What is Morality?

The Study of Right and Wrong.

Lesson Objectives

• Appreciate why we study Ethics in a college setting

• Appreciate the importance of Critical Thinking in our moral lives

• Understand how to make a valid argument

• Reflect upon ways of living in a world filled with diverse ethical beliefs

Key Terms



Ethical Theory

"Bumper Sticker" Philosophy

Critical Thinking

Philosophical Argument



Soundness (of an argument)

Moral Agent

Why Ethics?

Why take this Class?

• It is grounded in theory and practical application

• You will practice presenting coherent and organized arguments

• You will move closer to Perry’s Critical Thinking stage of development

How We Usually Determine our Values

• General Principles

     • "Bumper Sticker Philosophy"

     • This is too general to be an ethical theory

• Practical Conclusions

     • Concern with the consequence

     • Inadequate for many ethical dilemmas be an ethical theory

• Emotional Pronouncements

     • "I think it's wrong because it makes me feel bad"

     • Emotions are inconsistent

Role of Moral Philosophy

• Study and debate of ethics continues after thousands of years

• Ethics is not a science, but that does not mean its arguments cannot be proven

     • Ethical proofs are different, not inferior

• Complex scientific questions are just as debatable as complex ethical questions

• A compelling ethical argument may not sway others