the intro and justification ppt

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Transcript the intro and justification ppt

Contemporary Ethical
Lecture Etiquette
Asking questions
Arriving late & leaving early
Cell phones
PHIL106: Contemporary
Ethical Issues
• The issues
The morality of advertising
The morality of the death penalty
The morality of euthanasia
The abortion debate
Life boat ethics
The morality of cloning
The morality of genetic engineering
• The method
– Discussion of justified arguments
Is Advertising Immoral?
• Does advertising
manipulate us into
buying things that we
don’t need?
• Does advertising coerce
us into buying things
that are bad for us?
• Does exposure to
advertising make us
The Morality of the Death
• The death penalty is
still doled out in
many places around
the world
• Should the death
penalty ever be used
as punishment for
wrong doing?
The Morality of Euthanasia
• Should doctors be able
to kill people if all of
the following criteria
about those people are
– They’re in chronic pain,
– They’ve no chance of
– They’ve little time left to
live, and
– They want to die
The Abortion Debate
• Should parents be
allowed to abort their
unborn children if
they choose to?
• Is there a point of the
pregnancy after which
abortion should not be
Life Boat Ethics
• What do you do when the life boat
is full to capacity and there are
more people trying to get in?
• They will die if you leave them
• You might all die if you let them on
The Morality of Cloning
• Identical twins (and triplets!) are
effectively genetic clones
• Many animals have been cloned in
the lab (sheep, dogs, mice etc.)
• Should human cloning be banned?
The Morality of Genetic
• Some people are born
with genetic diseases or
advantages (better
looking etc)
• Should genetic
engineering of humans
be allowed at all?
– And, if so, what things
should we be allowed to
use it for?
For Next Time
• Read:
– The Course Outline,
– ‘The Debate over Utilitarianism’
(1997) by James Rachels, and
– ‘A Simplified Account of Kant’s
Ethics’ (1997) by Onora O’Neill. – See
PHIL264 - 2008 reader
• Get ready to discuss:
– How to justify ethical claims
Justifying Ethical
Types of Claims
• Descriptive (usually amoral)
– “Those seats are red”
• Evaluative (can be amoral)
– “Her essay was excellent”
• Moral (never amoral)
– “Dan is a (morally) bad person”
– Assume there are such things
as morally right and wrong
• Concerned with justifying
moral claims
• Can use theories
• Should use consistent and
rationally compelling
• We are going to apply ethics
to contemporary moral
controversies in this course
Why Do We Need It?
• If we want to make the
world a better place…
• People have different
moral beliefs
• Ethics allows for
better discussion
• And, might help us find
the answer
A Test Case
• 18 year old brother and sister
on holiday together alone
• After much consideration,
they have protected
consensual sex
• They never tell anyone about
it or ever do it again
• They both enjoyed it and
remain very good friends
• Is what they did morally
Brother-Sister Incest
• In Germany people are
regularly prosecuted for this
– Sent to jail, fined
– Have their children taken away
• The risk of genetic disease is
similar to two consenting
adults when one has a genetic
– Which is allowed, but incest isn’t
• Article (more info on this couple)
Ethical Theories
• Can be applied to situations
and should provide a moral
• No theory seems to work
– This may be a problem with
our moral beliefs
• No general agreement on a
‘best’ theory
• The morally right act is
the one that maximises
overall happiness
– Look at the options
– Try to predict how much
happiness and suffering will
be produced by each option
– Choose the one that should
produce the most ‘net
Utilitarianism – E.G.
• You have cheated on your
– Morally speaking, should you
tell them?
• Weigh up the options
– How much happiness and
suffering would you expect to
be produced by each option?
• Always act in a way that
respects the rationality
of others
– Think before you act
– Will this action treat
anyone as a mere means?
– Basically, you mustn’t use
people without their
Kantianism – E.G.
• You have cheated on your
– Morally speaking, should you
tell them?
• Which action would best
respect their rationality?
• Would you be using them as a
mere means?
• If they ask, you mustn’t lie
Argument by Analogy
• To argue that an act is
– Show that it is the same
as something your
opponent thinks is moral
– It only needs to be the
same in the morally
relevant ways
• Reverse for immoral
Arg. by Analogy – E.G.
• Genetic engineering
kids to be smarter
• Some say it is morally
the same as sending
them to a better school
• Is this a good analogy?
– Are these two acts
morally equivalent?
Divine Command Theory
• An act is moral or immoral
if God thinks it to be so
• E.g. for Catholics:
– GE of people is a sin,
– But good schooling is not
• But, why would God endorse
one and not the other?
– The answer to this question
could be your justification
The Law
• An act is immoral if it breaks
a law
• But, the law is usually
thought to follow morality
Another Test Case
• Mike bought a bunch of
Rugby 7s tickets when they
first went on sale.
• He later auctioned them on
trademe, making $500 profit.
• Is what Mike has done
• What factors might your
verdict depend on?