The Moral Cartographer: Four Approaches to Ethics

  • August 8, 2013 · 7:00 PM
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What facts of reality give rise to the concept of morality?

This is a metaethical question. Let's examine one component of the answer by looking more closely at the methods of drawing up morality.

We will survey

deontological ethics
religious ethics
Judeo-Christian ethics
Islamic ethics
Nietzschean master-race ethics
Kantian ethics
consequential ethics
rule consequentialism
characterological ethics
Stoic ethics
virtue ethics
teleological ethics
praying-mantis ethics
Nicomachean ethics


Each mapping approach to ethics takes some thing or other to be primary. What is it for each?

  1. Do they all yield the same moralities? How are they to be evaluated?
  2. A case can be made for a fifth approach to drawing up morality: situation ethics. Why is it rejected? More widely, why isn't there a fifth cartographer?

The bonus question to ask, if we finish early, is, can the various ethical systems be classified metaethically on the basis of practicality?

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  • Patricia

    Excellent discussion. ..I love the fact that over the last year we built the knowledge to comprehend all these concepts. These complicated issues are so much easier to understand and as always, this basic understanding opens the door for more research and study with a clear sense of direction.

    2 · August 9, 2013

    • Mark G.

      I agree Patricia. Over the last year, we have built up an understanding of several key meta-ethical terms, i.e., moral traveler, moral map, moral compass, journey, etc. In this meetup, I think really for the first time, we applied these terms to five major groupings of ethical systems: Instrumentalist / Pragmatist, Deotological / Command, Consequentialism, Characteriological, and Teleologiical. For example, we asked, what is the moral compass in each ethical system? We found that, in the Deotological / Command system, it is faith and emotion; In Consequentialism the compass is pleasure or utility, and so forth. Great discussion!

      2 · August 9, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    It was confusing at first since I have not gone to all the meetings on this topic. I think a session should be devoted to each of the general moral systems

    1 · August 8, 2013

  • Tim

    My nasal membranes are infected and am experiencing incapacitating side effects that may prohibit my presence. May Zeus grant me a speedy recovery.

    August 8, 2013

    • Patricia

      The group says: feel better!

      2 · August 8, 2013

    • Tim

      The individual thanks the entity!

      1 · August 8, 2013

  • Tom O.

    Some of you asked what are some reading materials sufficient to prepare for this meeting. If you like public encyclopedia entries, then I recommend these articles:

    A tidbit of interest: Unless you go to a religious web site, there is no detailed article for "teleological ethics":

    If others have more recommendations, please share them. Also, attendees can e-mail me for summaries and slides of some of our past discussions.

    August 3, 2013

    • Tom O.

      And this news article details a shipwrecked situation that has a moral dimension to it. How do the different approaches to ethics evaluate it? http://www.heraldsun....­

      1 · August 7, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      The dog is man's best friend...but the article did fail to mention the wife's opinion and they were all saved.

      August 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Attending another meetup that night.

    August 7, 2013

  • Mukesh M.

    Something came up at work and wont be able to make it. Looking forward to the next one.

    August 7, 2013

  • George S.

    Regrets - unable.

    August 7, 2013

  • George S.

    Sincere regrets - unable to attend.

    August 7, 2013

  • Tim

    Very interesting topic. Look forward to the discussion!

    March 27, 2013

  • Jae A.

    Thanks for the heads up Tom. I'll be looking forward to it.

    November 13, 2012

  • Dave

    I'll come if I can make it that day.

    August 26, 2012

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