Study Guide for Ethics

Study Guide for Ethics - Contemporary Moral Issues(PHI 221...

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Contemporary Moral Issues (PHI 221) Study Guide for Second Essay Exam Spring 2012 (Marnell) 1) What is the general view of moral reasoning used by natural law thinkers? What assumptions about human reason and human experience are made by such a view? What is the Principle of Double Effect and what kinds of moral decisions use this form of reasoning? In your own words, describe what actions are permitted and which actions are not permitted under this view. 1. Right actions are those that conform to moral standards discerned in nature through human reason- do and promote good and avoid evil 2. All of nature is teleological- directed towards goals or ends that humans achieve their highest good when they follow their true, natural inclinations 3. The way things are, natural processes and functions, determine the ways things should be 4. Humans are rationale beings empowered by reason so they can determine the moral law implied in nature and apply that objective, universal standard to their lives 5. Doctrine of Double Effect is a way to resolve conflicting moral principles. Performing a bad action to bring a good effect is never morally permissible but performing a good action that brings a bad effect may be morally permissible (as long as the bad act is not intended, but foreseen) 1. Action must be morally permissible 2. Causing a bad effect must not be used to obtain a good effect 3. Whatever the outcome of the action, the intention must be to cause good 4. The bad effect of the action must not be greater than the importance of the good effect 2) What is the general focus of Virtue Ethics, and how does this differ from most modern moral theories like utilitarianism or Kant? What is a human virtue and how are these acquired? How does this view challenge views of morality that seem to focus on moral rules that are the minimum required in order not to be considered evil? Briefly explain whether you believe such a focus is important to moral reasoning or not, and why. 1. Virtue Ethics focuses on the development of virtuous character. Character is the key to a moral life because from this, moral conduct and values naturally arise. 1. Most theories are theories of obligation 1. rightness of actions or duties of moral agents 2. knowing and doing what is right 3. comes from moral principles or directives 2. Virtues are engrained in people that tell them to achieve a standard of excellence 3. Possessing virtues leads a person to performing the right actions for the right reasons, once it becomes habitual, the person reaches moral excellence 4. Central task is becoming a good person- what a true honorable person does is the right action 5. Aristotle was the initial inspiration for virtue ethics claiming that developing virtues is the way to achieve the “good life.” Virtues are the traits that make us a good person and the characteristics that enable us to live a good life. 6. Unlike other views of morality, virtue ethics is goal orientated rather than rule orientated.
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This note was uploaded on 02/20/2012 for the course PHI 214 taught by Professor Marnell during the Spring '09 term at N.C. State.

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Study Guide for Ethics - Contemporary Moral Issues(PHI 221...

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