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Lecture 1

PHLB09H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Normative Ethics, Moral Absolutism, Bioethics

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Anthony Bruno

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PHLB09 – Lecture 1
The (4) General Ethical Principles:
1. Autonomy
2. Benecence
3. Utility
4. Justice
Ethical questions concern morality:
-Deliberating action
-Judging decisions
-Assessing beliefs
-Debating concepts
Bioethical questions concern morality in medical care:
-Life and death (ex. What’s the appropriate way to handling with death,
what’s life worth, etc.)
-Health and illness
-Pain and relief (ex. What’s the appropriate response to deal with pain)
Normative ethics: which principles should guide action; which are justied,
do they admit of exception; how to resolve con0ict
Metaethics: what’s a moral belief; are there moral facts; what makes moral
statements true; what makes action right (happiness, God, consequences)
Applied ethics: which moral norms can solve given practical moral issues
- Bioethical issues: health care, medical science, medical technology
- Norms: grammatical, legal, aesthetic, moral
oMoral: overriding, universal impartial, rational
- Obligation: duty to act/avoid
- Value: actions/intentions/characters to esteem
- Right: di5erent degrees
oPermissible (not wrong to do, i.e.,
oObligatory (wrong not to do, i.e.,
E.g. wrong not to drive on the right side of the road
- Wrong: must not do, i.e., prohibited)
- Supererogatory: beyond duty, i.e., good, not required
-Relation to theory
o‘never take a life intentionally’ vis-à-vis utilitarian, Kantian,
natural law theories
-Absolute vs. Prima Facie
oE.g. doctors’ truthfulness with patients
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