without the prior permission of Oxford University Press. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data. Shafer-Landau, Russ. The fundamentals of ethics I. The Fundamentals of Ethics 3rd Edition by Shafer-Landau - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf) or read book online. Ethics Book for an introduction to ehitcs. The Fundamentals Of Ethics Russ Shafer Landau - [Free] The Shafer Landau [ PDF] [EPUB] Moral nihilism (also known as ethical nihilism) is.

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In The Fundamentals of Ethics, Fourth Edition, author Russ Shafer-Landau employs a uniquely engaging writing style to introduce students to the essential ideas. In the choice of what have seemed to me to be the fundamentals of ethics, it has been necessary to reduce to a minimum the psychological and sociological. View Shafer from PHILOSOPHY at Ohio State University. The Fundamentals of Ethics. m Second Edition % RUSS.

Morality can deman on y so much of us. Moral standards that are impossrble to meet are illegitimate. Morality must respect our limitations. Children hear less moral responsibility than adults. The fewer of these abilities you have, the less blameworthy might cause. Any moral theory that treats justice as irrelevant is deeply suspect. It is important that we get what we deserve, and that we are treated fairly. The default position in ethics is this: It is sometimes morally acceptable to harm others, but there must be an excellent reason for doing so.

People who are alike in all relevant respects should get similar treatment. When this fails to happen when racist or sexist policies are enacted, for instance—then some— thing has gone wrong.

How well-off we are is important. Morality sometimes calls on us to set aside our own interests for the sake of others. Agony is bad. Excruciating physical or emotional pain is bad. It may Introduction 7.

That a person can escape punishment is one thing—whether his actions are morally acceptable is another.

Free and informed requests prevent rights violations. There are a number of points to make about these claims. Second, I am not claiming that the items on this list are beyond criti— cism. I am saying only that each one is very plausible. The point, though, is that without such scrutiny, it is perfectly reasonable to begin with the items on this list.

When we say, for instance, that equals ought to be treated equally, we leave all of the interesting questions open. What makes people equals? Can we treat people equally without treating them in precisely the same way? Not only do we have a variety of plausible starting points for our ethi— cal investigations; we also have a number of obviously poor beginnings for moral thinking.

A morality that celebrates genocide, torture, treachery, sadism, hostility, and slavery is, depending on how you look at it, either no morality at all or a deeply failed one. Any morality worth the name will place some importance on justice, fairness, kindness, and reasonableness.

Moral Reasoning In addition to these remarks about appropriate and inappropriate start— ing points for ethical thinking, we should also note that some common errors can undermine moral reasoning. These errors serve as further evi— dence that not everything is up for grabs wheh it comes to ethics. Moral reasoning, like all reasoning, involves at least two things: An argument is simply any chain of thought in which reasons philosophers call these premises are offered in support of a particular conclusion.

Not all arguments are equally good. This is as true in ethics as it is sci— ence, mathematics, or politics. We can land at the wrong conclusion by endorsing child abuse, for instance. We can also arrive at the right one by means of terrible reasoning.

We must do our best to avoid both of these mistakes.

We want the truth, both in the starting assumptions we bring to an issue and in the conclusions we eventually arrive at. But we also want to make sure that our views are supported by excellent reasons. And this pro, Vides two tests for good moral reasoning: I we must avoid false beliefs, and 2 the logic of our moral thinking must be rigorous and error—free.

Consider the following quote, written in , by the pro—slavery author Richard Colfax: Slavery is the negro system of labor. He is lazy and improvident. What more can be required of Slavery, in reference to the negro, than has been done? It supports him in comfort and peace.

It restrains his Vices. It improves his mind, morals and manners. Africans, and those of African descent, are not 2. Richard H.

Bleakley, , p. John Russell, , p. But it is possible to develop moral arguments that fail, even though every Single one of their premises is true. The failure is of the second sort mentioned above: Consider this argument: Heroin is a drug.

Selling heroin is illegal. Chapters 19, 20, and 21 are entirely devoted to such doubts; those who feel them acutely might do best to start with those chapters, and then work your way to the other parts. For now, let me say just a few things to the doubters. There are lots of problems with such views. Some of these problems may be devastating.

We must follow the arguments where they leha. They may indeed lead us ultimately to embrace such positions. If there were some objective truth in ethics, then we should expect all really smart people to agree on it. They don t. B There are universally correct moral standards only if God eXists. And thats because not mg 11 is ri ht or Wron. D lfthre wire a univerial ethic, then that would make it okay for some people to impose their own views on others.

But thats not okay at all. Therefore there is no universal ethic. E If there were objective moral rules, then it would always be wrong to break them.

But every rule admits of exceptions; no moral rule is absolute. That shows that we do make up the moral rules after all. This is going to sound like cheating, but here goes: every single one of these arguments is problematic. Still, there is a lesson here: until these or other arguments are laid out with care and successfully defended, we are in no position to assume that the skeptics about morality are right. Introduction 5 what is good and right. Doing moral philosophy can help with this.

Look at it this way. Lots of people believe that when it comes to art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder—w there are no objective, universal stan— dards of good taste.

And suppose that morality is just like art in this respect. Still, our tastes can be educated and improved. Many people are much wiser than I am about music and painting, for instance. Even if there are no universal standards of good taste, it would be silly of me to pass up a chance to talk with them. Why should I dismiss their opinions and refuse to hear them out?

Ethical Theory: An Anthology, 2nd Edition

Maybe I could learn a thing or two. Especially when so much is at stake—the very quality of our life and our relations with oth— ers—it would be terrible to close our minds to new and challenging ideas.

Those who have thought so hard about the central questions of existence may well have something to teach us. I encourage you to resist the diagnosis that in ethics, anything goes. Though it is sometimes hard to know when we have got it right in ethics, it is often very easy to know when we or others have made a mistake.

We should keep that in mind before siding too quickly with a skepticism that says that all moral views are as good as every other. Ethical Starting Points One of the puzzles about moral thinking is knowing where to begin.

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They believe that moral reasoning is simply a way of rationalizing our biases and gut feelings. This outlook encourages us to be lax in moral argument and, worse, supports an attitude that no moral views are any better than others.

We should accept it only as a last resort. And even if morality is in some way a human invention, there is. There are reasonable constraints that can guide us when thinking about how to live. Here are some of them: - Neither the law nor tradition is immune from moral criticism.

Neither does tradition.

Actions that are legal, or customary, are sometimes istaken. Having friends is a good thing. Friendships add value to your life. You are better off when there are peop e you care deeply about, and who care deeply about you.

We are not obligated to do the impossible. Morality can deman on y so much of us. Moral standards that are impossrble to meet are illegitimate.

Morality must respect our limitations. Children hear less moral responsibility than adults. The fewer of these abilities you have, the less blameworthy might cause. Two individuals or communities may have a set of common values but they may not have the same prioritization of them.

Therefore, two groups of individuals with some of their values the same, may be in conflict with each other ideologically or physically. A value system must be consistent, but in real-life this may not be true. It is also known as casuistry [12] and starts with immediate facts of a particular case. For example, lying is always not permissible if we follow the 20 2 Ethics: Fundamental Elements deontological principle.

However, in casuistry one might conclude that a person is wrong to lie in formal testimony under oath, but lying is the best action if the lie saves life. Such codes are available in most professions, and are different from moral codes which are used to the education and religion of an entire larger society. Ethical codes are more specialized than moral codes, more internally consistent, and typ- ically simple to be applied by an ordinary practitioner of the profession, without the need for extensive interpretation.

Modern professional codes have the same attributes, specifying what primary duties and to whom a professional has, as unambiguously as possible. Hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public.

Perform services only in areas of their competence.

Issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner. Act for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees. Avoid deceptive acts. This code is addressed to the entire engineering profession with no reference to particular engineering specialties. To accept responsibility in making decisions consistent with the safety, health and welfare of the public, and to disclose promptly factors that might endanger the public or the environment; 2.

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To avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest whenever possible, and to dis- close them to affected parties when they do exist; 3. To be honest and realistic in stating claims or estimates based on available data; 4. To reject bribery in all its forms; 5. To improve the understanding of technology, its appropriate application, and potential consequences; 6. To seek, accept, and offer honest criticism of technical work, to acknowledge and correct errors, and to credit properly the contributions of others; 8.

To treat fairly all persons regardless of such factors as race, religion, gender, disability, age, or national origin; 9. To avoid injuring others, their property, reputation, or employment by false or malicious action; Clearly, this code is again very general aiming to provide ethical rules for all electrical and electronic engineers.

The Fundamentals of Ethics

Using their knowledge and skill for the enhancement of human welfare; 2. Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public in the performance of their professional duties. Engineers shall perform services only in the areas of their competence; they shall build their professional reputation on the merit of their services and shall not compete unfairly with others.

Engineers shall continue their professional development throughout their careers and shall provide opportunities for the professional and ethical development of those engineers under their supervision. Engineers shall act in professional matters for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees, and shall avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest.

Engineers shall associate only with reputable persons or organizations. Engineers shall issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner and shall avoid any conduct which brings discredit upon the profession. Engineers shall consider environmental impact and sustainable development in the performance of their professional duties. The detailed criteria for interpretation of the Canons are presented in [19].

Act in such a manner that I would be willing to accept responsibility for the actions and uses of anything in which I have a part in creating. Not knowingly misinform, and if misinformation is spread do my best to correct it. Respect and follow local, national, and international laws whenever applicable. Recognize and disclose any conflicts of interest. Accept and offer constructive criticism.

Detailed discus- sions on robotic ethics and the WPI code of ethics for robotics engineers can be found in [21, 22], and a useful discussion on ethics and modular robotics is pro- vided in [23].

Modern Western philosophers have developed other theories falling within the framework of analytic philosophy, which were described in the chapter.When we say, for instance, that equals ought to be treated equally, we leave all of the interesting questions open. An argument is simply any chain of thought in which reasons philosophers call these premises are offered in support of a particular conclusion.

Do we always have good reason to do our moral duty. In other words normative ethics attempts to provide a system of principles, rules and procedures for determining what morally speaking a person should do and should not do.

There are lots of problems with such views. Bleakley, , p.