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PHIL 2 Philosophy: Ethics in Contemporary Society Week 3 Topic Outlines
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  • PHIL 2Philosophy: Ethics in Contemporary Society Week 3Topic Outlines

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  • Week 3Moral Implications of Taking Human Life Chap. 8Moral Implications of Allowing Someone to Die Chap. 9Moral Implications of Abortion Chap. 10Applying Humanitarian Ethics

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  • Topic 1: Moral Implications of Taking Human LifeBasic principles, rules, or guidelines to dealing with moral issuesDeciding to what extent an action is moral or immoralApplying basic principles to specific moral problems and arguments for and against

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  • Basic Principles, Rules, or Guidelines to Dealing with Moral IssuesValue of Life PrinciplePrinciple of GoodnessPrinciple of JusticePrinciple of Honesty and Truth TellingPrinciple of Individual Freedom

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  • Deciding to What Extent an Action Is Moral or ImmoralAre five basic principles upheld or violated?Is it rational?Does it result in the best interest of everyone, yet avoid the end-justifies-the means problem?

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  • Applying Principles to Specific Moral Problems; Arguments For and Against SuicideArgument for: A person is free to make decisions affecting his or her own body.

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  • Applying Principles to Specific Moral Problems; Arguments For and Against (continued)Arguments against: Suicide is irrational.Only God has the right to give and take away life.Domino argumentSurvivors pay unjust penalty.

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  • Applying Principles to Specific Moral Problems; Arguments For and Against (continued)Killing in Defense of the InnocentArgument for:People have a right and an obligation to protect innocent lives, their own included.Arguments against:Violence breeds violence.The taking of human life is always wrong.

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  • Applying Principles to Specific Moral Problems; Arguments For and Against (continued)WarArguments for:War is the best controller of overpopulation.War is the mother of invention.War is a boon to economic gain and national unity.The just war argument

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  • Applying Principles to Specific Moral Problems; Arguments For and Against (continued)WarArguments against:War is a direct and massive violation of the Value of Life Principle.War kills many innocent noncombatants, including children.

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  • Applying Principles to Specific Moral Problems; Arguments For and Against (continued)TerrorismArguments for:Nonviolent protest is ignored and ineffective.Violent actions achieve recognition.Argument against:Excessive violence, especially against the innocent, cannot be condoned.

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  • Applying Principles to Specific Moral Problems; Arguments For and Against (continued)Capital punishmentArgument for:It is an effective deterrent to crime.Why should we pay to support killers in prison for long sentences?It puts teeth into the criminal law enforcement system.Killers have forfeited their rights.Rehabilitation is useless.Justice demands an eye for an eye.

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  • Applying Principles to Specific Moral Problems; Arguments For and Against (continued)Capital punishmentArguments against:It is a violation of the Value of Life Principle.Killing a criminal does not recompense the victim(s).It is not an effective deterrent to crime.It is possible to execute an innocent person.The criminal is denied the chance for rehabilitation.

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  • Topic 2: Moral Implications of Allowing Someone to Die

    Mercy death and mercy killingContributions of advanced medical technology and litigious concerns Justification of allowing someone to die, mercy death, and mercy killing

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  • Mercy Death and Mercy KillingAllowing someone to die means not providing curative treatment when no cure is possible.Mercy death means taking a direct action to terminate a persons life because the person has requested it; an assisted suicide.

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  • Mercy Death and Mercy KillingMercy killing means taking a direct action to terminate a persons life without that persons permission or request.

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  • Contributions of Advanced Medical Technology and Litigious Concerns Brain death: the brain is irreversibly damaged; the person flatlinesPersistent vegetative state or irreversible coma: cerebral cortex damage destroys cognitive function but the brain stem continues to support life function in the body

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  • Contributions of Advanced Medical Technology and Litigious ConcernsLegal statusMercy death is specifically prohibited in 32 states.Mercy killing is outlawed in all U.S. states and most countries of the world.Medical technology can keep bodies alive indefinitely without brain function.

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  • Justification of Allowing Someone to Die, Mercy Death, and Mercy Killing Allowing someone to dieArguments for:A rational person has the individual right to refuse treatment.It shortens the period of suffering.A person has the right to die with dignity.

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  • Justification of Allowing Someone to Die, Mercy Death, and Mercy Killing (continued)Allowing someone to dieArguments against:It is tantamount to abandonment.A cure may be found.We must always choose life.It interferes with Gods divine plan.

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  • Justification of Allowing Someone to Die, Mercy Death, and Mercy Killing (continued)Mercy deathArguments for:A person has the right to decide when his or her life should end.We are willing to end animals misery; we should do the same for higher-value humans.

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  • Justification of Allowing Someone to Die, Mercy Death, and Mercy Killing (continued)Mercy deathArguments against:People who are suffering cannot make rational decisions.No one has the right to take an innocent life, even at that persons request.Mercy death will domino into mercy killing.The assistants burden of guilt is too great.A cure may be found.

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  • Justification of Allowing Someone to Die, Mercy Death, and Mercy Killing (continued)Mercy killingArguments for:The person is not fully alive.The person is a financial and emotional burden on the family and society.If the person could communicate, he or she would wish to die.

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  • Justification of Allowing Someone to Die, Mercy Death, and Mercy Killing (continued)Mercy killingArguments against:It is a direct violation of the Value of Life Principle.Who is to judge the value or meaning of anothers life?It sets a dangerous precedent for the elimination of useless people.

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  • Topic 3: Moral Implications of Abortion

    Basic conflicting principles and positions Stages in the development of the conceptusWho should make abortion and non-abortion decisions

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  • Basic Conflicting Principles and Positions AgainstGenetic view of the beginnings of human lifeSanctity or value of life argumentDomino argumentDanger of abortion to motherRelative safety of pregnancyExistence of viable alternatives to abortion

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  • Basic Conflicting Principles and Positions (cont)Against:Irrelevance of economic considerationsResponsibility for sexual activityRape and incest as no reasonFor:Absolute rights of women over their own bodiesBirth as the beginning of human lifeUnwanted or deformed children

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  • Basic Conflicting Principles and Positions (cont)For:Relative safety of abortionNo domino effectDanger of pregnancy to motherRape and incest as valid reasonAbortion as a womans private decision

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  • Stages in the Development of the ConceptusFertilized egg divides; by the sixth day it has implanted in the uterus.3rd week: 2mm long and is developing parts; looks kind of like a worm.4th week: 5mm long and has a beating heart; resembles a tadpole.

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  • Stages in the Development of the Conceptus (continued)5th week: Gross divisions of the brain appear as well as eyes and limb buds.6th week: 13mm long, eyes on side of head, reptilian-looking face has connected slits where mouth and nose will be.

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  • Stages in the Development of the Conceptus (continued)7th week: tail almost gone, sexual characteristics can be seen, face is mammalian but piglike.8th week: face resembles primates, some lower brain anatomy is well-developed, fetus shows some reflex response.

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  • Stages in the Development of the Conceptus (continued)10th week: face unmistakably human appearing, males can be distinguished from females.16th week: faces can be distinguished between fetuses5th month: mother can feel movement6th month: lungs begin to develop

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  • Stages in the Development of the Conceptus (continued)Mid 7th month: recognizably human brain activity begins30th week: brain waves with regular patterns typical of adult human brains appear earlier than this, the fetus cannot think

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  • Who Should Make Abortion and Non-abortion Decisions?MotherFatherDoctorFamilyReligious authoritySociety

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  • Topic 4: Applying Humanitarian Ethics

    Applying Humanitarian Ethics to the moral problems of taking human life Evaluating differing positions and reasons/rationale

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  • Applying Humanitarian Ethics to the Moral Problems of Taking Human Life Suicide involves four of the basic principles (Value of Life, Goodness, Justice, and Freedom)As long as people are rational, they should have the final decision over whether their lives are valuable and good.

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  • Applying Humanitarian Ethics to the Moral Problems of Taking Human Life (continued)Defense of the Innocent aggressors violate the five basic principles and therefore forfeit their right to equal considerationWar generally violates all five principles, yet limited war may be justified for the defense of innocent human beings

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  • Applying Humanitarian Ethics to the Moral Problems of Taking Human LifeCapital Punishment clearly violates Value of Life, better alternatives are available for rehabilitation, life sentences or voluntary deathAllowing Someone to Die allowing someone to die at the appropriate time is both medically and morally sound

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  • Applying Humanitarian Ethics to the Moral Problems of Taking Human Life (continued)Mercy Death a request from a competent person for a mercy death is an assisted suicide, which is moralMercy Killing because it is a direct act to kill people without their consent, mercy killing is immoral

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  • Evaluating Differing Positions and Reasons/RationaleConsider the five basic principles.Are they violated and to what degree?Is the decision made by a rational person?

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  • Week 3

    Thiroux, Jacques P.Ethics Theory and Practice, 8th ed.Chapters 8-10

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