Business: When you offer a product or a service. The ethic part of business has not always been
there. Improved through cooperation and when business got more complicated.
Ethic: What should I do? Not about what I can do or what the law says. Consequentialism vs.
Deontology. The golden rule; To unto to others as you would want them to do unto you.
Empathy – Stronger form of sympathy
Epictetys: Not happy until you emprise a system. Like a company, religion, military.
Epicurus: Need to find yourself, like friends, money and freedom.
David Horne Skotte: Facts – Science. Value – Ethics.
1. Good/Bad Right/Wrong
2. In justifies (motiverar)the means, Not possible here
Its ok to do bad for better good.
3. Feelings/emotions, Utilitarianism Reason/Logic
Human Rights, Justice, Equality
Major ethical theories:
Main dilemma: Should I do what is right or what will be for the greatest good?
1. Consequentialism: Consequences.
2. Deontology: what you believe is right. (Deon=Duty. What reason tells you is right regardless
of the consequences).
Both theories important, and not more right than the other.
Plato 4th BC Greek. Socrates. Consequences.
* Keeping your word
* Don’t steel
* Based on wants, not rights. “No such thing as rights”
-Joe gives me his knife
- Joe becomes crazy joe
- Should I give the knife to a crazy person? The consequence gets more important than keeping
Epicurus= Happiness (are a consequence) most important
Aristotle= Eudimonia – human. Flourishing – happiness
Jeremy Bentham 18th English:
Epicurus is right. Pain(avoid) vs. Pleasure (seek). Our moral should be based on this
foundations of morals. Act so as to create the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest
number. Animals same status as humans.
Utilitarianism = utility – usefulness
Kritik = To simple – end justifies the means. torture five people in the room, the rest satisfied.
Right to do that!? Also, should you sacrifise a human life to save others? John Stuart Mill – 19th English. Utilitarian
Agrees of a lot but…“Bentham is a hedonist”
Quality over quantity Intellectual Happiness, ex reading is better than sex. “Its better to be an
unhappy human than a happy pigg”. Humans have dignity and anyone that choose the unhappy
pigg does so out of weakness of character. Create the greatest happiness, you have to do that
even if you are not going to be one of the happy people.
Procrastination!? ------------KOlla upp-----------
John Rawls = Theory of justice. Lower the gap between Mill and Bentham.
- Utilitarian society through hidden rules. Promise can be taken seriously if everyone agrees they
cannot be broken,
Peter Singer: Utilitarian
Animal rights. Obligation for charity in utilitarianism, create the greatest amount of happiness
for the greatest amount of people Make an insignificant sacrifices in order to achieve that goal.
Extra money? obligated as an utilitarian to give that money to deserving poor.
Argues not to give away money and Singers ansvers.
1. I don’t know this people Not an excuse. Would you poison food if didn’t know who was
going to eat?
2. There is no guarantee that my money will help No excuse. Driving fast, but not hitting
3. If I didn’t exist the poor should still be there The fact is you do exist…
Robert Nozick – critics of utilitarianism
Feelings aren’t everything. KOLLA BOKEN
Kant. Religious 18th German.
Rights, Justice, Equality.
Rights found in religion.
Deontology = Kantian Etichs
Moral can only exist if two thins exists: Freedom and Reason.
Human has free will and reason.
Consequences are always in the future they can never be certain = inductive. You can never be
certain of the consequences of you actions Hypothetical imperative.
Two rules that are deduced though the facts of human nature/morality
1. Reason, Logic, Math.Act so your personal acts can be universal law
2. Since al human are intrinsically (I sig själv) moral, then they can never be used as means but
only as ends. Because morality is its own end.
Do what is right regardless of the consequences. One must always tell the truth.
Selfe interest involving decisions. Selfishness is not the same as self interest.
Hobbes: 17th England. ”the leviathon”
He argues that human beings are natural seekers of our self interest Psychological egoism =
You, even you not realize it, claims to yours self interests. Ex Pheobe vänner.
Opposite = Psychological altruism = always doing things for others. Normative = You can choose, there are choices
Ethical Egoism = There is a choice and you should choose you self interest.
Plato exemple: You should be evil because:
1. We all to some extent admire the successful bad man more than the unsuccessful good man.
2. Its better to be a evil man that everyone thinks is good than a good man that everyone thinks is
3. Religion, Hellenism. It actually supports the selfish evil person. It puts loop holes in the law
that allows such a person to get away with it.
4. Only frightened and weak people choose the just life.
Myth of Gyges: If we can go invisible than moral should not exist. Assumption about human
nature: we are all natural selfish (evil) and we only do good out of fear of punishment. If this is
true then humans are not different from a dog…!?
Socrates Return: 1. Humans require a peace of mind that does not permit them to be all selfish. 2.
We don’t act out of reward/punishment we act put of empathy guided by feelings towards other
human beings (we are not a dog)
David Hume 18th Scottish
Empathy has rules. Empathy is governed by our relations in space and time. The things that are
closest to us are more important than those things that are more far away Can a human being
function with a perfect equal empathy for all? At some level we treat people as numbers
Self interest can allow for someone to help others .
Natur is not selfish, reciprocal (ömsesidig) altruisms. Prisoners Dilemma. 1. Golden Rule 2. Tit-
for that( do to others what others do to you) 3. Be selfish.
Instead of actions, lets focus on people themselfe. Not what to do but what sort of person do I
want to be? = Character- Virtue
3. Fortitude (moral encourage)
4. Temperance ( Self control)
Aristotle – Consequentist – Virtue Ethics
The virtue that you seek lies between two extremes, not choosing this or that but aiming for
Foolishness ------Courage -------Cowardice
No rules telling you how to do this. Morality cannot be taught, it has to be learnt by practice, like
learning play the piano. Intellectual virtue can be taught = practical wisdom.
Critics; it only looks at the person in the long term so cant help in immediate moral crisis.
“Voices of Virtue Ethics”
- Robert Laudon = it does not tell you what to do.
-Some types of actions are bad themselves and has nothing to do with the person…..BUT we can
only judge people through their ations.
- Realitivistic critic; Different people/cultural = Different virtues. NO UNIVERSALVIRTUE.
Subcategories of virtue ethics:
Care Ethics: Feminist etichs
Normative Ethics: Your life is a story
Bystander effect – Fit in with the group. Confirmed of the group, go with the group,Ashe
experiment, the movie.
Courage = Self sacrifice ( Subway hero)
Children/monkey video = Human nature to help
Divine Command Theory= I know what good vs. evil is because a religious authority tells me so.
Religion: Basic question = what is it that you should obey ? 13-1400 talet religious philosophy
what rule does reason play in religious faith?
1. Some say: Your first duty is to obey.Abraham - Whatever you say boss
2. Some say: Obey is to use your god given ability to think and question
S:t Thomas Aquinas 13th Rome
“Official philosopher of catnoliaism”
Reason and faith complement each other. Reason proves Gods existence, and faith provides the
explanations for the things reason can´t prove. (=Trinity)
Spinoza 17th Holland
Prophets (profeter) use their imagination when interpreting Gods word.
Nation of images
Gods word is half Gods and half the Prophets mind.
Dignified version of prophesy is not to have an empty headed proghet
Kant 18th German, religious.
Reason and free will are what makes us moral beings, and ultimately the children of God.
Kant wants to restore a true sense of justice
If morality is based in feelings then justice cant exist
Utilitarism=if it feels good it is good.
There is a definite right and wrong and you never have to end justifies the means
What is Justice?
What does fairness mean?
Each person deserves their mean.
1. Compensatory Justice:
People deserve to be justly compensated after having been wronged
2. Distributive Justice Ajuste society is one where there is equal opportunity for all. Equality
Aristotle – Virtue Ethics, Consequentialism
Waterweel All different small parts = equal in the difference
Star Trek= Prime Directive = Must never interfere with less developed cultures
Less developed… How? Technological, Moral? There is no universal standard for moral.
What is moral “Its just cultures way of doing things”
Moral Relativism: Tolerate other cultures.Affects the other moral theories
2. Virtue Ethics
3. Kantian (Kant against moral relativism moral is a universal standard
1. Am I allowed to judge another cultures morals?
2. If I do judge it as wrong, should I do something about it?
Paradox involving Moral Relativism: Taken to its extreme its impossible, take it to a individual
base? everyone has their own rights to do anything. WHERE IS THE BOARDERLINE?
William Sumner –Antropologist
“There is no universal moral standards”
Moral relativism = Space and time there is no such thing as amoral standard across time there
is no such thing as moral progress. ( Change does not necessarily mean progress)
Relativists cant say “that was wrong in the pass because it was right in that time”
Ex.Ancient Greeks = Pedophiles. Slavery?
Critics to Moral Relativism: So everybody is right?
William Shaw= He believes there is 9 universal standards for morals. These don’t applie=
1. Naturalism – Utilitarian (Bentham)
We all naturally seek pleasure and avoid pain. Violates the is/ought fallacy. You cannot derive
values from facts
2. Intuitionism – We just simply knows right from wrong. People intuitions vary
3. Emotivism – We all feel the same way about what is right and wrong. Human beings base
their morals on how they feel about things. We base our morals on our emotions. If emotions are
what guides us then there is no place for judgement. Judgement is done by reason.
4. Universal standard can me made using reason. We should be able to rationally seek
compromises. Reason out our differences. Are people really primarily rational beings or
5. Might is right. China takes over
William Summer (moral relativist not Shaw)
Moral is a cultural product. Philosophers who argue for a universal standard have forgotten
where morals comes from
Ronald Dwarkin 20th. Against moral relativism.
Second Paradox: Moral relativism never judges another culture moral values. They are against
universal standard…. But that a universal standard!!! Consequentialism Highlights
1) Business is inherently consequentialist both in its profit goal and through the common
moral/political justification for modern capitalism. Milton Friedman and other economists argue
that capitalism creates the best quality of life for a society over other economic systems such as
communism etc. In other words, capitalism is often justified via the Utilitarian Principle whereby
it creates the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
2) Jeremy Bentham (the traditional originator of Utilitarianism) bases the Utilitarian Principle (or
Happiness Principle) on the foundation that all life seeks pleasure and avoids pain. Because of
this Bentham says animals should be included with humans as equal moral beings. Peter Singer
agrees with this and is generally credited with originating the phrase “animal rights”.
3) John Stuart Mill agrees with the Utilitarian Principle but disagrees with Bentham’s emphasis
on the quantity of pleasure without considering the quality of pleasure. Mill argues that humans
are able to achieve higher quality pleasures than animals such as pursuing and achieving
intellectual achievements, and that these higher quality pleasures are more important than just the
quantity of vulgar pleasures. However Mill also agues that there is no abstract happiness, and
that all happiness is good once it is being experienced. Thus anything that makes you happy
(money, power, etc) is good so long as the actions you choose to attain these goals do not violate
the Utilitarian Principle.
4) John Rawls argues that Bentham and Mill (and other Utilitarians) are overlooking the need for
hidden rules (or cultural institutions) to exist in order for the greatest happiness for the greatest
number to be accomplished. For example, sports games can’t be won unless there are rules
created for the game to be played within. Thus he says that Rule Utilitarianism is more true to
reality than justAct Utilitarianism. The universal nature of ‘promises’in order to achieve the
Utilitarian Principle is an example of his argument.
5) Peter Singer argues that the Utilitarian Principle obligates people to give their excess wealth to
the deserving poor because only by doing this can the greatest amount of happiness be created
for the greatest number of people. Those deserving of help are only those who have
demonstrated a genuine desire to improve their lives (i.e., you’re not obligated to give any
money to bums, panhandlers, etc). However Singer does not actually define what excess wealth
is and leaves that up to the individual to decide.
6) Robert Nozick believes that Utilitarians (and other consequentialists) place too great an
emphasis on happiness. He believes it is better to be a certain way than to just feel a certain way. He argues that given the choice, a person would choose to live in the imperfect real world rather
than a perfectly happy virtual world.
Other famous Consequentialists: Plato,Aristotle, Epicurus.
Questions to consider:
1) Are Friedman and many other advocates for business correct when they say that capitalism
creates the highest standard of living for a society? Is this the same thing as creating the greatest
good for the greatest number? If it is different, what makes it different?
2) If business is justified on Utilitarian grounds, what sort of Utilitarian system is business?
Bentham Utilitarianism? Mill, Rawls? What about Singer’s argument that Utilitarianism
necessitates a certain amount of specified charity? Perhaps giving your excess money to those
who want to start their own businesses?
3) The main criticism of Utilitarianism is that it essentially states, “the end justifies the means”.
Should an innocent human life be sacrificed in order to save others? If capitalist business is a
Utilitarian system, should it sacrifice innocent human lives in order to make more human lives
happier? Should a dam be built, a war be started, or any other type of project be initiated if it
means that innocent lives will have to be sacrificed for creating the greatest good for the greatest
4) Would you sacrifice your life if you thought that by doing so it would make other people
happy? Should you have the right to make the decision for yourself or should those ‘other
people’make it for you?
Egoism refers to the role of self-interest in decision-making.
For a theory to be truly called ‘ethical’it must allow for the ability to choose a course of action.
We call these theories normative.
Thomas Hobbes (17th century English) claims humans are psychologically egoist (we
automatically choose to do things out of our own self-interest), if this is true, then the ability to
choose doesn’t really play a role in our actions since we automatically seek our self-interest
whether we are consciously aware of it or not. Consequently psychological egoism is technically
non-normative (as is the opposing theory of psychological altruism).
Ethical egoism differs from psychological egoism in that it states people don’t automatically
choose what is in their self-interest, but should anyway. Perhaps even to the point of selfishness.
Many people in business incorrectly believe thatAdam Smith (18th century Scottish) argues for
this approach in The Wealth of Nations, but Smith wanted his economic argument to be guided
by moral principles in its companion book, Theory of Moral Sentiments, which does not argue
The most famous argument for selfishness comes from the ancient story of the Myth of Gyges,
an account of which is put forth in Plato’s The Republic by two students (Glaucon and
Thracymachus) to their teacher, Socrates.
Their argument for selfishness (the unjust life) is summed up in four points:
1. It is better to be an evil person that everyone thinks is good than a good person that everyone thinks is evil.
2. People admire the successful bad person over the unsuccessful good person. Nobody chooses
the unsuccessful good person as a role model.
3. Religion, far from being a deterrent for the evil life, actually encourages it by allowing people
to be cleansed of their badness (or guilty conscience) by performing rituals, pilgrimages, etc.
Thus religion allows for a person to live an evil life, and then at the end, get away with it by
performing a ritual etc. So even God (or the Gods) seem to support the selfish life. For what
advantage are rituals, pilgrimages etc. to the person who is already good? They are designed to
help the evil person.
4. Only frightened and weak people choose the just life.As is inferred in the Myth of Gyges, if
people could make themselves invisible by wearing a magic ring, morality and the whole notion
of being good, would not exist. In other words, people only behave justly out of fear of
Plato/Socrates’reply is that human nature seeks a peace of mind that is not satisfied by the
selfish life, and more importantly, human motivation is not based on reward/punishment, but on
If empathy is what ultimately guides our decisions it nevertheless has rules. David Hume (18th
Scottish) argues that naturally, we are not, nor should try to be, empathetic towards all people
equally. We naturally (are supposed to) care about issues and people closer to us more than we do
to strangers. Thus there is no moral shame in not caring about issues and people who lie ‘outside’
our emotional lives, in fact, life would be impossible if we didn’t do this.
The clip from The Third Man (1949) illustrates the spatial/temporal nature of empathy (in an
extreme way) by arguing that a person would more easily kill innocent unknown people for
money than kill an informer if he were also a ‘close’friend. In other words, the farther people are
from us in our relationships, the more closer they are to being just numbers to us.
Selfishness is the claim that a person has no empathy nor should they care about anyone but
themselves (Ayn Rand seems to argue for this in her novels). James Rachels argues this is very
rare in human nature and thus shows the difference between self-interest and selfishness. His
argument is actually a version of a similar argument put forth by Joseph Butler (18th century
English). There is nothing wrong in deriving pleasure from helping others (acting in your own
self-interest). This does not mean you’re selfish because selfish people would not feel pleasure
from helping others precisely because they are selfish.