Lecture 10- Ethics
• Not a question of how people act, but how they ought to act
What are some moral rules?
• Do not murder
• Do not lie
• Do not use people for other’s ends
• A terminal patient in extreme pain wants to die – the doctor allows that to happen
• An abusive husband wants to know where his wife is staying – you say you don’t know
even if you do
• The government wants to fund housing for the poor, but needs to use tax money for that.
Bill doesn’t want to part with more of his income, but the law requires that he pay up…
• Are there moral rules that bind everyone who understand them?
• Kant will argue that there are
• Perhaps we act to bring out the best outcomes?
• If so, what outcomes do we think we are trying to attain?
• Can we lie to people or steal if it brings about the right results?
• Mill we argue that we can
• Perhaps we act based on compassion or other relevant feelings?
• But, feelings can also lead us astray
• Perhaps the key is having a strong moral character
• Moral right and wrong are a matter of acting from a virtues position
• This is Arisotle’s view
Arisotle’s virtue ethics
• Human action is all guided by a single goal -Happiness
• For Aristotle this is the key to understanding how we to be fully moral
• Yes, by being a happy person
Our reasons for acting
• Every action is motivated by the desire for some good:
-Get an education- to be more informed
-Buy a car- to have transporta