Group Loyalty - The next stage in ethical development is loyalty to a group, not just to ourselves as individuals. The first such group is usually our family, the next may be a group of childhood friends. This kind of loyalty is common in groups that work closely together, particularly in dangerous situations, such as police, soldiers, fire fighters, etc. Or it may be expressed in loyalty to our racial or ethnic group or to our gender. It is also found in criminal groups, where there is "honor among thieves." Organized crime depends on this kind of loyalty.Deontological Analysis focuses on the intent of the action. We examine the inherent nature of the act in terms of ethical principles. Since these principles are central to this approach, it is important to consider them carefully. Many of these principles are enunciated in religious traditions; philosophers such as Immanuel Kant believed that they could be derived from pure logic or from "Natural Law". Fundamental principles which many traditions agree on include:
Teleological, Consequentialist or Utilitarian Analysis focuses on the consequences of an action. Those critical of this approach accuse it of believing that "the ends justify the means," and that is true as long as we recognize that not any ends can justify any means. Often, utilitarian criteria are used, which means assessing "the greatest good for the greatest number." This, however, is hard to judge. Teleological analysis requires that we rigorously and objectively measure the real consequences of any act, not the consequences which are intended. For example, a teleological analysis might support racial profiling if it could be shown that it was actually effective in catching drug dealers. Even if this is the case, however, we still have the problem of minority rights, which are not well protected by a teleological analysis
The most controversal contemporary utilitarian philosopher is Princeton professor Peter Singer, who is best known for advocating animal rights. He also defends infanticide under some circumstances.
There are two varieties of utilitarianism: Act Utilitarianism
is actually a synthesis of deontological and teleological
Rule Utilitarianism agrees with deontological analysis that rules are
but it suggests that utilitarian criteria be used to evaluate general
- not specific incidents. In my opinion, rule utilitarianism is
most satisfactory of the ethical theories.
- This stresses the nature of ethical conversation. When we make
ethical statements, we are not just stating preferences, we are stating
beliefs that we believe are generally valid. Not 'I don't like
murder" but "it is wrong to murder." This means that we are
claiming that there are good reasons to believe as we do. If
others believe otherwise, they also believe they have good
reasons. We should discuss our reasons, try to persuade and learn
from each other. Even if we can't agree altogether, we may be
able to break the problem down into parts, and perhaps agree on some of
the parts. Or we may refine our positions. Discourse ethics
is associated with the writings of German philosopher Jurgen
Certain rules must be followed to implement
1. Every subject with the competence to speak and act is allowed
to take part in a discourse.
2a. Everyone is allowed to question any assertion whatever.
2b. Everyone is allowed to introduce any assertion whatever into the discourse.
2c. Everyone is allowed to express his attitudes, desires, and needs.
3. No speaker may be prevented, by internal or external coercion,
from exercising his rights as laid down in (1) and (2)
For this to work there must be a sense of Solidarity in the group
and an agreement on the rules.