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Midterm Study Guide

by: Samantha

Midterm Study Guide PHIL 1104

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About this Document

Answers study guide and essay questions and has summaries of all the required readings
Thomas Bontly
Study Guide
philosophy, Mill, Plato, Nozick, Kant, bentham, Morality, relativism, Utilitarianism
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This 7 page Study Guide was uploaded by Samantha on Thursday June 2, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to PHIL 1104 at University of Connecticut taught by Thomas Bontly in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 8 views.


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Date Created: 06/02/16
PHIL 1104 MIDTERM STUDY GUIDE Readings: Sober “Arguments”- A good argument is deductively valid if the truth of the premises guarantees the conclusion to be true. When an argument is not deductively valid, it can be abductively strong (going from an observation to a best guess as an explanation) or inductively strong (taking a specific observation and making a general conclusion from it) which both may or may not be true. Plato “Euthyphro”- Socrates questions Euthyphro’s argument that something is unholy. Questions: do the gods love all that is pious because it is pious? Is it pious because it is loved by the gods? Then on what basis is something pious? Midgley “Trying out one’s new sword”- Argues that moral isolationism (the view that one ought to respect other cultures but not judge them) is logically invalid with four arguments: that judgment is logically precursor to respect, that outsiders can judge foreign cultures, if on a provisional basis, that moral isolationism leads to a complete inability to make moral judgments of any kind, and that cultures are not, as moral isolationism holds, subject to isolating barriers. Therefore we should judge the customs of another culture outside of our own. Aquinas “Treatise on law”- St. Thomas Aquinas defines law as an ordinance of reason for the common good, made by him who has care of the community, and broadcasted. He presents natural law which says that ethics is deduced from the use of reason and human nature and is applied universally. Also that eternal laws do exist and are defined as the laws of God. Mill “Utilitarianism”- Combines the theories of consequentialism (the claim that actions are to be valued in terms of their outcomes) and hedonism (the claim that pleasure is the good). Observes that things are only ever desired for the pleasure they ultimately cause and only hated for the pain they cause. Argues that pleasure differs in both quantity and value- uses happy pig example. Thinks that traditional hedonism is too shallow, people find deeper pleasures for other reasons. Some pleasures are intrinsically better than others. Nozick “The experience machine”- Thought experiment attempting to refute traditional hedonism (any component of life that is not pleasureable does nothing directly to increase one’s well being). Asks us if we would rather be hooked up to a machine that induces indistinguishable pleasurable experiences psychologically instead of real life. If pleasure were the only intrinsic value, the people would have and overriding reason to be hooked up, however most people say they would not like to be. Therefore, we care about doing certain things and being sorts of people etc. too. Heathwood “Faring well and getting what you want”- Brings up the question of welfare- what things in life are ultimately to our benefit? Is welfare objective (some things are good for us whether we like it or not) or subjective (it will only benefit us if we have and positive interest in it). Uses a murderer as an example that he benefitted from his lifestyle and had a good life until he got caught and put in jail. Subjectivism: desire theory of welfare says that human welfare consists solely in the satisfaction of desire/getting what we want. Bentham “The principle of utility”- Developed a scientific approach to the problems of law and morality. The principle recognizes the fundamental role of pain and pleasure in human life, approves/disapproves of an action on the basis of how much pleasure/pain is brought about, then asserts that these are quantifiable. Introduces the criteria of intensity, duration, certainty, nearness, and fecundity (how much of the same will follow) and its purity (its pleasure won’t be followed by pain & vice versa) and extent (how many people will experience it). Uses example for vegetarianism as an example that using the principle of utility, it is more moral to not eat meat because it has more benefits. Smart “Utilitarianism: extreme and restricted”- Restricted utilitarianism says that conformity to rules determines what actions are right-he thinks this involves superstitious rule worship. Smart supports extreme utilitarianism and thinks that moral rules can be useful but do not always tell us what we should do. In regards to praise for someone’s actions he thinks we should only praise them when praising them will bring about the best consequences. Kant “The moral law”- Says good will possesses unconditional value and is valuable in its own right. He defines good will as acting out of moral law- doing our duty for its own sake (not driven by desire like inclination). Says our actions possess moral worth if and only if they are prompted by good will. Also defines the categorical imperative- a requirement of reason that applies to us regardless of what we care about. Therefore, moral requirements are categorical imperatives. He believes that to be moral is to be rational. He is a non-consequentialist- he believes that what makes an action right or wrong is the motive. He sets two tests for morally acceptable actions- actions are morally acceptable only when the principles that inspired them can be acted on by everyone consistently (can be made into a universalizable maxim- principle describing how one will act in a situation). The second treats humanity always as an end in itself and never as a mere means. Believes that no one should be used merely as a means to an end- they are solely used for their actions and receive no benefit from the interaction. Kant values duties of justice which include “perfect duties” which are negative and blameworthy if we don’t follow them (such as lying, murdering, breaking promises). O’Neill “Kant and utilitarianism contrasted”- Critiques Kant’s complex moral theory of the formula of the end-of-itself. It states essentially that one should not involve another human being in an action to which they could not consent, or if the action does not respect the goals of the other human being. His theory of deontologism counter the ideas presented by utilitarianism. Review questions: Arguments-  Argument: a sequence of statements, the last of which (the conclusion) is supposed to follow from the others (the premises)  Statement: a sentence that describes the world as being a certain way  Truth: when the world actually is the way the statement says the world is  Deductive valid: if and only if the truth of the premises would guarantee the truth of the conclusion  Sound: if and only if it is deductively valid and all of its premises are true  Validity is based on the logical form, or the structure, of the argument (all As are Bs, all Bs are Cs, then all As are Cs)  Inductive strength: using a small observation to arrive at a general conclusion- measured by the probability that the conclusion is true given that all the premises are true  A valid argument cannot have a false conclusion if all the premises are true. A sound argument must have a true conclusion because all of the premises are true.  Fallacy- an argument involving an error in reasoning Logical forms-  Modus ponens- If P, then Q P ⟶ Q “affirms the antecedent”  Modus Tollens- If P, then Q Not Q Not P “dying the consequent” Morality and religion:  Divine command theory: what makes an act right (or wrong) is God’s commanding us to do (or not do) that type of act  Arguments include: How do we know there is a god? Assuming there is, why is He in the business of giving us commands? How can we possibly know what His commands are? What from the religious texts are moral commands?  Socrates questions Euthyphro whether the holy is beloved by the gods because it is holy or is it holy because it is beloved of the gods? In regards to the divine command theory, either (a) wrong actions are wrong just because God forbids them, or (b) God forbids them because they are wrong. Both prove the DCT false. Relativism:  Objective vs subjective: does not vs does depend on what someone thinks/feels/likes etc.  Cultural relativism: An act is morally right if and only if (and because) it is permitted by the accepted moral norms (“moral code”) of the relevant society  Cultural differences argument says that different societies have different moral codes and that right and wrong depend on one’s culture so, cultural relativism is true.  Cultural relativism implies that everyone should be more tolerant of the practices of other cultures and we cannot judge other cultures  The moral progress argument states that if cultural relativism is true, then reformers such as MLK are wrong because their acts were not permitted by social norms which proves it false  Contradictions occur when something is right and not right, in the form of “P and not-P”. They attempt to avoid this problem by appealing to relative predicates- a predicate which only applies to a subject relative to some standard. This proposal also has its own problems Natural Law Theory:  Intrinsic value- if and only if X is good in and of itself, apart from whatever consequences X might produce VS, extrinsic value- if and only if X has good consequences  The main moral principle states that actions are right if they promote the fulfillment of human nature, wrong if they undermine it (value-based, non- consequentialist, objectivist)  Aquinas says that all humans have a natural inclination to pursue certain goals which have intrinsic value- life, procreation, social relationships, and knowledge.  The concept of human nature is problematic because we have to determine which goods are intrinsic to human nature.  What makes an inclination “natural”? Proposals are: Universality- those that are universal in human beings Statistical normality- those which are statistically normal in humans Innateness- those that are innate rather than learned Design- those humans have been designed to pursue Adaptation- those which are the adaptations by natural selection Psychological egoism:  Defined as the thesis that people are by nature self-interested. The only thing ultimately motivates a person is concern for her own wellbeing or advantage. Concern for others is instrumental only. Something seemingly altruistic could be seen as self-interested if you consider the praise or boost in self confidence from doing good for others.  Argument from one’s own desires- whenever a person acts, she is motivated by her own desires, if an act is motivated by one’s own desires then that act is motivated by self-interest, therefore all acts are motivated by self-interest. Objections are that the claim that we are only motivated by desire is controversial and that not all desires are self-directed.  Argument of expected benefits- any time one benefits someone else, one expects to feel good as a result, if someone expects some outcome, then one’s reason for so acting was to bring about that outcome, therefore any time one person benefits another, her reason for so acting was to make herself feel good. Objections include the burrito & indigestion example.  You can test the these empirically by developing a rival hypothesis and a possible observation that would discriminate between them Theories of well-being:  Hedonism (objective)- pleasure (and avoidance of pain) is the only thing that ultimately matters in life (“the good”) – Epicurus (highest pleasure is inner peace & we should avoid sensuous pleasures), Bentham (comments on the differing value of pleasure), Mill (pleasures differ in both quantity and intrinsic quality), Taylor  The desire satisfaction theory (subjective)- well-being consists in the satisfaction of one’s desires  The experience machine argument does not support hedonism but does support the desire theory because plugging into the experience machine would mean that most of your desires will be unsatisfied, proving that the experience machine is not good for you  Perfectionism/the objective list view (objective)-many things are intrinsically good for us such as pleasure, health, knowledge, success, love, etc. but how do we determine the list?  Heathwood argues that if something is intrinsically good for you, then just having it makes your life better, but things such as money and freedom don’t always better your life so therefore there are not objective goods  Objection to a thing’s satisfying someone’s desires is necessary- vaccinations to a young child, water for my tomato plants  Objection to a thing’s satisfying someone’s desires is sufficient for that thing to be good for her- some desires can be negative (evil, addictions, objective) or pointless Utilitarianism:  Defined as a consequentialist moral theory which says that the consequences that matter are those which affect individual well-being (make individuals better or worse off)  Hedonic utility of an act = the amount of pleasure the act would produce – the amount of pain the act would produce. This is maximized if and only if no alternative act would create more  Utilitarianism helps us resolve disagreements about disputed moral issues by calculations  Expected utility = ∑ (possible outcome) * (probability of outcome) * (how good/bad it will be)  Act/extreme utilitarianism- A particular act is right if and only if it would maximize utility  Rule/restricted utilitarianism- An act is right (wrong) if it is permitted (forbidden) by rules the acceptance of which would maximize utility  Problem of partiality- (1) U requires us to maximize utility impartially (2) But a parent ought to be partial to his or her children (3) Therefore, U is incorrect  Problem of justice- 1. If U is true, then Transplant Surgeon should kill the One in order to save the Five 2. But Transplant Surgeon shouldn’t do that 3. Therefore, U is not true. Rule utilitarianism solves this problem by evaluating the acceptance value of killing a person for their organs and killing people for their organs when it can save lives, so don’t kill the person.  Smart’s objection- (1) If RU is true, then we should follow rules even when we know that breaking them would have the best consequences (2) But that is irrational (rule worship) (3) Therefore, RU isn’t true Kant:  Motives: the reasons for which one acts- there are two kinds: Inclination- acting out of desire to do it Duty- acting out of respect for a moral principle  Good will = a will moved by duty  Maxim: Principle that one gives oneself describing how one will act in a certain situation  Hypothetical imperative: tells you what you should do to achieve some goal  Categorical imperative: applies to all agents no matter what their goals (just a command)- Kant came up with two formulations: The formula of universal law: Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law The formula of the end in itself: Always treat humanity, whether in your own person or that of another, as an end in itself and never merely as a means  One action argued to be contrary to duty would be suicide saying “once continuing to live will bring me more pain than pleasure, I will kill myself out of ‘self love’.” This is not universalizable.  Perfect duties: can be executed perfectly (completely); always blameworthy if you do not conform. Generally negative duties.  Imperfect duties: never-ending, impossible to complete; not always blameworthy if you do not (e.g., if doing it would conflict with another duty). Generally positive duties.  Treating a person as an end = with respect VS as means = using her for your own purposes VS merely as a means = using her for your own purposed without regard for her ends  Principle of justice: avoid exploiting and deceiving people – takes priority when they conflict  Principle of beneficence: do things to help them advance their ends, especially when they are in need


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