1. How are the two dominant normative moral theories (Kantian v.
Utilitarian) to be distinguished and applied in sorting out the ethical
options available from the states of affairs upon which we are called to
make a judgment?
1. How can we explain or justify our moral judgments that appear to be
inconsistent or even consistent?
We can explain our moral judgments that appear to be
inconsistent or even consistent, due to the ultimate umpire.
Nature of values are
Positive duties-A moral duty to act on behalf of others.
Negative duties-A moral duty not to interfere in the life of others.
Stone explains that as the law gradually extends the class of things that are deserving of legal rights
Current Moral and Social Issues review questions
1. What is the categorical imperative? What guidance does it give about lying and why? Is there a
way to reconcile the two?
The categorical imperative is a moral philosophy in which you only act in a way yo
Damier Johnson Robert s
Socrates enters into a discussion with Thrasymachus. What or who does Thrasymachus
represent? What is Thrasymachus argument for what justice is, and why does he make this
argument? What does Socrates argue in respo
1. Duty- The outcomes of some negligence cases depend on whether the defendant owed a duty to
2. Breach of Duty- A defendant is liable for negligence when the defendant breaches the duty that
the defendant owes to the
Short term profits
Ignoring catastrophic long term consequences
All efforts cosmetic
Business ESG Accords, Investor groups, shareholder activism, ceres a coalition groups and political
processes ae the main ways that change has happened.
Courts that find any contract or clause to be unconscionable at the time it was made can refuse to enforce the
contract or limit the application of an unconscionable clause to avoid an unconscionable result.
Flaws in Relativist Theory
Relativism challenges the traditional values of morality by arguing that there are no
absolute morals and instead that what is moral is based on the perception of that society.
Relativist theory attempts to argue that morality i
How do we know if we are doing the right thing?
How do you know if you are doing the right thing? This is quite a difficult question to
answer as the answer to the question depends on multiple factors which are not consistent.
Different people can have va
Current Moral and Social Issues
December 18, 2015
The Death Penalty
The death penalty, also known as capital punishment, legally sentences criminals
to death. It is one of the most controversial topics that our government and s
Fairness and justice
Respect for humanity
Principle of humanity- always treat a human being, yourself included, as an end and never as a mere
What is a human being?
1. Capacity for Rationality
- Involves a capacity to respond to reasons an
Roe v. Wade (1973)
- Gave women in the US the right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy
- Derived from the right to privacy: to have some degree of control of what happens to your body
Duty to protect womens right to privacy or control over her bo
All humans are equal
Descriptive claim- says something about what is actually the case
- As a matter of fact, all humans are equal with respect to some capacity or characteristic
- Intelligence, strength, rationality, biological feature?
- It is
Marquis: A fetus has a right to life on par with the right to life of a human
Thompson: concedes for the sake of argument that a fetus has a right to life from conception
1. Does the fetus have the right to life?
2. Assuming the fetus has the rig
What makes a war good?
- Enemy side is evil
- Minimal casualties
- Your side is good
- Few civilian casualties
- Having a good reason to start war
1. Just war theory- some wars are morally justified
2. Realism- moral concepts are out of
1. Does the fetus have the right to life? In other words is it prima facie seriously wrong to end the
life of a fetus? (Marquis)
2. Assuming the fetus does have the right to life, what does this entail for the permissibility of
Continuation of talk on genetic engineering
2. Unfairness or social inequality
3. Loss of autonomy
4. Loss of diversity
5. Might be used as an instrument of prejudice
Sandal- Genetic enhancement will destroy appreciation for the gifted c
Making an exception of yourself:
You both affirm a rule by insisting others follow it, and reject the same rule by believing yourself not to
be subject to it
- Kant sees this as an inconsistency in AU
- Believes morality is grounded in rationality
Consequentialism- An action is morally right if and only if there is no alternative action that would
produce greater net goodness.
-To be morally permissible an action must maximize goodness
-Morality requires that we perform optimific acti
1. Suffering from lack of food, shelter and medical care is very bad
2. If it is in my power to prevent such suffering without sacrificing anything of comparable moral
significances then I ought morally to do it
3. It is in my power to prevent a g
What are the Value theory- What is valuable in its own right? What is the good life?
moral facts? Normative ethics- What ought I to do? What type of character ought I to have? Which traits are
virtues and which are vices?
Metaethics- Are there objective m
Act Utilitarianism (AU)- An action is morally right if and only if it does more to improve net wellbeing
than any other action you could have done in the circumstances.
Wellbeing is a plausible candidate for
Just cause for war: resistance of aggression.
1. Does the aggression have to actually occur or can it be merely anticipated?
2. Can the state have a just cause for war when it is not the state that has been aggressed against?
Can a state forf
Duties and rights:
A right- holder has a right that a duty bearer performs some duty.
Positive and Negative rights
- Positive rights- rights that someone else do something to help you
- Negative rights-rights that someone not do something to inte
Review of Singers argument for equal consideration for animals
1. Non-human animals can suffer
2. Any being that can suffer has interests
3. Therefore, non-human animals have interests
4. The interests of all beings ought to be given equal moral
Doctrine of Double Effect-distinction between intended and merely foreseen consequences of ones
Foots doctrine of doing and allowing- it is much worse to do harm than to allow the same harm to occur
Negative duty- duty not to harm or inte
Absolute ban on torture- absolute duty to refrain from torture- the duty not to torture can never be
overridden by other moral considerations
The right to be free of torture is indefeasible (the right cannot be forfeited and cannot be overridden
Torture Pt. 2
Common problem for AU: ignores rights. Perhaps AU overlooks the right to be tortured.
Allhoff- even if there is an inalienable right not to be tortured, it is still permissible to torture in the
ticking bomb scenario.
- An inalienab
Moral cognition- the way we think about morality
- Broccoli is disgusting matter of taste
- Torturing small children for fun is wrong- objectively true
4 distinctive features of moral cognition
1. Moral judgments are felt to be o