Ethic Theories

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  1. The Categorical (unconditional) Imperative (command)
    An unconditional obligation/duty that applies to us all without exception.
  2. Kants Moral Criteria
    Good will (Good will is about acting from, or on, principle).

    Universal acceptability (A rule that every rational person would accept).

    Humanity as an end, never as merely a means to an end (do not use others to achieve your goal).
  3. Problems with Kant
    The theory is inflexible.

    It does not give us answers when we are faced with conflicting interests.

    It allows us to abrogate our responsibilities.
  4. Egoism
    An act is morally right if, and only if, it best promotes an agent's long-term interests.

    An agent can be an individual, an organisation, a group or a country.
  5. Psychological Egoism
    People are so constructed that they must behave selfishly.

    Truly unselfish actions are impossible because all actions are motivated by self-interest.
  6. Ethical Egoism
    The belief's, attitudes and responses of others may impact upon one's interests.

    By pursuing long-term self interest an egoist's actions may be contrary to his immediate interest, but beneficial in the long-term.
  7. Problems with Egoism
    Psychological egoism is not a sound theory.

    Ethical egoism is not a true moral theory.

    Egoism misunderstands the nature and point of morality.

    • Ethical egoism ignores blatant wrongs.
    • The idea underlying the theory is unsound.
  8. Misconceptions About Egoists
    Egoists believe in 'eat, drink and be merry' (egoists will endure unpleasantness for the advancement of long-term interests).

    All egoists endorse hedonism (egoists may hold any theory of what is good).

    Egoists cannot be gracious, act honestly or help others (egoists will benefit others if, in doing so, it will promote their long-term interests).
  9. Applying Egoism
    Identify the moral agent.

    Identify negative consequences.

    Identify positive consequences (for the agent) of the action/decision.

    Weigh up consequences to determine long-term interest.

    State clearly the result of your analysis.
  10. Applying Virtue Ethics
    What virtues can you draw upon in order to make an ethical decision?

    What would an 'excellent' person do?

    Make a clear statement based on your analysis.
  11. Virtue
    A virtue is the means between a vice of deficiency and a vice of excess.

    Cowardice - Courage - Foolhardiness

    Parsimony - Generosity - Wastefulness

    Brashness - Modesty - Self-righteousness
  12. Problems with Virtue Ethics
    How do we determine vices and virtues (when does a vice of deficiency/excess become a virtue? What some see as a virtue, others may view as a vice).
  13. Ethic of Care
    The well-being of the individual is dependent upon the well-being of the community.

    To maintain the well-being of the community is to enhance one's own well-being.

    An ethic of caring recognises this interdependence, and contains a moral imperative to administer to the well-being of others.
  14. Problems with Ethics of Care
    How far do we extend 'community'?

    How do we know what is best for the community?
  15. Applying Ethics of Care
    With whom do we have a relationship?

    Are we considering the effect that the action will have on ourselves and those with whom we have a relationship?

    Is justice being done?

    Empathise - put yourself in their shoes.

    Is equality being achieved?

    What is the right thing to do?

    Is anyone suffering?

    Will this action/decision enhance their wellbeing?
  16. Utilitarianism
    We should always act to produce the greatest possible balance of good over bad for everyone affected by our actions.

    The greatest good for the greatest number constitutes what is right and what is wrong.
  17. Act Utilitarianism
    The maximisation of happiness for everyone is our only moral obligation.

    We apply the utilitarian standard to a specific act.
  18. Rule Utilitarianism
    The utilitarian standars should be applied to moral codes as a whole.

    We should apply the utilitarian standard only to the assessment of alternative moral codes.
  19. Stakeholders
    Those groups who can affect, or are affected by, the achievement of an organisation's purpose.
  20. Problems with Utilitarianism
    How far should we extend the list of stakeholders?

    We cannot know with certainty the consequences of an action/decision.

    How does one accurately measure happiness?

    The minority loses out.
  21. Applying Utilitarianism
    Identify all stakeholders.

    Determine positive consequences for each stakeholder/group.

    Determine negative consequences for each.

    Weigh up consequences to determine the greatest good for the greatest number.
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Ethic Theories
2015-10-20 06:06:46

Ethic Theories
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