Ethical Normative Systems
-Golden Rule: assumes that people by nature don’t like dishonesty, being robbed or having their life
imperiled. It requires people to examine the consequences and implications of their actions. [also
known as reciprocal rule.]
-Normative systems provide more depth and a wider range of principles than a single simple statement
3 broad categories.
Virtue ethics :
1. Aristotelian Virtue Ethics:
-believed all things should have a proper function, function of humans is faculty of reason.
-if function is performed well, there will be satisfaction and happiness called eudemonia. No after life,
reward comes from the satisfaction of fulfilling the purpose for which you were designed.
-no guidelines for moral action, a virtuous person will automatically choose the right thing. A moral
reflex if you will.
-golden mean concept. Amount of whatever virtue is known by virtuous person based on research and
experience. Apparently however women cannot be virtuous because they lack the ability to reason.
2. Thomistic Ethics (Aquinas) :
-based ethical system on Aristotle’s concepts of human rationality, purpose and eudemonia. However
he integrated Christian beliefs as well.
-argued that purpose of humans it to return to god. Use their faculties of reason to determine what
proper behaviors are, using innate sense of goodness provide to them by god.
-4 cardinal virtues: prudence temperance, justice and courage.
-4 noble truths, life is a cycle of suffering.
-8 fold path, education and wisdom are required to know the right action to take.
-end result is nirvana (release from world suffering.)
-no afterlife or other-worldly dimension. Humanistic philosophy revolves about relationships between
people. -goal is to promote harmony in society. Everyone has place and proper way of behaving towards others.
Individual has role, if all roles are performed properly social harmony if not, social chaos.
-highest good is social harmony; virtuous person will always act to promote it.
-3 important virtues:
1. Jen: humanity, kindness, goodness
2. Li: propriety, respect for other, acknowledging proper social relations
3. Yi: right action, duty, to do what is fitting
1. Theistic Normative Ethics:
-developed from divine commandments.
-based on notion of objective source of right and wrong (god) who indicated what humans should or
should not do.
2. Kantian Ethics:
-there are rules of right and wrong that can be found and that right behavior requires that a person
always follows these rules
-One can develop these rules or maxims b