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Ethical Issues and Life Choices 2015 Study Guide

by: Grace Elite Notetaker

Ethical Issues and Life Choices 2015 Study Guide PHI2630

Marketplace > Florida State University > Culture > PHI2630 > Ethical Issues and Life Choices 2015 Study Guide
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About this Document

Elaborations/Answers to the 2015 summer study guide provided to us in class. Great use for studying and also as a reference to better understand the material throughout the semester
Ethical Issues/Life Choices
Jeff Haines
Ethical Issues and Life Choices, ethics, philosophy, Ethical Issues/Life Choices, FSU Ethics, Ethical Issues and Life Choices Study Guide, arguments, Thinking Skills, FSU
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This 7 page Bundle was uploaded by Grace Elite Notetaker on Saturday January 9, 2016. The Bundle belongs to PHI2630 at Florida State University taught by Jeff Haines in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 181 views. For similar materials see Ethical Issues/Life Choices in Culture at Florida State University.


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Date Created: 01/09/16
Ethical Issues and Life Choices Study Guide Know the difference between valid and invalid arguments • When an argument is valid the truth of the premises guarantees the truth of the conclusions (even though the premises may be false). • The 3 part test: 1. Identify all the premises 2. Imagine they are all true 3. Can the conclusion be false? • If yes: argument is invalid • If no: argument is valid • Validity ≠ Truth Know what a sound argument is • When an argument is valid and its premises are true, then it is sound. • A sound argument is just an argument that works. o In order for an argument to work (Successfully support the conclusion you are trying to make) 2 things have to be true 1. The premises must be true 2. The premises must logically support the conclusion. Know the bad arguments against moral objectivism that Shafer-Landau rejects A. Individuals constantly disagree about what’s right and wrong, and societies do, too. If there were some objective truth in ethics, then we should expect all really smart people to agree on it. They don’t. So there is no objective truth in ethics. B. There are universally correct moral standards only if God exists. But God does not exist, so ethics is just a “human construct.” C. Science tells us the truth about the world, and science says nothing about what’s right or wrong. And that’s because nothing is really right or wrong. D. If there were a universal ethic, then that would make it okay for some people to impose their own views on others. But that’s not okay at all. Therefore there is no universal ethic. E. If there were objective moral rules, then it would always be wrong to break them. But every rule admits of exceptions; no moral rule is absolute. That shows that we do make up the moral rules after all. Be able to explain what Divine Command Theory (DCT) is and Be able to explain the Euthyphro argument against DCT (e.g., what are the two things a divine command theorist might mean? How do they both lead to problems?) • The arguments in the Euthyphro dialogue are thought to pose a big problem for divine command theory. • Divine Command Theory: “An Act is morally justified just because it is commanded by God, and immoral just because God forbids it.” (FE, 67) o P1) If the Bible condemns X, then X is wrong. o P2) The Bible condemns homosexuality. o C) Therefore homosexuality is wrong. • What might we mean by P1? o X is wrong for individual reasons, and the bible simply tells us X is wrong o Or o X is wrong because the bible condemns it, and if the bible (and God) did not condemn it, it would be wrong. • The Big Question: o Socrates: “Is the pious being loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is being loved by the gods?” (62) o Translation: “Does God command us to do actions because they are morally right, or are actions morally right because God commands them?” • Two options 1. X is wrong for individual reasons, and the bible simply tells us X is wrong. o But then X implies that mortality is not created by God o This gives up Divine Command Theory which holds that morality comes from God 2. X is wrong because the bible condemns it, and if the bible (and God) did not condemn it, it would be wrong. o But what if God commanded murder or rape? o Don’t argue: God wouldn’t do that because its bad. o Bad means “prohibited by God” and good means “allowed by God” o So: If God commanded us to murder, murder would be good. • RSL's formalization of the argument o P1) Either God has reasons that support His commands, or God lacks reasons for His commands. o P2) If God lacks reasons for His commands, then God's commands are arbitrary – and God is imperfect. o P3) If God has reasons that support His commands, then these reasons, rather than the divine commands, are what make actions right or wrong- and Divine Command Theory is false. o C1) Therefore, either God is imperfect or Divine Command Theory is false. o P1) “” o P2) God is not imperfect. o C2) Therefore Divine Command Theory is false Know Thompson's thought experiments (e.g., the violinist, the growing child, and the people seeds) and explain how each is supposed to work as a defense of abortion • The violinist: • The growing child: • People seeds: Know what feature Marquis thinks beings must have to make killing them wrong. How is this supposed to work as an argument that abortion is immoral? • Killing is wrong because it deprives the victim of a valuable future. • "Since the loss of the future to a standard fetus is at least as great a loss as the loss of the future to a standard human being who is killed, abortion, like ordinary killing, could be justified only by the most compelling reasons." Know the premises (2) and conclusion of Rachels's argument for the morality of euthanasia • P1) If an action promotes the best interest of everyone concerned, and violates no one’s rights, then an action is morally acceptable • P2) In at least some cases, active euthanasia promotes the best interest of everyone concerned, and violates no one’s rights • C) Therefore, in at least some cases, active euthanasia is morally acceptable Know the case of Jack (in Rachels) • "The third night that I roomed with Jack in our tiny double room, in the solid- tumor ward of the cancer clinic of the National Institute of Health in Maryland, a terrible thought occurred to me. Jack had a melanoma in his belly, a malignant solid tumor that the doctors guessed was the size of a softball. The doctors planned to remove the tumor, but they knew Jack would soon die. The cancer had now spread out of control. Jack, about 28, was in constant pain, and his doctor had prescribed an intravenous shot, a pain killer, and this would control the pain for perhaps two hours or a bit more. Then he would begin to moan, or whimper, very low, as though he didn't want to wake me. Then he would begin to howl, like a dog. When this happened, he would ring for a nurse, and ask for the pain-killer. The third night of his routine, a terrible thought occurred to me. 'If Jack were a dog, I thought, what would be done to him?' The answer was obvious: the pound, and the chloroform. No human being with a spark of pity could let a living thing suffer so, to no good end." (The experience of Stewart Alsop) According to Velleman, how might giving someone a choice harm him or her? Explain how this applies to euthanasia • J. David Velleman argues in his paper Against the Right to Die that “having an option can be harmful even if we do not exercise it and – more surprisingly – even if we exercise it and gain by doing so.” (Vellman, 1992) • Essentially, he is saying that being given the option of euthanasia may make someone worse off, even if they choose the best option for themselves and their family. • He argues that with the option of euthanasia, those who want to live may feel pressure to choose to euthanize to avoid being a burden on their family. Also, they may come to feel a burden in justifying their existence. • If euthanasia is not an option, a patient does not feel a burden to justify their continued existence • Thus, the patient is better off not being given the option. According to LaFollette, what are armchair arguments? • Armchair arguments are arguments that do not appeal to evidence. • P1) Guns are easy to use to kill and harm. • P2) People act differently when angry, and are more likely to use guns inappropriately on those occasions. • P3) When people are depressed and have access to a gun, they are more likely to kill themselves. • P4) Handling guns increases the probability of accidental death/injury. • C) The more widely available guns are, the more people will die. • LaFollette explains that guns being widely available because someone can be angry and not in the right state of mind and having access to a gun in this situation can cause them to act irrationally and harm someone or themselves. Why does LaFollette think that we should control guns? • LaFollette's stance on gun control o Self defense is a fundamental right, but there are multiple means of fulfilling it. Therefore, gun ownership is not required • "Inherently dangerous" (from LaFollette, in relation to guns) o They are designed to harm. They are improved by making them better at harming. They are used to harm. • Fundamental (moral) right (from LaFollette, "Gun Control") o Fundamental rights protect fundamental interests. Fundamental interests are common to everyone and concern our living good lives. Owning a gun is not a fundamental interest. It is not a constitutive element of our flourishing. Thus owning a gun is not a fundamental right. • Fundamental interest (from LaFollette, "Gun Control") o Fundamental interests are common to everyone and concern our living good lives. Owning a gun is not a fundamental interest. It is not a constitutive element of our flourishing. Hughes and Hunt think that the effects of gun ownership do not determine whether guns should be controlled or not. Why not? • H&H argues that there are three liberal constraints: − 1) autonomy: individuals should be allowed to control their own lives l A liberal society can constrain individual autonomy when autonomous actions are likely to infringe on the autonomy of others. l E.g. drunk driving, storing dynamite. l But liberalism tends to interpret this constraint individually. l That is, only harm caused by the individual justifies constraining their freedom. − 2) neutrality: between conceptions of the good life l Disagreements about the good life cannot justify state coercion l Liberalism should be neutral about the good life so long as you are not harming others − 3) equality: at a minimum, governments must not discriminate among its citizens nor enable the strong to harm the weak l Wide liberalism is committed to liberty and so has difficulty justifying gun bans l Narrow liberalism is committed to equality l A state must not discriminate against some of its citizens and must not function as a means for the strong to oppress the weak What are wide and narrow liberalism? (Hughes and Hunt) l Wide liberalism: Favors more autonomy and less equality l Narrow liberalism: Favors more equality and less autonomy


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