Midterm Study Notes
Kantian Ethics: focus on action and the reasoning behind them.
- Moral Foundations:
o Rationality – the ability to deliberate and act upon valid reasoning
o Autonomy – persons have will and moral worth
*Moral worth lies in the kind of act, not the consequences
- Categorical Imperative
o Universal Law:
Formulate as universal law
Imagine a world with this universalized law
Evaluate for contradiction
o Formula of Humanity
Never treat persons as means without individual ends
- No universally valid standards
- Validity dependent upon
o Personal choice (subjectivism)
o Cultural acceptance (conventionalism)
- Descriptive claim that cultures have different moral norms.
o “it is the case that this is the way it is, NOT that this is the way it should be.”
o No basis for criticism of other cultures – no wrong or right between cultures,
o No basis for reform
o Difficult to define culture.
Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics:
- Choice of who to be instead of what to do – virtue as a disposition.
- Goodness comes from our performance functionality
o Happiness comes about through the rational, virtuous activity of the soul.
- Agent must choose the virtuous action and make it habit.
o Virtue seeks the mean
Ethical Pluralism: W.D. Ross - Pluralistic, mixed, deontological theory of obligation
- Several irreducible moral guides and rules that ought to guide our behaviours
o Principles are self-evident
Intuitions form our moral theories -