Giving of oneself (financial, ‘heroic’ acts, etc.) when it will provide no direct benefit to the provider. Some moral systems include the assumption that such acts are not truly altruistic because of the indirect benefit (feeling good about one’s kindness, receiving blessings from God, going to heaven, serving one’s community, etc.).
Moral reasoning based on comparison of like events, categories, or characteristics.
Direct regulation as a necessary truth, often as divine command.
- The capacity for self-determination,
2. The right to self-determination.
Doing that which is good for another (possibly distinguishable from nonmaleficence).
Bioethics (Biological Ethics)
- The analysis of moral concerns arising out of the application of biological technologies; usually the emphasis is placed on medical ethics,
- The analysis of moral concerns arising in various fields of the life sciences (e.g., ecology, recombinant DNA research).
The governing of behavior in accordance with specific situational rules or within the standards of precedence (sometimes used in a derogatory manner).
Performing an act, often used to indicate an intentional violation of a moral duty (frequently juxtaposed with omission).
A utilitarian method of evaluation which usually defines “cost” in economic terms and, theoretically, attempts to remain clear of specifically moral considerations. Normally used as part of the decision-making process for project expenditures, program assignments, or capital expenditures; increasingly used as a method of analysis in care decisions for individual patients/clients. (See ‘hedonism’.)
An agreement between persons or parties requiring action on the part of all participants. While similar to a contract, the covenant is maintained through reliance on the integrity of the parties and goes beyond the specific limitations of a contract. Traditionally, marriage and the physician/patient relationship have been understood as covenants, as opposed to legal contract (though the categories may not be mutually exclusive).
An ethical method which relies on the principle of duty. Almost inevitably this takes the form of upholding certain rules (general or specific) according to categories of behavior.[e.g., Socrates, Kant]
When participation in efforts to address a given moral concern result in temporary compromises on implementation or on less significant moral concerns.
A required behavior, often an obligation created by the rights of another or by the nature of the role one holds.
the moral good/right defined by and for the individual, usually assumes rationality (more precisely named “ethical egoism”) [e.g., Ayn Rand]
The study of the origin, nature, and limits of knowledge.
- The analysis of morals according to given principles, values and/or according to a specific method of reasoning.
- Moral rules or patterns expected within certain groups (e.g., professions, religious communities) or by virtue of holding a specific role.
Defining the ‘good’ as that which will provide the most pleasure and the least pain for the individual (a sort of individualized utilitarianism; often seen as a form of egoism). This may or may not be understood as exclusively physical pain and pleasure.[e.g., Epicurus]
The condition of having a specific nature or being a particular thing or person. The criteria of human nature are often a focus in bioethical debates (e.g., the humanness of the preborn/fetus, the rationality of the brain injured, the memory or communicative skills of the very old).
The appropriate or right division and arrangement of burdens and benefits in a social group; it assumes the need for appropriate or right relationships among the group’s members. As a virtue, justice is the appropriate response to prudent analysis toward a telos; as a deontological standard, justice is rendering to each his/her/its due.
Three Types of “Basic” Justice
Distributive Justice - The fair and equitable distribution of goods (e.g., medical resources and services, food, education). The criteria for evaluation are debated: to each according to need, social position, merit, work, worth, etc.
Retributive Justice - The appropriate dispensing of punishment (including compensation for damages).
Commutative Justice - Fair and honest interaction among moral agents (especially in the exchange of goods).
era of so-called “West” in which the individual has been deemed morally fundamental and education the means of elevating the individual; sometimes divided into two periods, with the earliest beginning with the Renaissance and Reformation (marked by moral absolutes, emphasis on progress in technological and political order, rise of capitalism, and Baconian science); the latter with early 20th century science, Marxist socio-political analysis, and psychological interpretation of individual behaviors (marked by moral relativism, emphasis on therapy and emotivism, rise of state bureaucracies, and Einsteinian science). “Post-modernity”, then, is the transitional period after modernity – often marked by uncertainty, loss of a socially shared meta-narrative, and dismissal of ‘science as fact’.
Formally expressed & legitimated socialized patterns of behavior. Acting in accordance with values of right and wrong and/or good and bad. Morality does not necessarily require philosophical or theological ethical consideration.
The moral good which can be determined by any reasonable person; it assumes that humans share at least some common moral duties, principles, or values because of their common social, biological and/or spiritual condition.
The belief that all persons have certain duties to treat all other persons in certain ways, usually regardless of particular conditions; a form of natural law.
existence is meaningless, senseless; those with power assert their own purpose and attempt to achieve it with disregard of any supposed ultimate purpose, often assuming the destruction of existing social institutions is preferable to their continuation. [e.g., Nietzsche]
Not doing that which is harmful to another.
Not performing an act; the neglecting of moral duty. Usually understood as a conscious or willful decision.
After modern, specifically including the rejection of ‘scientific’ reductionism. (Postmodern in architecture, art and literature has a narrower definition.)
Two common forms are:
(1) deconstructionism, with assumption that all social constructs can be reduced in a regression into absurdity using their own rules of reason (this cultural “post-modernity” is not the same as subjectivism, but rather the rejection of the on-going definable subject)
(2) narrative community, which is, based on the assumption that reductionism obliterates the reality of wholes.
A philosophical approach/method which validates moral rules on the basis of the results of those rules when they are applied. Specifically applies to philosophical ethics school of thought at end of 19th and beginning of 20th century in U.S. [e.g., Dewey, James]; more generally applies to any “practical” or “common sense” approach to resolving organizational and/or moral concerns .[e.g., Wesley]
Prima facie duty
The moral response that seems most appropriate prior to in-depth consideration of mitigating factors. It may or may not prove to be the actual moral duty.
A fundamental belief, doctrine, or “truth” upon which more particular rules of moral conduct are based.
Descriptive - The claim that the core morality of different groups (cultures and sub-cultures) may differ in some significant way, one from another,
Substantive - The claim that one’s morality is a matter of affiliation or taste and not subject to evaluation by a higher moral claim or authority.
A just and fair claim to some good; the good may or may not be tangible. Rights are claimed on the basis of the natural order, human commonality, being a creature of the Creator God, Constitutionality (or some other legal basis), etc.
Negative Right - The right to not have another intervene (e.g., freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion). The duty of another, constituted by such a right, is to not interfere.
Positive Right - The right to have another intervene (e.g., the right to education, the right to shelter, the right to food). The duty of another, constituted by such right, is to assist in providing this intervention.
An established regulation for conduct/action, usually based upon a general principle. Any form of moral reasoning can have rules.
An ethical method which claims that the concreteness of a given situation requires that moral decisions be made in light of the circumstances and without reference to principles, rules or goals. .[e.g., Jos. Fletcher]
The assertion that conceding a morally debatable position will inevitably lead to conceding a morally reprehensible position; usually assumes that a precedent set with dubious reason or values will lead to morally repugnant events that are justified using the same reasoning or values.
A philosophical concept which usually refers to the duties arising from one’s membership in a given society, both the duties of the individual to the society and its members and the duty of the society to the individual. Sometimes more specific social arrangements, such as that between health care provider and patient or between teacher and student, are seen as manifestations of the general social contract. .[e.g., Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, U.S. Constitution]
Claim that management and/or moral addressing of needs and concerns should occur at the lowest organizational level possible, thereby protecting individuals and groups from excessive centralized power and maximizing awareness of specific issues; according to the theory, when not sufficiently addressed, the concern should be taken-up at a higher organizational level.
Something ‘heroic’. An act beyond the normal (as in ‘norm’) moral requirement which is judged to be especially worthy of praise (some moral systems do not allow that an act can be morally heroic).
An ethical method which determines proper behavior by the end “product” or “result” desired. Its two major forms are virtue ethics and utilitarianism. In the former, one’s character is shaped by the end; in the latter, the ‘ends justify the means’.
An ethical method which centers on the principle of providing the greatest good for the greatest number. The “good” can be defined as happiness, pleasure, etc. Often the method is marked by the calculation of the best means to maximize the desired end. Cost-benefit analysis is an economic form of utilitarianism; “situation ethics” is a supposed religious form.[e.g., Bentham, Mill, Jos. Fletcher]
A method of moral reasoning by which one determines the right course of action by deciding which conforms more to the desired character (e.g., to imitate Christ, Greek heroic stories). Sometimes called ‘aretaic’ ethics. .[e.g., Aristotle, MacIntyre]