1/24/17 Reading: “The Divine Command Theory” by Russ Shafer-Landau God and Morality -“If God is dead, then everything is permitted.” -Could be saying without God there is no one to ultimately punish immoral behavior. -Or that without God morality doesn’t exist, so nothing is really right or wrong. -“Does morality depend on God?” 1. Morality is the seWe also discuss several other topics like What element has the highest mass percent?
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t of standards by which we ought to live our lives. 2. Someone needs to be in a position of authority to create standards of this type. 3. Humans lack the authority necessary to create standards of this type. 4. An all perfect being (God) would have the authority necessary to create standards of this type. 5. Therefore, morality requires God. -Divine Command Theory (DCT) -Without God no one would have the authority to create moral norms. -DCT: An act is morally required just because it is commanded by God, and immoral just because God forbids it. -If giving to charity and keeping your promises are right, it is just because God commands them. -If murder, rape, and torture are wrong, it is just because God forbids them. -Is this a plausible view of morality? -Initial Worry -Morality according to DCT appears to depend on the existence of a particular type of God. -Atheism: God may not exist. -Deism: God may not involve himself in human affairs. -We can accept that DCT is true, but still reject the existence of a particular kind of God, so then there would be no morality. -But let’s assume God exists and cares enough to give us moral direction, DCT still faces a problem first raised by Plato. -Plato -Student of Socrates, mentor to Aristotle -Most famous for his dialogues where he examines almost every area of philosophy -“The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes.” -Euthyphro Dilemma -Euthyphro: “What is dear to the gods is pious, what is not is impious.” -Socrates: “Is the pious being loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is being loved by the gods?” -That is, what makes a thing good (morally right)? -DCT 1) Does God command X because it is morally right?2) Or is X morally right because God commands it? -Which one should we opt for? -Horn 1 -“Does God command us to do actions because they are morally right?” -If we say yes, then it looks like God relies on reasons to identify what is morally right, and then commands that of us. -But if God has reasons to command what is good, then it looks like the reasons are what justify whether something is right or wrong and not God. -God forbids torture because “it is extremely painful, is humiliating, is an attack on a defenseless person”, etc -Torture is not wrong because God commands it, it is wrong for the aforementioned reasons. -Horn 2 -“Are actions morally right because God commands them?” -DCT: “Yes!” -Without God’s commands nothing is right or wrong. -Murder is wrong if and only if God forbids it. -If God did not forbid murder, then it would not be immoral. -Consider these two claims: (a) God exists and (b) the Holocaust was immoral. -How certain are you that (b) is true? -If you found out that (a) was false would you reject (b)? -If Horn 2 is correct then it follows that if (a) is false (b) is necessarily false as well, and because of our certainty that (b) is true that may seem odd. -Why reject DCT and 2? -If DCT and 2 are correct then there is nothing about murder, rape, or torture themselves that makes them immoral. -That is torture isn’t wrong because “it is extremely painful, is humiliating, is an attack on a defenseless person”, etc -Torture is wrong because God forbids it. -Does God have reasons? -Either God has reasons for commanding what is morally right or he doesn’t. 1) If God does have reasons, then what is good or bad does not depend on what he commands, but rather depends on these reasons. 2) If God does not have reasons, then it looks as if what is good or bad is arbitrary. -But a perfect God wouldn’t arbitrarily command and forbid certain actions of us, so 2 and DCT must be false. 1/26/17 The Utilitarian Approach & The Debate Over Utilitarianism -3 kinds of theories in normative ethics: -Consequentialism (Classical Utilitarianism) -Deontology (Kantian Ethics)-Virtue Ethics (Aristotelian Virtue Ethics) -Classical Utilitarians -Jeremy Bentham -James Mill -John Stuart Mill -Classical Utilitarianism: “The only bad thing is unhappiness” -An action is determined as right or wrong based on whether it is good or bad -The Greatest Happiness Principle -Consequentialism -Rightness or wrongness of an action depends only on the value of the consequences of that action. -“Value of” means “goodness or badness of”. -Hedonism -Goodness = Happiness (Enjoyment, Pleasure) -Badness = Unhappiness (Suffering, Displeasure) -Impartiality -Everyone’s interests matter equally. -Maximizing Consequentialism -Right action- the action that produces the consequences with the greatest net value of all available actions. -Consequences- results or effects of an action. -Net value- amount of goodness — amount of badness. -Satisficing Consequentialism -Right action- any action that produces consequences with net value greater than or equal to some threshold. -Hedonism -Goodness = Happiness, Badness = Unhappiness -Nothing else is (non-instrumentally) good or bad. -But anything can be instrumentally good or bad. -Hedonism entails that Net value = Net happiness. -Happiness and Unhappiness -Something mental -Something you experience -A pleasant or unpleasant feeling -Happiness: Pleasant feelings of emotion & bodily sensations -Unhappiness: Unpleasant feelings of emotion & bodily sensations -Impartiality -Everyone’s interests matter equally. -Your interests = the things that make your life better. -Better = more good. -Implications:-Your interests do not matter more than other people’s. -Your friends’ and family’s interests do not matter more than other people’s. -The interests of people who belong to one group do not matter more than the interests of people who belong to other groups. -Greatest Happiness Principle (GHP): -Right action = the greatest action that produces the greatest net happiness of all actions. -Objections to Utilitarianism -Hedonism: -Case 1: Piano Prodigy -Case 2: Treacherous Friend