The word ethics is taken from the Greek word “ethos” which means custom or usage. Ethics can be defined as a philosophical study of morals; that is of
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social justice and
good living conditions
Can be defined among other things as “price appraisal”,ie
the price of something compared with the price of another
high attributes (in thoughts, religion and society)
The terms moral value and ethical value are usually used to convey the sense of “good” or “correct” as opposed to immoral and unethical. Morality is a social instrument that guides individuals and groups in their daily lives. It requires individuals and groups to follow it. It helps the people to behave rationally as members of society.
NORMATIVE AND DESCRIPTIVE STATEMENTS
V. Grassian (1981) says that attempts to give coherent or logical, systematic and justifiable answers to moral questions are called normative ethics. This means that moral ethics focuses on normative statements which have implications on human behaviour. Hence, it can be said that a normative statement is a value judgement that is good or bad, wrong or correct, acceptable or unacceptable. The example, “Abortion is an immoral act” is a normative statement.
Moral judgements can be divided into either special or general. According to W.K. Frankena (1973), he says that in a moral judgement; we can say that a certain action or type of action is
morally good or bad
obligatory or non-obligatory
necessary or unnecessary to carry out.
Such a judgement is called a judgement of moral obligation or denotic judgement.
As a class we can discuss matters that are not actions nor types of action concerning persons, their motives, aims and behavioural traits or nature. Similarly, we can also say they are
morally good, bad, virtuous (having better behaviour or higher moral principles than others),
vicious( evil, cruel) responsible, saintly, etc.
Evaluation of this sort is called moral value judgement or aretaic(excellence of virtue) judgement.
1) Normative Statements with Moral Judgements
Judgements of moral obligation (Deontic judgements or obligations)
I do not like to dispise anyone
You need to be a dedicated student
What Ahmad has done is wrong ?
It is not proper to force your son to work until late night.
We need to keep to our promise
All dictators deceive their people
All human beings need the right to freedom
Bribery is wrong in the eyes of law.
Moral value judgements (Aretaic judgements)
my father is a kind-hearted penghulu
he is always responsible in his work
you ought to be fined
ali’s motive is good.
a good person does not cheat or steal
benevolence(kindness) is a noble quality
jealousy is an ignoble(mean) motive
the person who can forgive such a negligence or mistake is a saintly person.
2) Normative Statements with Non-Moral Judgements
Judgements of non-moral obligation (deontic judgements)
you need to buy a new pair of shoes
you only need to buy tickets for this concert
you really should sleep earlier
shakira has to eat at the school canteen every day.
to make a table, you need nails, not scotch tape.
A good method is to send troops to the battlefield
To answer correctly, students must read the questions care fully.
All hostel residents should care for their safety
Judgements of non-moral value (aretaic judgements)
that car is good
his life is not happy
I did not brush my teeth in the correct way
Kamarul attempted to defend his argument in the debate.
pleasure is good in itself
democracy is the best form of govt.
peaceful demonstrations are allowed in many western countries
sweet food is not healthy.
Normative statements in the form of direction or orders ie. To direct or order an individual or the public to obey a regulation or law, ex : parents must be respected
Non-normative statements are known as descriptive statements and they are not concerned with judgement of moral values. Ex : in Malaysia, reshuffling the cabinet is the prerogrative of the prime minister.
Fewer people are registering themselves as voters
Good citizens must register themselves as voters
We still do not know much genetic engineering
Genetic manipulation should be used to check the deformity of babies at birth
Suicide cases have increased
Killing oneself as a personal sacrifice is permitted
Pornography tarnishes life in the campus
Pornography is banned in the campus
Parents have authority in the family
Always obey the orders of your parents
Basic concept of value :
On our red currency note, bank Negara Malaysia makes this declaration – this currency note is legal tender of Ten ringgit – this is an example of “value” from the “materialistic” aspect. From the aspect of “morality”- there is no difference between a theft of RM10 and a theft of RM100, although there is certainly a difference in monetary value.
2) in a society, if a person has a lot of money, he is considered rich; if he does not have much money, he is considered poor. However, we should not assess a person solely on the basis of his wealth or the amount of money he possesses. Instead we should appraise him from the point of view his quality of living, his character and the moral values that he possesses. Such intrinsic value can only be felt by the person concerned or are noticed and taken into account by people who observe them.
M.Rokeach (1973) in his book, The Nature of Human Values, points out another characteristic of moral value; a value changes from time to time and is different from one place to another.
Values has its own functions ;
it acts as a criterion or standard which is consistent and strong for an individual or society to act in a way that is good, correct, and acceptable
it is an indicator, reference, and guide to solve moral conflict. Different moral values may be in conflict with each other, but a guide from value itself will be referred to in order to resolve the conflict. Ex; you are offered a reward to carry out a task which is dangerous. The task might be good for society but bad for your family (your safety is at risk) In this conflict, value plays an important role in making you arrive in a decision whether to accept the task or to reject the offer.
It places a restriction on the behaviour or action of an individual or the society. An individual will or will not do something or behave according to the values held by family.
Instrumental (Extrinsic) Values and Intrinsic Values
Quality received or rejected as instrument to achieve certain objectives
Dependent on other values to achieve certain objectives
Second order values; Bravery, diligence, respect for others.
Quality received or rejected solely because it is good or bad without considering its effect.
Not dependent on other values to achieve certain objectives. The value mentioned it itself the final objective
First order value; kindness, love, justice
Subjective values and Objective Values
Subjective values :
Quality accepted or rejected by someone who gives his views
Accepted or rejected on the basis of an individual’s opinion
Quality that may be valuable or not valuable but free from personal choice
Accepted or rejected on the basis of a set of criteria agreed upon by all or a majority of people.
Relative values and Absolute values
Relative values :
Value accepted or rejected by regulations in a society in order to achieve certain societal objectives
Can change with time
Value the worth of which is not related to the custom of a certain society
Constant at all times and in all places and in almost all norms of society.
Chapter 2 : Theories and Value Systems
The objective of the theory of normative obligations is to guide us to make decisions and judgements about actions in certain situations i.e. to try to determine what we and other people ought to do.
Social Morality Theory : (SM)
The theory of SM is a theory which attempts to relate moral standards, regulations of a society and the country’s or universal law with ethical concepts. It also stresses the individual’s responsibility to follow orders from an authoritative body.
An individual has to know what he can and cannot do and whether a certain action is right or wrong or a certain behaviour is good or bad.
Religious aspects –
Buddhists – are advised not to be extreme in life i.e. not to unnecessarily torture themselves and not to be controlled by desire. They should also behave virtuously (to be kind and loving) in order to be rewarded, and finally to attain nirvana.
Christians – is governed by the commands and prohibitions set out in the Ten Cmmandments which prohibit killing, adulterous relations and stealing.
Hindus – are required to observe the moral regulations stated in ancient writings like the Ramayana and the Upanishads. These regulations guide the Hindus about what they ought to do and what they must avoid.
Malays – Muslims must practice a disciplined life observing the moral and ethical teachings of the Koran and the Hadis.
Members of a society normally observe a system of moral standards with general principles related to moral norms. 2 most important functions are :-
the moral standards system in the society identifies situations so that each person wards off self-interest to strengthen a system of behaviour that brings benefits to self as well as to other people
moral standards serve to resolve conflict in the society by giving justifications that are acceptable to the public as bases for action which involves prudential claims and moral claims.
Prudential claims – are based on self interest that is on the needs, desires or objectives of individuals.
Moral claims – are based on standards that are outside the personal interest of individuals.
A weakness of SM is that when different societies have laws, regulations, customs, and moral values that differ, misunderstanding, conflict and social tension may occur.
Theory of Personality Virtues (PV)
According to R.B. Ashmore, moral theory, which is said to be a systematic way in determining questions on values, begin when we ask, ” Why should I act in this way and not that ?”
MG Velasquez says that the individual is not born with the ability to understand and apply moral standards. This ability, like his physical, emotional and cognitive abilities, develops with maturity. Hence, his ability to deal with moral issues is formed as he grows.
Aristotle, the famous Greek philosopher says that our moral ability, called personality virtues or morally good habits, is built through training and repeated practice. Moral ability is taught to us by our families or by society until we have become accustomed to thinking, feeling and acting in ways that are morally appropriate. Qualities like courage, temperance, generosity, self-control, honesty, sociability, modesty and fairness or justice are personality virtues that can be acquired through habit.
The formation of personality is in gradual stages and as follows :
during childhood – we are told what is correct and wrong. We will obey advice as to avoid punishment. Childhood obedience to moral standards is based on self interest.
teenage – the moral standards become internalized. We begin to understand the implications clearer and obey them. Obedience is based on loyalty to family, to friends to country.
Matured – we inherit from family, peers, culture or religion. We begin to evaluate moral standards.
An individuals PV can be summarized as :
All PV are acquired through the teaching-learning process or training.
PV are habits, which means that they are ordinary deeds definite and prominent. When such a habit is formed, a stable tendency develops in the individual and this can be called that individual’s characteristics.
PV are operational ;ie they enable us to determine how to behave and act in a certain way
PV are good; they differ from bad habits and vices. There are perfect, and allows us to act in the best possible manner. With the acquisition of PV, we become good individuals.
Read up page 23 – differences.
1993 – THE TWELVE PILLARS (page 25)
DILIGENCE BRING SUCCESS
ENJOY YOUR WORK
MODERATION IS VIRTUE
INFLUENCE BY EXAMPLE
DUTIES MUST BE DONE
PRUDENCE AND THRIFT
GIVE PRIORITY TO PATIENCE
SHARPEN YOUR ABILITY
SERVICE ETHICS, VALUES AND NORMS
Source : Institute Tadbiran Awam Negara (INTAN) Malaysia
Refer to table 2.1 Personal Enhancement- positive & negative (page26)
Theory of Teleological Ethics
Can be divided into 2 sectors :-
Teleological Theory (TT)
Deontological Theory (DT)
TT states that whethera value is right or wrong depends on the final results of an action. The final decision depends on the number of good or right matters that have been done. TT places great emphasis on the consequential results of an action is also known as consequentialism.
Utilitarianism Theory (UT)
UT states that actions are right if they are useful or for the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people. The bombing of Hiroshima, for example, was aimed at ending the world war which had caused untold suffering.
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) an English philosopher introduced a scientific principle to analyze the quantity of pleasure. He allotted each factor with a value which can be analyzed into 7 factors :
intensity of pleasure derived from an action
duration of pleasure
certainty of pleasure
propensity of the experience of pleasure
fecundity / tendency to be followed by more pleasure
purity / tendency for an action to produce opposite effect and pain
the calculus is done by multiplying the total balance with the extent or number of people experiencing pleasure or suffering.
Factors 1 – 4 are used to measure the value of pleasure or suffering. It is only aimed at a person and his experience of pleasure and suffering.
Factors 5 and 6 are used to measure when counting many pleasures and suffering.
Factor 7 is used when many people are involved. It also shows by giving attention to the increase in general happiness.
This means that that UT requires us to choose an action that will produce the greatest good ( happiness and pleasure) for the greatest number of people.
Some weakness :
the intensity of pleasure or pain is a subjective matter which is difficult to measure b’coz individuals feel differently.
the quality of pleasure and pain experienced by one individual is not the same as that of another.
It is difficult to measure the quantity of pleasure and pain of an individual at different times in different circumstances.
Can be defined as a theory which considers a value as good if it benefits the individual himself/herself, and bad or cruel if it harms or causes him to suffer or loss.
Egoism can be divided into 2 factors :
psychological egoism – is a descriptive theory which states how people act. It considers that all MEN are selfish. It stresses that people act for their own self-interests and cannot act in any other way
2) Ethical egoism – prescribes how they ought to act and that all men
ought to be selfish or have the right to be selfish.
Factors that encourage egoism are :
the social environment in influencing an individual’s values – our moral judgement, habits and behaviour are socially conditioned.
b) The phenomenon called the new narcissism or admiration of oneself,
emerged from the desire to defend oneself from feeling shame or
guilty because of unequal distribution of profits which benefits oneself
but causes others to suffer.
The presence of inelasticity in motivation and encouragement. Psychoanalysis and genetic reports consider that each personality trait can be traced to infancy but has been argued and disagreed by many psychologist saying that the operative motive in a baby or a small child is not the same as an adult.
Deontological Theory (DT)
Deon means duty. A person who holds deontological views believes that to act morally, we must have self-consciousness in receiving specific constraints or rules which place our limits between self interest and the general good.
Deontologists say that there factors which determine whether an action or rule becomes good or right apart from good or evil in its consequences.
DT examines how responsible we are in treating other people and what our duties are towards them – this is known as act oriented approach. It means the measurement or evaluation of ethics depends on the action of an individual and NOT the consequence of that action i.e. whether that action is right or wrong. From the DT theory- appears a principle known as Principle of Duty.
Principles of Duty (PD)
PD emphasizes duty for the sake of duty. Immanuel Kant is regarded by some philosophers as the most important thinker on ethics. He wrote on ethics, commitment to freedom, dignity, human prestige and moral obligation. He believed that moral obligation does not spring from God or community or human authority but from reasoning.
His moral views came to be referred to as Kant’s Ethics – read up, page 37.
Kant’s Ethics 1
The concept of good will
The principle of categorical imperative
Kant’s Ethics 2
Conflicting ground of obligation
Place of inclinations
No accounts for wrong doing
The Values of Religion and Belief.
Main religions and beliefs
Youngest of the world’s major religion
From Saudi Arabia 1,400 years ago
Spread to all over the world by the end of the 20th century
Islam and human development
life of an individual is a process which has continuity
the process begins 9 months before baby is born, i.e. from the time of fertilization until death and enter hereafter.
God, i.e Allah swt, will send an angel to place a “roh” or soul in the embryo. This will influence and determine 4 aspects of the baby’s fate in the future :
deeds in the life
suffering or happiness
death does not mean the destruction of roh. The roh will exist, after death, in a non-material from until punishment is passed on judgement day and it will be decided then whether YOU go to heaven or hell.
The final objective of a virtuous life on earth for a muslim is to go to heaven eventually.
Human Beings from an Islamic perspective :
In Islamic view man does not emerge from a material process but is made by essence that controls the world, ie Allah and possesses 2 elements; roh and body.
Man as Caliph / kalifah:
man’s appointment as a caliph is a great reward from Allah which makes him more noble than other creatures including the angles.
The attributes of a caliph are basically in existence in man when he makes the agreement with Allah in the roh.
As a caliph, man should display his natural attributes that he has within him through knowing and believing in Allah and His qualities
Islamic Holy books:
The Koran is regarded as the original teaching of Allah. The holy verses in it contain messages revealed by Allah to Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
Hadith (hadis) which is a record of the saying and actions of the Prophet S.a.w.
Koran and Hadith are the most authoritative sources of Islamic teaching.
Aspects of Islamic Teaching
The concept of Ibadah
Islamic Moral Values:
only the Koran must be the yardstick to understand Islamic moral value.
If one practiced the Koran in full, one would be virtuous and pure
Failure to obey or rejection of the Koranic teaching would bring chaos and disorder to mankind.
Islamic morality is founded on aqidah (faith); provides strong foundation for the belief in Allah in the qadak and qadar (Faith), in sin and merit (pahala) in rewards and punishments in the hereafter.
The Koran itemizes behavioural traits that are despicable :
unbelieving in Allah s.w.t.
treacherous (dangerous but looks safe)
lying, cheating, killing, drinking, committing adultery, etc.
Read up examples of Islamic morals and important terms.
places great importance on the worship of God
there is only 1 god and is a union of 3 persons God of Father, God of Son and God of the Holy Spirit.
The founder of the religion is Jesus Christ. Anno Domini (AD), the year of the birth of Jesus Christ.
A.D is used in dates in the non-muslim world to indicate the number of years or centuries that have passed since the birth of Jesus.
Christians consider Jesus is the son of God sent to world to free man from sin.
The Bible is the holy book for Christians. 2 parts ie Old Testament, written before the birth of Jesus Christ, and the New Testament, written by followers of Jesus Christ.
History and Christian Denominations:
Christ mean deliverer
The earliest Christians were Jews who believed that Jesus was a prophet who came from that community.
Old testaments – deals with preparation and implementation about the birth of Jesus .
New testaments – is a testimony to the life, death and triumph over death of Jesus ,the new community, (the church) people of god which emerged as a result of Jesus.
The Orthodox church – mainly in eastern Europe and Russia
The Roman Catholic church – the largest
Lutheran church – supporters and followers of Martin Luther (german). The protestant church in Germany
The Calvinist Church – followers of John Calvin of the Protestant sect
The Anglican Church – Church of England – Methodist.
Christianity and Human Development :
Man’s relationship with God is more important than physical and cognitive development and growth. Many Christians believe the difference between man and animal is that man has been created in the likeness of God. This puts man on a higher class than god’s other creatures.
Man has 3 types of soul ie:-
growing soul – enables man to multiply and grow
feeling soul – are external senses and internal emotions
Intellectual soul – allows man to think, to remember to have affective, creative, etc
Is a scripture of the Christians. It will guide man to live a moral, bright and excellent life, advice him to avoid sinful activities and save him from negative elements.
The whole Bible contains 66 volumes.
“Genesis” is the first book of Moses(the first volume) in the Old Testament mentions how god created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th, the first man and woman; Adam and Eve. In the book of ‘Proverbs’ it says obey your parents, avoid sin, be loyal and faithful, be rational avoid adultery, don’t be lazy, be honest, be generous.
‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ’ is the last volume in the New Testament. Mentions the teaching of Jesus Christ. It contains other ethical values taught by Jesus such as humility, friendliness, patience, fairness, moderation, consideration for others.
Terms in Bible : Read -up – page 70
Bible; God; Man; Heaven; Sin; Hell; Jesus Christ
Christian Festivals – read up page 71
Refer to the text book from pages 72 to 96 on these religions.
THE MORAL PERSON
The concept of moral will be looked at in 3 aspects :
A) Moral content
Refer to rules of society and human characteristics. Under the rules of society, there are certain restraints on their freedom to act in order that the safety and human rights of others can be protected. These rules are compiled from old and new knowledge and experience in human life.
The moral issues experienced first by an individual are the customary rules and regulations that form the mores of a society. These customs are validated by a human group.
It refers to standards or rules of our ancestors. An individual accepts and acts accordingly because they are prescribed norms. They cannot be disobeyed or challenged. Expected to behave within the boundaries of customer morality.
Reflective morality calls for reasoning and consideration of the individual. This leads to the formation of specific criteria to judge the way to act
The difference between customer morality and reflective morality is not what is believed but the reason that belief is preserved
Rules of society can be put into 10 points :
improve the standard of living of the people
develop the intellectual capacity of the people so that they can function more effectively
protect human life
defend human rights and people’s welfare
prevent degradation in behaviour and morals of the society
stabilize conditions in the society
maintain peace in the society
create and preserve social order
preserve social harmony
10) save time and effort when making decisions for oneself or other people.
Human characteristics can be applied to
Intrinsic motivation – not to do something in a certain way, ex; reluctance to break or promise, or hurt person and reluctance to help someone in need.
Feeling of guilt and disapproval – when an individual acts in a manner contrary to his own intrinsic motivation.
Believed importance – conduct brought about by intrinsic motivation is considered very important to an individual to the extent that he feels it should become part of his nature.
Admiration or esteem – Opposed to the negative attitude one has for people lacking in moral motivation is feeling of admiration and esteem for someone who has done something extraordinary in he moral sense.
Special terminology – A person find it difficult to or does not know how to communicate his motivation, action or feelings.
Believed justification – must have justification for his motivation, sinful feeling, disagreeable attitude and admiration.
B) Moral forms
” You are offered a high position in a government department that is riddled with corruption. If you try to oppose the corrupt system – they expel you and replace you with someone new. In such a situation, is it right for you to accept the offer” ?
How do you resolve the moral conflict or dilemma ?
Using your intelligence and referring to societal rules;
Consider moral principles which you consistently uses;
Arrange the principles in a hierarchy so that one of more basic moral principles can be used as a tool to justify other moral principles;
Make sure the principles in No 4 do not conflict with each other.
Read-up on Principalistic Ethics Form and Situational Ethics Form – page 106-107.
Moral Dimensions – can be broken into 3 factors; reasoning; feeling and performance. Refer to the diagram on page 108/109
Moral reasoning – to think and judge rationally and freely.
Moral feeling – love, compassion, sympathy.
Moral performance – to conduct oneself that is morally correct.
Moral Agent and Recipient and Ethical Dimensions -page 110
SOLVING MORAL CONFLICT
Types of conflicts that may arise :
A type of right may clash with another type of right, or a kind of freedom may clash with another type of freedom. BN and PKR
conflict may arise between one person and another
rights, utility, happiness, freedom and justice – conflict arises between various values and concerns.
Egoism and general utility – egoism can be seen when one’s life is delightful (self or own interest) and general utility refers to interest or welfare of others rather than self.
Happiness and duty – good or bad (good for self but bad for others) right or wrong (right decision for self but wrong decision for others)
Normative Conflict in Social Philosophy – related to freedom, justice, rights, law and sovereignty. Some of these conflicts can be categorized as ;
Conflict between justice and social utility – many groups in society can be said to be very costly, ex ; children, the elderly and handicapped. They incur greater cost than benefits they bring. By reducing these cost, we are denying these group of people from a full share of benefits seems unjust / wrong. Education, medical treatment and special care should be considered. It is clear that the cost of the expenditure is higher than the benefits derived from them. In a situation like this, justice and utility conflict.
2) Rights and Freedom – a woman has the right to have as many children as she likes, but the UN Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that it is the right of every children to have nutritious food and medical care. To maintain that right, only mothe