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In this unit we will:

  • Explore the variety of ethical theories to explain the bases for human ethical behaviour;

  • Examine what makes an issue an ethical one;

  • Explore the idea of Virtue Ethics;

  • Look at how Confucius formulated his ethical theory and precepts;

  • Tease out the various forms of Utlilitarianism;

  • Complete a number of formative activities related to specific ethical issues (such as Peter Singer's ideas on killing);

Complete a Summative Task (due Term 3).




What makes an Issue an Ethical one?


Let's read this document




An introductory debate about Ethics in Schools from Q&AABClogo.png

Ethics in Schools





The Variety of Ethical Theories



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THREE POWERPOINTS TO WORK THROUGH BOTH IN AND OUT OF CLASS







VIRTUE ETHICSVirtue ethics.jpg

Plato (St Augustine, Freud, Hobbes and modern economists) see our reason in conflict with our natural animalistic tendencies. Aristotle has a less harsh view of people and sees them as social beings as well as rational. Consequently, looking after themselves first is not always the natural animalistic pleasure which they seek.

We are social, rational animals. We are fitted to receive the virtues and have them inculcated within us in the same way that we are fitted to receive language and have it inculcated within us.

We have the virtues in harmony with nature, not by nature or in contrast to it.

In order to flourish as human beings we need to develop language. In the same way to flourish as human beings we need to develop the virtues.

But who is to decide which are the virtues?


LET'S EXAMINE BOTH THESE POWERPOINTS FOR FURTHER UNDERSTANDING OF VIRTUE ETHICS




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What Confucius had to say - a good place to start....


Utilitarianism

A video to start with....











NOW A POWERPOINT



And now for an excellent Philosophers' Zone Podcast with Peter Singer....


Make a summary of the things you learnt from listening to this podcast.




Preference Utilitarianism in a nutshell

"Singer is a preference utilitarian. They argue that the consequences to be promoted are those which satisfy the wishes or preferences of the maximum numbers of beings who have preferences. In other words, the more people get what they want, the better, from a moral point of view, the world is. The more people's desires are frustrated, the worse the world is. It is only morally right to frustrate the preferences of others if by so doing we enable more beings to satisfy their preferences. Actions should not be judged on their simple pain-and-pleasure outcomes, but on how they affect the interests, the preferences, of all beings involved."
http://www.thetablet.co.uk/util-preference (click on the link for the full article)

Here's another good webpage that explains Utilitarianism and its various incarnations:

Utilitarianism


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Tom Regan
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Micheal Tooley

TOM REGAN and MICHAEL TOOLEY material


CLICK HERE TO READ THE REGAN ARTICLE, THEN ANSWER THE QUESTIONS FROM THIS WORKSHEET




CLICK HERE TO READ A LECTURE BY MICHAEL TOOLEY ABOUT 'RIGHTS'
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A USEFUL POWERPOINT ON THE CONCEPTS OF RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS
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What's Wrong with Killing? - Reading from Peter Singer.
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Complete the reading then have a go at this T/F assignment - About Ethics True or False







Now for a final Summary Worksheet on Ethical Theories to complete.
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Now it's time to visit the Future and Environmental Ethics PageEnv ethics.jpeg







The Summative Task - Issue Analysis Task 3

What moral obligations do we have towards future generations or towards the environment?

Using the moral theories studied in class discuss the various moral positions in relation to the moral significance of future generations or the environment, including your own position.



Presentation

How will you present your findings? This topic opens itself to many possibilities: role-play, oral presentation/PowerPoint, time-shift short story, letters from the future, time capsule letters to the future, essay, drama or dialogue script, multimedia presentation, series of letters to the editor, etc.

Which will you choose? Choose a method which is appropriate to what you are trying to say. Account for why you have chosen that method as part of your presentation. Other presentations are possible by negotiation.

Word Limit: Maximum 1500 words (or multimedia equivalent) or 10 minutes for an oral presentation.
DUE DATE: TBA