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why I'm doing it


why is this the right thing to do?


what values and virtues we should cultivate. Why we should do right.


how one ought to act


reasoning used to solve moral problems (can be used to criticize unsound reasoning

main difference between ethics and other disciplines

other disciplines state the cause and consequence of problems and describe human behavior. does not address what people ought to do just what they do.

moral dilemma

every available option is morally undesirable and decision can not be avoided or postponed (lie to save a life?)

4 parts of moral point of view

-to subscribe to normative judgements about actions, principals & motives
-to universalize judgements concerning morally relevant similar situations
-to formulate ethical views in a free impartial and enlightened way
-Syndersis Rule: to promote the good and avoid the evil

Diversity thesis

moral practices and beliefs are non-universal and vary from culture to culture and different times
PROBLEM: doesn't distinguish diversity in particulate moral practices (Holocaust example)

Dependency thesis

moral beliefs are completely dependent on cultural conditions PROBLEM: to believe in this, we are too influenced culturally. If this is so, then this thesis is also caused by and influenced by our culture.


moral language simply expresses and perhaps arouses emotion, so that nothing we say in moral terms is either true or false about anything. Vent our feelings.

Ethical subjection

doesn't express feelings, it described them


regard our own morality as superior and our own rational approach as best. Probelem with this is that even a christian will expose moral failure of their own people.


considers consequence of oneself


considers consequence for people at large

hedonistic egoism

the pursuit of my own pleasures as my highest/all encompassing good

hedonic paradox

pursuit of pleasure for its own sake often results not in pleasure but frustration and istraction

psychological egoism

claims that all people are continually motivated by self interest

ethical egoism

the right thing to do is to look out for my own interest. we are morally required to make ourselves as happy as possible "ought to do what is in my own interest"

Hedonic calculus

a method of working out the sum total of pleasure by an act, and thus the total value of its consequence. Which act has best tendency

categorical imperative

unconditional. it commands us independently of our desire or utilitarian concerns. We simply ought to treat people as and ends in themselves not just a means.

problems with quantifying pleasure

have the problem which consequences are "good"? who decides this

distinction between Bentham and Mill

Bentham proposed hedonic. calc. (everyone seeks their own pleasure). Mill rejected this and believed its not just a consequential matter but appeals the dignity.

major principal that should guide all Christian ethic

justic and love


assumes that morals are not universal or common among humans


claims creation and that God has put devine law in our hearts

two ways deontologists deal with moral dilemmas

1. love in the interest of justice protects the victim
2. formulate rules to govern exception rules

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