Ethics ToK

Ethics Plan: Scope
Ethics introduction, the Purpose of Ethics
Theories and approaches to Ethics
Ethics and Culture/Religion
Arguing Ethics
Threats to ethics and ethical problems in
• Under the influence of ethics—’wrong’ ethics,
ethics in history.
Part 1:
Where do Ethics come from?
Approaches to Ethics
Theories of Ethics
Remember this guy?
Ethics…We all have some
The only ToK topic that remains a branch of
philosophy, ethics is not an area where research
can be done to approach certainty, especially as
a given ‘sample’ population grows larger.
The origins of our ethics are extremely diverse.
Or is it more human sciences?
Human sciences talk about motives, decisions,
actions and consequences of actions.
Ethics studies not how human beings DO act,
but rather how they SHOULD act. Ethics deals
with human value-judgments and morality.
The good ol’ human condition
We (most of us) have to think about right and
wrong, good and bad.
Do you think this is nature, nurture, or both? It
ethics intuitive? What about your conscience?
The questions we find most important are the
ones that never reveal a clear or consistent
Nearly every single news story you will read,
listen to, or watch will involve ethics to some
It is a pervasive concept—where human beings
are, so to is our desire to categorize things into
right/wrong, good/bad and make decisions
based on how we categorize them.
Some Ethical Questions to get the juices
flowing…WWJD? (What would Jiminy Do?)
Is abortion ever justified?
Should drugs be legalized?
Are there limits to free speech?
Is there ever such a thing as a just war?
Should euthanization of a terminally ill patient be illegal,
even if it’s what the patient wants?
• Should you keep a secret even if keeping quiet could cause
someone harm?
• Should certain books, song lyrics, and films be censored?
Who should censor them?
• If everyone in a race is using performance enhancing drugs,
is it still wrong to use them?
A mish-mash…
Ethics attempts to combine emotions,
personal/cultural senses of identity, religions,
ideologies to try to reflect on the nature of
moral choices; to try to give general
perspectives that can then apply to particular
Does this look familiar?
The International Baccalaureate Organization aims to develop
inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help
to create a better and more peaceful world through
intercultural understanding and respect.
To this end the IBO works with schools, governments and
international organizations to develop challenging programs
of international education and rigorous assessment.
These programs encourage students across the world to
become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who
understand that other people, with their differences, can also
be right.
Do we carry any kind of moral responsibility to
gain knowledge, see from different
perspectives—even try to grasp a perspective
repugnant to us—and try to understand the
complexities of the world?
Or…said another way…
Does ethics come with responsibility or is it a
responsibility to behave ethically?
Do we have ethics because we feel that we owe
something to others?
• Could it be part of our biology? Could our
brain be wired to behave ethically?
• This is the same neuro-hormone that Kelly
McGonigal referenced in her TedTalk about
stress—it is the hormone released in social
situations, both good and bad.
• But does that explain the root of all of our
morals and ethics? Or is it just the beginning?
Does free-will exist or is it all up to biology?
• Does context matter? This story is told by a woman in
Arabia while she is essentially trapped by the king.
• Does context of reader matter? Male, female, religious,
not religious.
• How do you decide reprehensibility? This exercise
should tell you a lot about yourself!
• Do you feel like you need more details? How often are
you given every detail of news stories? When we have
to make our moral judgments on what we are given,
we are often guilty of hasty decisions.
What’s the diff?
With a partner, try to differentiate
between these:
Likes and dislikes
Writing question—Please respond in
your comp book:
How much ethical weight goes into your
decision of where to go to college? Explain.
How much ethical weight goes into your
decision of what career you will pursue? Explain.
What would you do?
Chalk Talk
1. List ten of your most prevalent values or
2. List ten of your most prevalent sources of
values or morals.
3. List 5-10 of the most heavily debated ethical
dilemmas you see happening in present day.
• Blog due Saturday
• TOK essay outline due Tuesday
• NO SCHOOL Monday
• Today:
– Comp book write
– Finish notes for this week

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