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This 7 page Study Guide was uploaded by Megan Bestor on Thursday January 21, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to at University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill taught by in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 20 views.
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Date Created: 01/21/16
Megan Bestor April 23, 2015 PHIL66 1.What is the good life for a human being? Epicurus believes that there is no absolute “shoulds”. We have consciousness and free will and we can choose what sort of life we want to leave and what values we want to hold, however some choices will be better than others. As rational beings, we should try to pursue pleasure as rationally and intelligently as possible. The life choices we decide to make throughout our lives should fit with the nature we live in. Humans, just like every other animal seek pleasure naturally and we try and avoid pain at all costs. 1 Why? The life choices we make should fit with our nature: human, like every other animals naturally seeks pleasure and tries to avoid pain. Living a good life is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for happiness. 1. If we follow Epicurus’s philosophy, will we be selfish? Epicureanism could be accused of having an atomized and selfish view of relationships. We are all separate atoms seeking our own pleasure in this void. 2. Epicurus argues about our natural tendencies about what the good life is, is it valid?Do you agree with pleasure=absence of pain? If pleasure were equal to the absence of pain, there wouldn’t be so much pleasureseeking behaviors. The body doesn’t work that way. Pleasure is a positive bodily feeling. Pain is a negative one. But just because someone is not in pain, it doesn’t mean that they are feeling pleasure. 1 What is the point of the story of a magical ring? Gyge’s ring? This story is important because it concerns what we can expect humans to do with power over others. In politics, we give power to others, hoping that they will do what is right. If Plato’s allegory of the ring is right, then we had better watch out. If identical rings were given to a just man and an unjust man, then both men would act unjustly. This proves to his satisfaction that people act justly only under compulsion. 3. What is a psychological/ethical egoism? Psychological Egoism: The doctrine that everyones acts from the motive of selfinterest. Occasionally, the doctrine is initially defined in terms of selfishness or doing what one wants. Ethical Egoism: The doctrine that everyone ought to act from the motive of selfinterest. It is a prescriptive generalization as to what “ought” to be, rather that what “is”. ex. The difference between the descriptive law of gravity (which we cannot choose to disobey), and the prescriptive law of a speed limit (which we can choose to disobey). 4. What is Rachel’s best argument against ethical egoism? We can justify treating people differently only if we can show that there is some factual difference between them that is relevant to justifying the difference in treatment. Egoism is what underlies our commonsense morality. Rachel finds ethical egoism implausible; he concludes this on the basis of an argument concerning morally relevant differences. Actions, which are means to an end are things like going to college in order to get a job, and working to get a paycheck. Actions which are a result of an obligation or duty keeping promises and studying and staying in shape. 1 What are the means or ways that Epictetus recommend for reaching these goals? (4 goals listed) • Tranquility in mind (not to be frustrated or always torn) • Live according to nature • Want to be in control of your life • Free from external events 5. Pick out 2 passages in which Epictetus says which seems unconventional, shocking, but stands out. Explain why it is that he says these things. ex. When you have a jug, and it breaks, don’t be sad about it, say “a piece of jug/clay” has come apart. When you kiss your wife, don’t think “i am kissing my wife”, say “i am kissing a human being” so when she dies, you wont greave. • Don’t demand that things happen as you wish, but they happen as they do happen, and you will go on well. • When walking, you are careful not to step on a nail or turn your foot; so likewise be careful not to hurt the ruling faculty of your mind. And, if we were to guard against this in every action, we should undertake the action with the greater safety. • These reasonings are unconnected: “I am richer than you, therefore I am better”, I am more eloquent than you, therefore I am better.” The connection is rather this: “I am richer than you, therefore my property is greater than yours; “I am more eloquent than you, therefore my style is better than yours.” But you, after all, are neither property nor style. 1 What is the principle of utility according to Jeremy Bentham? The principle of utility is the foundation of the present work. The foundations which help to promote pleasure. Some of the utilities can include, pleasure, benefits, good and happiness. The principle which approves or disapproves. He puts utility into two different elements: happiness and consequentialism. Utilitarian happiness is one of the biggest happinesses that humans can attain, everything useful to happiness is good. Consequentialism is that an action must be judge for its consequences on the happiness of the largest number. Ones happiness will stop when it starts to decrease the happiness of another certain individual. 6. What is the greatest happiness principle according to John Stuart Mill? Certain kinds of sentiments/pleasures can bring different levels of happiness to people Utilitarianism is not about one pleasure, it is about weighing different levels of pleasure. Many people misunderstand the meaning of utility, they do not know that there are different kinds of intensities and pains. Pleasures include intellect, feelings, imagination and moral sentiments. There are many kinds of pleasures that are much more desirable to some than to others. Stuart Mill says that the superiority of a pleasure is simply determined by a person who has experienced both kinds. A more “higher faculty” individual requires more for them to experience happiness and they are capable of suffering more intense pain than others. Mill says that as human we should seek the richest amount of enjoyment and try in our everyday lives to reduce the amount of pain we feel for anything or anyone. Mill once said “to do as one would be done by, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, constitute the ideal perfection of utilitarian morality.” 7. Give examples of pleasures, the value of which varies according to Bentham’s 7 criteria? Intensity, duration, purity. What makes a pain/pleasure worse than the other? Pleasures are both the instruments and constituents of happiness. Intensity, duration, certainty, and propinquity are all circumstances which are to be considered in estimating a pleasure by itself. Absolute purity of a pleasure is indistinguishable from its fecundity, therefore it needs to have two separate few points. For Bentham, if something proves pleasurable, it cannot be wrong. 8. How are animals to be treated according to Bentham? It’s not just about killing them. We should judge animals on their capacity of suffering when deciding wether to kill them or not. No reason to torture them, we have a lot of good reasons not to harm them. Bentham is known to be “the first patron saint of animal rights”. Bentham says that he accepted that animals could be killed for food, or in defense of human life, but not so the animal could unnecessarily suffer. 1 What is moral absolutism and consequentialism? Moral absolutism is an ethical view thats actions are either right or wrong. Actions are inherently moral or immoral no matter the beliefs or goals of the certain individual. Moral absolutism has been historically favored by many philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle because it makes up the creation of laws and makes the judicial system much easier. Moral consequentialism is a view in ethics that argues that the morality of the action is contingent on the action’s outcome. A morally right action is something that produces a good outcome or result, and the consequence usually outweigh all other considerations. Utilitarianism, egoism and hedonism are all types of consequentialism theories. 1. What is it about the consequences that matter? What sort of consequences are good/bad in themselves? It is the consequences that determine the moral worth of an action. We are responsible not only for the consequences of our actions, but also for the consequences of our nonactions. Bentham says that pain and pleasures are the only things that are good or evil in themselves. 9. Why is it okay to use artificial cases or examples of moral problems? He says it is okay to use artificial cases or examples or moral problems because there are fewer variables to control and he can easily make and point out the essential conceptual and moral points. He says if his argument is correct in these simple cases, then they can be applicable to complex cases as well. 1 What is Neilson’s judgement about the fat man in the cave and the magistrate in the mob? He says that moral men should NOT come to the conclusion when being asked “is it always wrong to kill the innocent?” Some say that framing and execution of such a man in such circumstances is totally unacceptable. “One can consistently remain a consequentialist and continue to accept commonsense moral convictions about such matters. 10. Does Neilson think that our moral theories must conform to common sense/intuitive judgements? Many people have examined their moral judgements about a particular issue by looking for their coherence with other beliefs and beliefs about factual issues. A reflective equilibrium is the end point of a process in which we reflect on and revise our beliefs about an area of inquiry. The inquiry might be much more general. Even though it is part of our everyday practice, we may have also been persuading ourselves that our conclusions were justifiable and ultimately acceptable to us by seeking coherence amoung them. 11. Can moral conservatism be defended by consequential arguments? Yes. Mill makes distinction between higher level pleasures, and different pleasures. Moral conservatism is itself unjustified and has morally unacceptable consequences. A key example of this principle is the claim that it is always wrong to kill an innocent human, whatever the consequences of not doing so would be. 2. Williams Article. What is he definition of negative responsibility? “That if I am ever responsible for anything, then I must be just as much responsible for things that I allow or fail to prevent, as I am for things that I myself, in the more everyday restricted sense, bring about.” Negative responsibility is the ethical claim that one is equally morally responsible for not preventing bad moral outcomes. Williams says that under either Utilitarianism or Kantianism, you are not at equal fault, since both theories are impartial. 3. Do consequentialists believe or accept negative responsibility? And does Williams believe or accept? Consequentialists say that actions are right when they maximize the good. Negative responsibility is saying that we are responsible for the foreseeable consequences of the choices we make. Sometimes we choose to act, and sometimes we choose not to. Either way and either choice we make, we are making a choice that has a consequence. 12. What is “a good will”? Kant says that the only thing that is good without qualification is the good will. The good will is the only unconditional good. Happiness is not intrinsically good because even being worthy of happiness, it requires that a person possess a good will. A good will is acting according to a conception of law. 13. What is “good without qualifications”? Kant says that moral values are the only values that are “good without qualification”. Moral values could be considered good without qualification. Moral goodness is not just good according to someone’s opinion. Moral values are values in a higher sense which express more clearly the idea of value and goodness. Moral goodness cannot be abused like other talents. Good without qualifications includes a new and more pure sense of goodness and found in moral goodness. 14. What does he mean when he says “only actions done from duty have moral worth”? Kant believes that “only actions done from duty have moral worth”. He suggests that the greater one’s disinclination to act from duty, the greater the results of the moral worth of the action. If one performs an action by inclination alone, then Kant implies the action has no moral worth. 15. “Act only on those maxims, as universal laws” What does this mean? This is the first formulation of The Formula of Universal Law. A maxim is the rule or principle on which you act. This simply means that you are not allowed to do anything yourself that you would not be willing to allow everyone else to do as well. You are also not allowed to make any exceptions for yourself. It means that every maxim you act on must be such that you are willing to make it the case that everyone always acts on that mxim when in similar situations. 16. What is a maxim? “A maxim is a subjective principle or rule that the will of an individual uses in making a decision.” (Immanuel Kant) Kant believed that people are in inherently bad and that we needed to use our reason to come up with a moral framework to transcend mortal life. People act for several different reasons, he viewed as flawed, for pleasure, vice, righteousness, law, and emotions. Kant believes that the most selfless way to act was out of duty. Therefore each maxim that we live by should be based on one’s duty to their family, God, and society. 17. What does it mean to will a maxim as a universal law? To determine whether the universalized maxim could be a universal law, this is whether or not it is possible for everyone to act as the universalized maxim requires. If everyone started making false promises, the institution of promising would never disappear, so no one would be able to make false promises. If the maxim could be a universal law, but you could not will that it be a universal law, you have an imperfect duty no to perform the action. 18. If one tries to will a maxim as a universal law, what is the conclusion? If the universalized maxim could not be a universal law, you have a perfect obligation not to perform the action. If the maxim could be a universal law, but you could not will that it be a universal law, you have an imperfect duty not to perform the action. For example, Kant thinks that it could be the case that everyone refused to ever help others in distress, but that we could not will that this be the case because that would mean no one would help us when we were in distress. 19. What is Servility? Servility is an excessive willingness to serve or please others. It betrays the absence of a certain kind of selfrespect. It is someones who displays the symbols of deference to people and is contempt of others. He is not the shrewdly prudent calculator. The attitude they display is that what he values, aspires for, and can demand is of less importance than what whites value. Other examples include being devoted to their wives or husbands. A selfcritical person is not necessarily servile by virtue of bemoaning his faults in public, for his behavior may be merely a complex way of satisfying his own inner independence. To defer to an expert’s judgement on matters of fact is not be servile, to defer to his every wish and whim is. 20. What are the main steps in Hill’s argument that servility is morally objectionable? He says that a servile person will have a good attitude which will show what he values, the self deprecator which does not make demands of others, and the deferential wife which is devoted to her husband and who loves him but has no interest of her own, no values, no ideals. 21. Is a person always servile when they refuse to fight or even protest to assert their equal rights? Yes they are always servile. Kant suggests that duties to oneself are a precondition of duties to others. On our account of servility, there is at least one sense in which this is so. 22. Is a servile person always to blame for being servile according to Hill? No a servile person is not always to blame. They are doing what they love and what their passion is, and they are striving to be the best and have a positive outlook on everything in life. 23. Do you believe that there are duties to oneself and what would an example be? Our perfect duties are negative in that they require work that we never perform certain types of actions and can only be fulfilled in specific ways. Our imperfect duties are positive in that they require that we sometimes perform certain types of actions. Duties to ourself relating to perfect include no suicide or other forms of selfdestruction . 24. What are the different conclusions of the authors regarding the morality of abortion? Don Marquis argues that abortion is wrong because it deprives a fetus of its future. But Judith Jarvis Thomson maintains that some abortions may be permissible to prevent a woman’s body image from being used by the fetus against her will. Mary Anne Warren contends that fetuses are not persons, since persons must have such characteristics as selfconsciousness and rationality, an fetuses do not have these. Jane English argues for a moderate position, in which most early abortions are permissible, most late ones are immoral. 25. What are the differences in their circumstances and assumptions in the arguments they use to support their conclusions? Don Marquis argues that abortion is wrong because it deprives a fetus of its future. But Judith Jarvis Thomson maintains that some abortions may be permissible to prevent a woman’s body image from being used by the fetus against her will. Mary Anne Warren contends that fetuses are not persons, since persons must have such characteristics as selfconsciousness and rationality, an fetuses do not have these. Jane English argues for a moderate position, in which most early abortions are permissible, most late ones are immoral. 26. Explain what YOU regard the best argument against abortion? I believe that early abortions are permissible because the fetus does not yet have certain characteristics such as selfconsciousness and rationality. However I believe that late abortions are immoral because by then, the fetus has already developed these characteristics.
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