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Enoch and Martin Luther King Jr.

by: Hannah Kennedy

Enoch and Martin Luther King Jr. 21001

Marketplace > Kent State University > PHIL-Philosophy > 21001 > Enoch and Martin Luther King Jr
Hannah Kennedy
GPA 3.98

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About this Document

These notes cover everything on Enoch and Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter From Birmingham Jail
Intro to Ethics
Devon M. Hawkins
Class Notes
ethics, philosophy
25 ?




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Hannah Kennedy on Monday May 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 21001 at Kent State University taught by Devon M. Hawkins in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 19 views. For similar materials see Intro to Ethics in PHIL-Philosophy at Kent State University.

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Date Created: 05/02/16
© Hannah Kennedy, Kent State University 1 5/1/16 Lecture Notes—Enoch Review and Martin Luther King Jr. 1. Enoch a. “Why I am an objectivist about morality, and you are too” b. How do we determine if subject matter (content) is better handled objectively/subjectively?  (3 objectivity tests) Objectivity Test Description The Spinach Test ­ Find an analog to the spinach joke (“I don’t like  spinach, spinach is gross, and if I ate spinach then I would be gross”) and if it isn’t funny than it  should be dealt with objectively ­ Ex: racism. “I don’t like racism because racism  sucks and If I liked racism then I would suck” Phenomenology of  ­ How do I feel about the way that this event  disagreement/agreement/deliberation happened? If you don’t like it then we should  think objectively Counter­factual test ­ if the facts were different how would I feel about  it ­ if I can imagine the outcome being different than what it is and my opinion still does not change  than its objective  c. What do we learn about objectivity as taught by the 3 tests? (2 things) i. A good definition and description of objectivity 1. Truths/facts about a subject matter exist separately from how I think or feel  2. Moral truths are response­independent (aka they are a priori in nature) 3. Objective truths are discovered rather than created ii. Aspiring to objectivity in moral discourse is possible and we should aspire to be that  way. However, claiming universal values exist is different. d. 3 objections to objectivity i.  Disagreement = how does objectivity deal with moral disagreement?  1. If meta­ethicists claim disagreement undermines objectivity, then they must  explain how Meta­ethical claims are not also undermined (because they are  also making an objective claim.) a. This begins to look like self­defeat b. Subjectivist fallacy = self­defeating ii. Moral Epistemology = how do we know objective values? (because they are a priori in nature) 1. We need to have an epistemology for all a priori knowledge, not just the  moral variety a. Ex: Descartes has claimed to have done this with his first axiom “I  think therefore I am” i. However, not everyone agrees with Descartes so that takes us  back to disagreement so you have to state how your  disagreement with him doesn’t undermine your own claim iii. Dogmatism = will objective moral values make us overly dogmatic (dogmatic =  inclined to lay down principles and incontrovertibly true) 1. Who decides when we have moral disagreements? © Hannah Kennedy, Kent State University 2 a. In one sense, no one does b. In another sense, everyone does 2. There are supposed to be things that we can all agree about so this shouldn’t  be a problem a. Ex: social reformers often do what they do because they presume that  objective reforms are objectively grounded (in truth and in justice as  in Martin Luther King Jr.) 3. Objectivity is the only way to support tolerance  2. Martin Luther King Jr.—Letter from Birmingham Jail (1929—1968) a. Background i. Born Michael King Jr.  ii. Civil rights activist and Baptist minister  iii. Enters college at 15 (goes to Morehouse college) iv. Gets PhD. from Boston University  b. Philosophy i. Ethics: moral realist (believes in universal values), virtue ethicist (says primarily  that segregation is immoral because they invade human character), deontologist  (because he supports a social contract) 1. Discussion: human character, rights and duties, universal values c. Letter From Birmingham City Jail i. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” 1. Considers justice a universal value and is one we all find important 2. Any breaking of the value disrupts its universal value a. Ex: segregation is injustice and threatens the universal value of  justice as a whole  ii. Concerned with segregation laws 1. MLK claims they’re unjust because they’re immoral  a. They are immoral because they degrade human character and  difference made legal (this is a double standard. The law did not apply to them) iii. Promotes a non­violent campaign—pg 406 (4 steps) 1. Collect the facts to determine whether or not there are injustices are present a. Have to decide first whether or not there is actually injustice  happening 2. Negotiation  a. We are reasonable and civil and should be talking it out 3. Self­purification a. Just because we’re non­violent doesn’t mean we won’t talk any action b. I have to prepare myself to get abused in a violent way and not  respond with violence and if I cannot do that then I cannot take part  in the direct action c. Preparing ourselves to maintain good character  4. Direct action (this occurs when negotiation has broken down and we need to  get the attention again) Ex: sit­ins in segregated places, bus boycotts,  marches a. This is supposed to do 2 things i. Create a positive, useful tension and create discomfort © Hannah Kennedy, Kent State University 3 ii. Return to negotiation iv. Justice and Injustice 1. Just laws = laws that match up with the moral law and God’s law;  “sameness made legal” (pg 408—409) 2. Unjust laws = any law that degrades human personality/character/distorts  the soul (pg 408) a. Double standard = any law imposed only on one group and not on  the whole 3. Duties a. We are morally and legally required to follow just laws  b. We are morally and legally required to break unjust laws  i. Because unjust laws degrade character 1. Virtue ex: MLK watches his kids develop bad character  because they can’t go to an amusement park  “degenerating sense of nobodiness”  ii. Need to be somewhere in the middle (ex: virtue, MLK) of  complacency and extremists  1. Ex complacency (do­nothings): white moderates, church  fathers 2. Ex extremists (hatred and despair): Black nationalists,  Malcolm X iii. Self­fulfilling prophecy = if you don’t give anyone the power  to change the situation they’re in, then they won’t and they’ll  fall in the trap v. Universal values examples 1. Justice 2. Love 3. Equality


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