Francione Place of Publication: Another, competing, basis is based on the theory of utilitarianism — the outright rejection of rights for all species and instead advocacy for equal consideration.
Ethics should concern all levels of life: This document is designed as an introduction to making ethical decisions. It first provides a summary of the major sources for ethical thinking, and then presents a framework for decision-making.
Ethics provides a set of standards for behavior that helps us decide how we ought to act in a range of situations. In a sense, we can say that ethics is all about making choices, and about providing reasons why we should make these choices.
Ethics is sometimes conflated or confused with other ways of making choices, including religion, law or morality. Many religions promote ethical decision-making but do not always address the full range of ethical choices that we face.
Religions may also advocate or prohibit certain behaviors which may not be considered the proper domain of ethics, such as dietary restrictions or sexual behaviors. A good system of law should be ethical, but the law establishes precedent in trying to dictate universal guidelines, and is thus not able to respond to individual contexts.
Law may have a difficult time designing or enforcing standards in some important areas, and may be slow to address new problems. Both law and ethics deal with questions of how we should live together with others, but ethics is sometimes also thought to apply to how individuals act even when others are not involved.
Finally, many people use the terms morality and ethics interchangeably. Others reserve morality for the state of virtue while seeing ethics as a code that enables morality.
Another way to think about the relationship between ethics and morality is to see ethics as providing a rational basis for morality, that is, ethics provides good reasons for why something is moral.
There are many systems of ethics, and numerous ways to think about right and wrong actions or good and bad character. The field of ethics is traditionally divided into three areas: Our experience with applying particular ethical standards or principles can inform our understanding of how good these standard or principles are.
Three Broad Types of Ethical Theory: Ethical theories are often broadly divided into three types: Each of these three broad categories contains varieties of approaches to ethics, some of which share characteristics across the categories.
Below is a sample of some of the most important and useful of these ethical approaches. The Utilitarian Approach Utilitarianism can be traced back to the school of the Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus of Samos BCEwho argued that the best life is one that produces the least pain and distress.
This conforms to our feeling that some good and some bad will necessarily be the result of our action and that the best action will be that which provides the most good or does the least harm, or, to put it another way, produces the greatest balance of good over harm.
Ethical environmental action, then, is the one that produces the greatest good and does the least harm for all who are affected—government, corporations, the community, and the environment.
The Egoistic Approach One variation of the utilitarian approach is known as ethical egoism, or the ethics of self- interest. In this approach, an individual often uses utilitarian calculation to produce the greatest amount of good for him or herself. Ancient Greek Sophists like Thrasymacus c.
One of the most influential recent proponents of ethical egoism was the Russian-American philosopher Ayn Randwho, in the book The Virtue of Selfishnessargues that self-interest is a prerequisite to self-respect and to respect for others.
There are numerous parallels between ethical egoism and laissez-faire economic theories, in which the pursuit of self-interest is seen as leading to the benefit of society, although the benefit of society is seen only as the fortunate byproduct of following individual self-interest, not its goal.
This approach to ethics underscores the networked aspects of society and emphasizes respect and compassion for others, especially those who are more vulnerable.
The Duty-Based Approach The duty-based approach, sometimes called deontological ethics, is most commonly associated with the philosopher Immanuel Kantalthough it had important precursors in earlier non-consquentialist, often explicitly religious, thinking of people like Saint Augustine of Hippowho emphasized the importance of the personal will and intention and of the omnipotent God who sees this interior mental state to ethical decision making.
Kant argued that doing what is right is not about the consequences of our actions something over which we ultimately have no control but about having the proper intention in performing the action.
The ethical action is one taken from duty, that is, it is done precisely because it is our obligation to perform the action. Ethical obligations are the same for all rational creatures they are universaland knowledge of what these obligations entail is arrived at by discovering rules of behavior that are not contradicted by reason.
The most basic form of the imperative is: Notice the duty-based approach says nothing about how easy or difficult it would be to carry out these maxims, only that it is our duty as rational creatures to do so. In acting according to a law that we have discovered to be rational according to our own universal reason, we are acting autonomously in a self-regulating fashionand thus are bound by duty, a duty we have given ourselves as rational creatures.
We thus freely choose we will to bind ourselves to the moral law. For Kant, choosing to obey the universal moral law is the very nature of acting ethically.
The Rights Approach The Rights approach to ethics is another non-consequentialist approach which derives much of its current force from Kantian duty-based ethics, although it also has a history that dates back at least to the Stoics of Ancient Greece and Rome, and has another influential current which flows from work of the British empiricist philosopher John Locke This approach stipulates that the best ethical action is that which protects the ethical rights of those who are affected by the action.
It emphasizes the belief that all humans have a right to dignity. When combined with the universality of the rights approach, the justice approach can be applied to all human persons.
The most influential version of this approach today is found in the work of American philosopher John Rawlswho argued, along Kantian lines, that just ethical principles are those that would be chosen by free and rational people in an initial situation of equality.Kantian Theory: The Idea of Human Dignity James Rachels.
From James Rachels, The Elements of Moral from ancient times, humans have considered themselves to be essentially different from all other creatures-and not just different but In fact, humans better. have traditionally thought themselves to be quite fabulous.
we must respect their. MAKING CHOICES: A FRAMEWORK FOR MAKING ETHICAL DECISIONS. Decisions about right and wrong permeate everyday life. Ethics should concern all levels of life: acting properly as individuals, creating responsible organizations and governments, and making our society as a whole more ethical.
The history of Western ethics Ancient civilizations to the end of the 19th century The ancient Middle East and Asia. The first ethical precepts must have been passed down by word of mouth from parents and elders, but as societies learned to use the written word, they began to set down their ethical beliefs.
These records constitute the first historical evidence of the origins of ethics. 1. The Concepts of Beneficence and Benevolence. The term beneficence connotes acts of mercy, kindness, and charity.
It is suggestive of altruism, love, humanity, and promoting the good of others. In ordinary language, the notion is broad, but it is understood even more broadly in ethical theory to include effectively all forms of action intended to benefit or promote the good of other persons.
I. Like most right-thinking people, I’d always found Immanuel Kant kind of silly. He was the standard-bearer for naive deontology, the “rules are rules, so follow them even if they ruin everything” of moral . To treat a person as an end is to respect an individual “as a rational person with his or her own maxims” (O’Neill ).
stated that Kantian ethics is the “perfect ethical bible,” but I rather agreed with O’Neill’s argument that Kantianism is a stronger moral theory than utilitarianism. The underlying idea behind Kantian.