Ethical issues

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Part I

The information that you will need for the first part of the discussion can be found in Thinking Critically About Ethical Issues. For one of these cases, identify the parties and the moral issue(s) at stake, keeping an eye out for similarities that it shares with the other cases. Concentrate on identifying the moral virtues that are at stake.

-Ch.9, p.121, Case 23–Claude’s Roomate. (Same in 10th edition )

-Ch.10, p.130-31, Case 9–Cibella Borges. (in 10th edition p.131, Case 10)*

-Ch.7, p.95, Case 10b—Pharmacology. (in 10th edition p.95, Case 8b)*

Part II

In this week’s module we saw as a bit of review that Kant, in the Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, had written that someone who is not inclined to help others, but who forces herself to, performs a morally praiseworthy action. While someone who regularly helps others and enjoys doing so, even if the enjoyment is not selfish, may deserve praise, but her action has no true moral worth. Do you agree with Kant? What reasons can you give for viewing moral acts that are performed merely out of habit as possessing less moral worth than those that require an immense personal effort?

We also saw in this week’s module, that according to Aristotle, for an act to be considered virtuous the act must (1) be done for its own sake and (2) the act must follow from a firm disposition, meaning that it must be consistent with the way one usually acts and feels, and not be a one-shot incident. Do you agree with Aristotle? What are the implications of these conditions on the perspicuity of moral acts in contrast to Kant’s Deontological theory of right action? Does Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics entail the possibility that one could live a morally virtuous life and yet not know it? If so, does this pose a problem for Virtue Ethics when viewed as a normative ethical theory?

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