Ethics Unit 1
Terms in this set (74)
What are the two different kinds of relativism?
Descriptive relativism and moral relativism
Observes that what is believed to be morally correct varies among different individuals and different cultures
Still could maintain that there exists some universal, objective moral norm
States that what IS morally correct is relative to different different individuals or cultures
Moral judgments are not objectively true or false
What are the properties of Cultural/Descriptive Relativism?
- Essentially an Anthropological question
What are the properties of Ethical/Moral Relativism?
- Essentially a Philosophical question
What are the two main arguments in favor of Moral Relativism?
1) Argument from Disagreement
2) Argument from Tolerance
Argument from Disagreement
1) If Descriptive Relativism is true, then Moral Relativism is true
2) Descriptive Relativism is true
3) Therefore, Moral Relativism is true
Premise 1 is false, so argument is unsound
Argument from Tolerance
1) The principle of tolerance implies descriptive relativism
2) The principle of tolerance is true
3) Therefore, Descriptive relativism is true
Premise 1 false, the principle of tolerance does not imply moral relativism
Problems with Argument from Disagreement
1) what counts as distinct culture?
2) Whose opinions determine what that culture believes?
3) Moral relativism can't account for moral progress
4) Some people have overlapping cultures with sometime dif views
5) Differences in law might be based on common beliefs about morality
Problems with Argument from Tolerance
Moral relativism can coexist with intolerance
What are the paradoxes of Moral Relativism?
- Self-Referential Paradox: There are not ethical absolutes is itself an absolute. This implies objectivity is in itself an ethical absolute.
- To say that tolerance is morally good is already to appeal to an objective standard
- Performative Contradiction: a moral relativist can't justify their own actions because no goal is objectively better
For Hursthouse, what are the three main ethical theories?
3) Virtue Ethics/Theory
- especially Kantian
- Action is right if and only if it is in accordance with a moral rule or principle
Right action --> moral rule
Moral rule --> rationality
- especially Utilitarian
- An action is right if and only if it promotes the best consequences and the best consequences are those in which happiness is maximized
Right action --> best consequences
best consequences --> happiness
- especially Aristotelian
- An action is right if and only if it is what a virtuous agent would do, and a virtue is a character trait a human being needs to flourish or live well
Right action --> virtuous agent
virtuous agent --> virtue
Virtue --> flourishing
What kind of science does Oderberg think ethics is?
An applied science
science --> knowledge
applied --> action
What does Oderberg think are the conditions for being a science?
1) yield genuine knowledge
2) Possess recognized methods of investigation
3) repeatable results
4) "progress or convergence upon the truth"
5) "A good deal of (in non unanimous) agreement"
How does he think ethics stack up as a science?
1) not as precise, but morality not precise
2) Agree on methods
3) start at same pt., use same logic, get same conclusion
4) Can get progress in theory and people still don't follow
5) agreement doesn't guarantee anything
What is the fact-value distinction?
Facts: statements about what is or is not
Values: statements about what ought to be or ought not to be
According to the Humean (regarding the fact-value distinction)
Ethical sentences are in a different class from statements of fact, since there is no realm of reality in virtue of which they are true or false
How does Odenberg respond to the fact-value distinction?
- The Humean assumes that facts are elements of concrete, that can be used to verify propositions
- Facts = true propositions (facts embodied in language)
- a moral proposition can be asserted or denied just as proposition claiming empirical data
- Humean loses grip on reality
- Human actions not only physical - embedded in meaning
- Can't describe act fully without intentions - Facts not enough
What is expressivism?
Utter a proposition = utter emotion
Child abuse is wrong - really expressing emotional repulsion, "Down with child abuse"
What is prescriptivism?
Moral statements are commands not facts
"Paying taxes is right", really saying "Pay your taxes"
What is the Geach/Frege response?
It is meaningless to replace propositions containing moral judgments with either emotion or commands
How does Odenberg respond to emotivism and prescriptivism?
He substitutes emotion for proposition and gets no argument
Each renders moral modus ponens nonsensical
Odenberg thinks we possess what kind of freedom?
freedom of the will = physical and psychological freedom
gives us the freedom to choose right and wrong
Influences on will that are relevant to morality
1) individual (age, temperament)
2) social (parents, teachers, public opinion)
These don't undermine individual freedom though
Freedom entails responsibility under what conditions
partially lacking lessens responsibility but doesn't destroy it
How does Oderberg understand the good in general?
That which satisfies a thing's natural appetites, or that which fulfills a thing's nature
Everything aimed at this - even bank robber thinks what he's doing is good (getting $)
How does Oderberg understand the evil in general?
Evil is any lack of something that is necessary for a thing's fulfillment
It is not possible to choose evil because it is evil
A drought is evil
How does Oderberg understand the good for human beings?
- living well as human beings --> flourishing (happiness)
What are the basic human goods?
body: life --> health
mind: intellect --> truth
social nature --> friendship
work and play
appreciation of beauty
What is a virtue for Oderberg?
Deep seated habits of moral behavior that govern every aspect of life, mental, physical or moral
not easily changed, free, require sound judgment
all virtue displayed in the pursuit of good
How does Oderberg understand the relationship between rights and duties?
Every right imposes a duty on every other person to respect it
Not every duty is founded in a right
How does Oderberg understand justice?
The virtue that inclines a person always to respect the RIGHTS OF OTHERS
What are the 3 kinds of justice?
What is commutative justice
relations between individuals - accord one another their rights
What is distributive justice
The states obligations to individuals rights
What is civic justice
Individuals obligations to the state
Relationship between moral and positive law
Moral aways trumps positive law
direct human beings toward happiness
Man-made, brought into being by governing body
Consequentialism is characterized by two principles
1) principle of the good
2) principle of the right
Principle of the good
Can evaluate states of the world in terms of the goodness of the consequences as a result of actions
Principle of the Right
Maximize X to produce best overall state
Secondary principles of consequentialism
1) commensurability (can compare everything to get to what's best)
2) agent neutrality (friends and family don't matter, best good)
What does Oderberg think consequentialism fails?
No actions right or wrong as long as maximize X
Incompatible with existence of rights
How does Oderberg understand collision of rights?
Limit to our rights because there is common good and others have rights
2 extremes: libertarianism, totalitarianism
no conflict, only collision
How does Oderberg adjudicate collision of rights?
Principle of totality: it is always permissible to sacrifice a part to save the whole - more urgent prevails
What is Singer's solution to world poverty
Everyone donate everything not required to sustain us
Why does Singer say we have an obligation to do so?
Our actions have consequences, need to increase pleasure for others
What is the point of the Pedro example
Utilitarianism assumes negative responsibility, you are responsible for everything you could have done and didn't
If pedro kills 20, you're still not killing anyone
Why does Williams think Utilitarianism is a threat to integrity?
you alienate someone's actions and the source of his actions in his conviction
Why does Rachels think the AMA statement on active euthanasia is wrong?
He thinks its based on a false distinction in morality of killing and letting someone die
What is the point Rachels' Smith/Jones analogy?
It is supposed to show that there is no moral difference between killing and letting die
What problems are there with Rache's Smit/Jones example?
- who benefits (not doctors like S/J)
- Patient does want euthanasia, nephew doesn't
- Means also matter - can't only be concerned with goal
What does Sullivan thinks Rachels misses about the traditional position on active euthanasia?
The difference between ordinary and extraordinary means of preserving life
An exercise of reason in service of truth
A sequence of statements such that some of them purport to give reason to accept another of them, the conclusion
An argument is valid if and only if the conclusion is entailed by (follows logically from) the premises
If premises are true then conclusion must be true
An argument is sound if and only if it is valid and the premises are true
All sound argument are _____, but not all ____ arguments are _____
valid, valid, sound
concerned with the form of an argument and not the content
structure of argument
Meaning of premises/conclusions
Logic preserves _____, it does not create it
What are the valid, deductive forms
1) modus ponens
2) modus tollens
3) hypothetical syllogism
4) disjunctive syllogism
What are the fallacies?
1) denying the antecedent
2) affirming the consequent
If P then Q
If P then Q
Therefore not P
Denying the Antecedent
If P, then Q
Thus, not Q
Affirming the Consequent
If P, then Q
If P then Q
If Q then R
Thus, if P then R
P or Q
P or Q
If P then R
If Q then S
Thus, R or S
P or Q
If P then R
if Q then R