What is Morality?

The Philosophical Study of Right and Wrong

Lesson Objectives

Appreciate the advantages of studying Ethics in a college setting

Understand the nature of Ethics and how it's different than the Law

Understand the three major stages of intellectual development

Key Terms

Moral Values

General Principles


Ethical Theory/Framework

Moral Agent

Philosophy & Moral Values

Why take this Class?

• Our class is grounded in theory and practical application

• You will practice presenting coherent and organized philosophical arguments

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

How We Often Determine our Values

• Our moral values are the principles of conduct we deem important

     • Our values vary from different people, places, and times

     • Our values are not complex enough to be ethical systems

General Principles

     • "Bumper Sticker Philosophy"

     • Problem: This is too general to be an ethical theory

• Practical Conclusions

     • Focused on consequences which may lead to obscene actions

     • Problem: Inadequate for many ethical dilemmas be an ethical theory

• Emotional Pronouncements

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

     • Problem: Emotions are inconsistent

Role of Moral Philosophy

• Study and debate of ethics has been with us for thousands of years

• Ethics is concerned with big moral questions, like:

     • What is good?

     • What is the difference between good and bad?

     • What does it mean to live a good life?

     • Why should we be good?