Ethical Theory and the Environment
Ecological Ethics, Chapters 3 & 4; Adam Smith (1795) Theory
of Moral Sentiments [Part II of Merit and Demerit
(or, Of the Objects of Reward and Punishment), p. 61-91]
of Ethics & Ecological Ethics; Ecological Vs. Religious
Humanism, Statism, Modernism, and Economism; Secular Vs.
Religious Ethics; Aristotle and Kantian Philosophy; The
Economics of Adam Smith.
questions to answer between questions 1-19. Thereafter pick
three more questions between questions 20-25. These ten
questions, followed by your answers is your homework for this
session and must be placed in Drop 2 prior to the beginning of
class on Session 3. However, you are required to know the
answers to each and every one of these questions for the
Patrick Curry identifies three key "points" regarding
the Socratic question of how one should best live and do.
Identify those three points and reflect upon them in terms
of your own experiences.
What is ethics? What are "ecological ethics"?
Distinguish between realism, relativism and subjectivism. What
philosophers are associated with each of these concepts (you
may have to go to the web and do some research to answer
this question completely).
Explain the naturalistic fallacy to me.
What is the difference between ecological and religious ethics
(Yeah! you might have to research this!).
Explain the dominion thesis and the stewardship thesis associated
with the Judeo-Christian tradition. Are there any problems
with these ethics from an ecological perspective? Are there
any arguments to be made in their favor as ecological ethics
(Go ahead, give it a shot!).
Define managerialism, humanism, statism, modernism, and economism.
What does the term "secularism" imply?
What is secular humanism and what threat does it pose to
religious communities (That's right, another one for you to
How do secular ethics differ from religious ethics?
What are virtue ethics?
What does the term "teleological" mean and what
philosophers are associated with this term (more web
research I think).
What is involved in Kant's categorical imperative?
Explain to me what is meant by the term deontological ethics and
provide me an example.
How could happiness ever be incommensurable?
What does the term utlitarianism imply?
What is the animal liberation movement and what philosophers are
behind it (more web work)?
Adam Smith asserts "We do not therefore thoroughly and
heartily sympathize with the gratitude of one man towards
another merely because this other has been the cause of his
good fortune, unless he has been the cause of it from
motives which we entirely go along with." What is
Smith talking about in this case and who is the "benefactor"
who engenders gratitude among those receiving the gifts of
Smith then goes on to say that "if in the conduct of the
benefactor there appears to have been no propriety, now
beneficial soever its effects, it does not seem to demand or
necessarily to require any proportional recompense."
What is Smith saying here? Please explain.
Thereafter Smith asserts "In the same manner, we cannot
at all sympathize with the resentment of one man against
another, merely because this other has been the cause of his
misfortune, unless he has been the cause of it from motives
which we cannot enter into." Again, explain what
Smith is talking about here and apply it to the situation of
the BP Gulf Oil Spill off of the Horizon platform in the
Gulf of Mexico.
Explain what Smith means when he speaks of "merit"
What is beneficence and what about it precludes it from being
extorted by force?
Explain what Adam Smith meant when he talked about
In presenting his "theory of moral sentiments" Smith
provides an illustration that suggests his philosophy
regarding the place of animals in his ethical system.
Accordingly he asserts "before
any thing can be the proper object of gratitude or
resentment, it must not only be the cause of pleasure or
pain, it must likewise be capable of feeling them. Without
this other quality, those passions cannot vent themselves
with any sort of satisfaction upon it. As they are excited
by the causes of pleasure and pain, so their gratification
consists in retaliating those sensations upon what gave
occasion to them; which it is to no purpose to attempt upon
what has no sensibility. Animals, therefore, are less
improper objects of gratitude and resentment than inanimated
objects. The dog that bites, the ox that gores, are both of
them punished. If they have been the causes of the death of
any person, neither the public, nor the relations of the
slain, can be satisfied, unless they are put to death in
their turn: nor is this merely for the security of the
living, but, in some measure, to revenge the injury of the
dead. Those animals, on the contrary, that have been
remarkably serviceable to their masters, become the objects
of a very lively gratitude."
Given this statement, how would you characterize the role of
animals within Smith's model of capitalism.
Smith regards the moral sentiments as the sufficient basis
of moral judgment. In this regard his “moral sentiments”
serve as the foundation for his sense of ethics. What are
the positives and negatives associated with this ethical