Final Exam Study Guide
Final Exam Study Guide PHIL 120
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This 5 page Study Guide was uploaded by Sydney Purpora on Thursday December 10, 2015. The Study Guide belongs to PHIL 120 at University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire taught by Kristin Schaupp in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 138 views. For similar materials see Ethical Reasoning in PHIL-Philosophy at University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire.
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Date Created: 12/10/15
Philosophy 120 Exam Study Guide Solomon – What is philosophy? Solomon’s view of philosophy o He believes that it is a way to articulate, hold and defend our beliefs or understand, tolerate and even sympathize with or adopt other views; it forces us to be clear about out limits Purpose/goals/usefulness o Gives you an open mind o Always leaves room for improvement to ideas o Gives you the tools to properly defend yourself Understanding other view points and where they lack or are strong o Clarifies life Philosophy’s differences from other disciplines o It is a critical approach to all subjects o A style of life o Thinking about everything and anything o Questioning everything – no right or wrong answer Differing views o Some philosophers put emphasis on morality or logic or proof No one is right and no one is wrong o There is no clear decided definition of philosophy Origins of Philosophy o Socrates and Aristotle Contemplative way of life Way of thinking: o Viewpoints should differ o Learning to be able to interact with other view points without just saying I disagree or I agree Bennett – Conscience of Huck Finn Portrayal o Himmler: strong commitments; moral principles – cleansing the soil of Germany; sympathies – gets physically ill; thinking about both; conflict between them; maintaining sympathies but not giving into them o Jonathan Edwards: has no sympathies; taking theory/theology at face value; if he has any sympathies they are in line with morals about hell & God – predestination; no conflict between sympathies and morals o Huck Finn: has sympathies –Jim feels Huck is his friend and he will feel bad turning him in; moral principles – stealing is wrong, he stole Jim from someone; will feel bad either way; he is weak; is going to throw away morals and go with whatever is easiest Bennett uses these figures to show how people use moral principles and sympathies in the decision making process Moral principles: set of beliefs and rules either you hold or the society does Sympathies: emotional gut feeling about something; feeling guilty, sad, angry Bennett says: o Himmler: is the best example of what to do during the decision making process because there is conflict between his moral principles and sympathies but he wanted him and would want us to go further I the analyzing step, looking at societies morals and decide if they are just o Edwards: has the worst decision making process because there is no conflict between moral principles and sympathies o Finn: he thinks that Finn has not enough conflict because he struggles for a little to decide what to do but then in the end is weak and just does what is easiest What to do if emotions/principles conflict: o Bennett says one needs to analyze moral principles, using sympathies to identify bad moral principles, revise or change those bad moral principles o Conflict is good Emotions/principles help us determine what moral principles are bad or what we might want to change if we do not stick with them in the decision making process Recommendations o Analyze morals and sympathies o Use emotions to determine bad moral principles and revise or change them Pojman – Relativism There are no gray areas between relativism and nonrelativism Objections to theory o Some may say there is a point between relativism and nonrelativism o Who determines what it moral o Illegal vs. immoral Ethical relativism: there is nothing objective about morality – it is a made up construct; it is a tool that societies use to reach a goal, social structure; if the society or individual believes it is morally right then it is; judge the action based on their moral point of view o Subjective: varying morals from individual to individual o Conventional: varying morals from society to society o Moral skepticism: they are skeptical if there are morals; there are very few if there are any Nonrelativism: there are universal morals whether we know the correct ones or not; there is at least one universal moral; there are some right and wrong answers o Objective but not absolute: moral principles can have exceptions o Not objective and absolute: no exceptions to moral principles Subjectivism and concept of morality o Mutually exclusive or mutually exhaustive o Illegal vs. immoral Diversity thesis: an anthropological thesis that acknowledges that moral rules differ from society to society; there may or may not be shared morals but if there are there are only a few Dependency thesis: that individual acts are right or wrong depending on the nature of the society in which the occur Moral absolutism: the extreme of nonrelativism; there exists at least one universal moral principle and it should not be violated Moral objectivism: that moral principles are rules that should be followed, but may be overridden by other morals in cases of conflict Cultural relativism: what is considered moral varies from society to society Ethnocentrism: not appealing to a right or wrong moral standard; justification stops at “this is right because we do it this way”; uses their culture as the independent standard for justification; believe only their views are correct Ethical relativists do not believe there are morals for everyone so they do not believe that it would be morally preferable for everyone to be tolerant Hardin – Distribution of Wealth Hardin is a consequentialist Lifeboat ethics: those who are on the lifeboat (those with the money and resources) get to decide things; they have the resources; recourses are limited – not enough for everyone o Hardin believes that the carrying capacity of the earth is limited as well so those who are on the lifeboat do not have room to spare Logic of the commons: he believes that because people are selfish, trying to help will logically end in tragedy Spaceship earth: saying that a with one leader would be able to work out this resource problem o Hardin disagrees with this theory because it requires one leader, which the earth does not have, and it will thus lead to the tragedy of the commons o Tragedy of the commons: when an individual acts based on their own selfinterest and not thinking about the group Crisis: onetime issue Crunch: long term issues Hardin believes all humans are selfish and act out of selfishness so they only try to help others for their own benefit Ways to help/harm: o Sending food only – disastrous consequences o Food + energy – wont work in practice Hardin’s argument o There are only two ways of providing aid to other countries/individuals o One way is to provide free food o The other way is to provide food + energy o Free food leads to really bad consequences o Food + energy is impossible to provide in practice o Neither ways works/helps others o Overall: we shouldn’t provide aid to overpopulated countries Ecology: “You can not merely do one thing” meaning, there is always at least one unwanted consequence to your action Role of consequences in the argument o Starting to help will result in expectations for more and dependency o Help yourself before helping others o Feeding people will not help – overpopulation/destruction Objections/responses: o More than two ways to help o Immoral not to help o Resources aren’t this limited o Energy isn’t impossible to provide Singer – Distribution of Wealth Underlying assumptions o Singer is a consequentialist o Suffering/death by starvation is bad/unnecessary Singer’s principle o You have an obligation to help when the following are the case not that you think they are If it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening Not sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance Moral significance and comparable moral significance o If your society will lose your food supply by giving others food, then that is comparable moral significance o Moral significance can just simply be buying new clothes other than helping starving people Proximity vs. distance: Singer says these should not be taken into account; just because a person is close to you, it might make it more likely that you will help them but it does not change that we ought to help them. Charity vs. duty: duty feels as though there is an obligation or almost a forced action; charity is done out of selfishness o Duty objection: who determines the obligation to help o Charity supererogation Objections/responses o It takes insufficient account of the effect that moral standards can have on the decisions we make Response: He recognizes that in a society that gives so little, giving a lot more so fast can seem unrealistic; but it needs to happen o Against utilitarianism stating that people would have to work full time at helping Response: It is impossible to always be helping all of the time, he realizes that people need to take breaks; but everyone’s efforts still need to improve as a whole o Marginal utility: giving so much that it hits a level or harming those who are giving; suffrage Response: This extreme version is the correct one. He believes that it is required to reduce ourselves to the level or marginal utility Role of consequences: o As long as you are preventing something bad from happening and you are sure of that o If you are helping in every way you can, drastic results can be worth it Fairness of contribution: o Especially for societies that are only giving five percent of their money and recourses, it is prevalent to change that and increase the amount to almost equal o How is it fair to have one society barely surviving while the other is thriving?
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