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Week 4 notes

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Week 4 notes PHIL 1050

Nozima Notetaker

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This is the arguments about objectivism pros and cons
Intro to Philosophy
Dr. Archer Joel
Class Notes
subjectivism, relativism, Objectivism, Morality
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Nozima Notetaker on Saturday September 17, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PHIL 1050 at Saint Louis University taught by Dr. Archer Joel in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 6 views. For similar materials see Intro to Philosophy in Philosophy at Saint Louis University.


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Date Created: 09/17/16
08/12/2016 Relativism vs Objectivism two types of relativism:  Subjectivism o Personal preferences  Conventionalism o Subjectivism is not right, societies get together and right or wrong  within different cultures.  *value applies to actions Ex: Stealing is wrong. Giving money to the poor is good. Slavery was wrong. You  should care for your children.  Whether the action is right or wrong.  Arguments against subjectivism:  The argument against subjectivism from Ted Bundy.  o Subjectivism is true.  o If subjectivism is true, then Ted Bundy did not really do anything  wrong.  o It is absurd to think that Ted Bundy was not really wrong.  o Therefore, subjectivism is false.   Subjectivism makes morality meaningless or incoherent (бессмысленный)  o If subjectivism is true, the concept of morality becomes incoherent.  o The concept of morality is coherent (последовательный) o Therefore, the subjectivism is false.  o Modes tollens type of argument.  Ethical conventionalism­ another type of moral relativism­ view that ethical values  are relative to societies and cultures.  1. First argument why conventionalism is false is that there would be no way to  condemn (осуждать) Hitler and the Nazis.  a. If conventionalism is true, then there is no way to condemn Hitler.  Hitler and Nazis were wrong and there is a way to condemn.  Therefore, the conventionalism is false. Modus tollens.  2. Second argument: conventionalism would imply that all reformers are wrong.  (They are morally wrong).  a. Reformer­ try to improve the culture (Gandhi, MLK etc).  i. Gandhi, MLK were wrong according to their culture.  ii. According to conventionalism, society is right and those people are wrong.  b. If the culture always correct, then there is no need for improvement,  there is no need to be fixed. If culture needs to be improved then some  parts of culture are wrong.  c. If conventionalist are right, then there is nor real improvement.  09/14/2016 I. Moral Relativism  Subjectivism o Depends on the person, on the subject.   Conventionalism 1. Based on the culture what is right and wrong.  2. Arguments against conventionalism  No way to condemn Hitler and Nazis  It would imply that all moral reformers are wrong (MLK,  Gandhi etc.) 3. Principle of tolerance: “You should always tolerate views that are  different than your own”.  a. Principle of tolerance itself would be culturally relative.  4. What is culture? a. Boundaries between cultures are arbitrary.  II. Moral objectivism  The view that moral rightness/wrongness are independent of societies and  personal preferences.  o Opposite of moral relativism.  o No independent view between moral relativism and moral objectivism.  Motivations: 1) Relativism is false 2) We intuitively know that certain actions are objectively wrong (e.g  torturing a child for fun, rape, genocide, racism etc.)  Arguments against moral objectivism: 1. The argument from relativity: (J.L.Mackie) a. Idea that the diversity of moral beliefs across the world is  evidence against moral objectivism  b. If objectivism is true, why there is so much diversity in the  world.  2. The argument for queerness (странность): a. Metaphysical having to do with what exists b. Epistemological: having to do with knowledge.  c. “If there were objective values, they would be entities of a very strange sort…” d. “we would have to have a special sort of intuition in order to  know objective values” i. of there would be objective values, then there will be  strange intuition.  ii. Science explore the facts, but won’t tell killing the  person is wrong.  iii. “strange”.  09/16/2016 Moral objectivism: Argument against: 1) Argument from relativity: modus tollens.  a. If there are objective moral values, then there would not be a diversity  around the world.  b. There is a diversity of morality around the world.  c. Therefore, there are no objective moral values.  Is it the case that the diversity of moral beliefs is a good reason to believe in  relativism? A. Simply because people fail to follow a law, does not mean that the laws do not exist.  B. There is a distinction between a moral principle and that principle’s  application.  C. There can be morally blind people.  a. Moral blindness­ phenomenon when you stop to realize that your  actions are morally wrong and still continue to do them. Ex Hitler etc.  2) Argument from queerness: modus tollens a. If objectivism is true, then moral values are mysterious; they are  beyond the scope of science.  b. Such mysterious entities do not exist (or we have no reason to believe  that they exist).  c. Therefore objectivism is false.  *Response to the premise 2 of argument for queerness: A. There are sources of knowledge beyond science. Ex. Logic, mathematics,  beauty. 


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