Moral Philosophy: the principles and rules that are used to decide what is right or wrong; a moral philosophy States an ideal respective that most people accept Prescriptive approach to decision making: Consequential/Teleological: (consequences) the morality of behavior is evaluated on the basis of its consequences; behavior or conduct is morally right if it produces some desired result – pleasure, promotion, profit; as such, the ends justify the means Utilitarianism: concerned for the greatest good for the greatest number; decisions are usually made on the basis of a cost benefit analysis.
Efforts are made to look at the consequences for all possible alternatives before a decision is made Construction of a new road through your community: utilitarian rationale argues whether the benefits to the community – increased development and employment, reduced traffic, fewer accidents) outweigh the harm to a few property holders – noise pollution Challenge: can all the facts be obtained to make proper evaluation, projection and risk?
Rights of the minority can be sacrificed for the benefit of the majority Deontological: (duties, obligations, principles) bases action/behavior on the Renville of equal rights, and respect for all persons; the focus is on the rights of individuals and the intentions that are associated with behavior Rights of individuals: (integrity) freedom of conscience, consent, privacy, speech and due process But what rule, principle or right to follow, when for example the right of the investor to profit conflict with the environmental rights of a community to clean air and water?
Emmanuel Cant’s “categorical imperative”: “act as if the maxim of thy action were to become by thy will a universal law of tauter”, that is, whether the rationale for your action is suitable to become a universal law or principle for everyone to follow Golden Rule: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Challenge: which duty, right, principle takes precedence?