Topic_04 - GE125 Ethics and Sustainability SOC10236 Ethics...

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1 GE125 Ethics and Sustainability SOC10236 Ethics and Sustainability Aster Cheuk Topic 4
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2 Objectives • Revision of previous topics • Distinguish nonconsequentialist from  consequentialist ethical theories • Differentiate between act and rule  nonconsequentialism • Describe the concept of categorical imperative and  discuss Kant’s duty ethics • Explain the major features of virtue ethics • Evaluate the usefulness of virtue ethics in solving  environmental and business ethical problems
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3 What Is Ethics?  Generally speaking, an  ethic  is a set of moral values or  principles.  – Some see ethics as primarily about one’s  personal  moral code while  others see it as primarily about a  social  moral code. – Some people and societies base their ethics on  religious  beliefs. Descriptive  ethics is the historical, comparative, or  psychological study of the various sets of values that people  do in fact  have.
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4 What Is Ethics?  Evaluative (prescriptive, normative)  ethics is a critical  enterprise concerning which sets of values people  should   have. – It asks which sets are better or worse and why. – It is part of a branch of philosophy called  moral philosophy . Metaethics  is another part of moral philosophy; it studies the  concepts, methods of justification, and ontological  assumptions of the field of evaluative ethics (like the meaning  of moral language).
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5 Ethics As a Branch of Philosophy Philosophy asks fundamental questions about key areas of the  human situation. Philosophers (and philosophies) may be either  systematic  or  piecemeal. Philosophy emphasizes  rationality  and the importance of  giving reasons for beliefs  (but this doesn’t mean abandoning  or ignoring emotions and feelings). Nowadays philosophical ethics is primarily prescriptive and  normative, but metaethical issues are still discussed.  
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6 Ethics and Religion Religion grounds ethics in things like scripture and divine  revelation, whereas philosophy seeks to ground ethics in  reason and experience. Divine command theory bases right and wrong completely on  the will of god(s). In Plato’s  Euthyphro,  Socrates questions this view by asking  “Are things just (good/right) because they are approved by  god, or does god approve them because they are just?”  Others have objected that it prevents atheists from having a  morality, or having a reason to be moral or to be concerned to  do the morally right thing.    
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7 Ethical and Nonethical Evaluation Descriptive  judgments (“empirical”) attempt to state what is  the case. Evaluative
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Topic_04 - GE125 Ethics and Sustainability SOC10236 Ethics...

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