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 Post subject: A Dive into Catholic Ethics
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:53 pm 
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So how does one truly determine the will of God?

We have the two commandments to follow, true, but how do we deal with a situation like this.

A train is going down a track, there is one switch in the way, on one side there is 5 people tied to the tracks, this is where the train is now heading, the alternative track has 1 person tied down.

Is it ethical to throw the switch?

Or a bit deeper, are Catholic ethics based on the fruits of a deed, the deed itself or the virtue of the deed?

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 Post subject: Re: A Dive into Catholic Ethics
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:23 pm 
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It's ethical to throw the switch. It's also ethical not to. The problem, as we math geeks says, is insufficiently constrained.

CCC wrote:
1750 The morality of human acts depends on:

- the object chosen;

- the end in view or the intention;

- the circumstances of the action.

The object, the intention, and the circumstances make up the "sources," or constitutive elements, of the morality of human acts.

1751 The object chosen is a good toward which the will deliberately directs itself. It is the matter of a human act. The object chosen morally specifies the act of the will, insofar as reason recognizes and judges it to be or not to be in conformity with the true good. Objective norms of morality express the rational order of good and evil, attested to by conscience.

1752 In contrast to the object, the intention resides in the acting subject. Because it lies at the voluntary source of an action and determines it by its end, intention is an element essential to the moral evaluation of an action. The end is the first goal of the intention and indicates the purpose pursued in the action. The intention is a movement of the will toward the end: it is concerned with the goal of the activity. It aims at the good anticipated from the action undertaken. Intention is not limited to directing individual actions, but can guide several actions toward one and the same purpose; it can orient one's whole life toward its ultimate end. For example, a service done with the end of helping one's neighbor can at the same time be inspired by the love of God as the ultimate end of all our actions. One and the same action can also be inspired by several intentions, such as performing a service in order to obtain a favor or to boast about it.

1753 A good intention (for example, that of helping one's neighbor) does not make behavior that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and calumny, good or just. The end does not justify the means. Thus the condemnation of an innocent person cannot be justified as a legitimate means of saving the nation. On the other hand, an added bad intention (such as vainglory) makes an act evil that, in and of itself, can be good (such as almsgiving).

1754 The circumstances, including the consequences, are secondary elements of a moral act. They contribute to increasing or diminishing the moral goodness or evil of human acts (for example, the amount of a theft). They can also diminish or increase the agent's responsibility (such as acting out of a fear of death). Circumstances of themselves cannot change the moral quality of acts themselves; they can make neither good nor right an action that is in itself evil.
All three elements must be good for an act to be good.

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 Post subject: Re: A Dive into Catholic Ethics
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:14 pm 
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The train track problem. Used to justify uitlitarianism originally. In this version, yes you can flip the switch because you action, turning the switch, is not itself immoral, you intend a good end (saving five lives) and only forsee the death of the one, and would have avoided it if you could (I am presuming no other options)

Another version has you push someone else off to save even more. In that case no.

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 Post subject: Re: A Dive into Catholic Ethics
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:27 pm 
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But you aren't obligated to throw the switch, either.

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 Post subject: Re: A Dive into Catholic Ethics
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:11 am 
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True.

In answer to the more direct question, it should be added that while the goodness of the act is measure by its object, intent and circumstances (ultimately by a good will), the goodness of a person is in having virtue, which is formed by and productive of such acts.

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 Post subject: Re: A Dive into Catholic Ethics
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:51 pm 
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I'm wondering where God comes into this equation?

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 Post subject: Re: A Dive into Catholic Ethics
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:12 pm 
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ForeverFaithful wrote:
I'm wondering where God comes into this equation?

What do you mean?

God as the source of natural law? Grace as the source of virtue? God as the intentional object of meritorious acts?


Even an atheist can do morally good deeds after all

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 Post subject: Re: A Dive into Catholic Ethics
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:21 pm 
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Malleus Haereticorum wrote:
ForeverFaithful wrote:
I'm wondering where God comes into this equation?

What do you mean?

God as the source of natural law? Grace as the source of virtue? God as the intentional object of meritorious acts?


Even an atheist can do morally good deeds after all


The Catechism does not make reference to God in these paragraphs

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 Post subject: Re: A Dive into Catholic Ethics
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:29 pm 
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Please cite the section you are looking at or are you talking about what Fr posted?


SV

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 Post subject: Re: A Dive into Catholic Ethics
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:32 pm 
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ForeverFaithful wrote:
I'm wondering where God comes into this equation?
If you have time to read it, you might try this: http://www.vatican.va/archive/compendiu ... .html#Mans Vocation: Life in the Spirit

If you're in a hurry, skip down to 415, but reading the whole thing will give you a better answer.

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