Ethical Theory II

 

Ethics Online offers three films on the comparative normative theories of Virtue Ethics, Natural Moral Law and Utilitarianism. Each film is constructed to be both memorable and richly informative – and offers a fresh perspective on  these benchmark theories.

Teachers’ notes, scripts & classroom activities accompany each film.

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Virtue Ethics

The 1960s and 70s saw extraordinary developments in scientific knowledge, yet bioethicists of both utilitarian and deontological persuasions found it hard to meet the new problems from their traditional perspectives. Increasingly it became clear that the moral sensitivity, perception and judgement required to meet upcoming moral challenges looked very like the old virtue of ‘prudence’.This film explores how an ancient ethical tradition has found new meaning in our 21st century world.



Natural Law

Is something good because it is fit for purpose and what might that purpose look like for the human animal?Thomas Aquinas, with his peculiarly Christian vision, took Aristotle’s ideas of potential and fulfillment and transformed them into something that appeared both universal and true. Using powerful archive footage, this film explores the assumptions made by the theory of Natural Law and asks whether it still has a place within a diverse and sensitive world.



Utilitarianism

Taking us on a journey from Epicurus’ Garden through the great social upheavals of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, this film explores the radical quest for happiness that has enchanted so many of our philosophers. Unpicking the different perspectives of Bentham and Mill and contrasting them with ideas from Preference Utilitarianism, this film offers a clear and concise route through this deceptively straight forward theory.