SMC Environmental Studies Moral Theories Discussion

For the following FOUR ethical principles (also known as moral theories) listed below:

1) Define each moral principle (separately), that is listed below. (in other words, state in words how the principle determines what is moral (as we did in class));

1b) Define each of the key concepts, if applicable, involved with your presentation of the definition of the moral principle

2) State (say in words) which side of the UN

Resolution ("for" or "against" the UN resolution) in the hypothetical example below is best supported by the particular principle and say why (do this for each of the four principles after you provide the explication for 1) and 1b)).


1) Cultural Relativism

2) Divine Command Theory

3) Bentham's "Greatest Happiness Principle" (GHP or "Principle of Utility")

4) Kant's "Categorical Imperative” Scenario (apply each of the four principles above after you explain the principle to this scenario):

Read the hypothetical scenario below and answer the questions that follow as if this were a real-life situation. Your answer should explicitly demonstrate your understanding of the principles and concepts considered in class discussions and in the readings:

The independent island nation-state of Rufrad has a severe problem with the sudden death of all its infants that threatens the long-term existence of the nation. Doctors and scientists have attempted to discover the cause of the problem without success.

The problem manifests itself only in infants that have members of the Ghazawa Ethnic group as their primary care givers. The death rate for infants in contact with the Ghazawa is 99% within weeks after initial contact. (The Ghazawa are live-in primary care givers in Rufrad. Housing is scarce and all the other Ethnic groups must labor to obtain minimal food and health provisions in work considered unsuitable under Ghazawa tradition.)

The government has been informed that “ethnic cleansing” or genocide is the only solution to prevent the nation from self-annihilation. As a result, the government has imposed a mandatory death sentence on all Ghazawa citizens in the country.

The government of Rufrad admits that this move is severe, especially since the Ghazawa people have done nothing wrong, but points to the benefits in preserving the overall society. To complicate matters it is not clear which ethical approach should be applied by the nation to support this moral choice. One might appeal to one of several moral principles to justify which ethical course of action should be taken.

The United Nations is considering a resolution designed to force the government of Rufrad to end this mandatory death sentence of all Ghazawa. If adopted the UN resolution will ban all shipments of food and medicine to Rufrad in order to force Rufrad to accept the views of the majority of UN members that this mandatory death sentence is wrong.