Jul 1, 2017

278.6_Moral Theories: An Introduction

View the full Interactive Tutorial at:
http://www.phgfoundation.org/tutorial...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYdCajZY0mI&list=PLBC5126B909D66AA0

Moral Theories - Consequentialism

Consequentialism: The End Justifies the Means

In consequentialism, the consequence of an action justifies the moral acceptability of the means taken to reach that end. The results of actions outweigh any other consideration; in other words, the end justifies the means. Jeremy Bentham was an early and influential advocate of utilitarianism, the dominant consequentialist position. A utilitarian believes in the greatest happiness for the greatest number. The more people who benefit from a particular action, the greater its good.

Moral Theories - Deontology

Deontology or Kantianism is an obligation-based theory whose chief author was Immanuel Kant, who lived in the 18th century. This theory emphasises the type of action rather than the consequences of that action. Deontologists believe that moral decisions should be made based on ones duties and the rights of others. According to Kant, morality is based on pure reason. As people have the innate ability to act rationally, they therefore must act morally, irrespective of personal desires. Another way of stating Kants theory is Act morally regardless of the consequences. - In the case of the doctor and the homeless man, again assuming there is no penalty for either decision, which would a deontologist do?

Moral Theories - Bioethics

Common morality theories are usually based on principles that are used to guide ethical thinking, based on a shared moral belief. One of these theories is Bioethics, the ethics of biology, biological research and the applications of that research. It is an ethical theory that brings together medicine, the law, social sciences, philosophy, theology, politics and other disciplines to address questions related to clinical decision making and medical research.

Moral Theories - Principles of Bioethics

Some of the early founders of bioethics put forth four principles which form this framework for moral reasoning. These four principles are:


  • 1.Autonomy one should respect the right of individuals to make their own decisions
  • 2.Nonmaleficence one should avoid causing harm
  • 3.Beneficence one should take positive steps to help others
  • 4.Justice benefits and risks should be fairly distributed


One commentator has said, the four principles should be thought of as the four moral nucleotides that constitute moral DNA capable, alone or in combination, of explaining and justifying all the substantive and universalisable moral norms of health care ethics

Moral Theories - Scenario 1

Consider the following scenario: A doctor is working in the Accident and Emergency Department of a hospital. A homeless man is brought in with brain damage sustained in a road traffic accident. The doctor recognises him; the man has no family and is in reasonable physical, if not mental, health. The doctor knows there is still time to save the mans life. He also knows that if he does not start treatment, the man will suffer brain death and his organs could possibly be used to improve the quality of or even save several other peoples lives. Assuming there is no penalty associated with either choice, what would a strict utilitarian do? * Save the mans life * Contact the transplant team to ready them to harvest any available organs

The doctor would allow the man to die and try to use his organs to save as many people as possible. This would bring the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people.

Moral Theories - Scenario 2

In summary, ethics is how we look at and understand life, while moral theories are frameworks we use to decide how to act. Consequentialism is a theory that emphasises the results of actions, while Deontology stresses the requirement to act morally, irrespective of the outcome. Bioethics is a principle-based theory that brings together the ethics of biology, biological research and their applications. The four principles of Bioethics are autonomy, the right of individuals to make their own decisions; nonmaleficence, one should avoid causing harm; beneficence, positive steps should taken to help others; and justice, the benefits and risks should be fairly distributed. While no one moral theory is correct, and there are many more to be considered, they provide a useful tool to guide ethical decision making.

Moral Theories - Summary

In summary, ethics is how we look at and understand life, while moral theories are frameworks we use to decide how to act. Consequentialism is a theory that emphasises the results of actions, while Deontology stresses the requirement to act morally, irrespective of the outcome. Bioethics is a principle-based theory that brings together the ethics of biology, biological research and their applications. The four principles of Bioethics are autonomy, the right of individuals to make their own decisions; nonmaleficence, one should avoid causing harm; beneficence, positive steps should taken to help others; and justice, the benefits and risks should be fairly distributed. While no one moral theory is correct, and there are many more to be considered, they provide a useful tool to guide ethical decision making.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.