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Week 6 notes

by: Nozima Notetaker

Week 6 notes PHIL 1050

Nozima Notetaker

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About this Document

Moral Theories
Intro to Philosophy
Dr. Archer Joel
Class Notes
Deontology, Constructionism, ethics, Morality
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Nozima Notetaker on Sunday October 2, 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 8 views. For similar materials see Intro to Philosophy in Philosophy at Saint Louis University.


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Date Created: 10/02/16
09/26/2016 Utilitarianism- effect of actions. Deontology- focus on the actions, no matter of the consequences. Deontology- the view that actions are right/ wrong based in the action’s adherence to a rule or set of rules. That is, they are right/wrong independently of the action’s consequences.  Immanuel Kant o “categorical imperative” two formulations:  act only on those things that you can everyone to take the same action and think everyone in the same way  never treat people as means to a greater end  To use someone is to involve them in a skill of action in which they cannot in principle consent.  Any action that does not violate those rules are morally permissible (allowed to do it).  People can believe in deontology but can not believe Kant. Arguments for deontology: 1. It seems right that the good will is the only unambiguously good feature of a human being (virtues can be possessed by moral monsters). 2. Gets rid of some problems involving utilitarianism (e.g organ harvesting). 3. Makes rightness and wrongness of actions fully in control of agent a. You are in full control of your moral status and results are not. Arguments against deontology: 1. makes moral principles too rigid. a. Ex Nazis asking if there are Jews in your basement. 2. Principles can contradict each other. a. It also places all actions on equal moral standing i.e you either should or should not perform those actions. 3. What are these abstract principles, and where do they come from? 3d moral theory: Contractualism: “Social contract ethics”  The view that what is right/ wrong is determined and depends on social establishments.  Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) o One of the greatest political philosophers.  Known for his work the Leviathan. o Self-interest: People always act in their own self- interest, to obtain gratification and avoid harm. o State of Nature: before civilization, life is “short, poor, nasty, and brutish”  No looking out for one another.  Every person is for him or herself. 09/28/2016 Contractualism- what is right or wrong is determined and depends on social establishments. (Thomas Hubbs) Steps: 1) Self interest or psychological egoism. Hobbes thinks that all actions are done purely out of self interest. 2) State of nature: the state in which humanity found itself prior to joining in social contracts. a. Life in the state of nature was short, nasty, brutish. b. Life expectancy is very short. 3) Social contracts: out of fear of each other, it is within everyone’s self interest to come together and form a “social contract”. a. Laws of nature. Limit resources so we give up our rights. b. Spatial proximity then already signed the social contract. 4) Law enforcement: there must be law-enforcers to make sure that people abide by their promises. “Convenants (promises), without the sword, are but words..” 5) Morality: morality comes form the social contract and there is no morality outside of the law. Arguments for contractualism: 1) societal laws tend to produce the well being in people, and it makes laws flexible according to the rules of the society. 2) It resonates with the intuition that people act in self-interest. Arguments against contractualism: 1) if morality is based on laws, you abide by the laws because otherwise you will suffer the consequences. But if you can escape the consequences, then why abide the laws? 2) Consider statements like “Rape is wrong”, “keeping promises is good”, “tortuiring children is wrong”. Virtue Ethics. Aristotle. (384 bc-322 bc) Oldest of the theories. The view that character or virtues are the basic nodes of evaluation in morality, as opposed to act evaluations such as “right” and “wrong”. Socrates Plato Aristotle. Aristotle was student of Plato. (Plato was student of Socrates). GOOD TO KNOW FOR THE EXAM. Aristotle work on ethics Nicomachean Ethics. Talks about what ultimate purpose of human beings.


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