Utilitarianism VS Kantian Deontological Ethics
Utilitarianism VS Kantian Deontological Ethics Utilitarianism is a theory of metaethics. This means that it is grounds for what we mean when we say something is good, bad, right or wrong. This differs from normative ethics, which addresses which things that we encounter in real life are good or bad. Utilitarian ethics is based on quantitative maximisation of some good for society or humanity and its main advocate was Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832). It is a form of consequentialism, thus focusing on the outcomes of actions and placing emphasis on the ends over that of the means. The good that is required to be maximised is often happiness or pleasure, though some utilitarian theories might seek to maximise other consequences. Utilitarianism is sometimes summarised as "The greatest happiness for the greatest number." As a form of consequentialism, utilitarianism states that we must first consider the consequences of our actions, and from that, make an appropriate choice about our action that would generate the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people (or in some forms of utilitarianism, people and animals). In modern times this is, perhaps wrongly, interpreted as stating that an action is judged entirely by its consequences, and so can be morally good even though the intentions of the action may have been villainous or wicked. Thus, this interpretation
"Moral absolutes are unhelpful when making decisions about medical ethics."
"Moral absolutes are unhelpful when making decisions about medical ethics." Some doctors would reject this claim, arguing that moral absolutes help decision making in medical ethics. For example, the rule 'Do not kill' is part of the oath taken by doctors. Some doctors would agonise over a decision whether to kill a terminally ill patient who has asked to die. These doctors might then feel guilty if the family turned out to have different wishes, or if a cure was later found for the illness. Having absolute moral rules helps doctors, because they don't have to think about the individual circumstances or worry about possible consequences that are impossible to calculate or predict. Others claim that this oversimplifies modern medicine. It is not clear, they may say, what would count as killing someone. Doctors disagree about the definition of death as 'brain-stem death'. Some doctors would consider withholding food as killing a patient, while others would disagree. Doctors may say that, rather than trying to apply inflexible moral absolutes, it is better to focus on the well-being of the patient. If giving a high dose of painkillers prevented a patient from dying in agony, doctors might say it doesn't matter what rules were or weren't broken. Others would disagree, saying that clear rules are essential to protect patients and doctors. Doctors who had to kill Mary
Abosolute and Relative morality
Absolute & Relative Morality In order to discuss the differences between the two and their strengths and weaknesses in conjunction with cultural relativism, we first must determine what they are. An absolutist would say that a rule, prohibition or command is the same for all time, no matter the situation or time. They have the belief that if it is wrong from an objective point of view; and not from yours or mine. They say that immoral acts or intrinsically wrong, which means they are wrong within themselves, the situation and outcome of said situation is irrelevant; an act is wrong if it breaks a moral rule. A relativist approach is that no two situations are the same, and that a persons choice is related the unique set of circumstances set out in their lives; and it makes no sense to generalise or to say that one act or thought is always wrong and another is always right. There is no objective morality, or if there is it cannot be discovered; decisions are not related to anything that is absolute so there is not point trying to establish moral rules. A perfect example of the two beliefs being combined is the countries judicial system; in simple the judicial system does not treat every case of murder for example as the same, they weigh up the circumstances of the unique situation and judge weather their actions where carried out with malice intent or just cause. From this
Explain Virtue Ethics Unlike most ethical theories, virtue ethics cannot simply be classified as either deontological or teleological. This is because they are not primarily interested in duty or results. Virtue ethics however, deals with character. This ethical theory dates back to Aristotle, and there are even sources in ancient China. When we think of virtuosity, we think of virtuous acts, such as generosity or honesty. However it is a little more than that because it concerns other actions such as interest, reactions and wants. These feelings are all in the mind and therefore there must be a mindset to being virtuous. This mindset is part of what makes duty and consequence irrelevant. If we take the example of an honest person, they would not tell the truth because if they don't someone could get hurt. They tell the truth because not telling the truth would be a lie. As Aristotle believed that character was the most important thing, he also understood this mindset, so he came up with virtue and vice. Virtues are not just good acts, but good qualities or a good mindset but vices are not. There are also two types of vice - vice of deficiency and vice of excess. If virtues are good acts, you can obviously have too much virtue or too little virtue and these are the vices. For Aristotle there were twelve virtuous acts. For example, courage - Aristotle would say that you
How are the moral beliefs of one community and one time related to the views of other contemporary communities and to those of people of other times?
Arastoo Tavakoli TOK 2/16/03 Ward How are the moral beliefs of one community and one time related to the views of other contemporary communities and to those of people of other times? Any community one looks at, he/she will see a set of moral beliefs that are carried out by society. Within those moral beliefs, people are able to decide what is ethical and what is nonethical. They can differentiate between right and wrong. Even those that are mainly isolated from the rest of the world, still contain a set of moral beliefs. Different communities share many of the same moral beliefs, showing that communities are able to differentiate between right and wrong. This similarity that exists between communities shows that moral beliefs are innate. Humans have a natural tendency towards certain beliefs. The fact that communities share many of the same moral beliefs that distinguish what is right and wrong, demonstrates that this is a natural tendency by humans. Many of the characteristics of what is considered right deals with volunteering or going out of one's way in order to help someone else. The opposite is true for a moral belief for what is considered wrong. Anything that harms another person in any way or society as a whole would be considered a wrongdoing. These base outline of what constitutes right and wrong are shared amongst communities, demonstrating that the basic
What is right and wrong is a widely opinionated discrepancy among the human race
What is right and wrong is a widely opinionated discrepancy among the human race. It varies between cultures, societies, religion, traditions, and endless influential factors. Ethical relativism is described by John Ladd as the "doctrine that the moral rightness and wrongness of actions varies from society and that there are no absolute universal moral standards binding on all men at all times. Accordingly, it holds that whether or not it is right for an individual to act in a certain way depends on or is relative to the society to which he belongs"(Pojman, 24). Within the meaning of ethical relativism we can derive two theses; cultural relativism and the dependency thesis. Ethical relativism is a problematic theory because there are so many differences within cultures, and individual choices might not always be morally right choices. Because of this, what is culturally acceptable is not always morally right. Ethical relativism also has some objections towards the more specific theories of subjectivism and conventionalism. Ethical relativism is supported due to the narrowing view of ethnocentrism, which is causing great "prejudice tantamount to racism and sexism" (Pojman, 25). Society is moving away from their ethnocentric view of the world, and allowing for more diversity in what is culturally right and wrong. Moral positions are being based on what their society is
A Kantian would never allow abortion. Discuss.
A Kantian would never allow abortion. Discuss. Firstly, a Kantian would believe that we should only act according to a maxim when it can be universalised. Clearly, if you were to universalise abortion, the human race would become extinct and there would be no one left to have an abortion, thus abortion is a contradiction in the Law of Nature and would never be allowable. Whilst I agree that abortion cannot be universalised, perhaps in some circumstances, abortion may actually help the woman and foetus. According to Kant's principle of universality, the maxim 'should I refrain from helping others?' would not become a categorical imperative because if no one helped each other, society would be in turmoil and therefore the maxim 'should I help others?' becomes a categorical imperative because it can be universalised and therefore we should always help others. It could be seen that by assisting a woman in having an abortion, the doctor is helping her and therefore acting in a Kantian way. In addition, if the foetus would have an unhappy or difficult life if born, then by having an abortion, the woman may feel she is helping the foetus by saving it from that life. I agree that sometimes such as the cases aforementioned, abortion would be allowed by a Kantian. Pojman suggests that some actions may be allowed through Kant's theory if worded slightly differently. For example,
Outline the main features of Utilitarianism andExamine critically criticisms that have been offered against utilitarianism
Outline the main features of Utilitarianism The theory of Utilitarianism determines the rightness or wrongness of an action by its consequence. In particular the amount of pleasure or ability to avoid pain, which the action produces. Because of this it is called a teleological theory of ethics. If the consequences are good then even if the motivation was bad it is not brought under judgement. The main founders of this theory were Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill who outlined the principle of utility. Utilitarianism in many ways can be summed up by the phrase 'greatest happiness for the greatest number'. This is known as the greatest happiness principle. For Utilitarian's the motives are not important. Only consequences count. The action not the person doing it counts. As people's motives cannot be seen and they can lie about their motives, the only thing we can judge for sure is the outcome of their choice and action. This means Utilitarianism can also be know as consequentialism. For example say a large group of people are stuck in a cave because a fat man is stuck in the only exit of this cave. The only way to free themselves would to dynamite their way out, therefore sacrificing the fat man. Do they all free themselves at the cost of one life or do they not kill him and all die? In this situation a Utilitarian would kill the man in question and save all the others as
What is Christian ethics?
What is Christian ethics? The term ethics deals with what is morally 'right' or 'wrong'. Christian ethics therefore, deals with what is morally right or wrong for a Christian. There are several distinguishing characteristics of Christian ethics, each of which play a vital role to its analysis. Some Christians will base their ethics solely on the Bible and its teachings, others will base their ethics on the biblical teachings but also on Church tradition and Natural Law, others will follow a Situation or virtue ethics approach and others will look to their conscience as a guide. Christian ethics is based on God's will and is a form of divine command position. However, God never wills anything contrary to his unchanging moral character. The ethical imperatives that God gives are in accord with his unchangeable moral character. That is, God wills what is right in accordance with his own morals - 'Be Holy because I am Holy'. Christians believe the scriptures transmit the Word of God: this gives them authority. The weight of authority given to the Bible is dependent on what exactly a Christian believes about the books. Some Christians believe that humans were inspired by God to write down the scriptures which means the writings are related to the time and culture when they were recorded and may contain human errors. This makes them a useful source of guidance to people but does
Should we have a right to die?
Should We Have The Right To Die? Most of us assume that every human being born into this world has a "right to life," then it logically follows that every human being has a right to end their life (or a "right to die"). Because death is a part of life, a person's right to life logically assumes a right to not have that life. This is a huge controversial argument in which no right or wrong answer has been found and possibly never will be. Every living person in society has their own individual opinion and situation on life and because of this, society as whole may never be able to come to a stable agreement about humans having the right to die if they so wish. When we say people having the right to die, we mean if they have the right to use euthanasia as a way out of life. Euthanasia is the intentional killing of a person by an act or an omission for that person's alleged benefit. For example if they are terminally ill and will never be able to recover, that person may believe that their quality of life is of low standard and therefore they may want to consider euthanasia as a way to end their life to stop the suffering for them and their family. Surely if they have lived their life and made all the decisions they have made then they should be able to choose if they want to die. It shouldn't be the doctors or anybody else's opinion. If we humans have autonomy then shouldn't