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Normative Ethics

First-Order Ethics: duty-based,
consequentialist, virtue-based
Kantian Ethics
Moral goodness is defined as an action performed out of a
sense of moral duty, rather than simply out of emotion.
DEONTOLOGICAL ­ the mean justifies the end.
The consequences of an action are often out of our control;
therefore consequences…

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Duties can conflict, and Kant gives no advice on this.
It seems to justify absurd actions, e.g. being honest to a mad axe man.
Doesn't give any role to emotions such as compassion or sympathy, i.e.
seemingly `good' emotions in themselves (cold-hearted).
Takes no consequences into consideration, e.g. lying…

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Allows for consequences of an action, which we usually consider to be
equally as important as the intention.
Systematic approach to ethics.
Does not rely on religion, therefore accessible to a wide range of
- Can be made to include animals in our moral decisions, i.e. it doesn't…

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Normative Ethics
Virtue Ethics
Focusing not on what makes an action morally good, but
what type of person he/she is that chooses that action, i.e.
the central question is `How should I live?'
Largely based on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics.
To have a `morally good' life is to cultivate the virtues…

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Notion of virtues is ambiguous, which traits should count as virtues?
E.g. in some societies people would class pride as a virtue, others
wouldn't, who is right in this situation? Or is it completely relative to
the society? What if there are conflicting virtues, i.e. pride and being


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