PHLB07 - Week 1, Lecture 1
Moral Theory and Moral Practice
The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas - Ursula Le Guin
The Ring of Gyges - Plato
Psychological Egoism - Joel Feinberg
Why is the news so depressing? Why should such things bother us?
• Why do we hold people responsible? And for what exactly?
• What are our responsibilities to others? And to whom are we responsible?
• Is there really such a thing as “right” and “wrong”?
• What makes “right” actions “right” and “wrong” actions “wrong”.
These are ethical questions, which demand philosophical investigation
The study of ethics:
• Metaethics - the study of the source and nature of morality and moral judgments.
• Normative Ethics - concerns the standards of right and wrong conduct.
• “Practical” Ethics - “applied” ethics: how ought we to behave?
Think of ethics as the practice of trying to convince yourself and others of the truth, or
acceptability, of ethical beliefs and practices.