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LAR-322 Ethical Foundations

LAR-322 Ethical Foundations - LAR 322 Environmental Issues...

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LAR 322 - Environmental Issues and Ethics Ethical Foundations (adapted from Tim Keane) Introduction: Today I’ll pose questions, ask you to ponder scenarios, ask you to consider how you think and why you think that way; and ask you to consider the repercussions (real or possible) of such thinking and the actions this type of thinking promotes. I’ll attempt to use your responses to illustrate or exemplify various perspectives, and ethical bases. Let’s begin (remember, answers are generally never final, and they inevitably raise new questions)… 1. What are ethics? Individual responses… Rules, guidelines, directions on how we are to act morally. Principles of right or good conduct. “We are discussing no small matter, but how we ought to live.” Socrates – Plato’s Republic Moral and ethics come from Latin and Greek, respectively, (mores and ethos) deriving their meaning from the idea of customs; namely, good personal behaviors or customs measured by prevailing standards of rectitude (morals), and rules or standards about how we ought to conduct our lives (ethics). “Moral philosophy refers to the systematic endeavor to understand moral concepts and justify moral principles and theories. It undertakes to analyze such concepts as ‘right’, ‘wrong’, ‘permissible’, ‘ought’, ‘good’ and ‘evil’ in their moral contexts.” (Louis P. Pojman, 2000, 84 – Life & Death: Grappling with moral dilemmas of our time .) 2. Do we all have the same set of ethics or action guides? If we did, would the term “immoral” exist? Yes, because beliefs do not always equal actions . Would we have environmental issues/problems? Yes – for the same reason. Scenario #1 - Promise-Keeping / $5 million to football or hungry people? (Pojman 2000, 63) Discuss, reach consensus, write your position in a 2-3 sentences Scenario #2 - Duty to Share Food/Resources on a Life-Raft, or not (Pojman 2000, 63) Discuss, reach consensus, write your position in a 2-3 sentences Responses – key ideas related to each recorded on the board… Per Pojman (2000, 63-64) If you decide on promise keeping, not stealing in the case of the rich man’s money or if you decide to share food in the case of the two men in the raft – you adhere to a type of moral theory called “deontology” (Greek “deon” – meaning duty, and “logos” – logic) If on the other hand you decide to give the 5 million to the ‘World Hunger Relief Organization to save an enormous number of lives you side on the type of theory referred to as “teleology” or “consequentialist ethics” (teleos – having reached one’s end or finished), also true if you decide to give the food to the scientist. “The ends justify the means” How much difference did you find in your discussion groups? Why? If a lie is calculated to do more good or less harm than the truth, is it OK or required to lie?
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