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PHIL 112 07
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verified elite notetaker
This 14 page Study Guide was uploaded by Casey Shore on Tuesday October 4, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to PHIL 112 07 at Radford University taught by in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see Introduction: Ethics and Society in Philosophy at Radford University.
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Date Created: 10/04/16
Evaluating Virtue Ethics – Speed Review According to Aristotle… Q: What is the final end of all human activity? A: Happiness, human flourishing, Eudaimonia; the best account of it. Q: How do we achieve Eudaimonia (human flourishing)? A: By acting in a virtuous manor. Q: How do you determine how to act in a situation? A: Doctrine of the mean. Ethical Role Model: Virtuous Ethics= A virtuous act is just what a virtuous person would do. For example, WWJD a virtuous person might live by “What Would Jesus Do?” to keep them doing the virtuous actions in a situation, same thing with Gandhi. What is the role of reason, feeling and action in this view? Giving money two a hobo is not virtuous is you didn’t think about it, you just did it. For example, why do I care about __________, for happiness? Applying Criteria of Moral Adequacy: Consistency with considered judgment- something that’s been thought about. If your taking someone else’s work, then you’re not cultivating virtues and you’re not developing as a person. Consistency with our moral experiences: -Considered Judgment= “Murder is bad”. -Moral Experiences= right/wrong, we can explain our reasons and give more than one, when not subjective. It’s not just about you. You should consider others around you. For example, the Holocaust was good and bad, there is no opinions about it. There were good things about it and there were bad things about it because you have proof of why it is good and you have proof of why it was bad. Usefulness in moral problem-solving: Whether or not your morals can help you solve problems. Feeding a hobo even though you are hungry. Is it wrong for you to eat first because you are hungry? Is it wrong for you to watch him starve will you don’t? And is it wrong for you not to share so that way both of you get to eat? JS Mil on Utilitarianism: Greatest happiness principle- -Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong in proportion as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. On Hedonism: Hedonic Theory- “Pleasure and freedom from pain are the only things that are describable ends.” Everything else is a means to the end pf pleasure maximization and pain prevention. Objections: Utilitarianism is a doctrine worthy of pigs. Response: higher and lower pleasures Higher Faculties- imagination, intellect, moral sentiments, feelings Differences in quality! The test of Quality: Pleasure 1 is a higher quality than pleasure 2 if all or almost all people who have had both give a consistent preference to 1. He wants us to conclude that mental and physical pleasure are two different things and the people play a role because people like different things. Examples of the test of quality= Infirmity of character, people chose lower quality because they are lazy. Proximity Ease “Capacity for the nobler feelings is a very tender plant that is easily killed.” - Certain degree of maintenance to receive pleasure. Other Considerations= Self-Sacrifice and the stoic. WWJD? He wants to say that the values that Jesus says to do is also what you should apply to utilitarianism, and that’s what utilitarianism wants you to do as well. You should help people, ask yourself what and why are you really doing something to keep yourself honest and virtuous. You should maintain a modest lifestyle, otherwise your life is going to seem worse than it is. No rest problem or settings the standards too high (CS)- “To require people always to act from the motive of promoting the general interest of society- that is demanding too much, they say.” Response- motive is irrelevant, only outcome. “Before acting, one doesn’t have time to calculate and weigh the effects on the happiness of any line of conducted.” - You don’t have to constantly think about utilitarianism, you just have to maximize it. What proof can be for the principle of utility? Everybody wants happiness and thinks it is good. And therefore the general happiness is a good to the aggregate of all persons. Why do people value virtues? Because they are bettering themselves, it’s a means to something else, its instrumental for the “long-run”. Mil: No, virtue ethics are confusing instrumental and intrinsic goods. Famine, Affluences, and Morality- Peter Singer Conclusion: 1) The reactions of affluent peoples to global poverty cannot be morally justified (i.e.) we have a moral obligation to alleviate the suffering of the worse off. 2) Our moral conceptual scheme needs to be altered, and with it, the way of life that has come to be taken for granted in our society. Premises: 1) Suffering and death from lack of food, shelter, and medical care are bad. Why do people do this? - We are burdening the ecosystem so if more people die then we won’t be burdening the Earth—different religions will blame this on the way f the world or in some cases karma. 2) Strong versions of Moral Sacrifice Principle: If it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without there by sacrificing anything of comparable moral significance, we ought, morally, to do it. Moderate version of Moral Sacrifice Principle: If it is in our power to stop something very bad from happening without sacrificing anything of moral significance, we ought, morally do it. Some Explanations (bad excuses) for inaction: -Easier to ignore -Self satisfaction -In- group bias -Reliability of charities -Better alternatives 2) Many others, in a similar situation to us, do nothing: If everyone gave $5, then poverty would be alleviated. 3) Aiding the needy would produce more people, which leads to more suffering. Singles Attack on “charity” -Supererogatory- above and beyond what is morally required. -Obligatory- what is morally required. Singer says if you have extra of anything when you should give according to what you have. Objections to Singer’s attack on the ideas of Supererogatory donations (charity). 1) Too drastic a revision of our moral scheme. 2) Too demanding. Philosophical Methods: Descriptive ethics describe what these people think. Preeminence of Reason: Appeal to evidence, justification for your beliefs. Saying what you think is wrong, mainly legal norms is what we are talking about, you have to have physically proof of why it is wrong not just your beliefs. Principle of Impartiality: Basically everyone should be created equally. For example, in college each individual person comes from a different educational background (High School), but nevertheless we all still deserve to be treated equally. The same thing goes for race, gender, and class. Dominance of Moral Norms: You decide on the choices you make. For example, if there is a party and you don’t want to go to it but your friends are pressuring you into it, it is ultimately your decision, especially if there are illegal activities going on. It all depends on your morals. Intrinsic Value vs Instrumental Value: Intrinsic Value=value in itself. Happy is a good example of intrinsic value. Instrumental Value=valuable as a means to some further ends. For example, on a road trip your car will need gas. Gas is instrumental. Ethical Indispensability: Can’t avoid making questions about what is right or wrong, good or bad. So you have a good reason for doing what you’re doing. Socrates Military Service, 469-399 BCE, Trial and Death. Elenchus- Back and forth question format (Question and Answer). Socratic Irony- idea that he asked people their theories about certain topics, then they would claim that they are experts on the topics, once he could prove that they were frauds he would make it known to everyone so they could no longer fool anyone else. He had an open mind, and for situations like this it’s the best thing to bring with you. What is the Socratic Method? Self-reflection on your own beliefs. A way to seek truth by your own lights. Lights here meaning you ask others with wisdom what to do. Greg Valastos the Socratic Method is among the greatest achievements of humanity. Reason for this: it allows for progress and growth. For example, The Scientific Method-you need to be able to think clearly. Socratic Method is valuable to everyone and everyone can utilize this method. Examines commons sense itself, analyzed shared meanings of term and scrutinizes, their plausibility, which leads to more well justified conclusions. -Moral Theory exploration of what makes an action right or what makes a person or thing good. -Reflective Equilibrium: adds more knowledge (basically). -Consequentialist: what makes an action right or wrong is its consequence. -Non- consequentialists: what makes an action right or wrong does not depend on its consequence. -Utilitarianism: the morally right action is that the one that produces the most net happiness. Theory of Right=Consequentialism Theory of Good= Hedonism (pleasure or happiness) Forward looking moral theory. Act-Utilitarianism: the right action is the action that directly produces the best. Rule- Utilitarianism: the morally right action is the one covered by a rule, that if generally followed, maximizes the good. Ethical Egoism: the moral theory which maintains that the right action is the one that produces the most favorable balance of good and evil if oneself. Non-consequentialism Theories: -Natural Law Theory: The right action is the one that follows the dictates of nature. -Devine Command Theory: The right action is the one that God commands. Evaluating Moral Theories: Criterion 1) consisting with considered judgements… Needless killings. Criterion 2) Consistency with moral experiences. Criterion 3) Usefulness in Moral Problem solving. Philosophy 121 8/31/2016 Ethics is the study of what is right and wrong. Descriptive ethics is the study of what individuals or groups of people believe. Normative Ethics is the study of what is normal. What is normal? It depends on the rules of society for that particular country or “group”. Philosophy is the love of wisdom. In Greek “Philo” means love and “Sophy” means wisdom. Understanding the fundamental nature and relationships of things (beliefs, god, moral, and existence). Conceptual analysis and formal argufies. Why do this? 1) Ethical indispensability. 2) We undermine our autonomy and rationality by not seriously considering our beliefs. 3) Increased risk of mistaken or confused views without critical communication. 4) Risk of not being able to defend your views. Elements of Ethics: 1) The preeminence of reason - appealing to evidence or your beliefs. 2) Universal Perspective - views of others. Principles of Universalizability: the idea that a moral statement should apply in all relevant similar situations. 3) The Principle of Impartiality – everyone should be considered morally equal depending on what is considered equal in your society. 4) The dominance of moral norms: norms – Are rules for everyday conducts, Different types of norms depends on what you find normal. Evaluating Self- Interest as a Basis for Moral Theories: -Ethical Egoism: what is right is right just because it promotes your best interest (one of many ways to put this). -Social Contract Theory: It’s good to have morals because it’s “better” for you in a sense that it makes you think and consider each individual choice to make sure that the decision you make is actually the “best” one for you to make. (Equality + Egoism) – (Government) = State of Nature Case of Rosa and Vincent (from the reading): You half people like Rose who always take into consideration their morals and think of their self- interest, people who will consider what it does to their morals more than their outcome and they won’t take the easy way out even when it presents itself. And then you have people that are like Vincent who only think about the outcome (what they really want) and that’s the only thing they every think about because they are (lose wording) “narrow minded” and they will do whatever it takes. - Rose has different options on what to do when she finds a piece of paper proving wrong doing on Vinny’s behalf. Her options are to openly expose Vinny which will go against her morals because it will cause her to no longer be loyal towards Vinny. Option number two is she could do nothing, in this case she could still be loyal towards Vinny and she could also feel better about herself if she did get the promotion; in my opinion this is the better option. Or option number three, which is secretly expose Vinny, in the end this is very similar to the firs option because she would still be abandoning her morals. 3 Criteria= Consistency with better judgement, Moral Experience, and Usefulness in moral problem solving. Psychological Egoism the view that the motive for all actions is self-interests. 1) We’re not able to perform an actions except out of self- interest (PE). 2) We’re not morally obligated to perform an action unless motivated by self- interest. 3) Therefore, we are morally obligated to do only what our self- interest motivates us to do. If Psychological Egoism Ethical Egoist (how people are) Social Contract (How people should be) Ought to imply can: It implies that if something is in your best interest then you probably going to do so, if it is still inside your morals (what your capable of). Ethical Egoism and other considerations: the egoists Dilemma and Counterfactual Thinking: What could prove Ethical Egoism wrong? There is really no clear answer because there is no clear way which makes it less likely to prove this, you’re always in first person thinking and therefore you’re bias because you want to see the best of yourself. Thomas Hobbes: Social Contract Theory: Historical Context= Published in 1651 during the English Civil War. Thesis- a social contract should be used to empower an absolute ruler. Natural Conditions of War: Equality -Bodily equality= equally able to kill each other -mental equality Egoism He thinks everyone is only interested in helping or saving themselves, looking out for number one… themselves. State of Nature= (Equality+ Egoism) -> Natural conditions -The Government 2 Principal Causes of Discord: -Competition: “The equality of ability produces equality of hope for the attending of our goals”. -Distrust: Because of this distrust amongst men, the most reasonable way for any man to make himself safe is to strike first, that is, by force or cunning subdue other men- as many of them as he can, until he sees no other power great enough to endanger him. -Glory: Even man wants his associates to value him as much as he values himself, and any sign that he is disregarded or undervalued naturally leads man to try, as far as he dares, to raise his values in their eyes. Without a state we are at war. Q: How is war like the weather? A: It’s unpredictable, it could happen at any given time for any reason. More than likely it will have something that causes it, like a buildup. For example, it won’t flood unless it has been raining for an extensive amount of time. Hobbes’ view was… “Life is nasty, brutish and short. Responses by opponents: 1 -Rebuttal of Hobbes: Humans aren’t so terrible. -Counterpoint: Preparations for a journey. 2nd - Rebuttal of Hobbes: State of nature isn’t actual. -Counterpoint: Well it seems to be some places. In any case, that does not matter. On Justice in the State of Nature: “In this war of every man against every man nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice have no place there. Where there is no common power, there is no law where there is no law, there is no injustice”. Virtue Ethics: “These virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions… the good man is a working of the soul in the way of excellence in a complete life.” Aristotle A family of ethical theories (like consequentialism and deontology). Emphasize the role of character in moral philosophy. Some questions you should ask yourself… What kind of person should I be? What should I do? Definition of Virtual Ethics: An act is morally right just because it is one that a person, acting in character, would do in that situation. Aristotle: life= 384322 BC, student of Plato, teacher of Alexander the Great, great philosopher, credited as the first genuine scientists. Nicomachean Ethics: Not by Aristotle (lecture notes), likely by Aristotle’s son, Nicomachus. Nicomachus Ethics the good “Every art and every inquiry, and similarly ever action and pursuit, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been directed to be that at which all things aim.” ** Basically thinks everyone should be or wants to be happy (human flourishing). ** Aristotle thinks that according to human flourishing you shouldn’t be happy for more than a day. Q: What is the ultimate good for humans? A: Human flourishing (Eudaimonia). Virtues: Character qualities that enable an individual to achieve happiness while obeying to the commands of reason. Not just instrumental for happiness (hedonic). Constitutive for the good character constitutes the good life that we call happiness. Virtues v. Characters Not given by nature: what is given by nature is inescapable > we can develop vices the capacity for virtue is NOT just learned >It is developed through habit, we become virtuous by doing virtuously, it takes training. It brings excellence about and makes the thing that brought it about. A good eye makes both the eye and its work good. The Golden Mean: The doctrine of the mean every ethical virtue is a condition intermediate between two other states, one involving excess, and the other involving deficiency. Every ethical virtue is a condition intermediate between two other states, one involving excess, and the other deficiency. a virtue: courage the sphere of action it has to do with: fear and confidence. The state it lies between: rashness and cowardice rashness is an excess of cowardice cowardice is a deficiency if confidence We don’t just identify the middle as the best. “The excellence of hogs if fatness of men virtue” Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac Ethike > ethos > ethics = habit
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