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1

Ethical Theories

Theories about the best way to live in a moral sense

2

What is ethics (or moral philosophy)?

Ethics is the philosophical investigation into what constitutes morally good and morally bad conduct.

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Philosophical investigation

-use reasoning and logical thinking
-give and argument

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Prescriptive discipline

How people OUGHT to live

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Descriptive discipline

Describes how people are

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What is ethics concerned with?

Values

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Values

Form of behavior that represents or expresses the right way to live

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What is ethics NOT?

Morals (descriptive)
Taste - subjective to person
Custom
Law - many laws based on moral values

9

A worldview includes your beliefs about:

1. nature of reality, about what exists, about what is objectively true.
2. nature of the human person.
3. Nature of moral and political values (including political theory)

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5 Questions to determine your worldview

1. What's your worldview? (or philosophy on life)?
2. Is it reasonable?
3. Are you a reasonable person?
4. What role do you think your worldview should have in politics?
5. What's your attitude toward worldviews you disagree with?

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Pluralism

Many worldviews in the same state.

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Problem of Pluralism

How do the worldviews live together since they disagree?

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How did pluralism happen?

1. Democracy had emphasis on freedom.
2. Accepted the dominant worldview.
3. Things opened up and people chose other world views.
4. PLURALISM

FREEDOM LEADS TO PLURALISM.

14

What are types of worldviews?

Contemporary worldviews
Theistic worldviews (religious)
Secularist worldviews (not religious)

15

What is the Divine Command Theory?

-Moral actions are those that are commanded (or approved of) by God, and immoral actions are forbidden.
-Christian religion: appeal to the Bible, and in particular the Commandments
-Extrapolate more from the Gospel as a whole

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What is the Euthyphro question?

Are actions moral because God commands them or does God command them because they are moral?

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What are problems of the Divine Command Theory?

1. Disagreement between religions. (Koran v. Bible)
2. Differences and interpretations within the same religion (Christians disagreeing on moral issues, like abortion and capital punishment)
3. Deeper philosophy issues

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What are the deeper philosophical issues of the DCT?

1. How is morality justified philosophically?
2. Why does God approve of certain values and actions but not others?

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DCT/Secularist Debate
How does DCT begin?

DCT: Abortion is wrong because it's against my religion.
S: I'm not a follower of your religion, so I don't have to follow your moral beliefs.
DCT:
-End the debate
-Try to convert S
-Leave religion to one side, move to neutral territory, and discuss the topic philosophically, appear to reason

20

DCT/Secularist Debate
What are DCT's concerns on moving to neutral territory?

1. Why leave his religion aside?
2. How?
3. Will proposal prejudice debate against him?
4. What can this approach achieve?
5. What if neutral territory is going over to the other side?

21

DCT/Secularist Debate
What is DCT's neutral territory?

No appeal to religious texts, religious authority, religious tradition, or religious experience.

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DCT/Secularist Debate
What is DCT's final philosophical argument?

1. Killing an innocent human is wrong.
2. The embryo is an innocent human being.
3. Killing the embryo is wrong, so abortion is wrong.

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DCT/Secularist Debate
What are 3 advantages to DCT's final philosophical argument?

1. Debate the ISSUE.
2. DCT is set to have a REASONABLE position.
3. May make progress!

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DCT/Secularist Debate
How does S begin?

S: Abortion is morally acceptable because my worldview accepts it.
DCT: I am not a follower of secularism, so I don't have to follow your moral beliefs.
S: Three options
-End debate.
-Try to concert DCT.
-Leave worldview to one side.

25

DCT/Secularist Debate
What is S's neutral territory?

No appeal to secularism, authority, and Enlightenment Traidtion (1650-1800)

26

DCT/Secularist Debate
What is S's final argument?

1. Killing an innocent human is wrong.
2. Embryo is a human but doesn't have a right to life.