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Unformatted text preview: PT’s IAS Academy The path to success is to take massive, determined action. Unit 1 PAPER–V GENERAL STUDIES-IV LECTURE – 1 Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude ESSENCE, DETERMINANTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF ETHICS IN HUMAN ACTIONS; DIMENSIONS OF ETHICS 1.0 Unit 1 Ethics and Human Interface WHAT IS ETHICS? At its simplest, ethics is a system of moral principles. They affect how people make decisions and lead their lives. Ethics is concerned with what is good for individuals and society and is also described as moral philosophy. The term ethics is derived from the Greek word ethos which can mean custom, habit, character or disposition. Ethics covers the following dilemmas: 1 . How to live a good life? 2 . What are our rights and responsibilities? 3 . What is right and wrong? 4 . Moral decisions ­ what is good and bad? Our concepts of ethics have been derived from religions, philosophies and cultures. 1.1 Approaches to ethics Philosophers nowadays tend to divide ethical theories into three Metaethics is a branch of analytic philosophy that explores the status, foundations, and scope of moral values, properties, and words. Metaethics focuses on what morality itself is. Metaethics is also occasionally referred to as "second­order" moral theorizing, to distinguish it from the "first­order" level of normative theory. Ó PT Education, All rights reserved. areas: metaethics, normative ethics and applied ethics. Regd. Office: Indore PT centres spread across India ~ Established 1993 Our motto “Kar Ke Dikhayenge” is delivered through our unique Technology Driven Process Engine (TDpro engine). Email: [email protected] Web: , IC : PTias(V­IV­1­1) E PT educat ion HQ, Indore 4th Floor, Yeshwant Plaza, Opp. Railway Station, Indore 452 001 Tel : 0731 ­ 307 00 00 Fax : 0731 ­ 307 00 99 (1) of (10) Normative ethics is that part of moral philosophy, or ethics, concerned with criteria of what is morally right and wrong. It includes the formulation of moral rules that have direct implications for what human actions, institutions, and ways of life should be like. The central question of normative ethics is determining how basic moral standards are arrived at and justified. The answers to this question fall into two broad categories ­ deontological and teleological. The principal difference between them is that deontological theories do not appeal to value considerations in establishing ethical standards, while teleological theories do. Deontological theories use the concept of their inherent rightness in establishing such standards, while teleological theories consider the goodness or value brought into being by actions as the principal criterion of their ethical value. In other words, a deontological approach calls for doing certain things on principle or because they are inherently right, whereas a teleological approach advocates that certain kinds of actions are right because of the goodness of their consequences. Deontological theories thus stress the concepts of obligation, duty, and right and wrong, while teleological theories lay stress on the good, the valuable, and the desirable. Deontological theories set forth formal or relational criteria such as equality or impartiality; teleological theories, by contrast, provide material or substantive criteria, as, for example, happiness or pleasure. The application of normative theories and standards to practical moral problems is the concern of applied ethics. This subdiscipline of ethics deals with many major issues of the contemporary scene, including human rights, social equality, and the moral implications of scientific research, particularly in the area of genetic engineering. Applied ethics is the philosophical examination, from a moral standpoint, of particular issues in private and public life that are matters of moral judgment. It is thus the attempts to use philosophical methods to identify the morally correct course of action in various fields of human life. Bioethics, for example, is concerned with identifying the correct approach to matters such as euthanasia, or the allocation of scarce health resources, or the use of human embryos in research. Environmental ethics is concerned with questions such as the duties or duty of 'whistleblowers' to the general public as opposed to their loyalty to their employers. As such, it is an area of professional philosophy that is well paid and highly valued both within and outside of academia. Applied ethics is distinguished from normative ethics, which concerns what people should believe to be right and wrong, and from metaethics, which concerns the nature of moral statements. (2) of (10) IC : PTias(V­IV­1­1) E An emerging typology for applied ethics (Porter, 2006) uses six domains to help improve organizations and social issues at the national and global level: 1 . Decision ethics, or ethical theories and ethical decision processes 2 . Professional ethics, or ethics to improve professionalism 3 . Clinical ethics, or ethics to improve our basic health needs 4 . Business ethics, or individual based morals to improve ethics in an organization 5 . Organizational ethics, or ethics among organizations 6 . Social ethics, or ethics among nations and as one global unit Applied ethics looks at controversial topics like war, animal rights and capital punishment 1.2 Uses of ethics Ethics needs to provide answers. If ethical theories are to be useful in practice, they need to affect the way human beings behave. S ome philosophers think that ethics does do this. They argue that if a person realises that it would be morally good to do something then it would be irrational for that person not to do it. But human beings often behave irrationally. They follow their 'gut instinct' even when their head suggests a different course of action. However, ethics does provide good tools for thinking about moral issues. Ethics provides us with a moral map, a framework that we can use to find our way through difficult issues. Ethics can pinpoint a disagreement. Using the framework of ethics, two people who are arguing a moral issue can often find that what they disagree about is just one particular part of the issue, and that they broadly agree on everything else.That can take a lot of heat out of the argument, and sometimes even hint at a way for them to resolve their problem. 1.3 Limitations of ethics Sometimes ethics doesn't provide people with the sort of help that they really want. Ethics doesn't always show the right answer to moral problems. Indeed more and more people think that for many ethical issues there isn't a single right answer ­ just a set of principles that can be applied to particular cases to give those involved some clear choices. Some philosophers go further and say that all ethics can do is eliminate confusion and clarify the issues. After that it's up to each individual to come to their own conclusions. IC : PTias(V­IV­1­1) E (3) of (10) Many people want that there should be a single right answer to ethical questions. They find moral ambiguity hard to live with because they genuinely want to do the 'right' thing, and even if they can't work out what that right thing is, they like the idea that 'somewhere' there is one right answer. But often, there isn't one right answer ­ there may be several right answers, or just some least worst answers ­ and the individual must choose between them. Some fined moral ambiguity is difficult because it forces them to take responsibility for their own choices and actions, rather than falling back on convenient rules and customs. One problem with ethics is the way it's often used as a weapon. If a group believes that a particular activity is "wrong" it can then use morality as the justification for attacking those who practice that activity. 1.4 Ethics and people At the heart of ethics is a concern about something or someone other than ourselves and our own desires and self­interest. Ethics is concerned with other people's interests, with the interests of society, with God's interests, with "ultimate goods", and so on. So when a person 'thinks ethically' they are giving at least some thought to something beyond themselves. Ethics is not only about the morality of particular courses of action, but it's also about the goodness of individuals and what it means to live a good life. Virtue Ethics is particularly concerned with the moral character of human beings.At times in the past some people thought that ethical problems could be solved in one of two ways: 1 . by discovering what God wanted people to do 2 . by thinking rigorously about moral principles and problems If people did these properly they would be led to the right conclusion. But now even philosophers are less sure that it's possible to devise a satisfactory and complete theory of ethics. In fact modern thinkers often teach that ethics leads people not to conclusions but to 'decisions'. Philosophy can help identify the range of ethical methods, conversations and value systems that can be applied to a particular problem. But after these things have been made clear, each person must make their own individual decision as to what to do , a nd the n r eact a ppr opr ia tel y t o t he consequences. 1.5 Nature of Ethical statements Ethical realists think that human beings discover ethical truths that already have independent existence. Ethical non­realists think that human beings invent ethical truths. The problem for ethical realists is that people follow many different ethical codes and moral beliefs. So if there are real ethical truths out they are very hard to find out. (4) of (10) IC : PTias(V­IV­1­1) E One form of ethical realism teaches that ethical properties exist independently of human beings, and that ethical statements give knowledge about the objective world. To put it another way; the ethical properties of the world and the things in it exist and remain the same, regardless of what people think or feel ­ or whether people think or feel about them at all. On the face of it, ethical realism means the view that moral qualities such as wrongness, and likewise moral facts such as the fact that an act was wrong, exist in rerum natura , so that, if one says that a certain act was wrong, one is saying that there existed, somehow, somewhere, this quality of wrongness, and that it had to exist there if that act were to be wrong. 1.6 Ethics and ideology Some philosophers teach that ethics is the codification of political ideology, and that the function of ethics is to state, enforce and preserve particular political beliefs. They usually go on to say that ethics is used by the dominant political elite as a tool to control everyone else. More cynical writers suggest that power elites enforce an ethical code on other people that helps them control those people, but do not apply this code to their own behaviour. 1.7 Sources of ethics Philosophers points towards four sources from were we have derived our ethics. 1 . God and religion 2 . Human conscience and intuition 3 . A rational moral cost­benefit analysis of actions and their effects (the example of good human beings) 4 . A desire for the best for people in each unique situation 2.0 IMPORTANT TERMINOLOGIES 2.1 Moral realism Moral realism is based on the idea that there are real objective moral facts or truths in the universe. Moral statements provide factual information about those truths. I might be making a statement about an ethical fact "It is wrong to murder" This is moral realism 2.2 Subjectivism Subjectivism teaches that moral judgments are nothing more than statements of a person's feelings or attitudes, and that ethical statements do not contain factual truths about goodness or badness. S ubjectivists say that moral statements are statements about the feelings, attitudes and emotions that that particular person or group has about a particular issue. If a person says something is good or bad, they are telling us about the positive or negative feelings that they have about that something. I might be making a statement about my own feelings "I disapprove of murder" This is subjectivism IC : PTias(V­IV­1­1) E (5) of (10) 2.3 Emotivism Emotivism is the view that moral claims are no more than expressions of approval or disapproval. This sounds like subjectivism, but in emotivism a moral statement doesn't provide information about the speaker's feelings about the topic but expresses those feelings. So when someone makes a moral judgement they show their feelings about something. Some theorists also suggest that in expressing a feeling the person gives an instruction to others about how to act towards the subject matter. I might be expressing my feelings "Down with murder" This is emotivism 2.4 Prescriptivism Prescriptivists think that ethical statements are instructions or recommendations. So if I say something is good, I'm recommending you to do it, and if I say something is bad, I'm telling you not to do it. There is almost always a prescriptive element in any real­world ethical statement: any ethical statement can be reworked (with a bit of effort) into a statement with an 'ought' in it. For example: "lying is wrong" can be rewritten as "people ought not to tell lies". I might be giving an instruction or a prohibition "Don't murder people" This is prescriptivism 2.5 God­based ethics­supernaturalism Supernaturalism makes ethics inseparable from religion. It teaches that the only source of moral rules is God. So, something is good because God says it is, and the way to lead a good life is to do what God wants. 2.6 Intuitionism: Intuitionists think that good and bad are real objective properties that can't be broken down into component parts. Something is good because it's good; its goodness doesn't need justifying or proving. Intuitionists think that goodness or badness can be detected by adults. They say that human beings have an intuitive moral sense that enables them to detect real moral truths. They think that basic moral truths of what is good and bad are self­evident to a person who directs their mind towards moral issues. So good things are the things that a sensible person realises are good if they spend some time pondering the subject. For the intuitionist: moral truths are not discovered by rational argument moral truths are not discovered by having a hunch moral truths are not discovered by having a feeling (6) of (10) IC : PTias(V­IV­1­1) E 2.7 Consequentialism This is the ethical theory that most non­religious people think they use every day. It bases morality on the consequences of human actions and not on the actions themselves. Consequentialism teaches that people should do whatever produces the greatest amount of good consequences. One famous way of putting this is 'the greatest good for the greatest number of people'. The most common forms of Consequentialism are the various versions of utilitarianism, which favour actions that produce the greatest amount of happiness. Two problems with consequentialism are: 1 . it can lead to the conclusion that some quite dreadful acts are good, and 2 . predicting and evaluating the consequences of actions is often very difficult. 2.8 Non­consequentialism or deontological ethics Non­consequentialism is concerned with the actions themselves and not with the consequences. It's the theory that people are using when they refer to "the principle of the thing". It teaches that some acts are right or wrong in themselves, whatever the consequences, and people should act accordingly. 2.9 Virtue ethics Virtue ethics looks at virtue or moral character, rather than at ethical duties and rules, or the consequences of actions ­ indeed some philosophers of this school deny that there can be such things as universal ethical rules. Virtue ethics is particularly concerned with the way individuals live their lives, and less concerned in assessing particular actions. It develops the idea of good actions by looking at the way virtuous people express their inner goodness in the things that they do. To put it very simply, virtue ethics teaches that an action is right if and only if it is an action that a virtuous person would do in the same circumstances, and that a virtuous person is someone who has a particularly good character. 2.10 Situation ethics Situation ethics rejects prescriptive rules and argues that individual ethical decisions should be made according to the unique situation. Rather than following rules the decision maker should follow a desire to seek the best for the people involved. There are no moral rules or rights, each case is unique and deserves a unique solution. 11.( A) 12.( C) 13.( A) 14.( B) 15.( C) 16.( D) 17.(D) 18.( A) 19.( B) 20.( A) 1.(D) 2.(D) 3.(C) 4.(C) 5.(A) 6.(B) 7.( A) 8.(C) 9.(D) 10.( D) Answer key (DPQ) –Essence, determinants and conse quences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics IC : PTias(V­IV­1­1) E (7) of (10) 3.0 ABSOLUTISM AND RELATIVISM 3.1 Moral absolutism Some people think there are such universal rules that apply to everyone. This sort of thinking is called moral absolutism. Moral absolutism argues that there are some moral rules that are always true, that these rules can be discovered and that these rules apply to everyone. Immoral acts i.e. acts that break these moral rules, are wrong in themselves, regardless of the circumstances or the consequences of those acts. Absolutism takes a universal view of humanity. It believes that there is one set of rules for everyone. Which enables the drafting of universal rules. Such as the Declaration of Human Rights. Religious views of ethics tend to be absolutist. Problems with Moral Absolutism: Many of us feel that the consequences of an act or the circumstances surrounding it are relevant to whether that act is good or bad. Absolutism doesn't fit with respect for diversity and tradition. 3.2 Moral relativism Moral relativists say that if you look at different cultures or different periods in history you'll find that they have different moral rules. Therefore it makes sense to say that "good" refers to the things that a particular group of people approve of at a particular time. Moral relativists dispute the idea that there are some objective and discoverable 'super­rules' that all cultures ought to obey. They believe that relativism respects the diversity of human societies and responds to different circumstances surrounding human acts. Problems with Moral relativism: Many of us feel that moral rules have more to them than the general agreement of a group of people, that morality is more than a super­charged form of etiquette. Many of us think we can be good without conforming to all the rules of society. Moral relativism has a problem with arguing against the majority view. If most people in a society agree with particular rules, that's the end of the matter. Many of the improvements in the world have come about because people opposed the prevailing ethical view but moral relativists are forced to regard such people as behaving "badly" Any choice of social grouping as the foundation of ethics is bound to be arbitrary. Moral relativism doesn't provide any way to deal with moral differences between societies To conclude, there are a few absolute ethical rules but a lot of ethical rules depend on the culture. ~ (8) of (10) IC : PTias(V­IV­1­1) E DAILY PRACTICE QUIZ Paper – V General Studies – IV Unit 1 (LECTURE – 1) Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics ¿ Suggested Time : 10 min 1 . T o t a l q u e s t i o ns : 20 Ethics covers all of the following except (A) How to live a good life 7. ..... is the view that moral claims are no more than expressions of approval or disapproval. (B) (A) Emotivism (B) (C) Prescriptivism (D) Objectivism What are our rights and responsibilities? (C) Moral decisions ­ what is good and bad? Subjectivism (D) What is knowledge? 8 . 2 . Consider the following statements. I . Metaethics explores the status, ...
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