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280. The Role of Applied Ethics in Human Existence

Introduction: The Quest for Morality

William Search, in his books "Why" and "Conversations with chatGPT: Exploring the Theory of Morality and Existence," delves deep into the essence of human existence, connecting it to morality. In this blog post, we shall explore the intriguing notions presented by Search and ponder their significance in our lives.

Applied Ethics: A Bridge Between Theory and Reality

A crucial aspect of understanding the connection between human existence and morality lies in applied ethics. Historically, philosophers, such as Plato and Aquinas, have sought to apply their ethical ideas to real-world issues. However, there was a period when analytic philosophy distanced itself from practical questions.

The Emergence of Applied Ethics in the 1960s

During the 1960s, the fight for racial equality and resistance to the Vietnam War in America led to a resurgence in applied ethics. This radical shift in focus resulted in applied ethics courses becoming commonplace in philosophy departments across the English-speaking world.

The Evolution of Applied Ethics Topics

Initially, topics in applied ethics centered on equality, the justification of war, and the obligation to obey the state. As time went on, these discussions evolved. Just war doctrine gained prominence again in the 1980s in light of concerns over nuclear weapons. Questions of racial and sexual equality shifted to more controversial positions, such as reverse discrimination.

Expanding Our Moral Concerns: Environment and Non-Human Life

Some areas of applied ethics have become sub-specialties, linking with other disciplines. The environment and our relations with non-human life have led to inquiries into the nature of intrinsic value and the application of principles of equality, rights, and justice.

Traditionally, ethical thinking has been human-centered; however, this approach has come under scrutiny. Sentient animals are now widely considered deserving of direct moral concern, and attempts to assign intrinsic value to non-sentient objects like trees, rivers, and forests are increasingly debated.

Bioethics: The Intersection of Medicine, Science, and Ethics

Bioethics has emerged as an essential sub-specialty in applied ethics. While the term originally referred to an ethical approach to the entire biosphere, it has narrowed to focus on ethical issues arising from medicine and the biological sciences. Philosophers have contributed to discussions on abortion, euthanasia, human experimentation, resource allocation, and new developments in reproduction and genetic engineering. Their involvement in interdisciplinary centers for bioethics and government committees of inquiry highlights the growing relevance of philosophy in ethical decision-making.

Conclusion: The Significance of Applied Ethics in Understanding Morality and Existence

The exploration of applied ethics is vital in grasping the connection between human existence and morality, as theorized by William Search. By examining the practical implications of ethical ideas, we gain a deeper understanding of our moral obligations, the intrinsic value of non-human life, and our role in preserving the environment. As we continue to engage in these conversations, we strive to expand our moral compass, ultimately contributing to the ongoing quest for morality and understanding of human existence.

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