Applied Ethics and Social Problems: Moral questions of by Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

Designed to deal with sensible questions, utilized ethics is among the most enjoyable parts in modern philosophy. but the relevance of moral theories to social coverage has been under-explored. previously. In "Applied ethics and social difficulties" Tony Fitzpatrick offers introductions to the 3 so much influential ethical philosophies: Consequentialism, Kantianism and advantage Ethics. He then relates those to a few of the main pressing questions in modern public debates concerning the way forward for welfare providers. those comprise taxing bad conduct, drug legalisation, parental selection in schooling, abortion, euthanasia and migration & cultural diversity.In every one case he asks a perennial query: what are the valid obstacles of country motion and person liberty?Never sooner than has there been the sort of rigorous assessment of the subject provided to social coverage scholars, lecturers and pros, in addition to these drawn to public coverage, politics and social technological know-how. A undemanding intervention into those key debates "Applied ethics and social difficulties" will set the schedule for years to come.

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Disagreements between these schools are often of a semantic nature, for what, ultimately, does freedom mean (Kane, 2002; Honderich, 2002)? If we interpret freedom as ‘origination’ – or what Kant called ‘absolute spontaneity’ (Rawls, 2000, pp 280-90) – we are likely to be incompatibilists, for this is the idea that actions and mental events originate solely from within the person holding and performing them, with no ‘external’ causes at work. Libertarians are persuaded by this notion of ‘freedom as origination’, while determinists are not.

The intentional nature of the act is also irrelevant to purists; if my lying to you makes you happy, because you believe the deception, that lie cannot be intrinsically immoral. It cannot be intrinsically anything, since actions are moral or immoral only to the extent that they serve non-moral values – happiness in this example. An immediate objection, therefore, is that consequentialism empties morality of the moral actor. If good or bad motives are beside the point, I act morally or otherwise depending on how effective I am at weighing consequences.

In other words, we can only decide which rules to follow by deciding which actions have beneficial effects and so which actions those rules should serve. Rules, therefore, are simply injunctions to perform those classes of actions most likely to have beneficial consequences. What value do consequences have to promote in order to be considered good? How is that value to be measured? It is in response to these questions that the most famous school of consequentialism – utilitarianism – arose. Utility Utilitarianism was initially influenced by the 18th-century philosopher David Hume, although Bentham admitted that this amounted to something of a misunderstanding on his part (Mack, 1961, pp 102, 30 Consequence 120-1).

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