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What do you believe in?

 Who do you care about?

 What motivates you?
 Are you a spiritual person?
 How do you tell the
difference between right and wrong?
 Ethics – A branch of philosophy
concerned with ways of thinking
philosophically about morality, and moral
 Ethics: Ethical codes of conduct instruct
us on what we ought or ought not to do.
Typical ethical theories or ethical codes
include basic principles that are intended
to be used to guide conduct
 Morality – Human conduct and character
referring to “those acts which it makes
sense to describe as right or wrong, good
or bad.”
 Moral Judgment – Judgments based on
considerations of how other people are to
be treated, and how others interests are to
weigh against their own.
 Values: Values underlie ethical codes. For
any ethical code, we can evaluate it by
considering the values that support it.
 Values and Wants: The things we want are
usually among the things we value, but values
and wants are different. It is possible to want
what one does not value, and possible to
value what one does not want.
 Philosophical questions are important to us
as we try to understand what we are and to
determine our place in the scheme of things.
And they are important to us as we try to
choose right actions in a complicated and
difficult world, and to find meaning in our
 Identifying Ethics: Principles of ethics should
provide us guidance as we make choices in a
complicated world. Ideally, an account of ethics
should help us to identify moral principles and
morally relevant features of the choices we face.
 What are ethics?
 Are ethical decisions important?
 What happens without ethics?
 What is the relation between society – ethics –
morals – moral judgment?
 Parents
 Religion
 Peers
 Technology
 Parents instill ethics and morals in children.
Example: A child yells at their friend – calling
them a name.
 How does the parent respond?
 Other ways?
 Most religions set guidelines on how to
make moral judgments.
 What do Muslims, Christian, and other
religions use?
 Friends effect your moral judgments.
 Peer pressure can sometimes cause people to
make moral and ethical decisions.
 Others?
 Technology provides many
opportunities to make moral and ethical
 Unclear situations in ethics, many times they
are personal and hotly debated in politics.
 Black and white – Fairly clear – straight
forward, most people feel the same way
about: stealing, murder, honesty
 Others?
 Abortion
 Separation of mosque or church, and state
 Environmental impacts of technology
 Internet
 Crime
 Gun control
 Others?
 Drunk driving?
 Your father illegally dumping pollutants.
What would you do?
 Ventilator for unconscious patient
 Summary: Morals and Ethics, what are they?
 Question: Are Ethical Judgments Relative,
Subjective, and Incomparable?
 Relative: Different people make different
judgments, and the evaluative judgments
people make are wholly relative to the values
that they hold.
 Relative: Different people make different
judgments, and the evaluative judgments
people make are wholly relative to the values
that they hold.
 Subjective: “Different people just have
different values, and there is no way to argue
or reason about the evaluative assumptions
that lie behind different ethical judgments or
choices. There are no evaluative facts in the
way that there are facts about the physical
 Incomparable: There is no way to compare
the judgments of different people, and no
one's evaluative judgments are any better
than the evaluative judgments of anyone else.
 Ethical argument and discussion requires an
informed and sympathetic understanding of
other people’s values and other people’s
point of view. We get no where if we simply
preach our own values without making an
effort to understand others.
1) Fidelity- Obligation to keep promises.
2) Veracity- Obligation to tell the truth, or
(or better-- not to tell lies).
3) Fair Play- Obligation not to exploit,
cheat, or "free load" on others
4) Gratitude- Obligation to return favors
5) Nonmaleficence- Obligation not to
cause harm, pain or suffering to others,
6) Beneficence- Obligation to help others
in distress, at least when this involves no
great danger to oneself
7) Reparation- Obligation to repair harms
to others
8) Obligation not to kill others (except in
9) Obligation not to deprive others of their
10) Obligation to oppose injustices
11) Obligation to promote just institutions
and to work toward their establishment,
maintenance, and improvement.
 Finding an appropriate list of basic
obligations may seem like a philosophers’
game. But the business of making
appropriate ethical decisions is not a game.
One practical goal of such a list is that it may
help us to make appropriate decisions in
complicated circumstances.