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∙ Utilitarianism is a theory in normative ethics holding that the best moral action is the one that maximizes utility
∙ Happiness is Key
∙ Question: Yet, whose happiness counts?
∙ Misunderstanding of principle lead to disagreements maximizing happiness, minimizing pain/suffering goal is to make most people happy
∙ Democratic principle; f.e. influential in women’s suffrage movement ∙ Differentiation between types of pleasure making up happiness ∙ Equality amongst human beings: NO ONE is special
∙ Utilitarian: Jesus
∙ Deductive reasoning
1) All men are mortal
2) Socrates is a man
3) Therefore, Socrates is a mortal
∙ Inductive reasoning
1) Scientists observed 1000 starfish
2) 975 starfish had five arms
3) 25 starfish had four arms but showed evidence of having been attacked
4) Therefore, All starfish have five arms
∙ Adductive reasoning
1) There are beer bottles in my front yard.
2) The mailbox is run over.
3) Therefore, a drunk driver could have run the mailbox over. 01/25/2016
See Philosophy Notes on Benedict document
∙ What is a fact? What are examples of facts?
- Something that can be validated
- Widely accepted We also discuss several other topics like tlim uh
- Based on evidence
∙ What kinds of facts are there?
- Scientific, mathematical, personal
∙ Give examples:
- Example: It is a fact that Sam is sad
That Sam is sad is a fact
That 2 + 2 = 4 is a fact
∙ What is a fact? Facts are fats in virtue of their correspondence to the way the world actually is. Facts are true independent from our own attitudes and values, and true regardless of what anyone thinks about them. And, they cam be confirmed or at least some reason can be given for believing them. A sentence is true if it corresponds to a fact.
∙ If we can’t confirm something, or if we cant give a good reason for believing in it, then we should assume it is not the case until new evidence comes along.
∙ What are Mackie’s two arguments against believing in moral facts? Formal Version of Mackies’s Argument for Skepticism We also discuss several other topics like lifespan development exam 1
Premise 1: The existence of objective morality depends on the existence of moral
Premise 2_ We do not have good reasons to think oral facts exists Conclusion: Therefore, we do not have good reason to think moral facts exist.
∙ Argument from Relativity
∙ Argument from Queerness
See Philosophy Notes on Ayer
Nietzsche wants to give a genealogy of morality, that is, he wants to explain it in terms of its history and showed where it came from. He thinks contemporary morality needs to be reevaluated and abandoned.
Three kinds of people: nobles, priests, and slaves. Nobles are strong, brave, powerful, healthy, sudden, violent, simple, and imprudent. Priests are weak, cunning, prudent, powerless, and hateful. Slaves are like priests, but they don’t establish values like priests do. We also discuss several other topics like darby v national trust
In older times, bravery, power and dominance were highly valued. Think of the ancient Greeks, the Vikings, the Romans, and the Egyptians. These cultures tended to value, respect and idolize the mighty warrior. In all of these cultures, the noble was that kind of person. If you want to learn more check out chem 241 uw
But not everyone can be strong. The weak resent the powerful, and cannot defeat them. Since they cannot defeat them, they try to subvert the values of the culture so as to idolize the values of weakness: humility, mercy, etc.
∙ Nazi ideology?
∙ System of values, such as religion, to enforce right and wrong, powerful and weak
∙ Nowadays: Political Correctness
∙ Artificial selection: breeders take individuals with ideal traits and breed them together, maximizing the likelihood that offspring will also have ideal traits.
∙ Natural selection: gradual process by which inherited traits are selected from the course of competition for mates and resources. ∙ Religion and Evolution If you want to learn more check out How can we compare two stocks?
Evolutionary theory has no conflict with their faith
∙ Evolution and Morality
Introduction to the general topic of Abortion etc.
Thomson believed that there is no moral excuse for abortion: Every fetus should have the tool to life, which is life itself. Every fetus is a person and if killing a person is morally unacceptable and also illegal, so should be aborting a fetus.
There are only few cases in which abortion is possibly excused: Rape, Incest or the if the life of the mother is impaired. We also discuss several other topics like math 1153
Longino believes that pornography is harmful.
Pornography is that which depicts women as subservient to men, subordinates their sexual desires to those of men, and does not treat women with respect but instead as objects to be used for the greater purpose of male sexual gratification.
Therefore, nude art is not pornography.
A depiction of rape in film for the purpose of narrative that builds towards a critique of rape culture is not pornography.
Presumably, explicit videos depicting passionate love making wherein a woman’s sexual interests are respected is not pornography.
In particular, Longino is worried about depictions of bondage, rape, and torture in pornography.
Prostitutes are treated as a mere means, as instruments of male sexual pleasure and nothing more. But pornography does not depict prostitutes. It intends to depict normal, everyday women.
Longino: There us a correlation between exposure to pornographic materials and actually committing acts of sexual violence.
Fun fact: Almost half of Americans think porn encourages rape.
∙ Leads to an increase in sexually motivated violent crime ∙ Leads to beliefs about what women desire sexually that are false ∙ Contributes to the subjugation of women as the “ second sex”, or as second-class citizens.
See Philosophy Notes on Singer
Occam’s Razor: Among competing hypothesis, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.
A man has five symptoms. Either he has five different diseases and each causes one symptom, or he has one disease causing all symptoms. Which explanation would Occam’s Razor prefer?
A woman wonders why her fav vase is broke. She suspects her young son broke it while running through the house. Her son suggests that in fact leprechauns broke the vase. Which explanation requires fewest assumptions?
Zeno’s Paradox: Turtle and Human
Unexpected Quiz Paradox
1) Observing a black raven is evidence for the hypothesis that all ravens are black.
2) All ravens are black = everything that is not black is not a raven. 3) Observing a green apple is evidence for the hypothesis that all ravens are black.
Notes on Free Will
Philosophy is generally divided into four main disciplines:
Metaphysics: considers a range of questions beyond the physical that the sciences cannot examine, like freedom, causation, God, reality etc.
Epistemology: the study of knowledge
Value Theory: considers questions related to evaluate judgements, including concepts like justice, beauty, and morality.
Logic: the study of principles of inference, deduction, and sound reasoning
Determinism: the idea that every event is necessitated by antecedent events and conditions together with the laws of nature.
Not the same as fatalism. Fatalism is the view that the same outcome is destined to occur no matter how we act. A common theme in time travel films is that going back in time and acting differently cannot ultimately change the downstream consequences. If determinism (and not fatalism) is the case, going back in time and acting differently could change outcomes.
Compatibilism: Humans can still have free will even if determinism is the case.
Incompatibilism: Humans cannot have free will if determinism is the case.
Libertarianism: Humans beings have free will, and determinism is not the case.
No free will, and determinism is false.
Aquinas proves the existence of God with five ways.
2) Efficient Causes
3) Possibility & Necessity
4) Gradation of Being
Therefore, God exists.
Contrast of Evolution and God
One does not exclude the other
Notes on Russell:
People usually adopt the religion of their region, and the religion of a region is determined by military conquest. Therefore, the religion one accepts is rarely matter of his having a reason to accept it, far more often, it is an arbitrary accident of where he was born.
But we should not simply accept the religion of our region. We should think critically and determine which faith, if any faith at all, is most reasonable.
Russell points to Aquinas as an important figure in the history of rational theism.
Aquinas had several famous arguments for the existence of God, including the First Cause Argument and the argument from design. Russell doesn’t think these arguments are effective.
Even if religion makes you happy, that does not make it true, nor does it give you a good reason to believe it. If a man thought his wife were cheating on him, he would be a fool and a coward to carry on believing otherwise, and certainly it would not make the truth any less real.
Burdon of proof: always on religious person.
“If then” statement is a “conditional”.
Antecedent > consequent
Denying the consequent examples:
If A, then B
Therefore, Not A.
Premise 1: If it rained last night, then the ground will be wet. Premise 2: The ground is not wet.
Therefore, It did not rain last night.
The Problem of Evil argument:
Premise 1: If there were an all-powerful, all knowing and all good God, then evil would not exist.
Premise 2: Evil exists.
Therefore, there is no all powerful, all knowing and all good God. Hume: widely influential Scottish philosopher in the 1700s.
Epicurus’ old questions are yet unanswered. Is he willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?
“Is the world, considered in general, and as it appears to us in this life, different from what a man, or such a limited being, would, beforehand, expect from a very powerful, wise and benevolent deity?”
Sickness, natural disaster, pain, poverty, starvation, violence, war, fear, heartache, death:
None of these things seem necessary or unavoidable.
Pain is necessary to drive us to action, to take our hand off the hot stove, for example. But we are sufficiently motivated by hunger and thirst, sensations that are not nearly as powerful or unpleasant as pain. So it doesn’t seem that pain is a necessary sensation. Why would an all powerful and all good God create pain at all?
So f.e., why would a good God allow someone like Hitler to come into power at all? Without violating Hitler’s free will or conflicting any harm upon him. God could simply have given Hitler a talent and passion for architecture, sculpture, chemistry, poetry, sport or whatever else, which have kept him away from policies altogether.
Or, easily enough. God could have caused a mechanical failure in the planes on 9/11 that never allowed them to leave the ground, or given the American intelligence the insight to apprehend the terrorists before they carried out their plot.
And of course, an all-powerful God could have prevented Hurricane Katrina, the recent Nepalese earthquake, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and any member of storms, floods. Earthquakes, volcanoes, blizzards and heat waves throughout history.
Death is it natural?
Goal: search for truth and wisdom
- people try to add limitless time to their life which distracts his goal
1) the only things that really harm us are things we can really experience (pain, suffering)
2) Death is the complete annihilation of experience
3) Therefore: Death is not a harm
Epicaurus’ defense: hedonism
– the highest goal we should pursue is pleasure, in moderation. - the greatest pleasure is wisdom or the pursuit of truth
- Life is intrinsically good, so we lose that when we die. Therefore, it harms us.
- Before death after death doesn’t matter, but Nagel believes that its asymmetrical because you can die earlier or later & you miss out on that experience either when you die earlier or later.
We imagine ourselves in a stateless world. There is no government & no laws. We therefore have unlimited freedom to do what we want. For Locke, we leave this state of nature & come together to form political societies w/ law. Why would we do that? It is much safer.
In forming political societies, we must sacrifice some freedoms. The social contract is a tacit understanding. Now we are born into it.
An example contrast between citizen & state:
∙ The citizens will pay taxes & obey laws of the land
∙ The state will provide protection from enemies of the citizen by way of local police force & a national army, funded by the taxes the citizens pay.
∙ If citizen breaks social contract, the state has the right to imprison or banish citizens
∙ If the state breaks their end of contract, the citizen has the right to revolt. The American Founding Fathers were very family w/ Locke in drafting the DUI & Constitution.
We find Locke’s definitive.
Ownership must be prior to consumption.
One makes a piece of nature his property by moving his labor with it.
Individual can now circumvent the spernage proviso, and presumably occur far more material/wealth than they could before bc of the invention of money.
God commanded mankind to subdue the earth & commanded man to also labor. If you don’t then you don’t have a right to property.
Locke’s account depends a great deal on the truth of certain religious dogmas.
The supreme purpose of political society is the preservation of property, that is “life, liberty, & estate” & no political society can exist w/o the ability to punish those that transgress upon those rights.
Political society can only exist when every individual member of society takes his own right to punish in the state of nature & resign it to the republic.
Legislative has right to punish those who infringe upon the rights of others, cant take action in your own hands. The state can collect taxes & use coercive force only to protect life, liberty, & estate.
∙ All want justice & justice is good, but many of us have competition conceptions of what is, & which actions & laws are just.
∙ He wants us to build on the social contract tradition of thinkers like Locke.
∙ Fact of reasonable pluralism: in societies where you can believe in whatever leads to a wide range of opposing views. Many of them will be reasonable, that is, it’s not the case that setting straight some facts of the case could reserve matters in favor of one vew.
∙ Doesn’t mean that any view is reasonable. A view that thinks we should coerce everyone into adopting their paradigm would be unreasonable.
∙ To come up w/ agreeable principles of justice, we would have to remove ourselves from material conditions. For ex., rich & poor person disagree about taxation or min. wage.
∙ Therefore, one should imagine themselves behind veil of ignorance, so you don’t know life circumstances. This is called the original position. What principles of governance & justice would you come up w/ in this scenario? Maybe come up w/ a world where everyone, no matter the circumstance, are equal as in rights & protection.
1) Everyone should have equal rights to as many liberties as possible, so long as those liberties don’t impair the liberties of others. 2) When inequalities in society, they should be attracted to positions that are openly available to anyone, AND any inequalities should fewer the least advantaged.
Ex.: Pres. Has more power, but its fine bc it’s a position open to everyone.
Inequalities in taxation, but should favor least advantaged so wealthy pays more than poor & not the other way around
Distribution of wealth
Example: Basketball player charges 25 ct for every game. At the end of the season, he owns millions and everyone else is generally poorer. So people complain about injust distribution of money. Nozick says that it isn’t unjust bc D1 is just and the process of getting to D2 is just, then D2 should be just too.
Marx sees history as a series of class struggles between two groups. Proletarian: the working class
Bourgeoisie: the wealthy class that owns the means of production (factories, capital, etc.)
Marx writes that “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word oppressor and oppressed…” (158). In all times and all cultures, from ancient Rome …
Marx makes one substantive division: the bourgeoisie and the proletarian. The bourgeoisie are the owners of the means of production, including property, and the employers.
The proletariat are those with no control of such production and must seek their own labor, at a price controlled by the bourgeoisie . Class struggles has been problematic feature of society since the days of the feudal lords, but the rise of industry, of assembly lives, machinery and new sources of power, has fueled a new level of oppression, exploitation and alienation.
The wealthy are now wealthier, with exponentially greater ability to produce than ever before.
The proletariat worker is alienated from her own labor. She is not entitles to the fruits of her labor. Instead, whatever she makes is taken from her to be used by someone else, and she is compensated at the lowest possible price that the capitalist can get away with.
A man might help make cars all day, but not own a car himself, as the pay he receives from the auto plant is not enough to buy a car.
While Locke thought that the preservation of property is a chief end of the state. Marx writes that it is, in fact, the abolition of private property that should be a primary goal.
Marx sees the abolition of private property as a emancipation for the proletarian man from a corrupt political economy.
Marx called for the abolition of private property, arguing that the bourgeoisie need private property to maintain their hegemony. It is through their ownership of factories, retailers and railways that the wealthy elite maintain their industrial empire.