mime221_notes_chapters3_4 - Chapter 3 Moral Frameworks...

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Chapter 3 Moral Frameworks Ethical theory: comprehensive perspective on morality that clarifies, organizes, and guides moral reflection. If successful it provides a framework for making moral choices and resolving moral dilemmas. Five types of moral theories studied: - Utilitarianism: maximize the overall good. - Right Ethics: respect human rights. - Duty Ethics: respect individual’s autonomy. - Virtue Ethics: good character is central morality. - Self-realization Ethics: emphasizes moral significance of self-fulfillment. No theory perfect, all different, but they complement and enrich each other. 3.1 Utilitarianism 3.1.1 Utilitarianism versus Cost-Benefit Analysis Utilitarianism: Produce most good for the most people, giving equal consideration to everyone affected. Cost-Benefit Analysis: Identifies the good and the bad consequences of some action or policy, usually in terms of dollars. It weighs the total goods against the total bads, and then compares the results to similar tallies of the consequences of alternative actions or rules. Both sound like being the same, but not the case. Eg. Ford: Pinto front windshield broke too easily on front collision, so made quick-fix. Drive-train moved backwards, but that made gas tank extremely vulnerable. Ford would not install 11$ part to solve gas tank problem because it would cost more than it could return. Cost-benefit analysis not good in this case because it only considers money and calculates cost in short run. Therefore it is not like Utilitarianism that considers costs and benefits for everyone involved, long term view, and considers human benefits like happiness. 3.1.2 Act-Utilitarianism versus Rule-Utilitarianism Act-Utilitarianism: Choose action that will produce the most good, even if it breaks certain rules. Rule-Utilitarianism: Right actions are those required by rules that produce the most good for the most people (a.k.a. an optimal moral code). (Richard Brandt). Eg. Engineer doesn’t take bride even if it produces the most overall good. Rule-Utilitarianism made to correct Act-Utilitarianism. The latter often allows amoral action or injustice if it benefits the greater the good. Act- Utilitarianism also ironically asks too much of us (Eg. share all our wealth with the poor to make it a better world), while Rule-Utilitarianism will make compromises (Eg. Be generous but still assure you can have a pimpin’ life).
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3.1.3 Theories of Good What is intrinsic good? – good considered just by itself All other good things are instrumental goods – they provide means for gaining happiness. Mill: believes that happiness is the only intrinsic good. What is happiness? - A life rich in pleasures, mixed with some inevitable pains, plus a pattern of activities and relationships that one can affirm as valuable overall, as the way one wants one’s life to be. Mill believes that higher human pleasures (love, friendship, intellectual inquiry, etc.) better than physical pleasure. Brandt: Love and friendship better because it satisfies rational desires.
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This note was uploaded on 12/01/2009 for the course MIME MIME 221 taught by Professor Hassani during the Winter '08 term at McGill.

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mime221_notes_chapters3_4 - Chapter 3 Moral Frameworks...

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