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Week 1 Class Notes

by: Hannah Notetaker

Week 1 Class Notes Philosophy 252

Hannah Notetaker
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About this Document

These notes are a summary of what was covered this past week in class. So if you missed something or bullet points are just better than power points for you, feel free to test these notes out. The ...
Contemporary Moral Problems
Adam Cureton
Class Notes
ends, means, Morality, terrorism, bombing, consequentialism, Deontology




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Hannah Notetaker on Tuesday August 30, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Philosophy 252 at University of Tennessee - Knoxville taught by Adam Cureton in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 52 views. For similar materials see Contemporary Moral Problems in Philosophy at University of Tennessee - Knoxville.


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Date Created: 08/30/16
Do the ends Justify the Means? Terrorism and Terrorists Bombing -Terrorism: a violent act that is committed by one person against another and is directed at hurting or killing innocent people -Terrorist Bombing: Intentionally bombing a group of innocent people as a form of threating others Bombing of Dresden -Dresden, Germany was not a military base during WWII and did not have any active military camps nearby -From December 13-14, 1945 allied forces dropped bombs on >3,900 tons of explosives killing nearly 25,000 people who were innocent -The aim was to scare the citizens of Germany particularly the Nazis to stop the war If they were successful in this goal does that make it right? Ends to the Means -“The result justifies the deed” -Basic idea: >a good outcome makes up for apparently undesirable or bad actions >all that matters is the effects or consequences (If the outcome is bad then that makes the action bad and vice versa). >the action does not matter, only the cause -For example: >Lying is only seen as wrong when it brings an all around bad outcome, but if it could, say, save a life then it would be desirable and forgivable. >Killing is not bad itself, but more because of the results afterwards. The Ends and the Means -End=a goal or outcome -Good ends >instrumentally good ends- a goal/outcome that causes a good end >finally good ends-a goal or outcome that is good in itself (pleasure, happiness, life, etc.) >ends can be instrumentally/finally good- they are healthy and may be good in itself, but it may also be good because it makes us happy -Bad Ends >Things such as pain or suffering -Means= an action or group of actions -Means to an End= an action that, if put into play, would cause something Do the ends justify the means? -Meaning: >one or more goals are good >those actions are the absolute best option >these acts would bring the desired goals better than anything else >not good/bad, but good because of the outcome -Example: Argument for bombing Dresden >save allied troops >this end option was better than any alternative >this bombing saved more allied troops than any other action they could think of would have >it was not good or bad in itself Consequentialism: an act is right in only in the case that performing it would produce the best outcome -What are the good consequences? >eudemonism= only happiness is good and only unhappiness is bad -Utilitarianism=consequentialism + eudemonism Slavery -think about how certain arguments concerning the morality of slavery went before the civil war: One Side: even though slavery caused misery to those who were enslaved the southern economy grew because of it. Therefore it is justified because it brings the highest amount of happiness. Other Side: Even though it may produce the wanted outcome of overall happiness in the short term of things, in the long term it is degrading diversity and preventing the overall southern society to thrive in a way that it would be able to without slavery The ends do not Justify the Means -“Don’t do evil that good may come.” -There are limits of morality on the choices we can make even when the end result may be positive -Some actions are wrong and must never be put into action (ex: murder). Deontology -The ability to be allowed an action does not completely depend on the consequences that it produces >Instead look at only the action itself >If the means are allowed by moral standards then we can try and bring the “best” ends -This thought process includes things such as the 10 commandments Absolute Deontology -the rightness of the action -Truman’s Degree-1956 >”For men to choose to kill innocent people to justify their means is ALAWAYS murder” Innocent=someone not harming or involved in the harming Ex: according to this principle you can attack active duty soldiers while they are asleep Restricted Deontology -The righteousness of an action depends on the morals that support it or allow certain kinds of acts to be put into place. Only in this circumstances do these principles allow such an action.


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