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PHI2630, Week 1-2 Notes

by: Jackie L

PHI2630, Week 1-2 Notes PHI2630

Jackie L
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About this Document

These notes cover the first and second week of class
Ethical Issues and Life Choices
Marcela Herdova
Class Notes
PHI2630, ethics, FSU




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jackie L on Thursday January 21, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PHI2630 at Florida State University taught by Marcela Herdova in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 16 views. For similar materials see Ethical Issues and Life Choices in PHIL-Philosophy at Florida State University.


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Date Created: 01/21/16
PHI2630 1/12/15 Lecture one Reasoning Errors and Arguments Ethics  To figure out which actions are right and which actions are wrong from a moral standpoint  Not subjective, rather a matter of opinion where every view/opinion counts as equally “right”  Good reasons to believe that some ethical views are right  Right ethical views=those which tell us, correctly, what things are morally right and what things are morally wrong  Actions which are right and actions which are morally wrong  Ethics in many ways is like a science that is trying to get at the truth A Real World Ethical Dilemma  Question 1: What ethical problems can you identify? o Having one child live is going to be better than no children living o This approach is not going to work in all cases  Question 2: Do you agree with the decision to separate the twins? Ethical views should be properly justified or supported  Ethical views or any other views should incorporate or at least respect the relevant evidence that is out there  Incorporate (or at least be compatible with) the available evidence/empirical research  Be based on arguments  Be consistent (so no contradictions) o Say that you believe that lying is wrong but you think that fore everyone else except for you…you will get angry if your friends lie to you but you wouldn’t care too much if you lie to them o Not so obvious is that you think through what the consequences of your views are  If you do not meat these three than you’re risking that your views are false and mere prejudices, without much value Ethical views should not..  Be based on biases  Knee-jerk immediate reactions (quick judgments)  Emotions  Hunches  Peer pressure, superstition, wishful thinking Moral Dumbfounding  When our views on moral issues are based on gut/instinct reactions (often disgust)..  Without us being able to give reasons or arguments in support of our judgments  However, emotions like disgust are in on way indicative (on their own) whether something is moral or immoral  Examples: cleaning bathrooms, interracial marriage… PHI2630 Intro to Ethics Normative Ethics  The branch of ethics concerned with giving a general account of what is right and wrong  A normative theory will fill in this bi-conditional: o An action A is right/wrong if and only if______. o Apply these very general rules in your ethical decision making Some leading moral theories  Consequentialism: Result-based ethical theory o An action is right if and only if (and because) its consequences would be at least as good as the consequences of any alternative action that the agent might instead perform. o We can determine rightness or wrongness of doing something solely by looking at the consequences caused by that action.  You made a promise to something to help them move…its also finals week and you have a lot to study for…you have several options: keep your promise and help your friend and youll have to make up for studying at night and stay up late or you’ll break your promise and make up a white lie…if you are a consequentialist you’ll look at what good and how much good will come out of each option overall  In this scenario, your friend has already tons of friends that are going to show up and help her…if you do not show up and your friend is very understanding…the best thing to do is to break that promise because of the little harm that will be done  In another scenario, only your friend has you to rely on o This means that no type of action is inherently wrong- not even murder. o Value based-how valuable the result is; the main thing to know is that this is determined on how much value that action has o Maximizing- go with the option that has the most value, that is the right thing to do o Alternative actions- how you are deciding what to do, the one step is the very first step by looking at the options and compare the alternative actions that are open to you o Comparative o Impartial- everyone is affected by this action, everyone matters equal; do not just take into account how its going to affect just other people but animals as well o Short term AND long term consequences- you should only be thinking how its going to affect you on that day you should think about the long term affects about your actions  One prominent version of consequentialism: Utilitarianism o Understand value in terms of maximizing happiness and welfare o The rightness or wrongness of actions depends entirely on how they affect welfare or happiness o Hedonistic Utilitarianism (Bentham, Mill):  Consequentialism: an action is right just in case it has the best consequences.  Hedonism: pleasure is the only thing that is valuable  Universalism: the consequences fore very being (including non-human animals) at every time are relevant.  Trolley Problems o Version1: should Flanders pull the lever to switch the trolley to save the Griffins and direct eh train towards Homer instead? o Version 2: Should Flanders push the Comic Book Guy off the bride to stop the train and save the Griffins?  Right & Wrong-The Trolley Problem- Narrated by Harry Shearer  Rule Consequentialism o An action is right if it is in accord with that set of rules the (near) universal acceptance o which would make things go best o Act consequentialism and rule consequentialism might give us different results in the same situation. o Examples: stealing, making a promise to someone


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