Midterm Study Guide
Midterm Study Guide PHIL 1103
Popular in Ethics
Popular in PHILOSOPHY AND HUMANITIES
This 8 page Study Guide was uploaded by Nicole Dante on Sunday October 9, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to PHIL 1103 at Fairleigh Dickinson University taught by Dr. Louis DeBello in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 71 views. For similar materials see Ethics in PHILOSOPHY AND HUMANITIES at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
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Date Created: 10/09/16
Ethics Midterm Chapter 1 Ethics deals with what ought to be, not what is “Ideally” • Example: Normative classroom behavior o Raise hand o Arrive on time o Respect others when they’re speaking • Unethical o Cheating on exams o Plagiarizing work Religion & Ethics (Pg. 4) • Ethical theories are owed to/set on some kind of religious foundation • Part of social interaction/ helps people to live in harmony • Religious believes are a philosophical viewpoint o Grounded in divine authority o Different religions with generate different moral and ethical codes Law & Ethics (Pg. 4) • Something can be legal and not be moral o Ex. Workplace harassment – not illegal but immoral • Laws put in place to promote well-being/create social harmony o Some laws have negative backlash – which is worse, problem law was created to solve, or perceived backlash of the law o Those with different moral and ethical beliefs disagree about which laws hurt and which help Moral Law Overlapped section represents acts that are both morally reprehensible and illegal, such as rape, murder, etc. Morality and law cannot be combined because not all crimes overlap with human morality like the above crimes do. Traits of Moral Principles (Pg. 7) • Prescriptivity – practical/action-guiding, nature of morality. Guides our responses to “big ticket” offenses like rape and murder. • Universalizability – moral principles apply to all people in the same situation. o Example: Two people pick 5 apples each, they should be compensated the same amount o Example: Two students turn in nearly identical exams, they should receive nearly identical grades. • Overridingness – moral principles have predominant authority and override other kinds of principles. o Example: A moral would override a law if the law were immoral. • Publicity: moral principle must be made public in order to receive feedback and guide future actions. Feedback allows us to know if we were right or wrong. • Practicability – rules should be workable within our lives and not be a burden to be followed Chapter 2 Textbook: Ethical relativism: the doctrine that the moral rightness and wrongness of actions vary from society to society and that there are no absolute universal moral standards binding on all men at all times. Moral objectivism: the view that there are universal and objective moral principles valid for all people and social environments. • Contrasting doctrines o Incompatible, can’t both be true Ethnocentrism: evaluating other people/cultures through your own culture’s lens • Ex: Eskimos allow elderly to die by starvation (pg. 15) • Ex: one child law in China (infanticide) • Ex: polygamy – one culture may consider moral/acceptable, another may not • “Custom is the king of all” – custom sets a cultures morals Ted Bundy (Pg. 17) • Thought he was above the law • Questioned why his victims deserved to live/not be raped more than he deserved to feel pleasure • Mentally unstable Moral solipsism: isolated individuals make up separate universes • Ex: Hitler • Morality exists because of responsibilities within interpersonal relationships o If no one else is there, there is no need for morality Romans “De qustibus, non es dusputandum” In matters of taste, there is no dispute • Subjective issues, personal preference • Mackey – moral issues don’t exist Cultural standards/Conventional standards • Morals and ethics are based on these standards • Different based on time/location • Ex: British drive on the opposite side of the road form Americans Textbook (Pg. 19): Diversity Thesis: What is considered morally right and wrong varies from society to society, so there are no universal moral standards held by all societies. Dependency Thesis: All moral principles derive their validity from cultural acceptance. • Every culture has a certain amount of relativity o Is it enough to claim there are no universal morals? Moral Objectivism (competes with ethical relativism) 1. Diversity thesis 2. Dependency thesis Have to be able to argue to parts 1 and 2 • Ex: 1) Eskimos allow elderly to die of starvation. 2) Tradition came out of living in harsh climate with limited resources. Morals learned from parents, and they learned from their parents and so on • Culturally ingrained • Ex: people with different professions look at empty plot of land differently, see different potential (pg. 20) o Why act relative to someone else’s goals or objectives? Ethical Relativism & Tolerance • Ex: female circumcision o Condemning means you’re looking through and ethnocentric lens o No rules says we can criticize this practice Textbook: Melville Herskovits – intercultural tolerance (pg. 21) 1. If morality is relative to its culture, then there is not other culture but one’s own 2. If there is no independent way of criticizing any other culture, then we ought to be tolerant of the moralities of other cultures 3. Morality is relative to its culture 4. Therefore, we ought to be tolerant of the moralities of other cultures Deductive Logic: conclusion logically follows one of the premises Ex: All men are mortal Michael is a man Michael is mortal Arguments can be valid but not sound Ex: IF all men are immortal AND Michael is a man THEN Michael is immortal Can also deduce true conclusion from false premises 1. All fishes are mammals 2. All whales are fish All whales are mammals = VALID / not sound Criticisms of Ethical Relativism • There are no universal standards? o The idea that every moral and ethical idea must be tolerated is a universal standard • Undermines important values o Can’t criticize outside own culture § Hitler could have been equated to Mother Teresa if not for outside intervention o Predominant view held by a culture • Ethical universals o Right or wrong regardless of culture o Ethical relativism would support things like ethnic cleansing § KKK recognizes the murder of African Americans as just o 3 objections (start pg. 20) weaken argument, don’t necessarily dismantle it • Moral Diversity is Exaggerated o Every culture has a form of justifiable murder (pg. 24) o Book makes point of justifiable homicide, not murder § Homicide can’t be committed against an animal, for example § Homicide – the unlawful or unwillful killing of one person by another with malice of forethought • Weak Dependency Does Not Imply Relativism (pg. 25) o Weak Dependency – the application of moral principles depends on one’s culture o Strong Dependency – the moral principles themselves depend on one’s culture • Every culture shoes some respect from human life, or at least places some value on it o Cultures implement it differently o “Value” meant to weaker than “respect” linguistically o Hard to find a culture that doesn’t adhere to this idea § Pragmatic universal § Adhere out of necessity – if value isn’t placed on some life, culture would die off o Still doesn’t dismantle ethical relativism o Example: Eskimos weak and infirm behind when searching for new hunting/fishing land • Other examples: Honor killings/female mutilation o Cultures see as just o Not forced by environment like the Eskimos – weak dependency • Ptolemy (147AD) – Earth was the center of the solar system, other planets and Sun revolved around it • Copernicus – heliocentric theory o Planets revolve around the sun o Just because everyone agreed on Ptolemy’s theory, didn’t make it right o Universal consent doesn’t imply correctness • Arguments to Undermine Ethical Relativism o Cultural Difference Argument 1. Different cultures have different moral principles. 2. Therefore, this is no objective “truth” in immorality. Right and wrong are only matters of opinion, and opinion, and vary from culture to culture. 1. Eskimos believe that there is nothing morally wrong with (1) infanticide, or say (2) leaving infirm behind when seeking new hunting and fishing ground, as a result of a severe food shortage, or with honor (3) honor killings in certain middle eastern countries, or with (4) female mutilation on certain parts of Africa. a. Therefore, such practices as 1, 2, 3, and 4 are neither objectively right nor objectively wrong. Rather it is merely a matter of opinion, which varies from culture to culture. These values/practices couldn’t be carried over to western culture • Validity – in a valid deductive argument, it’s impossible for the premises (or a single premise) to be true in a conclusion clause All men are mortal Michael is a man Michael is a mortal • No contradiction It is morally wrong to kill an innocent person Ted is an innocent person Therefore, it is morally wrong to kill Ted • Eskimo example o Conclusion is not automatically true as it is in these examples § Gap before the conclusion that justifies the killing § Not a tight logical argument Ethical Relativism • Invalid argument has no strength or authority • Cannot claim a non factual claim over a factual argument In a valid deductive argument, the content of the conclusion repeats, in whole or in part, the content of the premises • Man/Mortal example o William is a man o All men are mortal o William is mortal • Can’t derive a conclusion from false premises Chapter 3 Moral Objectivism • There are objective universal moral principles, valid for all people and all social environments • Moral Absolutism – There are nonoverrideable moral principles that one ought never violate o No utterly satisfactory ethical theory • Natural Law (Pg. 32) – the view that there exists an eternal moral law that can be discovered through reason by looking at the nature of humanity and society. o First appears among the Greeks § Stoics § Cosmos – orderly, don’t need a theological component o Laws that are conducive to human flourishing and relationships o Saint Thomas Aquinas § Issues pointed out- dubious assumptions can be questions § Christianizing of Greek philosophy (pagan) § Things are good because we desire them, we desire them because they are good § Highest form of living/determining factor universe is reason (as opposed to passion) o Natural Laws (Pg. 33) § Arguments – pedophilia, homosexuality, etc. • Against natural law? • Ex: Eskimos leaving sick behind is conducive to human flourishing. o Works against ER o Hard to find a theory that works across the board The Doctrine of Double Effect (Aquinas) (Pg. 34) • Ethical Moral Dilemma o Conflict between two obligations of duty, can’t satisfy both simultaneously o Example: (1)To keep promise (2)To help someone that appears to be in serious need One of the obligations has to be violated William Ross • Prima facie – conditional duty to keep promises unless overridden by moral duty of higher worth conflicts • Consequentialism – action depends on the results produced by the action, one produces more desirable results (Utilitarian) Abortion • Not morally permissible by this idea • Class ex: cancerous womb Conditions • Desired effect – remove cancerous womb Chapter 6 Egoism – Consequentialist doctrine Consequentialism Egoism - only concerned Utilitarianism - one with consequences as action produces more they relate to ones one desirable results than a wellfare competeing action Two types of egoism • Psychological egoism (PE) (pg. 82 – acting out of self interest is natural) • Ethical egoism (EE) Psychological Egoism (Pg. 82) o Humans are born selfish o No choice o Everything we do has a self serving motive behind it S1 Don’t clean gutters to obtain satisfaction, but feel satisfaction when it’s done (Pg. 83) Pg. 86 – Argument from self-perception • Undermining PE • Hobbs (not on exam) • Theorist doesn’t want to let go of the idea that we act in self interest S1 For any act (A) anyone does, (A) in order to obtain satisfaction, satisfaction is the goal. • Subconscious • “Keep looking” for a self serving reason o Anti-scientific, falsifying, non-testable o Ex. Sputnik • Spontaneous actions o No time to form an intention o Saving someone and feeling satisfaction is confusing purpose with satisfaction • You confuse purpose or motive for performing the action with a consequence of the action o Altruist action should feel good Ethical Egoism (Pg. 82) o Serve self interest in terms of social o Choice o How we “ought” to behave Textbook info from Ethics: Discovering Right and Wrong, Seventh Edition, Pojman & Fieser
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