What about

MORALITY?
The place and role of REASON in Morality

“Is  it  morally   ACCEPTABLE or  WRONG?”

For each item in Part A:  Compare the percentage of those who consider it ACCEPTABLE with those who consider it WRONG. 1.  Over which behaviors/practices does our class generally agree in terms of their morality/ immorality? 2.  Which behaviors/practices does the class consider “controversial”–i.e., there are almost equal number of students claiming rightness and wrongness? 3.  Compare the class results with the survey results conducted by Gallup on American respondents in 2010.  What similarities/differences do you note?

Acceptable OR Wrong GAMBLING POLYGAMY ABORTION HAVING  A  BABY  OUTSIDE   MARRIAGE HOMOSEXUAL  RELATIONSHIP SUICIDE PREMARITAL  SEX CLONING  ANIMALS DIVORCE DEATH  PENALTY ADULTERY DOCTOR-­‐ASSISTED  SUICIDE ANIMAL  FUR HUMAN  CLONING MEDICAL  TESTING  ON  ANIMALS STEM  CELLS  FROM  HUMAN  

ACC

55 17 31 37 58 20 65 81 57 34 2 39 72 43 67 80

WRON DIFF Don’t Know 33 G 22 12

73 48 53 30 73 30 9 33 56 95 52 19 48 16 18

56 17 16 28 53 35 72 24 22 93 13 53 5 51 62

10 21 10 12 7 5 10 10 10 3 8 9 9 16 2

What do you think of your morality?

Clearly Acceptable Clearly Wrong Controversy
Homosexual Relationship Premarital Sex Cloning Animals Divorce Animal Fur Medical Testing - Animals Human Stem Cells Polygamy Having a Baby outside Marriage Suicide Death Penalty Adultery Gambling Abortion Doctor-Assisted Suicide Human Cloning

For Part B:  For most of your answers, which of the following has tended to be the PRIMARY basis for classifying an action as acceptable or wrong?

Parents 12% Religion 2% School or teachers 0% State or government 0% Peers or Friends 2% Media 80% Personal Preferences
4% What do you think of the class’s top answer?  How does it compare with your own?

Our OPINION should be based on evaluation of DIRECT EVIDENCE/RATIONAL ARGUMENT and AUTHORITY

OPINION DIRECT EVIDENCE/ RATIONAL ARGUMENT AUTHORITY

controversies

are  maFers  on  which  contrary  views   can  be  held  that  are:              (a)  both  widespread              (b)  both  raRonal

MORALITY: Choice between GOOD and BAD

GOOD

BAD

• It’s not as SIMPLE as that! • FOUR COMPLICATIONS...

Complication #1: SHADES OF GRAY Acts can be RIGHT, NEUTRAL, or WRONG.

RIGHT

NEUTRAL

WRONG

Duty

Forbidden

A WRONG ACT is an action--or inaction--that violates an accepted norm and generally causes some harm to one s self, to others, or to society in general. Basis for Decision: Authority (parents, religion, state, school), Opinion, or Reason

Complication #1: SHADES OF GRAY
Acts can be RIGHT, NEUTRAL, or WRONG.
Not all acts can be readily classified as wrong. Some are contested. Examples of acts that are not clearly wrong...

RIGHT

NEUTRAL

WRONG

Complication #1: SHADES OF GRAY
Reason cannot always determine with 100% certainty whether some acts are acceptable or wrong. When we are unsure of the wrongness of an act, what would be the safer assumption?

The road of CAUTION
When unsure of whether or not an act is wrong, err on the side of caution. Assume it is wrong. WHY?

Complication #2: Application of Moral Principles

GENERAL PRINCIPLES or LAWS

PARTICULAR SITUATIONS or CONTEXTS

Phronesis                φρόνησις
Practical Wisdom: One can learn the
principles of action, but applying them in the real world, in particular situations one could not have foreseen, requires experience of the world.

Phronesis              φρόνησις
Moral  issues  and  ques.ons  are  ambiguous   and  complex.     Solu.ons  and  answers  are  o8en  not  self-­‐ evident  or  obvious.

GENERAL PRINCIPLES or LAWS

PARTICULAR SITUATIONS or CONTEXTS

The two extremes of moral reasoning:
ABSOLUTIST
Consider only GENERAL PRINCIPLES, but not PARTICULAR SITUATION

RELATIVIST
No consideration EVALUATIVIST of GENERAL Consider BOTH PRINCIPLES. GENERAL SITUATION Only and PARTICULAR PARTICULAR SITUATION SITUATION

Complication #3: RIGHT/WRONG and GOOD/BAD

Not all wrong actions are bad/sinful.

SINFUL if and only if:
Grave Matter: Serious harm &/OR Adequate Knowledge &/OR Adequate Freedom

GRAVE SIN
if & only if: ALL OF THE ABOVE

Serious harm has been caused. The actor knew that the act was wrong and harmful.

RIGHT

NEUTRAL

WRONG

The actor could freely choose to do or not to do the action, and was not influenced by coercion or fear.

SINFUL

MORAL DECISION vs. SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT If & only if: If and only if: 1) RIGHT vs. RIGHT 1) RIGHT vs. WRONG 2) NEUTRAL vs. RIGHT 2) WRONG vs. WRONG (The Greater Good) ( The Lesser of 2 Evils )

RIGHT

NEUTRAL

WRONG

GREATER GOOD

SINFUL

Complication #4: Two Principles GOOD BAD

PLEASURE

PAIN

The POTHOLES of Morality

The road of SUSPICION
Whenever your decision involves pleasure or avoids pain, cast some suspicion on your motive. You may be biased for this decision because it is more convenient or less painful rather than because it is right and not wrong.

AGERE CONTRA: To act against our inclination (to pursue pleasure and to avoid pain)

Two  simple  guidelines... The road of CAUTION
When unsure of whether or not an act is wrong, err on the side of caution. Assume it is wrong.

The road of SUSPICION
Whenever your decision involves pleasure or avoids pain, cast some suspicion on your motive.

Primacy of Conscience
Conscience is what we use in making moral decisions. Follow an informed conscience when making a moral decision.
The conscience carefully considers: 1) the concrete circumstances of the moral situation, 2) the important values that need to be protected, 3) the relevant moral teachings and norms

We need guidance from Authority and Reason.

Route #1:

Learn the WHAT
The Rules: The Do s & Don ts What the Authorities Say Adequate for simpler issues and simpler people.

Route #2:

Learn the WHY & HOW
Moral Reasoning Why the Authorities Say What They Say How You Assess Their Claim (Conscience)

Suitable for complex issues and more educated people.

FOUR POSSIBLE RESPONSES
Which are acceptable responses? ASSENT DISSENT

BLIND

Blind Assent Reasoned Assent

Blind Dissent Reasoned Dissent

REASONED