TOK Ethics II

Do we owe an ethical obligation to 10,000 years into the future?

What does this comic mean?

What does this mean?

or this?

Does this convey danger?

How would your group transmit a warning about this nuclear site 10,000 years in the future using AOK/WOK? Be prepared to share with the class.

Ethics Terms & Concepts

Ethics à the systematic study of right and wrong behavior, or the study of moral choices. Ethics has three branches:

ü Meta ethics à concerned with the definition of ethical terms, the search for ethical truth.

ü Normative ethics à concerned with how we “ought” to live, theories of correct behavior

ü Applied ethicsà How moral outcomes can be achieved in practical situations. In TOK we’ll be concerned with Normative and Applied ethics.

In TOK we'll be concerned primarily with normative ethics – theories of what we “ought” to do, how we should determine a moral course of action. Here are four normative theories:

Deontological Theories

Focused on living up to obligations or following rules.

Kant’s Categorical Imperative

- “Act only according to that maxim

whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law."[1]

Teleological / Consequentialist Theories

Focused on morally desirable consequences or outcomes


- The proper course of action is one

which maximizes the overall “happiness”

Virtue Ethics

Focused on the character of the person making the moral decision.

- The proper course of action is that which is chosen by an ethically superior person.

Pragmatic Ethics

Focused on the social context of the decision.

- The proper course of action is that which results when society is allowed to advance morally, in much the same way we advance scientifically.

Ethical case studies