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Ethics is the study of the nature of morality.

thing to do, or intuition. The source of morality comes before the act is

How would you define virtuous? Virtue is the mean between excess

Ethics is divided into two different ways of looking at the morality of


and defect (Golden Mean or Golden Rule).

humanity. They are Consequential and Non-Consequential.


1. Intuitionism- Intuitionism says, each person has an in-built sense of

The examples below come straight from Aristotle. For example, in

right/wrong, a gut feeling, a hunch, and impulse.

the social setting, in a dangerous situation the excess way to act would

2. Natural Law Ethics- Natural Law ethics says, respect your natural

be rash, thevirtuous (means) way to act is with courage, and


the defect would be to act withcowardice.

In Consequential Ethics, the outcomes determine the morality of the act.

What make the act wrong are the consequences.
In non-Consequential Ethics, the source of morality comes from
something else: law, Gods law, moral law, sense of duty, and your
definition of what is the virtuous thing to do. All those considerations are
built into the act itself before you could think of consequences, before it
makes it right or wrong.

It says the universe is governed by rational thinking. Theres an

orderly way of things.

4. Male and Female Ethics

It may or may not include God. Theres just some order behind

contrasts with men who tend to live in a world of principle.

Humans are governed by natural inclinations (natural law).


Egoism - Means, act in your own self-interest.

Utilitarianism - Do that which is moral only if the act produces the
greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people.

Thomas Aquinas says God is behind this eternal plan. However,

1. Act Utilitarianism- Do the act. No consideration of before or after. Do

what is called for now, and consider what action will produce the greatest
amount of good for the greatest number of people.
2. Follow the Rule- Means you cant think of actions as isolated instances.
We make decisions based on trial and error, on our experiences. Follow
the pattern that will produce the greatest good for the greatest number of
people. In fact, thats almost the essence of legislative behavior of law.
Pragmatism- Means, whatever works. Pragmatism believes in the
scientific ways of making decisions. Business schools are driven by
pragmatism. Pragmatism says, you have to have numbers to prove
anything. Its quantitative not qualitative.

competitive and individualistic world.

5. Duty Ethics (Immanuel Kant)

Immanuel Kant did not like a morality based on laws, church

the ancient laws say there is something orderly in the universe.

laws. He said you cant depend on laws, because laws sometimes

Thomas Aquinas gave it a religious twist, he said we have a moral

are made by capricious people. He said theres one thing that

obligation to the natural law.

human beings have in common, and that is the ability to reason.

3. Virtue/Character Ethics

Pure reasoning is the source of morality.

There are two brands of Utilitarianism:

Theres a great need for female psychology and morality in

society. If you leave it to men alone, we would live in a very

According to ancient philosophers, were driven by these basic

Egoism Utilitarianism Pragmatism

Women tend to live in a world of social relations, emotions. It

He says here that morality has its roots/foundation in the

A great deal of our western culture is based on the virtue/character ethics

condition of goodwill among people. In other words, the most basic


thing about people is, they want to live in a good society, have

It says, everything has a purpose and function.

- the ultimate human goal is self-realization, achieve your natural purpose,

relationships with other people.

or human nature by living consistent with your nature.

It asks, what is the moral decision based on? What kind of

person (character) should I be become?

It says, cultivate virtues/character traits or habits. In short,

what is good? He says your reasoning can figure that out.

Duty Ethics is a very famous system. Here are the rules for Duty Ethics:

using your pure reasoning. You can come up with what is the moral

It also says, virtues are learned by

way to behave. It says, it makes sense to be truthful. This maxim is

- Imitation. At first, as a young child. For example, a child learns by

universal, and applies to everybody in all circumstances, there is no

imitating or we imitate others (i.e. teachers, leaders, etc.), and gradually

exception to the rule, as in the example a lie is a lie, is a lie

- Internalize the best way to act, not because we have to do it or because
someone says you have to do it, but because its the right thing to do.


Then you

Non-consequential ethics says morality is determined by higher authority,

- Practice, and it becomes habitual. A virtue (love, care, give, bear, just) is

some sense of duty, the nature of the thing, love, virtue involved, the right

a habitual way of acting consistent with your purposes or the purpose of

the nature of the thing youre involved with.

First, act only according to that maxim (rule), which can be a

universal law for all people in all circumstances. In other words,

morality is a learned behavior.

He said we have an obligation to do the right thing. Duty

Ethics say we have a duty to achieve good. How do you figure out

(Categorical Imperative).

Second, how do you check to make sure that you have come up
with a good rule? This calls for the principle of Reversibility. It says,
the maxim (rule) is right if one would want to be treated that way
themselves. Its called the Golden Rule, Do unto others, as you
would have others done unto you.

Third, do not use others as a (mere) means to ones end. This is

called Practical Imperative. It says, find a rule that is the virtuous

way of acting, the moral way of acting. Check it out, and whatever

violates moral reasoning and behavior), but because its the moral

you do virtuous, do it not for your own selfish reasons (because it

thing to do. To use each other is immoral.