A look at ethics as an introduction to philosophy

Research in psychology and the neurosciences has thrown light on the role of specific parts of the brain in moral judgment and behaviour, suggesting that emotions are strongly involved in moral judgments, particularly those that are formed rapidly and intuitively.

Ethics and ideology Some philosophers teach that ethics is the codification of political ideology, and that the function of ethics is to state, enforce and preserve particular political beliefs. Finding the mean in any given situation is not a mechanical or thoughtless procedure, but requires a full and detailed acquaintance with the circumstances.

Anger is a pathos whether it is weak or strong; so too is the appetite for bodily pleasures. The duty of children to their parents meant one thing in traditional Chinese society and means something quite different in contemporary Western societies.

According to this view, no moral principle can be valid except in the societies in which it is held. The pleasure of recovering from an illness is good, because some small part of oneself is in a natural state and is acting without impediment; but it can also be called bad, if what one means by this is that one should avoid getting into a situation in which one experiences that pleasure.

Compare the names and the numbers and use your best judgment.

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Reference and further readings[ edit ]. To make up for these deficiencies, Zeus gave humans a moral sense and the capacity for law and justiceso that they could live in larger communities and cooperate with one another.

He himself warns us that his initial statement of what happiness is should be treated as a rough outline whose details are to be filled in later a20— Moral statements provide factual information about those truths. In one of several important methodological remarks he makes near the beginning of the Nicomachean Ethics, he says that in order to profit from the sort of study he is undertaking, one must already have been brought up in good habits b4—6.

It is important to bear in mind that when Aristotle talks about impetuosity and weakness, he is discussing chronic conditions. This need not be means-end reasoning in the conventional sense; if, for example, our goal is the just resolution of a conflict, we must determine what constitutes justice in these particular circumstances.

He organizes his material by first studying ethical virtue in general, then moving to a discussion of particular ethical virtues temperance, courage, and so onand finally completing his survey by considering the intellectual virtues practical wisdom, theoretical wisdom, etc.

Why should we experience anger at all, or fear, or the degree of concern for wealth and honor that Aristotle commends? Duties to close relatives take priority over duties to more distant relatives, but in most societies even distant relatives are still treated better than strangers.

An Ethics of Duty and Rights. Many students take Introduction to Ethics as their first philosophy course. If he helps everyone indiscriminately, he will find himself delousing others without getting his own lice removed.

In making this distinction, he would be separating reciprocators from nonreciprocators and, in the process, developing crude notions of fairness and of cheating.

He briefly mentions the point that pleasures compete with each other, so that the enjoyment of one kind of activity impedes other activities that cannot be carried out at the same time a20— One important component of this argument is expressed in terms of distinctions he makes in his psychological and biological works.

Theories of Social Justice. Watch this brief video for an introduction to philosophical inquiry. The latter might be taken to mean that the activity accompanied by pleasure has not yet reached a sufficiently high level of excellence, and that the role of pleasure is to bring it to the point of perfection.

His point, rather, may be that in ethics, as in any other study, we cannot make progress towards understanding why things are as they are unless we begin with certain assumptions about what is the case.

When two individuals recognize that the other person is someone of good character, and they spend time with each other, engaged in activities that exercise their virtues, then they form one kind of friendship.

Plato pointed out that, if this were the case, one could not say that the gods approve of such actions because they are good.

Nor is anthropology of any help, because all the human societies that have been studied so far had their own forms of morality except perhaps in the most extreme circumstances.

If the explanation for the common features is simply that they are advantageous in terms of evolutionary theory, that does not make them right. Although there is no possibility of writing a book of rules, however long, that will serve as a complete guide to wise decision-making, it would be a mistake to attribute to Aristotle the opposite position, namely that every purported rule admits of exceptions, so that even a small rule-book that applies to a limited number of situations is an impossibility.

Moral absolutism argues that there are some moral rules that are always true, that these rules can be discovered and that these rules apply to everyone. Moral statements provide factual information about those truths.

To put it another way; the ethical properties of the world and the things in it exist and remain the same, regardless of what people think or feel - or whether people think or feel about them at all.

This term indicates that Aristotle sees in ethical activity an attraction that is comparable to the beauty of well-crafted artifacts, including such artifacts as poetry, music, and drama.Brandon Look Manolo Martínez Matthew McGrath Michiru Nagatsu Susana Nuccetelli An Introduction to Ethics.

Richard M. Reitan - - University of Hawaii Press. Ethics: An Introduction to Moral Philosophy. Noel Stewart - - Polity. The Moral Disciple: An Introduction to Christian Ethics.

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But most of all, this environmental ethics textbook shows you how we can work together to build a better future. Introduction to Philosophy. Description: Introduction to Philosophy is always an introductory agronumericus.com of the time it is a “survey” course, meaning that you read lots of smaller pieces from a variety of different philosophers.

–––,Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics: An Introduction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Williams, Bernard,Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, Chapter 3.

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A look at ethics as an introduction to philosophy
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