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How to deal with moral controversies/dilemmas?

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

MORALITY: Choice between GOOD and BAD

GOOD

BAD

Its 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 classied 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 conclusively whether some acts are right or wrong. When we are unsure of the wrongness of an act, what would be the safer assumption?

The ethic of CAUTION


When unsure of whether or not an act is wrong, err on the side of caution.

Complication #2: Application of Moral Principles

GENERAL PRINCIPLES or LAWS

PARTICULAR SITUATIONS or CONTEXTS

Phronesis
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
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:


FUNDAMENTALIST
Consider only GENERAL PRINCIPLES, but not PARTICULAR SITUATION

RELATIVIST

No consideration RATIONALIST for 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 inuenced 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 ethic of SUSPICION


Whenever your decision involves pleasure or avoids pain, cast some suspicion on your motive.

Two simple guidelines... The ethic of CAUTION


When unsure of whether or not an act is wrong, err on the side of caution.

The ethic of SUSPICION


Whenever your decision involves pleasure or avoids pain, cast some suspicion on your motive.

Primacy of Conscience
The 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 involved, 4) the good and bad eects of every moral option.