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Study orga niser
Before you begin
B b this unnit, please check
c througgh your stud
dy organiseer. It shows the topics
thhat we will be coverinng, the skillls you needd to acquire, and the activities yoou’ll do to
heelp you acqquire these skills.

Topics Leaarning outcomes Tuttorial Activvities

2.0 Introducttion to At thhe end of unnit 2, you Actiivity 2.1

philosophhy shouuld be able to: Actiivity 2.2
2.1 Ethics in ancient Greeece  define
d philossophy; Actiivity 2.3
2.2 Philosoph
hy and ethiccs  outline somee ancient Grreek Actiivity 2.4
2.3 The greatt ethical etthical philosophies;
Actiivity 2.5
ns  exxplain why philosophyy is
2.4 Ethics annd belief im
mportant to ethics study
systems  highlight thee main belieefs of
att least two great
g ethical
trraditions; annd
 crritically anaalyse the
reelationship between
reeligion and ethics.

y tim
Y should be able to finish
You f this section by thhe end of weeek 2.
To complete this uniit you will need to complete
T c th
he readingss and the

Note: Thhis course has

h an eLearrning compoonent. This means thatt along with h
your prinnt materials (this Studyy guide and I&A),
I and your
y textboook, you alsoo
have acccess to an onnline learnin ng space forr UU200. Please refer to t your I&A A
booklet for
f instructiions on how w to login too the UU200 0 Moodle paage. Your
print matterials contaain all the resources annd informatiion you need to
completee this coursee. Howeverr, you will fi find it usefull to regularlly login to
your online course page
p to:
 access
a additiional onlinee resources, including short
s films;
 contact
c yourr course coo ordinator or teaching asssistant to ask
 clarify
c your understanding of the id deas and cooncepts we cover
c in thee
c and
 discuss
d mattters relatingg to this courrse with oth
her studentss.

Unit 2: The Roo

ots of Ethics 2.2
Readingss/ Resourcces

Textbook: Preston,
T P Noeel. (2007) ‘C
Chapter Twoo: Encounteering Ethicss,’ in Undersstanding
Ethics (3 eddition) Sydnney: Federattion Press, p.16-34.
Garrett, Jan – Virtue Ethhics: A Basiic Introducttory Essay

Pre-Recordeed Lecturee: View th

P he pre-recorrded lecture for unit 2. This leecture has
allready been
n uploaded onto
o your Moodle
M pagee.

You need to complete the

Y t prescrib bed readingss and view the pre-reccorded lectuure before
yoou attend thhe fortnightlly face-to-faace tutorial..

2 In trodu ction to phhilosoophy

Inn this lecturre we will trace the rooots of ethiics to ancieent Greek philosophy
p and other
grreat ethical traditions. Let
L us beginn with the root origin of
o the worldd ‘ethics’.

‘EEthics’ com
mes from thee ancient Greek
G hos means ‘character or
term ‘ethos’. Eth o custom’
(PPreston, 2007: 16). Etthos forms the root of o ethikos which
w is deefined as ‘mmoral’ or
‘sshowing mooral charactter’ (Castrioota, 1992). In order too better undderstand hoow ethical
thhought orig
ginated, we need to esstablish an important connection between ethics e and

Philosophy is defined as ‘the art of wonderring’ (Prestton, 2007: 19) or is sometimes

P s
deescribed as knowledgee about knoowledge. If we take thiis term aparrt, phila meeans ‘love
beetween frieends’ and sophia means m ‘wisddom’ (Presston, 2007: 19). Simmply put,
phhilosophy iss the searchh for knowleedge or wisddom (betweeen friends).

Philosopherss like to askk many questions as thhey search for

f knowled dge. Some questions
thhey may pose are: Whaat is real orr true? Does God existt? How cann we know oro believe
annything? Which
W acts are
a morallyy right or wrong?
w Whiich people are morallyy good or
baad? These questions belong to different branches of o philosopphy. Some branches
innclude: metaaphysics, eppistemologyy and ethicss.

Metaphysicss is the studdy of existeence. Questiions about God

M G and ouur purpose in i life fall
innto this caategory. Ep pistemologgy is the study of knowledge.
k Discussioons about
knnowledge anda the searrch for knoowledge bellong to this branch of philosophyy (Internet
Encyclopedia a of Ethics,, 2009). Eth
hics is the study
s of moorality. It coonsiders whhat is right
(ggood) and what
w is wronng (bad). While
W we wiill focus onn ethics in reelation to phhilosophy
inn this unit, it is impoortant to point out thhat theoriess on existennce, knowlledge and
morality ofteen overlap or
o are interrrelated. Thee short film on philosop phy below highlights
thhe inter-con
nnection betw ween metapphysics, epiistemology and ethics.

Unit 2: The Roo

ots of Ethics 2.3
ort Film 1: ‘10 Philosoophical Questions’ (7..28 minutess)
URRL link: httpp://

What do youu now underrstand by the term philoosophy?

Think carefuully about thhe ten philossophical quuestions raissed in the fillm.
Which was thhe most diff
fficult questiion to answeer and why??

The ten phillosophical questions posed

T p in thhis short filmm require reflection.
r How you
chhoose to an
nswer them will be clossely linked to your values. We wiill now linkk this brief
diiscussion off philosophhy to the ethhical percepptions of thrree Ancient Greek phillosophers:
Socrates, Plaato and Arisstotle.

2 Etthics in anccient Gree ce

Inn ancient Grreece, philoosophers askked questionns about whhat is right, fair and just. One of
thhe first ethhics philossophers, Soocrates, bellieved thatt assessing a person’s moral
chharacter was
w more im mportant thaan evaluatinng particulaar actions. They
T asked questions
likke: What soort of persoon should I be? What habits shouuld I develo op? What iss the best
soort of person to be?

Two central concepts inn Greek ethhics are euddaimonia annd arête. Eudaimonia
T E is simply
trranslated as ‘happiness’. It means living well,, having a good
g soul orr being the right type
off person. Arete means virtue. It iss the qualityy of doing what is righht and reachhing for a
hiigh standardd of moral excellence.
e An examplle of a virtu ue is couragee. The worrd used by
Greeks to describe an unnethical value is ‘vice’. Greed is an
a example of o a vice.

Before we reelate some of these cooncepts to the ideas of

B o Socrates, Plato and Aristotle,
viiew the threee short film
ms listed bellow.

ort Film 2: ‘Socrates: Encyclopeedia Chanell’ (6.58 min

Sho nutes)
URRL link: httpp://
watch?v=k22KzymrmN Na0.

Shoort Film 3: ‘Plato: En

ncyclopediaa Chanel’ (66.59 minutees)
RL link: httpp://

Shoort Film 4: ‘Aristotle:: Encyclopeedia Chaneel’ (2.11 minutes)

URRL link: httpp:// VIE

Whhat are the main

m views of Socratess, Plato and
d Aristotle?
Hoow can we relate
r their philosophie
p es to ethics??

Socrates (4770-399 BC)) is often seen as onne of the first f ethics philosopheers and is
soometimes called ‘the father
fa of ethhics’. Socrattes believedd that every person hadd a role or
fuunction to play
p in society. Justicee is achieveed when wee each fulfilll our role in society.
Unit 2: The Roo
ots of Ethics 2.4
Virtues like courage, wiisdom, know
V wledge andd justice conntribute to the
t excellennce of the
sttate. These virtues shoould be learrned in the same way that knowlledge is learned. The
linnk betweenn knowledgge and virtuue is clearr when Soccrates says: ‘There is only one
gooodness, itt is knowleedge, theree is only one
o evil, itt is negligeence.’ For Socrates,
knnowledge and
a wisdom m are the meeans to ethiical action. Knowledgee and wisdoom can be
atttained by asking leaading questiions like: What is trruth? What is virtue? What is
haappiness? (MMattey, 19998)

Socrates wass a provocattive teacherr and quite ooften, he waas not appreeciated for his
h radical
thhought. In 399
3 B.C, he was charrged with im mpiety – a disbelief oro lack of reespect for
God. He wass also accussed of corruupting the young
y peopple of Athenns through his
h public
sppeeches (Brritannica Onnline Encycclopedia, 20013). When Socrates reefused to paay a small
fiine for the charges laiid against him,
h he waas sentenced to death. Although he had a
chhance to escape with the
t help of his friends,, he chose to t accept thhe punishmeent meted
ouut to him by the sttate for hiis actions – which was w death (Britannicca Online
Encyclopedia a, 2013).

Plato (428-347 BC) waas Socrates student. Hee compiled d Socrates dialogues
d annd letters.
Plato’s own book, The Republic is i also a crritical text for
f ethics study.
s Platoo’s ethical
phhilosophy focused
f on the well-beeing of the soul. He believed
b thaat each persson had a
physical bod dy and a noon-physicall soul. The physical woorld or boddy is not impportant. It
iss the soul that
t we shoould be conncerned with (Stanforrd Encycloppedia of Phhilosophy,

Plato dividedd the soul innto three parrts: reason, spirit, and appetite.
a R
Reason is thee part that
cooncerns trutth and knowwledge. It iss the weakeest part of thhe soul but the
t only parrt capable
off governingg it well. Sppirit is the part that is proud andd concerned with statuss. It seeks
faame & power. Appetitte is the larg gest and moost powerfu ul part of thee soul. It seaarches for
plleasure andd avoids paain (Stanford Encycloopedia of Philosophy,
P 2011). Thhe just or
viirtuous ma an keeps all these partts of the souul in harmoony or balaance with eaach other.
For Plato theen, virtue eqquals excelllence of thee soul (Matttey, 1998).

Another imp
A portant ethics philosoppher was Aristotle.
A Arristotle wass concernedd with the
deevelopmentt of characcter. He ask ked for instance: Whaat did it meean to be a good or
viirtuous persson? He ansswered this question byy identifyingg two kindss of virtue: vvirtues of
haracter (ffor example, courage and justicee) and virttues of inttellect (for example,
wisdom and understanding) (Stanfoord Encycloopedia of Phhilosophy, 2011).

Virtues of ch
V haracter, Arristotle argu ued, belongeed to a partt of the soul and were related to
haabit while virtues
v of inntellect resuulted from teaching
t andd involved theoretical reasoning
annd practicall thinking. Like
L Socratees, he argueed that when n we are knnowledgeable, we are
viirtuous (Staanford Enccyclopedia of Philosopphy, 2011)). True happpiness cann only be
acchieved thrrough the cultivation
c of virtues, for examp ple, developping good habits or
trraining onesself to becom me a better person. Wee must learnn by practiciing virtuouss actions.

p for a mom
ment to refleect on this quotation
q byy Aristotle:

ucated mindd to be ablee to entertain a thoughht without

‘It is the markk of an edu
acccepting it’.

Unit 2: The Roo

ots of Ethics 2.5
Aristotle sugggests here that we do not need too accept ev
A very thoughht that is preesented to
uss. We need to be critical about kn
nowledge annd question arguments. This is whhen we are
trruly educateed and virttuous. We will returnn to Aristottle’s ideas on virtue when we
diiscuss virtue ethics in the
t next uniit.

2 Phhilosoophy and
2.2 a e thics
Philosophy has
h sometimmes been crriticised forr being ‘an exercise off mind gam
mes which
m distort the
may t concern to make ethhics more practical’ (Prreston, 20077: 20).

Do you agree with

w this criiticism?

Those who disagree

T d wiith this critticism may argue that philosophyy is importaant to our
sttudy of ethhics becausse it ‘mayy equip us to reason, argue, annalyse and question
asssumptions more effecctively and consistently’ (Prestonn, 2007: 20)). Like phillosophers,
yoou will be encouragedd to ask ‘wh hy’ and ‘whhat is your reason’ forr taking a side
s on an
etthical issue..

Philosophy can
c also hellp us to esttablish a theeoretical fraamework foor discussinng applied
etthics. Appliied ethics reefers to the way we relaate ethical theories
t andd principles to a wide
raange of issu
ues or dilemmmas (for exxample, warr, capital puunishment, abortion,
a prrostitution
annd so forth)). Almost any
a issue caan be relateed to questions concernning what is i right or
wrong. We will
w now briefly
b exam
mine other ancient
a ethiical traditioons or ‘livinng ethical
syystems’ thatt teach us riight conduct.

2 Thhe greeat etthical tradi tions

‘Therre are manny distinct ethical
e tradditions corrresponding to the majjor
culturral and reeligious divvisions, such as Inddian, Buddhhist, Chineese,
Jewissh, Christian, and Islammic ethics. These are the
t ethical traditions
t thhat
most people
p in thhe world loook to for guuidance about how to liive’

w World Enccyclopedia).

Many peoplee believe thaat religion promotes

M p a set of valuees to live by
y. For exampple, it can
offfer specificc advice on how we sh hould live inn terms of what
w is rightt or wrong or o good or
evvil. We are taught rulees, attitudes and behaviior that enccourage righht conduct. These are
offten based on the authhority of a religious leeader, a hooly book or the experience of a
coommunity (Thompson
( n, 2005: 126). Let us examine soome core concepts
c beehind four
grreat ethical traditions: Indian,
I Bud
ddhist, Islam
mic, and Chrristian ethiccs.

The general view behind Indian ethics was that ‘good

T d’ was equaated with happiness,
heealth, survivval, progenyy, pleasure, calmness, friendship, knowledge and truth. ‘Bad’‘ was
asssociated with
w misery or sufferinng, sicknesss and injury y, death, inffertility, paain, anger,
ennmity, ignoorance or errror, untruthh (Bilimoriaa in Singerr, 2007: 44)). As there are many

Unit 2: The Roo

ots of Ethics 2.6
etthical system
ms within the
t Indian tradition,
t w will onlyy focus on Hindu
we H and Gandhian

The ethical doctrines

T d of the Hinduus are basedd on the teeachings of the Upanisshads and
sccriptures from the Veddas. Two central
c concepts that share a cloose relationnship with
etthics are: dhharma (dhaarm) and kaarma (karam m). Dharmaa is simply defined
d as one’s
o way
off life, value system oro duties. Itt is anotherr word for the ethical system for Hindus.
Dharma is su
ummarized as ‘the mooral law com mbined withh spiritual discipline
d thhat guides
onne's life’ (D
Das, 2013). For
F Hindus, dharma is the foundaation of life. Karma is the t law on
caause and efffect. Accoording to thhis law, ‘thee sum of a person's actions
a in one
o of his
suuccessive sttates of exisstence is vieewed as decciding his fate
f for the next’
n (Das, 2013). In
otther words, karma is abbout action--reaction or cause and effect.
e Or too put it simpply, ‘what
gooes around comes arouund’.

Gandhian etthics is an off-shoot of

G o Indian ethics.
e Ahim
msa was a central cooncept for
Gandhi. It is
i a philosophy of noon-violencee or ‘abstin
nence from
m violence either by
thhought, worrd, or deed’ (Hindupediia, 2011).

Shoort Film 5: ‘Gandhi’ (6.07 minuutes)

URRL link: httpp://

Think about the valuess reflected in

T i the film.. In your own
o time try
t to watchh Richard
Attenboroug h’s 1982 film
f Gandhhi. This film
m providess a clear innsight into Gandhi’s
etthical frameework and the
t values he
h imparted to the people of India.

Buddhism em
B mphasises action in teerms of boddy and speeech. If an action is harmful
h to
onne’s self annd to otherss, it should be avoidedd. A mind thhat is skilfuul avoids acctions that
arre likely too cause sufffering (Budddha Net, 1998-2013)). The fivee precepts encourage
Buddhists to: 1) avoid taking
t the life
l of all beings (bothh humans an nd animals); 2) avoid
taaking thinggs not given n; 3) avoid sensual miisconduct oro overindullgence in anny sensual
plleasure succh as gluttoony and miisconduct of o a sexual nature; 4) refrain frrom false
sppeech (inclu udes lying and deceiviing but alsoo slander annd speech which
w harm
ms others);
annd 5) absta ain from substances
s which cauuse intoxicaation and which
w mayy result in
brreaking the other four precepts
p (Buddha Net, 1998-2013).

Let us now turn

L t to a brrief discussiion of Islam
mic ethics. One
O of the foundationaal sources
foor Islam is the
t scripturres revealedd to God byy Prophet Muhammad.
M These aree recorded
inn the Quran n. The ideaal ethical value
v in the Quran is summed
s upp in the term
m Taqwa.
Taqwa repreesents ‘the m moral grou unding that underlies human
h actioon’ (Nanji in
i Singer,
20007: 108). It also refers to ‘signiffies the ethiical conscieence which makes
m humman beings
awware of theiir responsibbilities to Good and socieety” (Nanji in Singer, 2007:
2 108).

The Quran also

T a emphassizes the etthics of reddressing injjustice in economic
e a social
ife. Muslimms are encouraged to spend
s theirr wealth onn the poor, needy andd destitute
Nanji in Sinnger, 2007: 108). Thuss, like manyy other relig
gions, valuees of compaassion and
kiindness are encouragedd.

Unit 2: The Roo

ots of Ethics 2.7
Ethical practtices in Chhristianity evolved
E e durring the Rooman era. TheyT centreed on the
vaalues of graace, mercy and forgiveeness. Threee virtues in The Holy Bible
B are faaith, hope
annd love. Thhe general view was thatt Good exists
e only in God. Therefore, GodG is the
soource of mo oral goodneess. This vieew is summmarised as TheT Divine Command d Theory.
Good behavvior is rewwarded with h the prom mise of etternal life (heaven) while w the
puunishment for
f bad behaavior is to perish
p in helll (Preston, in Singer, 2007:
2 92).

The Ten Coommandm

T ments may easily be labeled
l as the ethicall blueprint for most
Christians. You can view The Ten Com mmandmentts at the following website:

Another critiical rule forr Christianss is ‘The Golden

A G Rulle’. The Golden Rule states
s that
onne should ‘Do
‘ unto otthers as youu would haave them do o unto you’.. In this sennse, one’s
reelationship to God is reflected in one’s relatiionship to all
a other peo ople. This rrule is not
reestricted to Christians
C a is restatted in most religious texts as show
and wn below:

Hinduism: ‘This
H ‘ is the sum
s of dutyy: do not doo to others what
w would cause pain if done to
yoou’ (Mahabbharata 5:15517)

Buddhism: ‘Hurt not others

B o in way
ays that you yourself wo
ould find huurtful’ (Udaana-Varga

Confucianissm: ‘Do nott do to otheers what youu do not waant them to do to you’ (Analects

C y: ‘And as ye
y would that men should do to yoou, do ye also to them
m likewise’
Luke 6:31, (T
The Holy Bible)

Isslam: ‘None of you [trruly] believves until he wishes for his brotherr what he wishes
w for
hiimself" (Nuumber 13 off Imam, Al-N Nawawi's Forty
F Hadithhs).

at is a criticcism of the Golden Rulle?

Theere is a problem assoociated withh reciprociity – in othher words, what an

inndividual wants may noot be what others
o want done to theem.

2 Etthics and belief

2.4 b systeems
Not all peopple follow iinstitutionallised religioons. Nonbellievers can be dividedd into two
brroad catego
ories: atheissts (those who
w do not believe in God) and agnostics
a (tthose who
caannot provee that God exists).

Do you
y think atheists and agnostics aare unethicaal people?

here alwayss a relationsship betweeen religion & ethics?

Is th

D we need to
Do t believe inn an instituttional religiion to be mooral?

Are all religiious people ethical? Are all ethicaal people reeligious?
Unit 2: The Roo
ots of Ethics 2.8
We can resppond to thesse question
W ns by arguinng that ethical views always
a rest on belief
syystems. These are nott necessarilly religiouss belief sysstems. Th hey can also include
attheistic or non-religioous belief systems. SomeS peoplle are guidded by inttuition or
coonscience and
a not by a religious doctrine.
d Thhis does nott mean thatt they are ‘uunethical’.
Inn fact, someetimes peopple who claiim to be quiite religiouss engage in acts or pracctices that
arre against thhe law and that are uneethical. Religious violeence and terrrorism are examples
off this. Therefore, belieeving in Godd or a particular religio
on does nott automaticaally make
yoou an ethicaal person.

Shoort Film 6: ‘Dalai Lam ma: Your Religion

R is Not
N Importtant’
URL L link: http:://

Unit 2: The Roo

ots of Ethics 2.9
Bilimoria, Purushottama. ‘Indian Ethics’ in A Companion to Ethics, Singer, P. (ed.),
Sydney: Blackwell Publishing, 2007, 43-57.
Britannica Online Encyclopedia, ‘Socrates and Ethics,’ retrieved from:
Buddha Net, ‘What is Buddhism?’ retrieved from:
Castriota, D. Myth, ethos, and actuality: official art in fifth-century B.C. Athens,
Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin Press, 1992.

Das, S. ‘What is Karma? The Law of Cause and Effect,’ retrieved from:
Hindupedia, ‘What is ahimsa? retrieved from:
Internet Encyclopedia of Ethics, ‘Philosophy and Ethics,’ retrieved from:
MacKay, Hugh. ‘Chapter Four: Morality and Religion’ in Right and Wrong: How to
Decide for Yourself, Sydney: Hodder Headline Australia, 2004, 48.
Mattey, C. J. UC Davis Philosophy 1: Introduction to Philosophy (1998), retrieved from:

Nanji, Azim. ‘Islamic Ethics’ in A Companion to Ethics, Singer, P. (ed.), Sydney:

Blackwell Publishing, 2007, 106-118.
Philosophy 302: Ethics ‘The Ethics of Socrates,’ retrieved from:

Preston, Noel ‘Chapter Two: Encountering Ethics’ in Understanding Ethics, Sydney:

The Federation Press, 2007, 16-34.
Preston, R. ‘Christian Ethics’ in A Companion to Ethics, Singer, P. (ed.), Sydney:
Blackwell Publishing, 2007, 91-105.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ‘Plato,’ retrieved from:
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ‘Aristotle,’ retrieved from:
Sinnott-Armstrong, W. “What is Philosophy? retrieved from:

Thompson, Mel. Teach Yourself Ethics, USA: McGraw Hill, 2005, 126

Unit 2: The Roots of Ethics 2.10

Please atten nd the face-tto-face
tutorial this week. You will
answer and participate in the
activities beelow in the tutorial.

Face-to-face tutorial
1. Get too know the members in n your tutorrial group.
2. Dividde yourselvees into smalller discussiion groups – 5 studentss per group.. This
will be
b your disccussion grouup for the seemester.
3. Yourr tutor will spend
s 10 miinutes goingg over the leecture notess and discusssing the
coursse outline inn general. You
Y may askk any questions you haave about thhe notes,
the reeadings or thhe course att this point

Activity 2.11

Ethics and values shuffle

This is a fun
T n interactivee game to start
s you thhinking abouut ethics annd values. Two
T signs
w be postted up in the
will t tutorial room – thhe one in the t front off the room m will say
‘AAGREE’ annd the one in the back will w say ‘DISAGREE’. When a statement s iss read out,
yoou will be required to move towards the siggn of your choice. Onnce you aree standing
eiither at the back
b or the front of thee room, youur tutor will ask you to defend youur position
inndividually or as a grouup.

Some possib
ble statemennts are: (Youur tutor mayy adapt this list)

1. If I find $1100 on the roadside,

r I should
s pick it up.
2. All laws are
a ethical.
3. It is alwayys wrong to tell a lie.
4. If a personn is terminally ill, he/shhe should bee granted thhe right to die.
5. Some wars are justifieed.
6. Animals shhould have rights.
7. The rich have
h a respoonsibility to the poor.
8. There is no o ethics in the
t businesss world.
9. We shouldd be free to marry anyoone we wishh to.
100. Killing tuurtles for cuultural feastss is acceptaable.
11. Terrorists should be subjected to t torture.
122. The rightts of sex woorkers shoulld be respeccted.
133. All religiious people are ethical.
144. Our bodyy parts belonng to us andd we can sell them if we w want to.
155. Beauty iss more impoortant than brains.(Ada
b apted from:

Unit 2: The Roo

ots of Ethics 2.11
Activity 2.22

Religion and ethics

Discuss this scenario in groups andd present youur findings to the classs.

You are a do
Y octor workinng in a publlic hospital in a remotee Pacific Islaand. It is latte at night
annd you are on
o call in thhe Emergenncy Departm ment. A coupple rush in with
w a toddller who is
blleeding veryy heavily. You
Y are toldd that he waas injured inn a
hit-and-run accident. You
Y tell thhe parents that their son needs a blood trransfusion
mmediately. The mothher begins to cry. She says that th heir religionn does not permit it.
Y know thhat the chilld will die if the transsfusion is not administtered withinn the next

1. What aree your options? List theem.

2. Now weeigh up thesse options. What

W is the right thing to do?

33. Would you

y adminisster the trannsfusion eveen if the chilld’s parentss do not connsent to
it? Explain your answer.

Unit 2: The Roo

ots of Ethics 2.12
Activity 2.3

M a l a l a Y o u s a f z a i B i o g r a p h y [A
Approx. Tiime 1 hour]


Malala Yousafzai was w born onn July 12, 1997, in

Mingorra, Pakistan. As a childd, she becamme an
advocatte for girls' education, which resullted in the
Talibann issuing a death
d threat against herr. On
Octobeer 9, 2012, a gunman sh hot Malala when
w she
was traaveling homme from scho ool. She surrvived,
and hass continued to speak ou ut on the im
of educcation. In 20013, she was nominatedd for a
Nobel Peace
P Prize.

Early LifeOn July 12, 1997,

E 1 Malalla Yousafzaai was born in Mingora, Pakistan, located
l in
thhe country'ss Swat Valleey. For the first
f few yeaars of her liife, her hom
metown remaained a
poopular touriist spot thatt was knownn for its sum
mmer festivaals. Howeveer, the area began to
chhange as thee Taliban trried to take control.

Innitial Activvism
Malala attendded a schoool that her faather, Ziaudddin Yousaffzai, had fouunded. Afteer the
Taliban begaan attackingg girls' schoools in Swat,, she gave a speech in Peshawar,
inn Septemberr 2008. Thee title of herr talk was, "How dare thhe Taliban take
t away m my basic
riight to education?"

Inn early 20099, Malala beegan bloggiing for the B BBC about living
l underr the Talibaan's
thhreats to denny her an edducation. Inn order to hide her identtity, she useed the namee Gul
Makai. Howeever, she was revealed to be the BBCB bloggerr in Decembber of that year.

With a growiing public platform,

W p M
Malala continnued to speaak out abouut her right, and the
riight of all women,
w to ann educationn. Her activism resulted
d in a nominnation for thhe
Innternationall Children's Peace Prizee in 2011. TThat same year, she waas awarded Pakistan's
National You uth Peace Prize.

Targeted byy the Talibaan

When she waas 14, Malaala and her family
f learnned that the Taliban hadd issued a death
thhreat against her. Thouggh Malala was
w frightenned for the safety
s of heer father—ann anti-
Taliban activ
vist—she annd her familly initially felt
f that the fundamentaalist group w would not
Unit 2: The Roo
ots of Ethics 2.13
actually harm a child.

On October 9, 2012, on her way home from school, a man boarded the bus Malala was
riding in and demanded to know which girl was Malala. When her friends looked toward
Malala, her location was given away. The gunman fired at her, hitting Malala in the left
side of her head; the bullet then traveled down her neck. Two other girls were also
injured in the attack. The shooting left Malala in critical condition, so she was flown to a
military hospital in Peshawar. A portion of her skull was removed to treat her swelling
brain. To receive further care, she was transferred to Birmingham, England.

After the Attack

Once she was in the United Kingdom, Malala was taken out of a medically induced
coma. Though she would require multiple surgeries—including repair of a facial nerve to
fix the paralyzed left side of her face—she had suffered no major brain damage. In
March 2013, she was able to begin attending school in Birmingham. The shooting
resulted in a massive outpouring of support for Malala, which continued during her
recovery. She gave a speech at the United Nations on her 16th birthday, in 2013. She has
also written an autobiography, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and
Was Shot by the Taliban, which was released in October 2013. Unfortunately, the
Taliban still considers Malala a target. Despite the Taliban's threats, Malala remains a
staunch advocate for the power of education. On October 10, 2013, in acknowledgement
of her work, the European Parliament awarded her the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of
Thought. She has also been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Should she win, she will
be the youngest honoree in the history of the award.


1. “When she was 14, Malala and her family learned that the Taliban had issued a death
threat against her...On October 9, 2012, on her way home from school, a man
boarded the bus Malala was riding in and demanded to know which girl was Malala.
When her friends looked toward Malala, her location was given away. The gunman
fired at her, hitting Malala in the left side of her head; the bullet then traveled down
her neck”

Taliban issued a death threat against Malala on the grounds of the Shariah laws that
are supported by such quotes from Quran as this one:

“Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the
other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are
obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those
from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and forsake them in beds apart,
and beat them.” Quran 4:34, “Women,” Dawood, p. 83

In the light of this information and the first article above;

a) What is Divine Command Theory? Provide criticism against Divine Command

Theory with reference Plato, Marx, Autonomy Objection, and Pluralism

Unit 2: The Roots of Ethics 2.14

b) In your discussion also refer to sexism in Quran and other religious texts and
describe the harmful consequences of sexism for the education of female

c) Provide two resolutions for the problems caused by the discrimination directed
against female students in such conservative countries as Pakistan.

d) Explain the relevance of the following statement by Mahatma Gandhi: “Eye for
an eye will make the whole world blind” in the resolution of such violence in

2. “Despite the Taliban's threats, Malala remains a staunch advocate for the power of
education. On October 10, 2013, in acknowledgement of her work, the European
Parliament awarded her the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. She has also
been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Should she win, she will be the youngest
honoree in the history of the award” (note: Malala managed to win the Nobel Peace
Prize in 2015)
Unit 2: The Roots of Ethics 2.15
Based onn the main principles
p off Virtue Ethhics, analyzee the habits and characcter traits
d by Malalaa and providde justificatiions for whyy Malala must
m be awarrded the
Nobel Prrize.

Activity 2.44

1. The idea of burningg witches, one
o of the cruelest
c form
ms of execuution, is saiid to have
originateed with Sainnt Augustinee (354-430), who said ‘that paganns, Jews, and heretics
would buurn foreverr in eternaal fire withh the devil unless savved by the Catholic
church.’ What do yoou know aboout this pracctice?

2. Witches were
w seen as a disbelieveers of the chhurch doctriine and servvants of the devil.
Do you th
hink this justified theirr killing?

33. Relate your

y discusssion of wiitch-burningg to this reecent case from the Pacific.
P In
Februaryy 2013, twoo people froom Papua New
N Guineea were chaarged with ‘the grisly
killing of
o a womaan who wass tortured and a burned d alive in front
f of hunndreds of

Unit 2: The Roo

ots of Ethics 2.16
people, including young
y childdren, after being accu
used of wittchcraft’ (H
Post, 20

44. A substaantial minorrity of victim

ms was malle. What dooes this tell you about the
practice of witch-buurning in reelation to relligion/cultuure and gendder?

Activity 2.5

Religious freedom
Reflect on thhe quotationn below. Yo
R ou may do thhis as a group (if you have
h time leeft in your
tuutorial classs) or on yourr own later in the weekk.

“In some situ

“I uations, religious belief
efs lead to actions
a that go against the prevailiing norms
off a society or of a larrger universsal framewoork of ethiccal conductt” (Thompsson, 2006:

1. Do you th
hink religioous freedom
m should be restricted?
r E
Explain youur answer.

Unit 2: The Roo

ots of Ethics 2.17
2. Which is better - freedom with the risk of minorities doing things that the majority
regards as wrong or an enforced moral code?

Unit 2: The Roots of Ethics 2.18