Week 2: Normative Ethical TheoryWeek 1 focused on the introduction of normative ethical theory whereby the lecturer outlined some of the objectives of the subject, or course. One of the objectives of the subject was to offer tools that are essential in the understanding of ethical issues, sustainability, and corporate responsibility. It also intended to introduce and defend optional courses of action, as well as appreciating the available criticism basis of business. Besides, the subject aimed at offering us such critical thinking skills as questioning generally held notions concerning society or business, which people take for granted.
Furthermore, the topic addressed day-to-day ethical issues that arising in various business organizations. It also focused on the fact that ethical acts are worth pursuing and intuitively good. It was also worth noting that relativism is appears to be sensible, but its implications are usually uncomfortable. The topic also emphasized on the fact individuals find it hard to make a decision on what makes something right o wrong, or good or bad (Geirsson, Holmgren, and Holmgren189). Moreover, the week attempted to address the issue of defining the term ‘good behavior’.
Here, it was imperative to learn that early scholars developed different ethical theories in attempt to define the concept. In addition, it stressed the fact that ethical theories aid in the understanding of right decision-making. The topic also maintained that great decisions results from consideration of several frameworks (Barker 522). In terms of ethical theories, it was interesting to learn about their various categories that included consequentialist (ethical egoism and utilitarianism); non-consequentialist (moral acts and Kant’s categorical imperative); justice; and contemporary (feminist ethics, virtue ethics, and environmental ethics) (Barker 522).
It was persuading to note that rightness associates with the actors’ self-interest and those individuals should pursue their self-interests. This is because this does not essentially ignore acting on behalf of others, but that actions are good and right if handled from a person’s self-interest. Another surprising thing during this week was consequentialist theory explanation that actions are morally good or right only if their outcomes are morally good or right. This helped me reflect on some of the things that usually do, and those that my friends do.
It was eye opening to realize that our actions’ moral standing largely depends on their results or outcomes. It was also thrilling to learn the relationship between utilitarianism and consequentialist theories. Additionally, the lecture had some confronting issues like relationship between human rights and ethics. The issue of the nature human and natural rights; their basis of existence; and the results of the clashed rights were very confronting. Besides, the debate on whether individual ought to overshadow collective, and if rights are timeless or universal. What is more, the lecture illuminated on some new ideas involving the existence of positive rights, which are those that individuals require whenever in need like education, justice, and medicine.
There was also the concept of negative rights as those that required protection like assembly, privacy, religion, and freedom of speech. In relation to negative rights, I wondered why John Locke and Robert Nozick referred to them as negative rights.