Ethics Midterm Chapters 1-9

ethics (or moral philisophy)
the philosophical study of morality

morality
belifs concerning right and wrong, good and bad; they can include judgments, rules, principles, and theories

descriptive ethics
the scientific study of moral beliefs and practices

normative ethics
the study of the principles, rules, or theories that guide our actions and judgments

metaethics
the study of the meaning and logical structure of moral beliefs

applied ethics
the application of moral norms to specific moral issues or cases, particularly those in a profession such as medicine or law

instrumentally (or extrinsically) valuable
valuable as a means to something else

intrinsically valuable
valuable in itself, for its own sake

principle of universalizability
the idea that a moral statement (principle, rule, or judgment) that applies in one situation must apply in all other situations that are relevantly similar

principle of impartiality
the welfare and interests of each individual should be given the same weight as all others

Euthyphro’s definition of piety
“piety is that which is dear to the gods, and impiety is that which is not dear to them”

objectivism
the view that some moral principles are valid for everyone

cultural relativism
the view that an action is morally right if one’s culture approves of it. implications: that cultures are morally infallible, that social reformers can never be morally right, that moral disagreements between individuals in the same culture amount to arguments over whether someone disagrees with her culture, that other cultures cannot be legitimately criticized, and that moral progress is impossible

subjective relativism
the view that an action is morally right if one approves of it. implications: that individuals are morally infallible and that genuine moral disagreement between individuals is nearly impossible

emotivism
the view that moral utterances are neither true nor false but are expressions of emotions or attitudes. implications: that people cannot disagree over the moral facts because there are no moral facts, that presenting reasons in support of a moral utterance is a matter of offering nonmoral facts that can influence someone’s attitude, and that nothing is actually good or bad

cognitivism
the commonsense view of moral judgments is that they ascribe moral properties to such things as actions and people and that they are therefore statements that can be true or false

noncognitivism
denies that moral judgments are statements that can be true or false; they do no ascribe properties to anything (ie emotivism)

statement
an assertion that something is or is not the case

premise
a supporting statement in an argument

conclusion
the statement supported in an argument

deductive argument
an argument that is supposed to give logically conclusive support to its conclusion

inductive argument
an argument that is supposed to offer probable support to its conclusion

valid argument
a deductive argument that does in fact provide logically conclusive support for its conclusion

invalid argument
a deductive argument that does not offer logically conclusive support for the conclusion

moral theory
an explanation of what makes an action right or what makes a person or thing good

consequentialist theory
a theory asserting that what makes an action right is its consequences

nonconsequentialist theory
a theory asserting that the rightness of an action does not depend on its consequence

utilitariansim
a theory asserting that the morally right action is the one that produces the most favorable balance of good over evil, everyone considered

ethical egoism
a theory asserting that the morally right action is the one that produces the most favorable balance of good over evil for oneself

categorical imperative
an imperative that we should follow regardless of our particular wants and needs; also, the principle that defines Kant’s ethical system

Kant’s theory
a theory asserting that the morally right action is the one done in accordance with the categorical imperative

natural law theory
a theory asserting that the morally right action is the one that follows the dictates of nature

divine command theory
a theory asserting that the morally right action is the one that God commands

theories of value
moral theories concerned with the goodness of persons or things

theories of obligation
moral theories concerned with the rightness or wrongness of actions

act-egoism
the theory that to determine right action, you must apply the egoistic principle to individual acts

rule-egoism
the theory that to determine right action, you must see if an act falls under a rule that if consistently followed would maximize your self-interest

psychological egoism
the view that the motive for all our actions is self-interest

principle of utility
Bentham’s definition: “that principle which approves or disapproves of every action whatsoever, according to the tendency which it appears to have to augment or diminish the happiness of the party whose interest is in question.”

greatest happiness principle
Mill’s definition: the principle that “holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.”

act-utilitarianism
the theory that right actions are those that directly produce the greatest overall good, everyone considered

rule-utilitariansim
the theory that the morally right action is the one covered by a rule that if generally followed would produce the most favorable balance of good over evil, everyone considered

hedonic calculus
quantifies happiness and handles the necessary calculations for act-utilitarianism

hypothetical imperative
an imperative that tells us what we should do if we have certain desires

categorical imperative
an imperative that we should follow regardless of our particular wants and needs; also, the principle that defines Kant’s ethical system

means-ends principle
the rule that we must always treat people (including ourselves) as ends in themselves, never merely as a means

doctrine of double effect
the principle that performing a good action may be permissible even if it has bad effects, but performing a bad action for the purpose of achieving good effects is never permissable; any bad effects must be unintended

virtue ethics
a theory of morality that makes virtue the central concern

eudaimonia
happiness, or flourishing

virtue
a stable disposition to act and feel according to some ideal or model of excellence

golden mean
Aristotle’s notion of a virtue as a balance between two behavioral extremes

ethics of care
a perspective on moral issues that emphasizes close personal relationships and moral virtues such as compassionn, love, and sympathy

abortion
the deliberate termination of a pregnancy by surgical or medical (with drugs) means

therapeutic abortion
an abortion performed to protect the life or health of the mother

conception
the merging of a sperm cell and an ovum into a single cell; also called fertilization

quickening
the point in fetal development when the mother can feel the fetus moving (it occurs at about sixteen to twenty weeks)

viability
the stage of fetal development at which the fetus is able to survive outside the uterus

person
a being thought to have full moral rights

genome
an organism’s complete set of DNA

gene
a discrete section of genetic code

chromosome
one of forty-six molecules containing genes and residing in the cell’s nucleus

gene therapy
an experimental technique for directly changing a person’s genes to prevent or treat disease

genetic enhancement
genetic intervention to make people better than normal, to maximize human traits and capabilities

genetic engineering
direct genetic intervention in an organism’s genome to enhance traits and capabilities

cloning
the production of a genetically identical copy of an existing biological entity through an asexual process

reproductive cloning
the genetic duplication of a fully developed adult animal or human