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Unformatted text preview: Medical Ethics Darin Harootunian 9/9/11 1 Preliminary Discussions for the Philosophical Study of Ethics The Definition of Morality Last time, I posed a question to you: What is morality? I asked you to formulate a definition of morality. Defining morality is a philosophical task, and as it is with philosophical tasks, its puzzling and confusing there are no easy, straightforward answers. Let me offer one plausible characterization of morality: Morality is a code of conduct binding all rational persons in order to prevent or limit harm to oneself or to others. Look carefully at the components of this definition: a code of conduct; binding all rational persons; for the purpose of preventing or limiting harm; harm to others and to oneself. A good deal of work needs to be done to develop and defend this characterization of morality. In the last class, we briefly compared morality to other codes of conduct to etiquette, to the laws of a state, to the universitys code of conduct, even to principles of practical rationality. We seemed to agree that morality is a code of conduct that should trump all other codes of conduct, such that when the moral code of conduct conflicts with another code of conduct, the moral code should prevail...
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This note was uploaded on 11/07/2011 for the course PHIL 164 taught by Professor Doviak during the Fall '07 term at UMass (Amherst).
- Fall '07