Published on January 7, 2015
Applied ethics looks at controversial topics like war, animal rights and capital punishment Chapter 1 has these listed as normative/prescriptive, scientific/descriptive, and meta-ethics. The second half of the text looks at applied ethics. We will be looking at allowing to die, and lying, cheating, stealing, and breaking promises. What use is ethics? Ethics needs to provide answers. Photo: Geoffrey Holman © If ethical theories are to be useful in practice, they need to affect the way human beings behave. Some philosophers think that ethics does do this. They argue that if a person realizes that it would be morally good to do something then it would be irrational for that person not to do it. But human beings often behave irrationally - they follow their 'gut instinct' even when their head suggests a different course of action. However, ethics does provide good tools for thinking about moral issues. Ethics can provide a moral map (In this class these moral maps are called ethical theories. They consist of egoism, utilitarianism, care ethics, Divine Command, intuitionism, Kant, Prima Facie, and virtue ethics.) Most moral issues get us pretty worked up - think of abortion and euthanasia for starters. Because these are such emotional issues we often let our hearts do the arguing while our brains just go with the flow.