Lecture 8 Outline

Lecture 8 Outline - Normative Ethical Theories Normative...

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Normative Ethics: Comparisons Lecture 8 Summer School PHIL 102 1 Normative Ethical Theories In the history of Western moral philosophy: Aristotelian Ethics (Aristotle: 384-322 BC) Kantian Ethics (Kant: 1784-1804) Bentham/Mill Utilitarianism (Bentham: 1748-1832; Mill:1806-1873) We are currently in the aftermath of a more recent development: Deontology Consequentialism Virtue Ethics 2 Normative Ethical Theories Are generally theories which attempt to explain what makes actions right or wrong Generate criteria of right action Action Assessment Action Guidance Reason for Action 3 Key Ideas. .. Utilitarianism: rightness and wrongness of acts is solely a matter of the goodness and badness of their consequences Deontology: duties , rules or principles determine the rightness of actions Virtue Ethics: rightness and wrongness of acts is related to virtues or moral character 4 AU: An act is right if the action, itself, maximises overall utility RU: An act is right if it follows a rule which, if almost everyone adopted it, would produce the most utility KE: (roughly) An act is right if it is in accordance with duty (i.e. a maxim that satisFes the categorical imperatives) VE: An act is right if it is what a virtuous person would characteristically do in the circumstances (Hursthouse) 5 Act Utilitarianism (AU) AU attempts to present an ethics which is: secular (doesn’t rely on religion) commonsense (people want to be happy and not suffer) truly benevolent/compassionate ( simply trying to bring more happiness and less suffering) clear and simple/easy to apply ±exible (i.e. mindful of the fact that circumstances alter cases) An act is right if the action, itself, maximises overall utility 6
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Special Relationships Objection: AU fails to acknowledge special relationships too impartial Q: Can Virtue Ethics (VE) acknowledge special relationships? Q: Can Kantian Ethics (KE) acknowledge special relationships? 7 Too Permissive Objection: AU is too permissive (need additional constraints) Causing suffering & failing to maximise happiness is not the only wrong making characteristic of actions Q: What constraints does KE place on action? Are these additional constraints or are we (sometimes) permitted to cause suffering? Q:
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This note was uploaded on 02/16/2009 for the course PHIL PHIL 102 taught by Professor -- during the Spring '09 term at Auckland.

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Lecture 8 Outline - Normative Ethical Theories Normative...

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