Premium Essay

Ethics and Intuitions

In: Social Issues

Submitted By ruimalta
Words 9074
Pages 37
PETER SINGER

ETHICS AND INTUITIONS
(Received 25 January 2005; accepted 26 January 2005)

ABSTRACT. For millennia, philosophers have speculated about the origins of ethics. Recent research in evolutionary psychology and the neurosciences has shed light on that question. But this research also has normative significance. A standard way of arguing against a normative ethical theory is to show that in some circumstances the theory leads to judgments that are contrary to our common moral intuitions. If, however, these moral intuitions are the biological residue of our evolutionary history, it is not clear why we should regard them as having any normative force. Research in the neurosciences should therefore lead us to reconsider the role of intuitions in normative ethics.
KEY WORDS: brain imaging, David Hume, ethics, evolutionary psychology,
Henry Sidgwick, Immanuel Kant, intuitions, James Rachels, John Rawls, Jonathan
Haidt, Joshua D. Greene, neuroscience, trolley problem, utilitarianism

1. INTRODUCTION
In one of his many fine essays, Jim Rachels criticized philosophers who ‘‘shoot from the hip.’’ As he put it:
The telephone rings, and a reporter rattles off a few ‘‘facts’’ about something somebody is supposed to have done. Ethical issues are involved – something alarming is said to have taken place – and so the ‘‘ethicist’’ is asked for a comment to be included in the next day’s story, which may be the first report the public will have seen about the events in question.1

In these circumstances, Rachels noted, the reporters want a short pithy quote, preferably one that says that the events described are bad. The philosopher makes a snap judgment, and the result is

1
James Rachels, ‘‘When Philosophers Shoot from the Hip,’’ in Helga Kuhse and
Peter Singer (eds.), Bioethics: An Anthology (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1999),
p. 573.

The…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Ethics

...S I G N M E N T O N Business Ethics Submitted to Dr. A. H. M Habibur Rahman Course Teacher Managing Organization Department of Finance Dhaka University Bangladesh. Submitted by Md.Mostafijur Rahman ID- 22055 Semester: Fall 2012 MBA(Evening) Program Department of Finance Dhaka University Bangladesh. Submission Date: 2 October 2012 Introduction Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior. It comes from the Greek word “ethos”, which means "character". It is the study of morality. It is the value that is worth pursuing in life. Ethics is relative. It depends on several factors: world views, descriptive values and moral values. Business ethics is the behavior that a business adheres to in its daily dealings with the world. The ethics of a particular business can be diverse. They apply not only to how the business interacts with the world at large, but also to their one-on-one dealings with a single customer. Many businesses have gained a bad reputation just by being in business. To some people, businesses are interested in making money, and that is the bottom line. It could be called capitalism in its purest form. Making money is not wrong in itself. It is the manner in which some businesses conduct themselves that brings up the question of ethical behavior. Definition Business ethics can be defined as written and......

Words: 2752 - Pages: 12

Premium Essay

Ethics

...Write a 350 to 700 word reflective statement that defines your personal ethical viewpoint. Include what you leaned through the ethical lens inventory: * Your preferred ethical lens * Your blind spot * Your strengths and weaknesses * Your values and the resultant behaviors Ethics by definition means “a set of moral principles of one’s relating to or affirming a specified group, field or form of conduct”. The way I view ethics seems to differ from time to time nowadays because after taking all the ethical exercises and ethics simulation, I believe it can changes with one’s certain circumstances or on how one thinks what is right or wrong. My preferred lens on the lens inventory exercise is the Reputation lens, where I listen to my intuition (sensibility) to determine what character traits and virtues will best serve the community (equality). I somewhat agree with this result because if you live in community that is very well connected and relies on your ethical behavior one tends to accept the necessary ethical standards; but this does not necessary mean you do anything that the community says rather than goes by the community’s ethical standard. My blind spot is that I rely on unrealistic role expectation, where I tend to rely on other people more than they can handle. I do tend to have somewhat expectations on few people in my life, but they seem to disappoint me , therefore I have adjusted on what I can get, and I don’t think that I am relying on them......

Words: 465 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Ethics

...Ethics Essay Jessica Washington ETH/316 February 1, 2014 Randy Howell Ethics Essay There are two major theories that try to break down and justify moral rules and principles of life. Virtue ethics looks closer at the role ones character plays, what virtues that person has to determine their ethical behavior. Deontological ethics is the natural moral law one lives by, intuitions from common sense. The word “deontological” comes from the Greek word Deon which means “binding duty.” (Moreland, 2009) Deontological ethics focuses more on doing the right thing, yes we know that lying or cheating is wrong however the consequences are not important. Consequences are what allow and help us realize what is morally wrong. When it comes to Utilitarianism (also called consequentialism) is a moral theory developed and refined in the modern world in the writings of Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873). (Moreland, 2009) A utilitarian believes that there is no rule or moral act that can be looked at as right or wrong morality is a means to a greater end. The difference between these ethical approaches of morality can be found in the way moral dilemmas are seen, not in the moral conclusion reached in the end. The word "virtue" is one such word that some individuals may interpret to imply a type of strength or power, while another individual may interpret the word to imply a type of righteousness and purity. (Ethics, 2013) Moral and ethical statements should......

Words: 367 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Ethics

...         What was your ethical perspective as identified by the ELI, including your blind spot, strengths, weaknesses, and values?           How do personal ethics play a role in academics? How might they play a role in the workplace?           What connection is there to your ethical perspective and your ideal work culture?  I agree 100% with the results of my Work Culture Preferences activity. The results were ethical, high powered, and well resourced. It matches the business that I look to open in the future. Yes, I do think that there is a relationship between effective study habits and techniques and being successful. Effective study habits and techniques consist of hard work and dedication which can be applied to your career. My ELI results state that I balance reasoning skills and my intuition to determine how to fulfill my duties while achieving the greatest good for each individual. My values are self-control, rationality, sensibility, duty, independence, accountability, and responsibility. Sometimes I fail to be accountable to those who are depending on me when exercising free will. I can also become judgmental or moody when others don’t fulfill their duties. Personal ethics are derived from one’s background and life’s relationships, experience, and culture. Although, personal and academic ethics sometimes differ, each influences the other. Both are also used in the workplace. With my ideal work culture I will have the chance to contribute positively......

Words: 301 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Ethics

...Ethics Essay Ethics Essay Ethics is what directs a person or a group to make a decision on how something is accomplished. There are different ethical theories but the three focused on now are virtue theory, utilitarianism, and deontological ethics. Between the three theories, there are similarities and differences. Three theories To describe the similarities and difference of between virtue theory, utilitarianism and deontological ethics, describing each theory will allow for a better understanding of each. Virtue theory can be understood as the morals a person as or moral character of the individual. Virtue focuses on right or wrong. An individual that lives within the virtue theory wants to help people be better individuals. Utilitarianism theory is based on consequences. An individual does not necessarily do what is morally right or wrong but makes the decision based entirely on the consequences of the action (Burgess-Jackson, K. 2003). Deontological is known as the duty-based ethics. In deontological ethics theory individuals do the right thing entirely because the action is the right thing to do. Similarities The three theories do have things in common. Each of the three theories has a focus on the good side of people. Individuals want to reach excellences and all three have a focus on consequences, some more than others. The different theories all have a morality consideration and uphold justice. A good outcome is what each theory is looking......

Words: 734 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Ethics

... ACADEMIC SUCCESS 3 helping someone with their pearly whites and making them feel beautiful is a great career path. As a pharmacist I would enjoy having the knowledge of all the different types of medicines and instruct patients on how to use them properly. Ultimately I have a passion for helping people and I want to be able to change people’s lives if not many at least one person in my life time. My preferred ethical lens is reputation lens, I tend to listen to my intuition to try and determine what virtues will best serve my community. I demonstrate strong leadership in all types of roles in life and I also encourage others to do the same. My blind spot is that I have unrealistic role expectations. I tend to rely so strongly on the virtues associated with various types of roles, that I run the risk of developing unrealistic role expectations. I also tend to rely too much on the virtues associated with a particular role, forgetting that individuals are fallible regardless of their role. My personal ethics influence my decision making because I like to make sure everyone has an equal share and opportunity. I tend to put others needs before my own because making someone else happy makes me happy. Critical thinking is analyzing and evaluating an issue in order to form and opinion on the subject matter. There are multiple steps in the critical thinking process starting off with remembering, being able to recall information when ever needed. The next step in the critical......

Words: 1114 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Ethics

...A Summary of the Terms and Types of Ethical Theories Ethics is a branch of philosophy addressing questions about morality. Ethics is divided into two different ways of looking at the morality of humanity. They are Consequential and Non-Consequential. CONSEQUENTIAL ETHICS In Consequential Ethics, the outcomes determine the morality of the act. What make the act wrong are the consequences. It says, it will be legitimate to lie in order to get out of a serious problem, such as to save a persons life. In other words a white lie is fine. So the essence of morality is determined by the result or outcome of the act. NON – CONSEQUENTIAL ETHICS In non-Consequential Ethics, the source of morality comes from something else: law, God’s law, moral law, sense of duty, and your definition of what is the virtuous thing to do. All those considerations are built into the act itself before you could think of consequences, before it makes it right or wrong. One classic example is this system is lying. Lying could be wrong because in one system, it’s a violation of the nature of speech. It’s wrong to use a lie to achieve a good end. Simply put, a lie is a lie, is a lie. Egoism – Utilitarianism – Pragmatism Egoism - Means, act in your own self-interest. Utilitarianism - Do that which is moral only if the act produces the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people. There are two brands of Utilitarianism: 1. Act Utilitarianism- Do the act. No consideration of before or......

Words: 2474 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Ethics

... The Relationship between Ethics and Critical Thinking. Quinshaun Raymond Gen 201/ Foundations For University Success September 21,2014 Kathy Escobar Critical thinking is uncovered bias and prejudice thinking, it reveals the truth and the long term consequences because of it. There are many steps in the critical thinking process that aid in how break down, process, store, and make decisions about information. The first step in the critical thinking process is remembering. You want to be able to ask yourself can you remember terms, facts, ideas, or events. The second step is understanding. You want to be able to explain the idea in your own words and point of view. The third step is applying. You want to be able to ask yourself can you use this idea to get the results that you want. The fourth step is analyzing. You want to be able to divide your idea into sublevels of parts or ideas. The fifth step is evaluating. You want to be able to ask yourself can you rate the validity of this idea. The sixth and final step is creating. You want to be able to ask yourself can you invent new ideas based from this idea. To summarize my blind spot from the Ethical Lens Inventory, I would have to say Results Lens. I do use my feelings and intuition to determine the choices that I should make to contribute to my happiness, but I don’t think about anyone else being happy, just myself. I seen from the Ethical Lens Inventory that ,that......

Words: 631 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Ethics

...Name Professor Subject Date Crisis at Komfy Topic: Ethics Purpose Statement: To determine possible cause of action at Komfy Introduction Ethics considers the best possible way in which people cohabit and live. It also determines which actions are right or wrong depending on the situation at hand. In corporate practice, ethics defines the moral practice of the owners, employees, as well as the society at large (Bloomfield, 54). Chris Kross in his capacity as the chief engineer at Frazier Chemical Incorporated Company is duty bound by the ethics code to do what is ethically correct for the well-being of the company. However, he must keep in mind the good of the society in which Frazier Chemical Incorporated company operates. Frazier Chemical Incorporated Company poses a threat to the society through its disposal of PRTZ chemical to Komfy Lake. This action also violates the rules stipulated by US Environmental Protection Agency. Ethical codes are not considered by the officials of the company since they are aware of the problem but disregard the long-term effects caused by the effluent flowing into the lake. In the conspiracy, is the EPA official Chuck Chance, who does regular inspections at the company but due to his relationship with the President of the company, overlooks the issue. By so doing, the individuals involved break the rules of morality and ethics hence presenting Chris Kross with a dilemma on the best way to handle the misgivings of his boss and the EPA......

Words: 848 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Ethics

...ton increase in 20014. Thus from this dilemma, I formed the knowledge question, “To what extent can we rely on empathy to make ethical decisions?”. This knowledge question highlights how one should make morally-correct choices in any situation, whether it be at war or debating whether we should donate $5 to the homeless man or not. I will investigate this knowledge question through two areas of knowledge, Ethics, the study of morals, and Human Sciences. Each AOK will be explored through various experts and their WOK. I will conclude my presentation with my own answer to the knowledge question, personal thoughts and what my answer may imply for humanity in general. First Area of Knowledge: Ethics Let's first focus on ethics. Within this complex topic, there are several different interpretations of how an agent, a person or any other entity, should act ethically. This is no different for Peter Singer, a moral philosopher and Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University. He is also the author of several books including this one called Practical Ethics. In Practical Ethics, Singer uses reason to enforce his belief in “unequal treatment”. He states that, “...although equal consideration of interests leads to unequal treatment, this unequal treatment produces a more egalitarian result. By giving the double dose to the more seriously injured person, we bring about a situation in which there is less difference in the degree of suffering…” (22). In other words, to reduce the......

Words: 1902 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Ethics

...utilitarianism, and deontological ethics are key in understanding the foundation of ethics and putting those virtues into complete action. Along with the discussion of these three theories, a discussion of each theory and personal experience will be expressed. The theory of virtue ethics, also known as character ethics theory, emphasizes that character matters above everything else and the role of character and virtue in the philosophy of morals is emphasized, rather than acting to bring about good consequences. This approach also focuses more on the integrity of the person than the decision or behavior itself (Trevino & Nelson, 2011). No matter the situation an honorable person is someone who is kindhearted and compassionate; not because they are out to gain favors or do their duty but because this is their character. Virtue ethics theories, unlike deontological theories, do not intend predominantly to identify universal principles that can be applied in all or any moral situations (Athanassoulis, 2010). Dealing with one's actions to the extent that other people are affected is what morality focuses on primarily. Morality requires one to consider others for who they are and not because they may benefit them. According to morality, virtue ethics is considered self-centered because its primary emphasis is with character and well-being. Also, virtue ethics unites the requirements of morality and self-interest requirements. This allows virtue ethics to not be......

Words: 644 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Ethics

...Ethics refers to the rules of an environment that an employee has to comply with, along with the rules of society. The concept of ethics has been examined within theories of ethics. Some of the theories include the utilitarian approach, the moral rights approach and the justice approach. Each and every approach has its own weaknesses and strengths. The utilitarian approach Some ethicists emphasize that the ethical action is the one that provides the best good, does the least harm or to put it another way, produces the greatest balance of good over harm. The ethical corporate action is the one that produces the greatest good and does the least harm for all who are affected that is the customers, employees, shareholders, the community, and the environment. Ethical warfare balances the good achieved in ending terrorism with the harm done to all parties through death, injuries, and destruction. The utilitarian approach deals with consequences, it tries both to increase the good done and to reduce the harm done. Strengths Secular. Utilitarianism does not rely on specific beliefs about God. In the modern, multicultural society with a range of religious beliefs and a growing number of atheists, a secular approach is most useful. The utilitarianism approach is universal, which means it is acceptable to all the different types of cultures that are available globally. In every religion the utilitarianism approach is useful as it only considers the practises that do not harm the...

Words: 1568 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Intuition in Decision Making

... When information is not known and a decision must be taken, intuition plays an important role, however, it is important to understand that there would be some risk associated to the decision as there would be some unknowns that were factored into the decision process. Even though intuition may result in a risk increase, I consider that the risk of not making a decision or taking long time to make them is higher than taking a decision based on intuition. Intuition should be the result of the best judgment available based on team members’ experiences, SME opinions and knowledge, and any other source of information that would help the teams to feel more comfortable about the decision. As risk will always exist, I believe that following the following practices will help teams when making decisions full of uncertainties. First, the possible results of any given decision should be clearly stated and understood by the team. Second, it is very important to understand the teams, processes, or third parties that may be impacted by the results or possible outcomes of the decision to be made. Third, management should be aware of it and buy into it. This is a process that I normally use when making decisions with uncertainties and that I think has worked during my short career. This process varies based on the risk associated as it may not be necessary to involve management in cases were risk is deemed as low. Intuition played a key role in some of the history’s greatest......

Words: 566 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Ethics

... 2 Abstract Have you ever asked your self what the definition of Ethics is? I myself have never thought of that question until this quarter. Ethics to me was always something that was moral and right. I would constantly hear people speaking with one another saying, oh no that is not ethical or yes that sounds ethical to me. I figured that they knew what they were saying and just went along with it. Before taking my ethics class I would also speak to my peers and say things like, that does not sound ethical or yes that is a very ethical thing to do. The question is; what is truly ethical? Isn’t everything ethical in a way, and according to who might this be ethical? These are the questions that we are thought to ask and to learn in ethics. I have learned that there are many types of ethics and they are all very different from each other and often disagree with one another. This paper clarifies some of the differences between different types of ethics that exist among us. WHAT IS ETHICAL 3 What is Ethical, and According to Whom? People all around the word are constantly using the word ethics or ethical incorrectly. This has started because most common people do not know the true meaning of ethics. I was one of those people who thought of ethics as one single certain way of thinking. Something ethical to most people means something that sounds good and......

Words: 1981 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Ethics

...Good personal ethics is very important in people’s everyday life and not just while you are at the workplace. You have to remember that being considerate and not being judgmental is a good way to learn new things that could help you as well. When thinking about where good personal ethics comes from you should think that it comes from the teachings of your parents when you were a child. As a child your parents teach you right from wrong. They also teach you how to talk to people. To be honest and responsible, It is best that people teach their children about good ethics while they are young. It is very hard to find out when you are older about good ethics. You should not only have good personal ethics in your day–to-day life, But you should have good work ethics. Having good work ethics will show that you are responsible. You can show that you have good work ethics many ways. You can always be prepared when you have to present or while doing your work. You don’t want to be in a meeting and not have the proper material. You also want to be honest if you can’t do something don’t tell your boss that you can. The things that show that you have good work are things that you have learned in your day to day life. I myself have looked into my own preferred ethical lens, and my preferred lens is Right – Responsibility and results lens. I balance my reasoning skills and my intuition to determine how to fulfill my duties while achieving the greatest good for each individual.......

Words: 440 - Pages: 2