Module 1 Normative Ethics

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					               2.2 Normative Ethics --- Theory of Conduct --- Duties



                   Theory of Conduct
                               “Duties”


Teaching objectives:

   The Principle of deontological ethics --- The right and
    wrong of an action itself is more important than its
    consequences
   Different kinds of duties and their conflicts
   The Advantages and Disadvantages of Deontology
   Case Study (1) --- We have the duty to defend “XXX”
   Case Study (2) --- The Story of Kamala
   Case Study (3) --- The Story of Rahab, the Prostitute, and
    the Israeli Agents
   Case Study (4) --- Daniel in the Lions' Den
   Case Study (5) --- Comparison between Utilitarianism and
    Kantian Theory




Suggested teaching period: 5 lessons




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                   2.2 Normative Ethics --- Theory of Conduct --- Duties


Teacher shall first prepare:
 Knowledge Content of the Subject (1):Principles of Deontology
 Knowledge Content of the Subject (2):The Advantages and
     Disadvantages of Deontology
    Case Study (1) --- We have the duty to defend “XXX”
    Case Study (2) --- The Story of Kamala
    Case Study (3) --- The Story of Rahab, the Prostitute, and the Israeli
     Agents
    Case Study (4) --- Daniel in the Lions' Den
    Case Study (5) --- Comparison between Utilitarianism and Kantian Theory



Teaching Process:
1. This chapter is the first part of “Deontology”. Teachers are recommended to
   first explain the Knowledge Content of the Subject (1): The Principles of
   Deontology.


2. Teacher may ask students to state 4 key points of Deontology as conclusion:
          Whether a behaviour is right or wrong is more important than its
           good and bad consequences
          Emphasise on the importance of rationality
          Take up responsibility unconditionally is of utmost importance
          Treat all men alike without discrimination


3. Teacher may ask students to give the definition of “Deontology” as an
   introduction to the next theme: “There maybe conflicts between various
    duties”.


4. Divide the students into groups of 4-5 and give them 10 minutes to discuss
   on the Worksheet: Case study (1) --- We have the duty to defend “XXX”.


5. After discussion, ask each group to send 1 representative and present the
   answer of his/her group.


6. Teacher shall conclude the lesson by explaining Knowledge Content of the
    Subject (2): The Advantages and Disadvantages of Deontology.


7. Divide the students into groups of 4-5. Ask them to discuss on Case Study


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                  2.2 Normative Ethics --- Theory of Conduct --- Duties


   (2) to (4) and complete the worksheets.


8. After the discussion, ask each group to send 1 representative to present
   the answer of his/her group.


9. Teacher distributes and explains the answers.




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                      2.2 Normative Ethics --- Theory of Conduct --- Duties


                  Knowledge Content of the Subject (1):
                        Principles of Deontology

                             Principles of Deontology
    Deontology suggests that the ultimate standard of morality focuses on the right
or wrong of the action itself. In order words, the right or wrong is not affected by
external factors. The actions are not affected by the goodness or badness of their
consequences. To consider an action as moral is only because it contains positive
values in nature and therefore we have the responsible to do it.
     For example, there are some old sayings like "to kill one as a warning for a
hundred" and "severe punishment in troubled times". Whether or not these
methods can reduce the number of crime, some innocent people will definitely be
involved. Therefore, these actions are immoral under any conditions.
     Then what kind of action contains positive values in nature? Will different
people make different judgement towards the same action? Among the scholars
studying deontology, Immanuel Kant has more explanation on various issues
concerning deontology. His theory is very influential to later generations.


                  Several key points of the Kantian Theory

1.   The importance of emphasising reason
         Any moral behaviour must be based on a sense of goodwill. Our reason
     enables us to differentiate right from wrong. Hence doing good in goodwill is
     clearly the perfect scenario; but even if bad is done in goodwill after analysing
     the action with reason is still morally acceptable.

2.   Unconditionally taking up responsibility is of utmost importance
          Everyone has the responsibility to comply with moral principles, but the
     compliance of such principles is not merely done to achieve a certain
     objective. One complies unconditionally since it is the moral thing to do. Kant
     would consider this as moral. For example, doing good for other people‟s
     compliment is immoral It is only moral if we do good purely because we think it
     is the right thing to do.

3.   It is immoral to tell lies under any circumstance.
          Kant believes that morals and ethics should be based on integrity. Without
     integrity, there is no way to establish any ethical principles and values.

4.   Treating people equally with no discrimination

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                 2.2 Normative Ethics --- Theory of Conduct --- Duties


    If you agree that certain behaviour and the principles behind these
behaviour are moral, you may also accept that these behaviour be applied on
yourself. We cannot agree on one thing while behaving in another way.
    For example, I like spicy food. According to the “do as you would like
others to do to you” principle, I want other people to like spicy food as well.
Does this behaviour comply with morality? The answer is negative. Assuming
that the principle stands - even if someone does not like spicy food, we still
insist that they have spicy food against his/her will - the goal of treating people
equally with no discrimination can not be achieved.




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                        2.2 Normative Ethics --- Theory of Conduct --- Duties


           Case Study (1) --- We have the duty to defend “XXX”

         Deontology asserts that we have the obligation to preserve some values.
     However, which values deserve to be preserved? Since ancient times, there
     have been many different views among humans. Below are some examples.


                     Hong Kong Core Values Declaration
    Hong Kong had accumulated a long history of fighting for a better system. The
incessant efforts made by the Hong Kong people have produced a unique local
culture that is underpinned by some core values most treasured by them and in line
with the global modern civilisation. These core values include: liberty, democracy,
human rights, rule of law, fairness, social justice, peace and compassion,
integrity and transparency, plurality, respect for individuals, and upholding
professionalism. More and more Hong Kong people are convinced that in their
pursuit of a higher quality of life, we must also adhere to the core values essential
to sustainable development: broad-based community participation in public affairs,
inter-generational equity, and economic development with a human focus,
environmental protection and reconciliation with nature.
                                                       http://www.hkcorevalues.net

                      The Three Principles of the People
                               by Sun Yat-sen

    The Three Principles of the People are political principles for China
implemented by Sun Yat-sen. The principles reflected the core values of the
Chinese people in the early 20th century, including 'The People's Relation', 'The
People's Power' and 'The People's Welfare'.


1.     The People's Relation: Oppose to aggression of other countries; defeat
       warlords collaborating with imperialism, so as to unite all different ethnicities
       of China, and to recognise self-determination.
2.     The People's Power: The government is owned by its people. The people are
       entitled to four rights (power of politics) - election, recall, initiative and
       referendum - to monitor their government. On the other hand, the government
       has five rights (power of governance) - legislation, jurisdiction, execution,
       examination and control - to govern the country. This principle emphasises that
       the government holds the power of governance so that it can carry out the
       policies effectively; while the people have the power of politics to monitor the


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                           2.2 Normative Ethics --- Theory of Conduct --- Duties


          government.
3.        The People's Welfare: It involves another two important principles. First is the
          equality of land holdings so that all peasant farmers have their own farmland.
          This allows the people to handle basic food issues for survival. Second is the
          restriction of capital. Individuals cannot control people's livelihood, so that
          people can engage themselves in economic activities and improve their living
          standard.


                                      http://sun.yatsen.gov.tw/content.php?cid=S01_03_03


     1.     What values mentioned in “Hong Kong Core Values Declaration” and the
            “Three Principles of the People” are we obligated to preserve?
     2.     Why are we obligated to preserve these core values?




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                       2.2 Normative Ethics --- Theory of Conduct --- Duties


                 Knowledge Content of the Subject (2):
            The advantages and disadvantages of deontology

                        The Advantages of deontology
1.    Establish the foundation of moral values on a certain recognised moral
         Deontology emphasises that certain action involves moral factors already,
     which reasonably matches our past experience. In fact, some factors are
     commonly regarded as moral in the society, such as "honesty" and "justice", etc.
     They are common known and help to form the basis for people‟s
     communication and interaction.


2.   Helps establish a set of clear moral values so that we will not be moved even
     when the environment changes.


                      The disadvantages of deontology
1. It is difficult to put into practice since it overlooks the effect of emotions on
   human
            Humans are not the same as machines. The standard of morality thus
      depends on one‟s emotion and interpersonal relationship, etc. In real life,
      whether an action is considered as moral is also affected by these factors. For
      example, “to treat all men alike without discrimination” is a moral value nobody
      denies. However, if you treat all men alike, I believe your dear family and close
      friends will think you are inhumane and give them the cold shoulder.

2. Over-emphasis on the popularity and inevitability moral principles and
   overlooks the general situation of individual actions
           Our experiences tell us that there is no definite distinction for everything.
     Whether something is good or bad, right or wrong also depends on the changes
     in the external environment. For example, under normal circumstances, we all
     agree that honesty is a virtue, something we should abide by. However, the
     majority thinks that white lies are not immoral.


3. Different people have different views on important duties
         Everyone has his/her own idea on duty. Kant considered “honesty” as the
   most important duty of all, but not everyone is convinced. In contemporary
     society, some may prize “human rights”, “freedom”, or “equality” as the most
     important. People who are more traditional may regard “humanity”,
     “righteousness, “ritual” and “wisdom” as the most important.

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                     2.2 Normative Ethics --- Theory of Conduct --- Duties


4. The conflicts between different duties are insuperable
        Deontology briefly points out that we should act according to moral
   principles and not to do anything that are immoral. In real life, however, what
   face us are often not the choices of good/evil or right/wrong. Usually, what we
   do is to choose the less evil between the two and other moral dilemmas, for
   which deontology doesn‟t provide any clues.




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                      2.2 Normative Ethics --- Theory of Conduct --- Duties


                 Case Study (2) --- The Story of Kalamas


    Once when Buddha visited a town of the Kalama people in the Kosala country.
The Kalamas heard that Buddha had come so they paid homage to him and said,
“Lord, there are some priests and contemplatives who come to our village. They
expound and glorify their own doctrines, but as for the doctrines of others, they
deprecate them, revile them, show contempt for them, and disparage them. And
then other priests and contemplatives come. They expound and glorify their own
doctrines, but as for the doctrines of others, they deprecate them, revile them,
show contempt for them, & disparage them. They leave us absolutely uncertain &
in doubt: Which of these venerable priests & contemplatives are speaking the truth,
and which ones are lying?”

     "It is proper for you, Kalamas, to doubt, to be uncertain; uncertainty has arisen
in you about what is doubtful. Come, Kalamas. don't go by reports, by legends, by
rumours, by scripture or authority of a certain religion, by theories or conjecture, by
the appearance of a matter, by subjective views of personal preferences or
conjecture, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher', or
by the number of believer. Kamalas! After detailed observation, analysis, reflection
and discussion, when you know for yourselves that something is unkind, wrong or
evil, then you should abandon them…… And when you know for sure something is
kind and good, then you should enter and remain in them.”

                              The above story was adapted from the <Kamala Sutta>



  1.   From what Buddha taught the Kalamas above, what factors shall they
       consider before making choices and decisions?
  2.   Deontology believes people are rational enough to make moral decisions.
       Do you think the Buddha‟s teachings to Kalamas are similar in nature?




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                     2.2 Normative Ethics --- Theory of Conduct --- Duties


  Case Study (3) ---
  The Story of Rahab, the Prostitute, and the Israeli Agents

      After the death of Moses, the prophet, Joshua became the leader of the
Israelites and continued to lead them out of the wilderness into the Promised Land
of milk and honey. To enter the Promised Land, he must first fight with the natives
living there. As an able and wise leader, Joshua sent two agents to the all important
Palestinian city of Jericho to collect military information.


    The two agents arrived in Jericho and hid in the house of Rahab the prostitute.
Someone said to the King of Jericho, “Israelites will come here to spy on us tonight.
To avoid being discovered, they may hide in a brothel. You need to be careful.”


    Then, the soldiers came to the prostitute, Rahab‟s home and said to her, “Hand
over the men who have come into your house. They are spying on our military
information for the Israelites”. In fact Rahab knew the identity of the men and she
had already kept them on the roof. She told the soldiers, “Those men had been
here before. They are probably outside the town already. You better go now to
catch them up.” Then the soldiers left.


     Then, the soldiers came to the prostitute Rahab‟s home and said to her, “hand
over the men who have come into your house. They are spying on our military
information for the Israelis”. In fact Rahab knew the identity of the men and she had
already kept them on the roof. She told the soldiers, “Those men had been here
before. They are probably outside the town already. You better go now to catch
them up.” Then the soldiers left.


     Rahab continued, “Now, I have been kind to you, will you swear that when you
attack the land of Jericho, you will save my family, so that death may not come on
us?‟ The men said to her, „If you keep our business secret, we will treat you with
kindness and honesty. When we come to the land, tie this cord of bright red thread
at the window, and your family will be safe. Then she liberated the men, let them
down from the window by a cord, since the house where she lived in was at the
boundary of the town.


      The above story is based on 1-2 Book of Joshua, Old Testament of the Bible




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                   2.2 Normative Ethics --- Theory of Conduct --- Duties


1.   From the perspective of deontology, do you think Rahab‟s lying to the
     soldiers from Jericho is a moral behaviour?
2.   From the perspective of deontology, which factors should we consider to
     determine whether the Jericho‟s behaviour is moral or not?
3.   From the perspective of utilitarianism, do you think Rahab‟s lying to the
     soldiers from Jericho is a moral behaviour?




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                   2.2 Normative Ethics --- Theory of Conduct --- Duties


             Case Study (4) --- Daniel in the Lion’s Den

    Daniel, the Jew, was one of three administrators in the Persian palace.
Though Daniel was a man in power, he was very dedicated and faithful to
Jehovah, the Jewish God. Daniel prayed to the God three times a day, every
morning, noon and evening, and he never worshipped any other god or spirit.
With the blessings of Jehovah, he distinguished himself from the other
administrators and the Persian King wanted to set him over the whole
kingdom.


    On hearing this, the other administrators envied Daniel and tried to find
grounds for charges against him and plotted to kill him, but in vain. Finally
they thought of a trap to set him up. They asked the King to establish a royal
statute that within thirty days, whosoever shall ask a petition of, worship or
pray to any god or man, save the King, should be cast into a den of lions
and be preyed by the lions.

     Daniel was a very keen worshipper of Christ. He took no notice of the
ban and kept worshipping and praying to God three times every day. When
the administrators against him were informed of his worshipping, they
complained to the King and accused Daniel of violating the prohibition,
asking the King to throw him into the Lion‟s Den. The King felt he was in a
dilemma as he very much appreciated Daniel‟s talents. He regretted that he
had issued such a senseless ban. Then, he suddenly realised that there was
not any evidence to verify the claim that Daniel had worshipped other Gods;
as long as he denied the accusation, he would be safe since there had not
been any proof.


     On the thirtieth night after the order of the ban, the Persian King went to
Daniel‟s home with his administrators. He asked Daniel, “I issued the ban on
worshipping any God and human beings except me - those who ignore the
ban will be thrown into the Lion‟s Den. But now I think that this is a senseless
order, and if I was allowed to choose again, I would have never issued such a
divine order. In the past few days, there had been accusation that you have
violated the ban. You are my most beloved servant. If I do not see you violate
the ban with my own eyes or hear you admit that you have disobeyed the
order, I would not believe in any accusation against you. Now I am at your
home and do not see you worship any other god. Can you tell me if you have


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                   2.2 Normative Ethics --- Theory of Conduct --- Duties


worshipped any other god in the past thirty days?”


 Although the Persian King knew Daniel had disobeyed this ban, his words
 obviously implied Daniel‟s denial to the administrators‟ accusation. Finally,
 Daniel preserved his own faith and principle and admitted the charge in front
 of the king and the administrators, though he understood the king‟s thought.
 The king thus had no choice but to order the soldiers to throw him into the
 den of lions.


1.   The administrators have no evidence to prove the accusation of
     „worshipping other god‟. Daniel will not be killed if he denied it. Why did he
     still admit the accusation?
2.   From the perspective of deontology, do you think Daniel admitting the
     accusation was a moral decision?
3.   From the perspective of utilitarianism, do you think Daniel‟s decision can
     be considered as moral?




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                     2.2 Normative Ethics --- Theory of Conduct --- Duties


  Case Study (5):
  Comparison between Utilitarianism and Kantian theory

Any means necessary even deception is fair play in war
    In ancient times, it was believed that any means necessary, even deception is fair
game in the war. To achieve victory, even conspiracy and plots can be deployed in
order to lead to the misjudgment of the enemy.


What is war?
     When more than one nation or organisation fail to resolve mutual conflicts via
normal and non-violent means, in the form of violence, a “war” takes place until one of
the parties loses the ability to induce violence or surrenders. It is a procedure during
which psychological process as well as consumption and production of material
coexist.

Please refer to the website: http://edu.ocac.gov.tw/interact/ebook/36story/index.htm

Study the „Thirty-six Strategies‟ before answer the following questions.


  1.   What are the purposes of waging a war?
  2.   Judging from the perspective of deontology, decide which ones of the
       „Thirty-six Stratagems‟ are moral. Why?
  3.   Judging from the perspective of utilitarianism, decide which ones of the
       „Thirty-six Stratagems‟ mentioned above are moral. Why?
  4.   Judging from the perspective of deontology, do you think most cases that
       related to war of choice-making and decisions are immoral? Why?




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