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Virtue – Morality sample essay

• Ethics may be defined as a set of moral principles that govern one’s course of action. • Ethics and law are a system of conflict resolution. • The law is the minimum behavior standard. MORALITY Everyone has some morality of his or her own ? what he or she thinks is right and wrong ? and it sometimes happens that people who others see as bad do not see themselves as bad. Each nation has a conception of morality too, a conception which reflects the collective thinking of the majority of the people of the nation. Much of a nation’s morality is stated in laws which prohibit immoral actions such as rape, robbery, or murder. It is questionable whether everything which is illegal is also immoral.

IN VITRO FERTILISATION ABORTION Four month after a single women got pregnant, having three IVF-treatments with donor sperm, she asks for an abortion. According to the women, she doesn’t need the foetus any longer. She made her point: she is fertile and is able to become pregnant. WHAT IS ETHICS? • Ethics is philosophy of morality. • This is why it is sometimes referred to as ‘moral philosophy.

• The term ‘ethics’ comes from the Greek term ethos meaning character, and we mean by the moral character of a person whether he or she is a good or bad person. GOOD EVIL We’re doing this for years It’s in my interest Hey! This is what we’ve agreed on We have to follow Gods will Most people do it My boss says it’s OK I stick to the rules As a human being I can’t act differently I’m not doing anything! Descriptive ethics Prescriptive ethics 1 09/09/2013 norm freedom interest good duties evil responsibility rights judgement How do we apply this all? ETHICAL NIHILISM • No ethical beliefs are true • We cannot make ethical judgments at all.

GOLDEN RULES Buddhist: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. Christian: All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. Confucian: It is the maxim of loving? kindness: Do not unto others what you would not have done unto you. Hindu: This is the sum of duty: Do nothing unto others which would cause you pain if done to you. Islamic: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. Jewish: What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man.

This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary. Taoist: Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain and your neighbor’s loss as you own loss. ETHICAL SUBJECTIVISM: • Whatever an individual believes about a given ethical issue is true for that individual. ETHICAL ABSOLUTISM • One ethical standard for all times and places. • We can judge across cultures. ETHICAL SUBJECTIVISM • What is ethical for one person may not for another. • We cannot judge other people. • There are no objective standards that govern ethical decisions. What is right for you is right for you.

What is right for me is right for me. ETHICAL RELATIVISM • What is ethical in one place or time may not be in another. • We cannot judge across cultures. SUBJECTIVISM ? CULTURAL RELATIVITY Ethical/Cultural Relativity states: The study of Anthropology demonstrates that different ethical behaviour actually exist in different cultures, times and places…. What is ethical right at one time or place can be (and often is) ethical wrong at another time and place. RELATIVISM There is no universal standard by which morality can be judged What is correct for one society may be wrong for another.

Ethics and morality are relative What do you think of this? 2 09/09/2013 WHAT DOES ETHICAL RELATIVISM MEAN? Ethical Relativism means that we ought to respect the norms of different cultures, even if those norms are very different from those of our own culture. SOURCES FOR RELATIVISM 1. Tolerance But this could be a norm only for members of our culture. There is a desire to practice tolerance, to take an open? minded approach towards other peoples ideas. 2. Intellectual uncertainty According to the scientific attitude we should constantly analyze and criticize our assumptions.

ETHICAL IMPERIALISM SOURCES FOR RELATIVISM 3. Freedom of choice Maximize freedom of choice. If there are no objective truths and correct moral principles then our range of choices is considerably larger. 4. Awareness of diversity We are acutely aware of the multiplicity of societies in the world all with their own set of beliefs. “ virtue ETHICAL MODEL FOR ETHICAL DECISION MAKING ” duty • Ethical Imperialism directs people to do everywhere exactly as they do at home.

• It is based on the theory of absolutism: – There is a single list of truths, – They can be expressed only with one set of concepts, – and they call for exactly the same behaviour around the world • Problems: – It clashes with belief that people’s culture must be respected – It presumes that people must express moral truth using only one set of concepts.

– It presupposes a global standard of ethical behaviour Examine the ethical dilemma cons justice Thoroughly comprehend the possible alternatives available Hypothesize ethical arguments Investigate, compare, and evaluate the arguments for each alternative Choose the alternative you would recommend Act on your chosen alternative ARISTOTLE IMMANUEL KANT JOHN S. MILL JOHN RAWLS 384 – 322 1724 – 1804 1806- 1873 1921 – 2002 Look at the ethical dilemma and examine the outcomes while reflecting on your ethical decision 3 09/09/2013 VIRTUE ETHICS THE VIRTUES.

• Intellectual Virtues Virtue? based ethical theories place much less emphasis on which rules people should follow and instead focus on helping people develop good character traits, such as kindness and generosity. These character traits will, in turn, allow a person to make the correct decisions later on in life. Aristotle categorized the virtues as moral and intellectual.

Aristotle identified nine intellectual virtues, the most important of which was wisdom; sophia (theoretical wisdom) and phronesis (practical wisdom). The other eight moral virtues include: Prudence Justice Fortitude Courage Liberality Magnificence Magnanimity Temperance – Taught through instruction • Moral Virtues – The result of habit – Not natural or inborn but acquired through practice – Habit or disposition of the soul (our fundamental character) which involves both feeling and action • “Those strengths of character that enable us to flourish” (Hinman).

THE DOCTRINE OF THE MEAN • Proper position between two extremes – Vice of excess – Vice of deficiency • Not an arithmetic median – Relative to us and not the thing – Not the same for all of us, or – Any of us, at various occasions – “In this way, then, every knowledgeable person avoids excess and deficiency, but looks for the mean and chooses it” ARISTOTLE 384 – 322 THE MEAN Vice of Deficiency Virtue Vice of Excess Cowardice Courage Foolhardiness Stinginess Generosity Prodigality Shamelessness Modesty Bashfulness Maliciousness Righteous Indignation Enviousness.

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