Ethics and the Profession

Terms in this set (17)

<> Central Principle: "If disastrous results would occur if everyone did X, then X is immoral."

<> Modus Ponens and Modus Tollens arguments:

<> The Principle of Universability:
>This test explains the attraction of the two tests while correcting for their shortcomings.
>The Principle of Unversability is as follows: An act is morally acceptable if, and only if, its maxim is unversalizable.
--Maxim: the principle of an action you give yourself when you're about to do something. (It contains 2 parts: what you are about to do and why you're about to do it) (record of intention and underlying reason)
>Kant thought that an actions rightness depends on its maxim. For Kant, the morality of out actions has nothing to do with the results. But with our intentions and reasons for actions.
> To sort out good and bad maxims we use the universalizability. How can we tell if a maxim is universalizable? We use a three part test:
1) first create a maxim: what you intend to do and why you intend to do it.
2) imagine a world in which everyone supports and acts on your maxim
3) then ask: can the goal of my actions be achieved in such a world?

If the answer to the last question is yes, then the maxim is universalizable, and the action is morally acceptable. If the answer is no, then the maxim is not universalizable, and the action calls for immoral.

> Unfortunately the principle of universalizability fails as a general test for the morality of our actions. In premise 3 of Kant's Argument for the Irrationality of Immorality. It says that a maxim's universalizability is a guarantee of an action's rightness. That is false. We can act on universalizable maxims and still do wrong. For instance, when a thief robs a ban in order to gain riches, Kant can show why his actions are immoral. If everyone acted on that maxim, there would be no money in the bank to steal, and the thief's goal could not be achieved. But what if the thief had robbed the bank in order to cripple it and put it out of business? If everyone acted that way, then the thief's goal could be achieved. The PU fails to condemn the robbery. And yet an act is surely wrong.

Kant HATED lying. This conflicted with the moral duties. He believed

<> Principle of Humanity:
> Always treat a human being (yourself included) as an end, and never as a mere means.
> This means that one must treat someone with respect. When you treat someone as a means, it is like you are treating someone to achieve one of your goals.

Autonomous: means being a self-legislator. Autonomous people are those who decide for themselves which principles are going to govern their life.

Example: Imagine a person who reasons as follows: "I should keep my money rather than pay it in taxes, because if i keep it, I'll be able to afford a wonderful cation for myself and my family. No one is actually going to suffer if I pocket the money, since it's only a few thousand dollars. There's no way that money could bring as much happiness in the government's hands as it could in mine."

Immanuel Kant thought that no matter how much personal gain bad actions brought, they are still wrong, because they're unfair and unjust.

There is a natural way to understand what is wrong with the actions given in the example. In each case, people are making exceptions of themselves. Their success depends on violating rules that most other people are following. (playing by one set of rules while insisting that others obey a different set)

Our deep opposition to unfairness and resulting important we attach to consistency, are reveled in 2 popular tests of morality:
1) what if everyone did that?
2) how would you like it if i did that to you?

The test ONE works well for several cases such as: If everyone uses emergency lanes in traffic jams, then ambulances and fire trucks would fail to provide needed help, leaving many to die.

But test ONE fails for other cases. Example: Consider a common argument against homosexual sex: if everyone did that, disaster would soon follow, for the human race would quickly die out. Even if this were true, that wouldn't show that homosexual sex is immoral. Why not? Well, consider those who have decided to remain celibate- perhaps they are priests, or committed lifelong bachelors who believe that one shouldn't have sex without being married. What if everyone refrained from having sex? The same results would follow. But that doesn't show that Celibacy is immoral.

Test 2) (The Golden Rule)- makes morality depend on a person's desires. It also fails to give us guidance on self-regarding actions (those that concern only oneself).

Hypothetical vs Categorical Imperatives:
>Hypothetical: commands us to do whatever is needed to get us what we want
>Categorical: are rational requirements that do not depend on what we care about. they are requirements of reason that apply to everyone who possess reason. They command us to do things whether we want to or not, with the result that if we disobey them, we are acting contrary to reason (irrationally).
>Kant thought that all moral duties are categorical imperatives. They apply to us just because we are rational beings. We must obey them even if we don't want to, and even if moral obedience gets us nothing we care about.

Integrity: Having integrity is living in harmony with the principles you believe in. (Virtue of consistency)

>Opposite to utilitarianism. It is all about FAIRNESS and JUSTICE.
Central Principle:
Modus Ponens and Modus Tollens arguments:
Theories of well-being

<> Consequentialism: Says that an action is morally required just because it produces the best overall results (it is optimific)

<> Act Utilitarianism: well-being is the only thing that is intrinsically valuable. This view states: that an action is morally required just because it does more to improve overall well being than any other action you could have done in the circumstances. Philosophers call this ultimate moral standard the PRINCIPLE OF UTILITY. IN GENERAL: acts are right just because they maximize the overall amount of well-being in the world.

>Mill said: The greatest good for the greatest number. Mill was a hedonist, who believed that only happiness was intrinsically valuable and only misery was intrinsically bad.
>> If we combine utilitarianism and hedonism we get this ultimate moral principle: >>>>>produce the greatest overall balance of happiness over misery. <<<<< There are two misunderstandings of this principle.
1) in choosing among acts that benefit people, we must benefit the greatest number of people. Mill rejects this. Suppose we have to choose between an act that benefits more people, and one that benefits fewer. Mill's principle DOES NOT say the we automatically have to pick the first option. That's because the benefit to the majority may be very small, whereas the benefit to the minority may be very large. >EXAMPE: If we give $50 to everyone in the US or spending the money on preventing homelessness and starvation amount the poorest 10%.
2) we must always choose that action that creates the greatest amount of happiness. Mill rejects this. Suppose we have to choose between two plans. The first creates more happiness than the second. Mill's principle does not say that we automatically have to favor the first plan. Because that plan can create a huge amount of misery, while the second creates very little. >EXAMPLE: choosing gladiators vs an athletic completion. although the gladiators would produce the most happiness to the audience it would produce misery to the gladiators because some would die. While the athletic competition would produce less happiness to the audience it wouldn't cause unhappiness to the competitors. Giving a net happiness form both parties. (balance of happiness over unhappiness)

Actual vs Expected results: The morality does not depend on the intentions but on the results.

<> Rule Consequentialism: the view that an action is morally right just because it is required bean optimific social rule. (An Optimific Social Rule: is a rule that meets the following condition: if (nearly) everyone in a society were to accept it, then the results would be optimific)
The duty (there is no central principle for this moral theory):
Moral valence: The idea that decisions and actions have a range of moral values. Not just right and wrong

All things considered duty:

<>Regret test: when moral claims conflict and we can't honor them all, we think that it is right to feel regret at having to give up something important. Regret is evidence that something of value has been sacrificed. This provides us with a test: there is a prima facie duty to act in a certain way only if it would always be appropriate to regret our failure to act that

<>PFD: is an excellent, non absolute, permanent reason to do (or refrain from doing) something--- to keep ones word, be grateful for kindness, avoid hurting others, and so on.
> Each prima facie duty may sometimes be overridden by other such duties. (with a good reason)

<>Seven Prima Facie Duties:
1) Fidelity: keeping our promises
2) Reparation: repairing harm that we have done
3) Gratitude: appropriately acknowledging benefits that others have given us
4) Justice: ensuring that virtue is rewarded and vice punished.
5) Beneficence: enhancing the intelligence, virtue, or pleasure of others
6) Self improvement: making oneself more intelligent or virtuous
7) Nonmaleficence: preventing harm to others

> duties conflict when they can't all be fulfilled

> In Ross's view, preventing harm is always morally important. Sometimes it is the most important thing you can do. But not always. Seeing that the guilty get their just deserts is also, and always, very important. Ross denies that there are any absolute moral rules. So each moral rule may sometimes be broken. But the? The easiest way to answer that question would be to create a permanent ranking of the rules, by placing them in order from least to most morally important. When a low ranked rule conflicts with a higher ranked one, the higher rule wins out and determines our moral duty.