He offers guidance for navigating the ethical dimension of everyday life. that in normal circumstances she would have ended the relationship. Concerned with human beings in relationship to a supernatural being. -There are moral laws embedded in nature itself "Natural Law Theory". Topic: Laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical At what point is civil disobedience as a form of resistance to power justified on the grounds of morality? Insights Static Quiz , –Art and Culture.
In fact, in dealing with so many of our everyday moral challenges, it is difficult to see just how one would implement the principles of a moral theory. No wonder that many moral philosophers insist they have no more to say about these specific situations than a theoretical physicist does when confronting a faulty spark plug.
Nonetheless, your response to your curious teenager, as with all cases in the domain of everyday ethics, presents a practical, immediate moral challenge that you cannot avoid.
Law, morality and ethics
After all, who wants to hang out and grab a beer with a moral saint? Indeed, who wants to be the kind of person who never hangs out and has a beer because of more pressing moral tasks?
Still other critics note that typical academic moral arguments ignore the complexity and texture of our ordinary lives. As philosopher Martha Nussbaum and others suggest, an observant novel will often be more instructive about our moral lives than an academic treatise. At the outset, we need to recognize—and take seriously—the difficulties inherent in these judgments. Take, for example, the case of our friend walking out the door wearing that unappealing blouse on her way to a crucial date.
She asks for your opinion on her attire.
Honesty demands you to tell her the truth, but compassion urges you to give her the thumbs up. Perhaps one ought to be more truthful to a friend than a stranger, but then, too, one ought to be especially encouraging to a friend.
Do you want to be told the truth in this case? Presumably, different people might offer different answers. We can, nonetheless, draw a few lessons from even this hasty consideration of everyday moral dilemmas. We need to be clear about which values are at play. Intellectual honesty is always a challenge. With regard to lying, for example, we need to acknowledge how easy it is to justify dishonesty by claiming compassion or some other good when, in fact, we merely want to avoid unpleasant confrontations.
Our capacity for rationalization is remarkable: We need to give slack to people with whom we disagree. Inasmuch as the problems posed by everyday ethics are genuine dilemmas but do not allow the luxury of lengthy, careful analysis, decent people for decent reasons can reach opposing conclusions.
But how then do we make our quick judgments about what to do in these everyday moral situations? The science of everyday ethics Over the past few years, evolutionary biologists, neuroscientists, and cognitive psychologists have been exploring these very questions.
And they are making some startling discoveries. For example, using functional MRI fMRI scans of the brain, neuropsychologist Joshua Greene has found that different types of moral choices stimulate different areas of the brain. His findings present an astonishing challenge to the way we usually approach moral decisions. Consider, for example, a popular thought experiment posed by moral philosophers: Suppose you are the driver of a runaway trolley car that is approaching five men working on the track.
As you speed down toward this tragedy, you realize you can divert the train to a side track and thereby kill only one person who is working on that other track. What do you do?
Now consider an alternative case: Next to you is a fat person whose sheer bulk could stop the oncoming trolley. Most people say they would save the five lives in case one, but not in case two—and offer complicated reasons for their choices.
What Greene found in his research was that different parts of our brains are at work when we consider these two different scenarios. In the first case, the area associated with the emotions remains quiet—we are just calculating—but in the second case, which asks us to imagine actually killing someone up close and personally, albeit to save five other people, the emotional area of the brain lights up. Brain research of this kind underscores the claims of evolutionary psychologists who maintain that many of our moral attitudes are grounded in our genetic history.
They suggest, as does Greene, that because we evolved in small groups, unaware of people living halfway around the world, we have stronger instinctive moral reactions to problems that affect us directly than to those that are more abstract.
In this view, for example, evolutionary strategy dictates our preferences for kin over strangers, and makes us more likely to display altruism toward people we can see first-hand. Cognitive psychologists, for their part, are examining how moral decisions are formed—demonstrating, for example, how selective images, such as pictures of starving children, can alter and enlarge our sphere of empathy, and how social environments can either stultify or nurture compassion.
They remind us that our pre-set inclinations—how we are—do not prescribe or justify how we ought to be. But this ongoing research is of vital importance to our understanding of ethics, and in particular, everyday ethics. Moreover, this research can be extremely helpful as we determine how best to teach ethics to our children.
Relationship between Ethics, Morality, and the Law
Morality stems from an individual's conscience and from the values of a given society, which might be based on religious tradition or on political principles such as democracy or socialism. Moral conduct would be that which is considered 'right' based on people's consciences and society's shared values. Morality is one way for a community to define appropriate activity. Ethics Ethics from the Ancient Greek word ethikos meaning 'theory of living'is a type of philosophy which attempts to figure out that right versus wrong in any given situation or scenario.
Right and Wrong in the Real World
In general terms, ethics are practical moral standards that distinguish right from wrong, and give us a guide to living 'moral' lives. These standards might include duties that we should follow, such as fidelity in marriage, or the consequences of our behaviour on others. In more specific terms, some of the more difficult ethical questions on which a government might legislate could include issues relating to abortion, euthanasia and animal rights. See image 1 In this sense, morality is both a foundation and an ultimate aim of society, and ethics is a practical way of discovering how to implement and preserve moral standards.
The concept of 'public morality' is often used to justify the regulation of sexual matters, including pornography, prostitution and homosexuality, as well as issues of dress and nudity. This, however, is a narrower application of the idea of moral standards, and does not involve ethical issues of the same significance as morality in the more general sense.
- Multiple Choice Self-Quiz
Moral and ethical issues occur at both a local and a global level, and laws and other legal instruments have been developed at both levels to implement the moral and ethical standards of society. You might think about the ethical decisions you make when you walk down the street; decisions ranging from not harassing other pedestrians, to giving money to a homeless person.