CHAPTER THREE: Philosophical Ethics

Imagine a close friend of yours confided in you that she needed money so desperately that she was planning to rob a liquor store. What would you say to this friend? Suppose she was convinced that the choice was right because the end (no financial worries) justified the means (the robbery). Would you agree, or would you seek to talk her out of it? Suppose further that she was able to convince you that her plan was foolproof and that there was a 0% chance of her getting caught. What would your response be then? How could you argue against her plan?

In this chapter, we seek to explore some tools that might help you make arguments for or against the many moral choices we are confronted with. We will look at where our moral beliefs come from. We will assess the value of religion in aiding moral decisions. We will look at whether culture is a viable source of moral guidance. We will also explore how three great systems of objective ethical philosophy—utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics—attempt to offer us strong rational tools and principles that will strengthen our moral arguments. But first, we explore why one should want to be moral at all. What are the benefits of leading a moral life?


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PPSC PHI 1011: The Philosopher's Quest by Daniel G. Shaw, Ph.D. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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