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Ethics and society chapter 1

by: Jacob H. Routzong

Ethics and society chapter 1 PHL206

Jacob H. Routzong
GPA 3.0
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About this Document

Week 1 and week 2
Ethics and Society
Keith Boozer
Class Notes




Popular in Ethics and Society

Popular in Physics

This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jacob H. Routzong on Friday September 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PHL206 at George C Wallace Community College - Dothan taught by Keith Boozer in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 8 views. For similar materials see Ethics and Society in Physics at George C Wallace Community College - Dothan.


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Date Created: 09/02/16
Chapter 1: Introduction Areas of Philosophy: Metaphysics – the study of the nature of reality Epistemology – the study of the nature of knowledge Logic – provides the rules for rational reflection Ethics – the study of the nature of value Introduction to Philosophy:  Why do people become philosophers? o Illusoriness of the sense  What’s more real, the way it looks under the microscope or with naked eye th  Shift from myth to reason in 6 bce o Greeks became distrustful of Olympian gods o Philosophy was a substitute for traditional beliefs  No precise definition o Worldview/paradigm  Desire coherence and correspondence  Not contradiction  Comb/Fork example  Is there any truth out there, is meaning dependent upon us o Not just a theory  Like philosophy of dating, offense, business, etc.  An example is Stoicism: a way of explaining reality  Marcus Aurelius  State of blessedness comes from freedom of emotions and pleasure seeking  Passions create a disorderly condition in the soul o Love of wisdom  Wisdom: that which is permanent and unchanging  Fundamental laws of reality  Wave theory  Chaos theory Introduction to Ethics: - Morality helps us to guide our actions, define our values, and give us reasons for being the person we are. - You cannot escape ethics – you have all sorts of feelings of what is good and bad, right and wrong o These ideas come from somewhere and it’s your job to analyze them o Many come from your family and society  You have assimilated, modified, and rejected some of these o Do your beliefs rest on something that is coherent? - What is the most important thing in life? What do you value, pursue, etc.? - You are free not to think deeply and systematically about what you actually believe o You can just embrace what others think or just go with what you feel at the moment  Both of which are recipes for disaster - Problems with not doing ethics: o It undermines your personal freedom  Your beliefs are not really your if you just accept them  They control your path in life, not you  You must decide in order to be in control of your life o You will not know how to respond to criticisms about your beliefs  You won’t have the intellectual tools to deal with new dilemmas o Intellectual and moral progress is not possible if you will not dig deep into your soul to find the reasons why you do and believe the things that you do o You are in danger of becoming nihilistic and skeptical  Often times people are very dogmatic, once they are exposed to more worldviews, become incredibly pessimistic about truth and life in general The Ethical Landscape: - Critical reasoning is the careful analysis of claims and arguments o It is used in all professional fields - Areas of ethics: o Descriptive ethics: the scientific study of moral beliefs and practices  Explains how people actually behave and think when dealing with moral issues o Normative ethics: the study of the principles, rules, or theories that guide our actions and judgments  The attempt to establish the standards of moral norms  We do this in justifying a moral principle o Metaethics: the study of the meaning and logical structure of moral beliefs  What does it mean for something to be right or good? o Applied ethics: the application of moral norms to specific moral issues or cases  Examples include medical ethics, journalistic ethics, business ethics, etc. - We must distinguish between values and obligations o Values refer to a person, their character, motive, or intention.  It asks the question of whether or not these things are good in a moral sense  Things can have nonmoral value: inanimate objects like a chair o Obligations have to do with duties to perform particular actions - Instrumental value: value as a means to something else o These things are valuable as a means to something else, like health and wealth - Intrinsic value: valuable in itself (happiness) o Goals – A, B, C, D, E The Elements of Ethics: - The Preeminence of Reason o There must be reasons to support a claim o They must flow together appropriately to make an argument o Feelings can be important because they can serve as a barometer - The Principle of Universalizability o A moral statement that applies in one situation must apply in all other similar situations  If lying is wrong in one situation, then it is wrong in another situation that is relevantly similar  If one person does it, then someone else does the exact same thing, both are either wrong or right - The Principle of Impartiality o All persons should be treated and considered equally  Against discrimination o Sometimes we have to treat people differently – in a hospital emergency a patient having a heart attack gets more urgent and intense treatment than some of the others Euthyphro: - Socrates - The Euthyphro Problem o Definition of “good” – that which is loved by the gods  Subjective interpretation – it is good because the gods love it  Objective interpretation – the gods love it because its good Religion and morality: - Where does morality come from if there is no religion? o Evolutionary Game Theory  State of Nature – life is short, poor, nasty, brutal, and solitary  Maybe morality is genetic: Bird example  Cheaters: go extinct  Grudgers: go extinct  Reciprocators: survive  Maybe morality is rational: Prisoner’s Dilemma  It always makes sense to be the rat if morality is a onetime interaction  It makes sense to cooperate if the game is played continually Chapter 1 Ethics and Society Learning Objectives  Understand the definitions of ethics and morality and appreciate the scope and relevance of ethical and moral concerns in our lives.  Identify the main areas of study in moral philosophy and distinguish them from the scientific study of moral beliefs and practices.  Understand the key distinguishing features of ethics—the preeminence of reason, the universal perspective, the principle of impartiality, and the dominance of moral norms.  Grasp the main features of the relationship between religion and morality and appreciate why both believers and nonbelievers can benefit from the study of ethics. Outline The Ethical Landscape  Quick Review The Elements of Ethics  The Preeminence of Reason  The Universal Perspective  The Principle of Impartiality  The Dominance of Moral Norms Religion and Morality  Believers Need Moral Reasoning  When Conflicts Arise, Ethics Steps In  Critical Thought—Ethics, Religion, and Tough Moral Issues  Moral Philosophy Enables Productive Discourse Summary Exercises  Review Questions  Discussion Questions Readings  From What Is the Socratic Method?  From The Euthyphro Summary Ethics is the philosophical study of morality, and morality consists of beliefs concerning right and wrong, good and bad. These beliefs can include judgments, principles, and theories. Participating in the exploration of morality—that is, doing ethics—is inescapable. We all must make moral judgments, assess moral norms, judge people's character, and question the soundness of our moral outlooks. A great deal is at stake when we do ethics, including countless decisions that determine the quality of our lives. You can decide to forgo any ethical deliberations and simply embrace the moral beliefs and norms you inherited from your family and culture. But this approach undermines your freedom, for if you accept without question whatever moral beliefs come your way, they are not really yours. Only if you critically examine them for yourself are they truly yours. The three main divisions of ethics proper are normative ethics (the study of the moral norms that guide our actions and judgments), metaethics (the study of the meaning and logical structure of moral beliefs), and applied ethics (the application of moral norms to specific moral issues or cases). Ethics involves a distinctive set of elements. These include the preeminence of reason, the universal perspective, the principle of impartiality, and the dominance of moral norms. Some people claim that morality depends on God, a view known as the divine command theory. Both theists and nontheists have raised doubts about this doctrine. The larger point is that doing ethics— using critical reasoning to examine the moral life—can be a useful and productive enterprise for believer and nonbeliever alike.


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