Ethics of Virtue AG 401
What ethics is not…. Ethics is not about doing what everyone else is doing Ethics is not about following the law It is not about doing what feels good Ethics is not about following culturally accepted norms Ethics is not about religion Ethics is not science
Generally speaking, ethics is about…. Doing the ‘Right Thing’ About getting all the facts – not just the ones you agree with About looking at all the options – not just the ones that are convenient to you About looking at all sides of the issue – not just the one most obvious to you About analyzing consequences – who will be helped? Who will be hurt? About considering the benefits and harms that might result from the action Do not assume that people who have strong principles and never compromise are necessarily ‘better’ Refusal to honestly engage with the complications of particular cases is cowardice
mon-october-4-2010/sam-harris Is morality not in the realm of science?
Lawrence Kohlberg Born in 1927 – New York Doctoral dissertation – The Stage Theory Six stages of moral development
Basis of Kohlberg’s stages Heinz dilemma Part of Kohlberg’s dissertation
The Heinz Dilemma
Heinz Steals the Drug "In Europe, a woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to make. He paid $200 for the radium and charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug. The sick woman's husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about $ 1,000 which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said: "No, I discovered the drug and I'm going to make money from it." So Heinz got desperate and broke into the man's store to steal the drug-for his wife. Should the husband have done that?“ (Kohlberg, 1963)
Should Heinz steal the drug?
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- Ethics, Lawrence Kohlberg