Week 1 notes: Moral Philosophy
Week 1 notes: Moral Philosophy PHIL 1730
Popular in Intro to moral and political philosophy
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Catalina Perez on Thursday September 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PHIL 1730 at University of Virginia taught by Rebecca Stangl in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 8 views. For similar materials see Intro to moral and political philosophy in Philosophy at University of Virginia.
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Date Created: 09/29/16
Moral Philosophy Thursday, August 25, 2016 2:03 PM Moral Philosophy and the figure of Socrates • The Socratic method ○ a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presumptions • 469-399 BCE ○ Plato c 427-347 § His student • Oracle ○ "I only know that I do not know" ○ Told him he knew everything ○ He was like I actually don’t know stuff • He believes he doesn’t have a worked out justification for moral beliefs What is moral philosophy • The argument concerns no trivial question, but the very way we ought to live ○ How we think things should be: right or wrong • Distinctive method ○ Clarification § What are the rational considerations involved □ Would you turn your friend in if they violated honor code? Would you turn in someone that wasn’t your friend? Is that okay? ○ ARGUMENTS not assertions § Arguments for both sides and the evaluating it to see which has more strength § Premises of an argument are the reasons argued in defense of the conclusion □ Counter example is an objection to the premise ○ Alternate possibilities are always welcome ○ Critical discontent Relativism • Cultural differences ○ Different cultures have different moral codes ○ Alternate possibilities are always welcome ○ Critical discontent Relativism • Cultural differences ○ Different cultures have different moral codes § Famous examples § Basically we shouldn’t judge them for what they think because all cultures think about things differently ○ No objective universal culturally independent facts or considerations which determine the truth or falsehood of different moral claims ○ The main argument against it is that it means if we accept all differences and say its okay then we also have to accept certain things are okay i.e. the holocaust (yikes) ○ ALSO we all fundamentally have the same thoughts like we may think its bad to kill parents and people in india may believe cows are holy but because they think their parents become cows so they cant kill them. Fundamentally we all believe the same thing but it takes some cultures longer to get to the same conclusion ○ WEIRD countries set the moral standards § First world ○ Objections § Cant justify criticizing other societies § Cant justify criticizing aspects of our own society (we cant criticize anyone) § By this logic progress (or degeneration) does not exist because in order for that the society would have to progress and an individual cant suggest change i.e. Martin Luther King □ By this logic it isnt progress it is CHANGE ergo it is invalid • Everything is RELATIVE to culture and the way you were raised • conclusion: what is right or wrong • premise: what people BELIEVE is right or wrong ○ Just because a whole society believes something doesn’t make it right ○ The fact the cultures disagree (pervasive disagreement) does not make it wrong § It could be possible that we are both wrong • You can rethink the first premise and say that people arent actually that different so we cant say that there are huge differences between societies • Epistemological: knowledge • Metaphysical claim: what is, what exists ○ Theres a difference between true moral facts and our knowledge of them ○ Its clearly true the culture you grew up in affects epistemic access to the truth Redeeming qualities of relativism for non relativists • Morality does occur in a cultural context • Metaphysical claim: what is, what exists Theres a difference between true moral facts and our knowledge of them ○ ○ Its clearly true the culture you grew up in affects epistemic access to the truth Redeeming qualities of relativism for non relativists • Morality does occur in a cultural context ○ Try to understand a practice from within before criticizing it • The lesson of multiculturalism ○ We should seek out multiple perspectives. Our ways may not always be the best • Relativism says that we shouldn’t actively judge other people ○ We also cant learn anything from anyone either § Our truth is our truth and their truth is their truth
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