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Class notes 8-31-16

by: Delaney Wilson

Class notes 8-31-16 PHIL 230E

Delaney Wilson

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About this Document

These notes explain our introduction (Blackburn page 1-9.) as well as give some insight into other topics. Hope it helps. :)
Class Notes
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Delaney Wilson on Wednesday August 31, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PHIL 230E at Old Dominion University taught by ALEXANDER J KOUTSARES in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 7 views. For similar materials see INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS in Humanities and Social Sciences at Old Dominion University.


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Date Created: 08/31/16
Oldest philosophical approach to ethics: 1) Starts in childhood and is shaped by our own beliefs and ethical climates. 2) Philosophers thought about basic questions, which are called, “virtue ethics” meaning what is it that is important to us as a person. Basic idea We all want to live good lives, but how do we do it? 1) We all need to know what exactly it means to live a good life. 2) We all need to become people who are capable of living good lives, meaning what should we do in order to make the idea of being good a possibility. (skills explained as being made by using an Aristotelian approach which allows us to succeed in life with our “virtues”.) Plato’s approach to ethics 1) We have ways to steer us towards maintaining a decision, which is commonly referred to as willpower. 2) We have something called an appetite, which is a term used to explain our desire and or needs (friends, water, food, shelter, etc.) 3) We DON’T make purely rational decisions, and we depend on willpower to balance ourselves. Aristotle’s approach to ethics Aristotle believed that people should be viewed in an abstract manner, because we as animals are unique in the following ways: 1) We are rational beings 2) We are social animals and live in communities 3) We all have individual differences and special skills that make us live day to day life differently, and in turn these skills play a part in how we interact in our community. Differences between Plato and Aristotle Plato ﷒ Plato focuses more on the balance of out soul and believes that willpower is a must in order to maintain our decisions. ﷒ Plato also believes that appetites work against us almost always. ﷒ We can use our so called weaknesses to our advantage: an example being laziness. If we are prone to eating bad food in our home and decide to not bring the bad food into it, we can use our laziness to our advantage: because we haven’t the motivation to go out of our home and seek the bad food. Aristotle ﷒ Aristotle's insists that there are no known absolute moral standards and that any ethical theory must be based in part on an understanding of psychology and firmly grounded in the realities of human nature and daily life. ﷒ Moral virtue cannot be achieved abstractly — it requires moral action in a social environment. ﷒ Virtuous acts require conscious choice and moral purpose or motivation. Man has personal moral responsibility for his actions The nature of willpower Will power can be both destructive and helpful: the nature of it depends on one’s decision making process. How can will power be destructive? If willpower is used without pacing, it almost always fails your expectations due to the fact that stopping or starting a certain habit immediately is ultimately unrealistic. How can we make positive use of willpower? Willpower can help you to achieve a certain objective if used in a realistic sense. Forgiveness is a key part of carrying on because slip ups WILL happen. What do philosophers focus on? Philosophers have abandoned the idea of judging character merely because it’s a near impossibility. For example, how is someone to know whether someone else has told them a lie? They need to know the facts about the topic beforehand, otherwise they have no basis to decide if the truth has been told. There are two types of assessments for an action 1) The action cared about is one’s intention, regardless of outcome 2) The action cared about is the end result, regardless of what was meant to be achieved 3) In order to be able to deal with a given scenario in the best way possible, you need to know what you’re capable of. What is an ethical climate? An ethical climate can best be explained as the pattern of environment combined with how it impacts our lives. What exactly is the foundation of an ethical climate? - Bias - The people themselves - The government Our perception of other climates as well our own are shaped by where we are from. How? Depending on one’s origin, certain beliefs are customary to that area. Example: Views on socialism from students in the united states are more often than not seen as beneficial (free college, etc.) whereas Russians who fled the Soviet Union hate everything that socialism brings to the table, because they have lived through what it has produced. A bad ethical climate can inhibit out ability to act ethically, and can make it so we can’t teach others to act ethically or understand it. See ya’ll Wednesday ﷒ th Next upload to be expected on Thursday, the 8 of September.


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