Exam 1 Study Guide
Exam 1 Study Guide PHL 2008
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This 6 page Study Guide was uploaded by Thomas nelson on Wednesday February 10, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to PHL 2008 at High Point University taught by Thaddeus M. Ostrowski in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 60 views. For similar materials see Social Ethics in PHIL-Philosophy at High Point University.
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Date Created: 02/10/16
Thomas Nelson Ethics – Investigation of best way to live o traditionally regarded as branch of philosophy Social Ethics – Investigation of best way to live together Philosophy – Love of wisdom o Philia – Greek word for friendship (love) o Sophia – Greek word for wisdom 3 traditional branches of philosophy o Metaphysics (the true) o Ethics (the good) o Aesthetics (the beautiful) Involves examining one’s own beliefs and those of others to see if they withstand scrutiny o People do it together with friends, in dialogue with one another More about dialogue than debate o In a debate, the purpose is to win o In a dialogue, the purpose is to deepen your understanding (winwin) Simple diagram of moral action – helps introduce distinction in ways of thinking about ethics Motive → Act → Consequences o Motive shows true character of person o Act tells us about the rules and morality Consequentialists – Theories/theorists who place emphasis on outcome of act o John Stuart Mill and his theory Utilitarianism (the ends justify the means) NonConsequentialists – Focus on motive and act o Immanuel Kant and his theory (Never lie, no matter what) Teleology – That for the sake of which something is done o All human action is purposeful; done with some end/goal in mind o Determine what is right and wrong by referring to or examining end/goal o Based on Greek root “telos,” which means “end,” “goal,” or “purpose” o Ex: Catholicism and sex → No contraception → Purpose of sex is to consummate marriage and procreation Deontology – Determines what is right and wrong based on whether or not an action is in conformity with our duty o One should always do one’s duty, regardless of outcome (never lie, steal, or murder, no matter how good outcome) o Based on Greek root “deon,” which means “duty” Ancient Greek philosophy o S ocrates (469399 BC) o P lato (427347 BC) Thomas Nelson o A ristotle (384322 BC) – Mentored Alexander the Great Irony – When intended meaning is opposite of literal meaning Dramatic Irony – When reader/audience knows more than character, rendering character’s statement ironic Socratic Irony – Feigning ignorance in order to draw others into convo or giving their opinions Socrates was charged for evildoing (corrupting the youth) and impiety (not believing in the gods of the city) Daimon – The “voice” in Socrates’ head that tells him he’s about to do something wrong (conscience) o Did not come to him when he was going to his trial o This is the “new divinity of his own” that the jury said he was trying to make Plato’s Republic Plato is writing about Socrates after he was executed (have to read between lines/esoteric writing) While Socrates is protagonist and an authoritative voice, the meaning of dialogue is never stated directly, it emerges from our engagement with dialogue; reading it is supposed to “corrupt” us to make us into philosophers by drawing us into wonder, questioning, and examining Cephalus’ definition of justice – Speaking the truth and repaying one’s debts Polemarchus’ definition of justice – Benefit friends and harm enemies Thrasymachus’ definition of justice – Advantage of the stronger/authority Cephalus says old age is good because you have peace of mind and get rest o Lose interest in sex → the urge stops driving us crazy o Money is a comfort in old age, but it isn’t the difference between happiness and unhappiness o It isn’t money that makes us happy, but our desires that make us unhappy because they disorder our soul → If you want something too badly, you make bad decisions o When we get old, we begin to worry about the lives we have lived and the stories we were told as children Will we be rewarded or punished? (Heaven or hell?) The way we have lived is very important Socrates’ objection to Cephalus’ claims o Ex: Returning a weapon to a madman Thomas Nelson o Ex: Returning money to a drunk o Justice is too rigid o Normally, you should do the right thing, however, if the consequences are bad, a good motive might lead us to lie or withhold truth in order to bring about a good outcome or avoid a bad one Cephalus then leaves to make a sacrifice to the gods (maybe a bribe to them?) and hands the convo over to his son, Polemarchus Cephalus’ son, Polemarchus, “inherits” argument just as he will Cephalus’ wealth and power Polemarchus first says it’s just to give people “what is owed” Socrates wants him to be more specific about what’s “owed” or “appropriate” So he says it is good/right to do good to our friends and harm our enemies Socrates’ objections o Don’t we make errors in judgment about people? → We may think someone is your friend, but they are not Dependent upon relationship with someone, but relationship isn’t that reliable o Polemarchus responds by revising definition so that just person benefits good/just person and harms bad/unjust person Give people what they deserve based on what they do or who they are rather than our relationship to them o Socrates says the good/just person never harms anyone, so neither should we Thrasymachus bursts in accusing them of “noble naiveté” or “highminded innocence” o Essential says “might makes right” (tyranny, slavery, Jim Crow/segregation) o It appears he is describing reality whereas Socrates is imagining how things should be 2 possible theories we might apply to Thrasymachus’ definition o Ethical Relativism – Belief that there is no objective right and wrong To say something is relative is to say it is a function of something else Moral Relativism asserts that morality is just a function of the beliefs/opinions people have o Ethical Egoism – Belief that one ought always to act in one’s best interests “Ego” is Latin word for “I” or “self” Is there a difference between being motivated by selfinterest and doing what is actually best for us? Thrasymachus’ position is combo of ethical relativism and ethical egoism Thomas Nelson o There are no objective standards (ethical relativism) and therefore we would be prudent to pursue our selfinterest (ethical egoism) and chumps if we do not Socrates’ objections o Don’t we make mistakes about what is in our selfinterests? Are the weak always supposed to obey the strong, even when the strong make mistakes? o The ruler rules for the advantage of the ruled (doctors, shepherds) Moneymaking is distinct from practice of an art (it isn’t getting paid that makes you a doctor, you are still a doctor if you give free care) o It isn’t truly in our interest to be unjust because unjust person does not live best life May seem like injustice comes out ahead of justice (they cheat the just, they get more money than those who don’t cheat on their taxes) Consider a gang of thieves; they get nowhere unless they cooperate (to be perfectly unjust would create division and get you nowhere) Book 1 ends in a deadlock (Aporia) o No definition of justice is agreed on The brothers Glaucon and Adeimantus say they’d like to believe Socrates, but if they are not truly persuaded that it’s worth being just for its own sake They suggest that they remake best version of Thrasymachus’ argument they can (“the case against justice”) and then Socrates persuaded them by refuting it Established 2 important distinctions o Appearance (seeming) vs. Reality (being) o Intrinsic (in itself, done for its own sake) vs. Extrinsic (external, done for its consequences) Glaucon’s case against justice o People would rather commit injustice with impunity, but fear being victims of injustice instead Everyone is concerned with consequences, not interested in justice for its own sake All agree not to be unjust (social contract) o The Ring of Gyges is a ring of invisibility that allows its wearer to act with impunity Hides our actions but reveals our character (so we’re all egoists) → Power corrupts Glaucon says if we give ring to 2 people (one just and one unjust), they’d act exactly the same Thomas Nelson o If we’re to determine which life is better (just or unjust person), we must look at what it is to be just and unjust in itself Compare just and unjust person in their purest form REALITY REPUTATION Person 1 Perfectly unjust Just Person 2 (Jesus, Socrates) Perfectly just Unjust Adeimantus’ case against justice o When people praise justice, they never praise justice itself of for its own sake Instead people praise benefits/advantages that come from a good reputation (Extrinsic → Heaven and hell, The Boy Who Cried Wolf) o The priests have taught us even the gods are corrupt, they can be bribed or placated We can atone for our sins through prayer, sacrifice, rituals, etc. Glaucon and Adeimantus argue that they have been taught to prefer o Seeming over being (appearance over reality) o Extrinsic motivations over intrinsic ones Moral Isolationism o Isolated by culture o Believe that one should not judge other cultures because it is not own culture, therefore, can’t understand it o Then try to get you to understand so you make a positive judgment o Midgely says this idea is inconsistent and selfcontradictory If you can’t judge negatively, you shouldn’t judge positively either If you can’t judge others, you can’t judge your own because there is nothing to compare it to Different cultures have different moral codes o Callatians ate the bodies of their dead fathers and Greeks cremated the dead Both found the other as insane o Eskimos practice infanticide As a way to protect the rest of the infants Didn’t have the resources for all infants o Our own way of living seems natural and right, so it becomes hard to understand any other way of living There is no objective standard that can be used to judge one societal code better than another Our own moral code has no special status; it is just one of many There is no “universal truth” in ethics The moral code of a society determines what is right within that society We should judge the conduct of other people, we should grow tolerance Thomas Nelson Conclusion does not follow from the premise o Just because two different cultures may have two different beliefs, it doesn’t necessarily mean that neither one is correct Earth being flat or spherical → it is spherical 3 consequences of Cultural Relativism o We couldn’t say that customs of other societies are morally inferior to our own (Can’t judge at all) o We would decide whether actions are right or wrong just by consulting the standards of our society (the dominant view would be the right thing) o The idea of moral progress is called into doubt because there is no standard for progress since we can’t judge Cultures do not differ as much as it appears o Difference is in our belief systems, not in our values Dead souls inhabiting animals example Common values of all cultures that are necessary for existence o Protect their infants Culture would die out if they didn’t protect its infants o Telling the truth Communication would become obsolete because you couldn’t trust anything anyone said o Prohibition of murder No one would feel secure → Everyone becoming as selfsufficient as possible → Culture would die out 2 positive things about Cultural Relativism o It warns us about the danger of assuming that all our preferences are based on some absolute rational standard o Makes us keep an open mind
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