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Moral Issues

1.) If, as Barbara MacKinnon offers in Ethical Theory and Contemporary Issues, "ethics, or moral philosophy, asks basic questions about the good life," then all individuals and human societies are bound to thresh out these questions until some basic answers are obtained about "what is better and worse, about whether there is any objective right and wrong, and how we know it if there is" (4). In this, the myriad issues that challenge our sensibilities every day are, essentially, moral or ethical issues that adumbrate more fundamental questions. How we settle these issues determines, in large part, what sort of society we become.

The notion that we can pattern our conduct on a set of moral principles is a complicated one, and not all ethical theorists will agree that this is even possible. Most, however, are occupied with the task of configuring a set of objective first principles from which all human action and conduct can flow. For this, the basic questions and problems of ethics trickle out and inform virtually every decision that individuals make in their own lives. MacKinnon's own examples ask such questions as: "Is abortion unjustified killing or at least sometimes a morally permissible choice?" and "Is lying always wrong or is it sometimes justifiable?" (1). These questions are ethical questions in that buried within their answers are assumptions about the good life, right conduct, and the obligation to act in accordance with specific conclusions. If abortion is unjustified killing, then our course is fairly certain. If abortion is at least sometimes a morally permissible choice, then as ethical theorists we will need to decide under what conditions an abortion is right and under what conditions an abortion is wrong. How an individual—and a society—proceeds on such a point says a great deal about the ethical framework that is in play, and the sets of values or principles that are held. A more important enterpris...

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Moral Issues. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:32, November 30, 2021, from