LESSON 1: Introduction to Ethics

 In the First Person: An Outline of General Ethics (2nd ed.) by Aldo Vendemiati

What is ethics?
Philosophical ethics can also be called? Moral philosophy
“The science that indicates what man must do to be
Common definition of philosophical ethics
good, that is, worthy of his own humanity”
“The science of what man should be, since the moral
life does not consist only in doing in a strict sense, but
in the orientation of all our activities… in a determined
More appropriate definition way, toward a determined human ideal”

In other words: to seek a meaning for human
How must we be to fully realize our human
Main ethical question
Rational investigation of man, the world, and God,
To do philosophy
seeking to know the truth
A thinker who seeks a rational basis for his judgments
without making an appeal to myth, faith or majority
What is a philosopher?
He does not draw arguments from the truth of faith

He keeps his discussion on a rigorously rational plane
Relationship of ethical theology and philosophical

Philosophical Method
3 fundamental attitudes of philosophical inquiry Reverence
Loving desire
 Implies the availability to listen thoroughly
 The effort to be quiet in order to understand
(vs. preparing our argument while the other is
 The renouncement of any attempt to imprison
an object in something already known
According to the Greeks:
 A “thirst” for truth
Loving desire
 An interior “yearning” towards the mysterious
message enclosed in reality
Minimum of philosophy

Moral experience This is from where we begin reworking our experience
to reach the clarifications and the in-depth study
proper to ethical/philosophical research
How is the reflection on our own life enriched? Through dialogue with our neighbors, spoken or

way of behaving.” each Education. economic situations. religious tradition. character which corresponds to the Latin word mos. prescribe how someone should act to be a good human being. Morality: concerned with the end of human action – the end which man cannot determine for himself. “No man is an island” In the shaping of that “minimum-of-philosophy. that is. “Moral values can only be realized by persons” – don’t need anymore explanations Mediation of a defined series of immediate evidences  Ex. hypothetical norms vs. you must have recourse to certain A normative-categorical science means. ethics and morality are synonymous Concerned with moral experience The object of all ethical reflection is specifically moral experience – draw consequences for human action Not to merely describe human actions Normative vs. end that man can choose for himself. to be worthy of one’s own humanity . etc. “Humility is a virtue” – can be Mediated Evidence demonstrated but some complex reasoning is required Task of philosophy Dismantling the obvious to gain access to the evident Specific Characteristics of Philosophical Ethics Greek word ethos – use. doesn’t question if they are fruits of knowledge. of us has been conditioned by cultural influences language. Descriptive:  “ought”/norm vs. To be free from condition You first have to admit that you have been conditioned The Obvious and The Evident Obvious: admitted in an uncritical way without reasoning about them. Evident true Evident: present in the act of knowing. just describing Ethics describes human action but also prescribes certain obligations and imposes certain prohibitions Normative science/technologies: if you want to obtain such end. fantasy or prejudice  To be obvious is NOT sufficient criteria to be Obvious vs. categorical norms. social models. evident to my intellect Evidence gathered directly from reality Immediate Evidence  Ex. custom. moris.