2014 Fall Ethics Theory and Applications Philosophy 2131 Study Soup
2014 Fall Ethics Theory and Applications Philosophy 2131 Study Soup PHIL 2131
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Chloe Lee on Monday February 9, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to PHIL 2131 at George Washington University taught by David DeGrazia in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 263 views. For similar materials see Ethics: Theory and Applications in PHIL-Philosophy at George Washington University.
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Date Created: 02/09/15
2014 Fall Ethics Theory and Applications Philosophy 2131 UNDERSTANDING THE CONCEPTS WHAT IS ETHICS gt Ethics is the systematic attempt to 1 Understand moral concepts e g good bad right wrong virtue II Justify moral theories principles and other actionguides III Resolve specific moral problems WHAT IS MORALITY gt Morality is a set of requirements concerning action I Actionguiding 11 quotWhat should one do in this situation 111 quotHow should I live my lifequot LAW amp ETIO UETTE also give us requirement for action gt Morality I Seems more ultimate overriding II Concerns matters of fundamental importance vital interests such as life well being dignity PR UDENCE also concerns such fundamental interests gt Morality I Has a strong emphasis on the interests of others respect not just oneself RELIGION too concerns matters of fundamental importance amp the interests of others WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE gt Religion differs from morality 1 Being broader in its scope II Narrower in its assumptions 111 Religion Believe in the existence of an external divinity e g god IV Ethics Tries to understand reasonably independently With the existence of God DEFINITION OF MORALITY I A social institution and way of thinking I Which is generally believed to have an authority independent of legal requirements and social conventions and I To override other requirements at least ordinarily I That prescribes actions that uphold the interests especially the most fundamental interests I Of other individuals NOTE Words quotmoralquot and quot ethicsquot are often used interchangeably 2014 Fall Ethics Theory and Applications Philosophy 2131 CONSES QUENTIALISM amp THE PRINCIPLE OF UTILITY Some popular thoughts An action cannot really be wrong if it provides good results for some people and no bad results for anyone Sometimes morality presents us with awful dilemmas in which the best we can do is the least harmful action The ends if they are important enough can justify means that would normally reject as unethical CONSEQUENTIALISM gt A broad approach to ethics that makes sense of these ideas gt Are many specific type of Consequentialism Q The right action is that which produces or is reasonably expected to produce the best or sufficiently good results 0 The approach to ethics that holds that the right action is the one with the best results NOTE There are different ways of cashing out the idea of the best result PRINCIPLES OF UTILITY gt Most popular Consequentialist theory is Utilitarianism I Understands the best consequences entirely in terms of wellbeing II To produce the best consequences is to produce the greatest overall wellbeing ie the greatest overall net the amount that benefit exceeds harm benefit to individuals affected 111 quotAn action is right if and only if it can be reasonably expected to produce the greatest possible balance of good consequences benefit over bad consequences harmquot A quotMaximize Utilityquot B quotMaximize the Goodquot NOTE Many Utilitarians understand wellbeing or utility as happiness typical example being John Stuart Mill who is a classical representative of this theory JOHN STUART MILL 18061873 A Classical Representative of the Utilitarian TheorV 1806 May 20 1873 May 8 British Mill39s Principle of UtilitV The Greatest Happiness Principle GHP 2014 Fall Ethics Theory and Applications Philosophy 2131 gt Hedonistic Utilitarianism I Actions are right to the extent that they tend to promote happiness II Right Action the one that is expected to produce the greatest overall happiness A Happiness of all humankind B Happiness of that of sentient animals rejecting to a stimuli does not necessarily mean it can feel pain or pleasure Mill39s Perspective of Happiness gt Greatest Happiness Principle is Impartial I Pleasure at the absence of pain and II Not all pleasure39 s count equal III Not ethical egoism which aims only at the agent39s happiness A Claims that pleasure is the only intrinsic good B Pain is the only intrinsic bad CLARIFICATIONS Stress of Utilitarianism is on right action NOT one39s motives OBJECTION How can there be enough time to calculate all the likely consequences good and bad of di erent possible actions a ecting many di erent individuals before making a decision 0 Seems impossibly difficult O Mill39s Response quotThis is exactly as if anyone were to say that it is impossible to guide our conduct by Christianity because there is not time on every occasion on which anything has to be done to read through the Old and New Testaments There has been ample time namely the whole past duration of the human species 420 UNITED FOCUS amp THE ROLE OF RULES gt In ordinary life unless we39re public officials we usually can only aim at the happiness of a few people I Have to be practical II NOT grandiose gt May familiar moral rules e g quottell the truthquot have a role I Good rules are utilitypromoting II Best to be in the habit of following them without thinking too much about them III Exceptions exists occasionally we should break them e g if a wouldbe murderer wants to know the locations of a potential victim IS THIS PICTURE COHERENT How can rules play a role when there is already an overarching principle 0 quotIt is strange notion that the acknowledgement of a 1st principle is inconsistent with the admission of secondary ones To inform a traveler respecting the place of his ultimate destination is not to forbid the use of landmarks and directionposts on the way Whatever we adopt as the fundamental principle of morality we require subordinate principles to apply it by quot 421 2014 Fall Ethics Theory and Applications Philosophy 2131
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