get two

Strongly intended to help others
High beneficial To others
Not intended to benefit self
Highly harmful to self
Strongly intended to benefit self
Highly beneficial to self
Highly harmful to others
Strongly intended to harm others
Ethical Egoism
Ethical Egoism
  • Selfishness is praised as a virtue
  • Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness
  • May appeal to psychological egoism as a
  • Often very compelling for high school students

Ayn Rand (1905-1982). (born Alice Rosenbaum)
Versions of Ethical Egoism
  • Personal Ethical Egoism
  • I am going to act only in my own interest, and
    everyone else can do whatever they want.
  • Individual Ethical Egoism
  • Everyone should act in my own interest.
  • Universal Ethical Egoism
  • Each individual should act in his or her own
    self interest.

  • Unselfish concern for the welfare of others
    selflessness,  charity, generosity.
  • Zoology. Instinctive cooperative behavior that is
    detrimental (harmful) to the individual but
    contributes to the survival of the species.

Universalizing Ethical Egoism
  • Can the ethical egoist consistently will that
    everyone else follow the tenets of ethical
  • It seems to be in ones self-interest to be
    selfish oneself and yet get everyone else to act
    altruistically (especially if they act for your
    benefit). This leads to individual ethical
  • Some philosophers such as Jesse Kalin have argued
    that in sports we consistently universalize
    ethical egoism we intend to win, but we want our
    opponents to try as hard as they can!

Egoism, Altruism, and the Ideal World
AristotleTocquevilles Self-interest rightly
  • Ideally, we seek a society in which self-interest
    and regard for others convergethe green zone.
  • Egoism at the expense of others and altruism at
    the expense of self-interest both create worlds
    in which goodness and self-regard are mutually
    exclusivethe yellow zone.
  • No one want the red zone, which is against both
    self-interest and regard for others.

Sinking Titanic Egoism vs. Altruism(Even risks
in technical systems)
Moral Reasoning and Gender
  • The Kohlberg-Gilligan Debate and Beyond

Le Deuxième Sexe - The Second SexSimone de
Beauvoir 1949
  • Woman as the Other
  • For a long time I have hesitated to write a book
    on woman. The subject is irritating, especially
    to women and it is not new. Enough ink has been
    spilled in quarrelling

Simone de Beauvoir
Lawrence Kohlberg
  • American psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg (Harvard)
    studied under Swiss psychologist and philosopher
    Jean Piaget (1965), who had developmental
    approach to learning. Kohlberg extended the
    approach to stages of moral reasoning.
  • Using surveys, Kohlberg presented his subjects
    with moral dilemmas and asked them to evaluate
    the moral conflict. He was able to prove that
    youth at various ages, as youth proceed to
    adulthood, they are able to progress up the moral
    development stages presented,

Lawrence Kohlberg (1927 - 1987)
Kohlbergs Stages of Moral Development
Gender and Kohlbergs scale
  • Women are more likely to base their explanations
    for moral dilemmas on concepts such as caring and
    personal relationships. These concepts are likely
    to be scored at the stage three level. Men, on
    the other hand, are more likely to base their
    decisions for moral dilemmas on social contract
    or justice and equity. Those concepts are likely
    to be scored at stage five or six.

Carol Gilligan
  • University Professor of Gender Studies, Harvard
    University (1997-present)
  • In a Different Voice Psychological Theory and
    Women's Development, book 1982.

Carol Gilligan, 1936 - present
How do we understand Gilligans claims? Plato
  • SOCRATES () By the gods, Meno, be generous, and
    tell me what you say that virtue is ()
  • MENO () Let us take first the virtue of a
    man--he should know how to administer the state,
    and in the administration of it to benefit his
    friends and harm his enemies and he must also be
    careful not to suffer harm himself. A woman's
    virtue, if you wish to know about that, may also
    be easily described her duty is to order her
    house, and keep what is indoors, and obey her
    husband. Every age, every condition of life,
    young or old, male or female, bond or free, has a
    different virtue ()

How do we understand Gilligans claims?
  • With the advent of industrial revolution, and
    welfare state where all children are given
    education, and physical strength has no dominant
    role, women have entered the public sphere
    traditionally dominated by males.
  • Female professionals have encountered a culture
    that was historically male territory. It caused
    cultural shock.

How do we interpret Gilligans claims?
  • Four possible positions about female vs. male
    moral voices
  • Separate but equal
  • Superiority thesis
  • Integrationist thesis
  • Diversity thesis

The Diversity Thesis
  • Suggests that there are different moral voices
  • Sees this as a source of richness and growth in
    the moral life
  • External diversity
  • Different individuals have different, sex-based
    moral voices
  • Males with female voices and females with male
    voices are admitted
  • Internal diversity
  • Each of us have both masculine and feminine moral
    voices within us
  • Minimizes gender stereotyping

Conclusion The Show must go on (Freddy
  • Kohlberg Gilligan controversy is but a
    beginning of a long process of re-thinking
    position of women in a post-modern society.
  • The end of industrialist era and the emergency of
    new information technology results in conditions
    that even more favor female professionals.

The Earth
  • "We have not inherited the Earth from our
    fathers. We are borrowing it from our children."
  •  Native American saying

Environmental Ethics and PhilosophyAre There
Universal Ethical Principles?
  • Universalists Plato, Kant believe that
    fundamental principles of ethics are universal,
    unchanging and eternal
  • Relativists Sophists- everything contextual.
    Believe that moral principles are always relative
    to a particular person
  • Nihilists Schopenhauer- arbitrary survival.
    Claim that the world makes no sense at all and
    that everything is completely arbitrary
  • Utilitarians Bentham - greatest good for
    greatest number of people

Values, Rights, and Obligations
  • Moral agents. Some philosophers believe that
    only humans are moral agents
  • Moral subjects. Children are considered moral
    subjects not moral agents
  • Inherent, instrumental value
  • Non-living things, do they have value?

Worldviews and Ethical Perspectives
  • Individual beliefs towards ecology depend on
    ethical perspectives
  • Most people have set of core values or beliefs
  • Environmental concerns are a source for
    comparisons among different values and

Worldviews and Ethical Perspectives
  • Domination
  • Interpretation of some religious values has lead
    in past to anthropocentric (human-centered)
    ecological principles which believe that humans
    are the focus of creation
  • Current movement in religious organizations to
    fight for ecological concerns

Worldviews and Ethical Perspectives
  • Stewardship
  • Responsibility to manage our ecosystem. To work
    together with human and non-human forces to
    sustain life

Worldviews and Ethical Perspectives
  • Biocentrism (life-centered), Animal Rights, and
    Ecocentrism (ecologically-centered)
  • Biocentrism biodiversity is the highest ethical
    value in nature
  • Animal rights supporters focus on the individual
  • Ecocentrism whole is more important than
    individual animal
  • Ecofeminism
  • Warren, Shiva, Merchant, Ruether, and King
  • A network of personal relationships

Worldviews and ethical perspectives A comparison
Environmental Justice
  • Combination of civil rights and environmental
    protection that demands a safe, healthy
    life-giving environment for everyone
  • Most people of low socio-economic position are
    exposed to high pollution levels

Environmental Racism
  • Unequal distribution of hazardous waste based on
  • Black children 2-3 times more likely to have lead
  • Dumping Across Borders
  • Toxic colonialism targeting third/fourth world
    countries for waste disposal
  • Polluting industries move to poor countries
  • Environmental Justice Act (1992)

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Science as a Way of KnowingA Faustian Bargain?
  • Technology can create power to save and destroy
  • Dr. Faustus sold his soul to the devil in
    exchange for power and wealth (youth)

Management Theory and the Environment
  • Anthropocentric Theories
  • Ethics
  • Economic
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Stakeholder
  • Normative
  • Social Contract
  • Green Management Theories
  • Ecocentricism
  • Adjusted Stakeholder
  • Sustainablity
  • Resource Based Theory

Global Environmental Ethics
Environmental Ethics and Business
  • Western Society - Objectifies Nature
  • Locke - Something in a state of nature has no
    economic value and is of no utility to the human
  • Ethics - a concern with actions and practices
    directed to improving the welfare of people.

Economic Fundamentalism and Ethics
  • The corporate social responsibility of a business
    is to increase profit. - M. Friedman
  • Those things that cannot be traded on the market
    have no value.
  • Where does the environment fit in these
    definitions for environmental ethics?
  • Will people and corporations do environmentally
    responsible things on their own? What happens if
    they do?

Corporate Social Responsibility
  • By doing socially responsible things, businesses
    better human life.
  • Hopefully ..good ethics is good business.
  • Is this true?
  • Is enlightened self interest a good way?

Incorporating Environment into Management
  • Environmental Ethics is a starting point
  • Expanding ethics to include nature.
  • What is the difficulty in doing this?
  • What does the Biocentric ethic say (Go