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Arts and Humanities
Ethics Exam 1
Terms in this set (61)
Why is morality difficult to define? How does Socrates characterize it?
Morality is difficult to define because there are many theories on morality, Socrates defines is as, it governs how we ought to live
What are the details of Baby Theresa's case? What inherited disorder did she have and what did her parents do?
She had anencephaly, aka missing the top part of her brain. Her parents wanted to pull the plug but they weren't allowed
What are the arguments for and against donating Baby Theresa's organs?
For: the benefits argument. if we can benefit someone without harming anyone else, we should
Against: Two arguments
1. We shouldn't use people as means to other peoples ends because it violates autonomy
2.killing people is wrong: its wrong to kill one person to save another
What is autonomy and how can it be violated?
A persons ability to decide for themselves how to live their life. it can be violated through manipulation, trickery, or deceit
What are the basic details of Jodie and Mary's case? What conditions did they have, what are the physicians recommendations and their parents view? What was the result?
-They were conjoined at the abdomen
-physician said without separation they would die in 6 months, but if they separate then Jodie will live and Mary will die
-the parents didn't want to separate them but the court granted permission
-Jodie lived and Mary died
Outline the for and against of separating Jodie and Mary
For: we should save as many people as we can
Against: sanctity of human life: all human life is precious
How did Walker justify the separation of Jodie and Mary as not killing Mary?
He said she wouldn't be killed, they would be separated and then Mary would die because she could not sustain herself
What are the details of the Latimer case? What was her condition, her fathers response, and what happened to him?
-She had cerebral palsy
-Her father killed her
-He was in jail for 8 years before he was released on parole
Outline the for (it was wrong) and against (it was justified) for the Latimer case
For: discriminating against the handicapped
Against: slippery slope
What is the relationship between morality and reasoning?
reason is the essence of morality, the morally right thing to do is always the thing that is best supported by the arguments
What is the relationship between morality and personal taste?
personal taste is stating a fact about yourself and your opinions and doesn't need reasoning, morality needs legitimate reasoning to be valid
What is the requirement of impartiality? How does it relate to the need for "good reasons" in making moral judgements?
-the idea that each individual's interests are equally important
-moral judgements must be backed by good reason, saying that your brother is more qualified than an equally qualified person for a job violates this
What is Rachel's minimum conception of morality? (2 points)
1. conscious moral agent- someone who is concerned impartially with the interests of everyone affected by what they do, deliberates implications and acts on them
2. minimum conception: morality is, at the very least, the effort to guide ones conduct by reason
How does the philosopher define argument, premises, conclusion, valid argument, and sound argument? What makes a good or bad argument
argument- a chain of reasoning
premise- initial statements
conclusion- follows the premise
valid argument- the conclusion follows the premise
sound argument- two things: the argument must be valid and the premises must be true
-a good argument is a sound argument
What is Moral Skepticism
the idea that there is no such thing as objective moral truth
-subjective: about feelings
-matter of opinion
-values only exist in our mind
What are the steps of the Cultural Differences Argument? What does it prove, what evidence is there, what's Rachel's view?
-something is accepted in a society-> another society disagrees -> it is neither right nor wrong
-it proves that different cultures have different moral codes so there is no objective truth
-Rachels doesn't think its valid
What are the steps of the Provability Argument?
if there was an objective truth we should be able to prove it, since we can't prove it there is no objective truth
What is moral philosophy?
the effort to understand the nature of morality and what it requires of us
what is minimum conception?
a core that every moral theory should accept
What is autonomy
their ability to decide for themselves how to live their life
what is the argument from the sanctity of life that says killing may be right when?
1. they have no future (will die soon)
2. they have no wish for living
3. the killing will save many others
What issue did the Greeks and Callatians disagree and what did Darius conclude?
-the Callatians ate the bodies of their dead fathers and the Greeks did not
-Darius concluded that we should appreciate different cultures
How is Cultural Relativism defined?
there is no such thing as universal truth in ethics; there are only various cultural codes
Explain the problem that tolerance presents for CR
there are two contrasting values
1. right and wrong are determined by the norms of a society
2. we should be tolerant of others
-a society may favor intolerance
Explain how the CDA moves from a claim about moral codes to a claim about moral truths?
different cultures have different moral codes, therefore there is no objective moral truth
-this isn't a sound argument since the conclusion does not fallow the premise, beliefs don't equal truths
What is Rachel's argument about the worlds shape intended to show?
it is saying that the CDA is a mistaken argument because it would be like saying that because people differ about the shape of the world, there is no truth about its shape
Summarize what would follow if Cultural Relativism were true. What would it mean for moral progress?
There are three consequences:
1. We could no longer say that the customs of others are morally inferior to our own- we can't criticize things like dictatorship, oppression, etc
2. We could no longer criticize the code of our own society- we can't determine right and wrong based on culture
3. We would doubt moral progress- we can't improve our ways if there isn't a right and wrong (slavery)
How might there be less disagreement than it seems when it comes to morality?
the differences are in our beliefs systems not in our values (eskimos)
What is excision and why is it a matter of interest in this subject?
-excision is female genitalia mutilation
-it says that we shouldn't judge or try to impose on other cultures even if we don't agree with them because it would be imposing on other cultures and their values
What is the position of Cultural Relativism on the existence of a culture-independant standard? How does Rachel's suggestion about the promotion or hindrance of human-welfare relate to this notion?
-there is no culture-independant standard according to the CDA
-Rachel's says that the idea of human welfare is held by every culture so it is a culture-independant standard but it isn't seen as such because human welfare is so basic
Despite criticism against CR, why might some people still hesitate to criticize other cultures? (three reasons)
1. nervousness about criticizing/interfering in others customs
2. people believe in tolerance
3. people don't want to express contempt for a culture as a whole
What are two lessons of CR?
1. it warns us about the danger of assuming all of our preferences are based on some rational standard
2. keep an open mind
What two types of morality does Nietzsche claim to have discovered?
master morality and slave morality
Analyze master and slave morality side by side
-imposed on someone by others (God, etc)
-values patience, humility, etc
-despises greed, power, pride
-assign moral values to actions than people
-contempt for cowardly and petty
-commoners are liars
-assign moral values to people rather than actions
-doesn't need approval
-realm of progress and invention
-determines own values
What are the 5 claims of Cultural Relativism?
1. different societies have diff morals
2. these moral codes determine right and wrong within a society
3. no standards of judging societies
4. our own society isn't special
5. tolerance; it is arrogant of us to judge other cultures
What are some reasons for a connection between morality and religion?
-religion gives people a reason to be moral
-many wise people are very religious like priests
-it relates to personal salvation
What is Russel's scientific view of the world? How does it relate to a religious conception of morality?
-he was atheistic; no progress can be made in morality without science (genetics) and nothing exists beyond the grave
-the universe will end in ruins
Discuss the Divine Command Theory with pros, cons, and consequences
-DCT says that there is a right and wrong which is determined by God
Pros- there is an objective right and wrong that includes accountability
Cons- there are several cons
1. If we say that right conduct is right because God commands it:
a) how are things made right or wrong
b) its arbitrary; he could make anything right
c) it provides the wrong reason for morality (ex: child abuse isn't bad because God says so, its bad because it's malicious)
2. If we say God commands it because it is right:
a) its was right before God commands it making the theory pointless
What are the three main points of the Natural Law Theory?
1. the world has a rational order
2. moral rules derive from the laws of nature, the world is in harmony when things serve their purpose
3. God gives us the power to realize our purpose even through we don't believe
Why might particular moral issues be problematic for a religious account of morality that relies on the scripture? (NLT)
many specific moral issues are not addressed in the scripture, therefore it is an incomplete guide
Summarize the changes in the Christian view on a fetus being a human. What does this show us about religion and morality?
-anti-abortion views are relatively new in the Christian church. They believed that you're not a human oil you're a human shape, so several weeks into the pregnancy
-homunculus- the idea that we are human shaped at fertilization and get bigger throughout time (it was a mistake)
-this shows us that morality and religion are different because we continue to reinterpret our religious values on things like abortion
What is MLK's position on the role of tension in moral discourse?
-he isn't afraid of tension; it is constructive because it isn't violent
-Socrates says we need tension so people will question their prejudices and rise above them
What does MLK say distinguishes just from unjust laws?
a just law is moral; any law that uplifts human personality is just, any law that degrades it is not just
Quote MLK on religion in morality
for: moral law or the law of God
against: no mentions in unjust law
According to MLK, under what conditions may an unjust law be broken?
openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty, it questions if legality equals morality
How does MLK's view on Hitler relate to unjust and just laws? Whats his view on law and morality?
-legality doesn't make something just
-he would break an unjust law
What is MLK's response to the moral claim "the ends justify the means"
-the means we use must be as pure as the ends that we seek
-he is preaching nonviolence
Define Ethical Subjectivism: What are our moral opinions based on in this? What does it say about objective moral truths?
ES is the idea that our moral opinions are based only on our feelings
-there is no objective right/wrong
-people feel different ways about homosexuality and neither is wrong or right
Characterize Subjectivism and discuss two objections to this view?
-simple subjectivism: when a person says that something is morally good or bad, it shows approval or disapproval and nothing more
1. it cannot account for disagreement: when two people have different views they are disagreeing but if simple subjectivism existed there wouldn't be a disagreement between them
2. it implies that were always right: sometimes we make mistakes
Characterize "Emotivism" as a moral theory. How does it relate to language?
-emotivism is used to influence people's behavior, saying moral language is not fact-stating
-it expresses attitude no facts
Explain how emotivism provides some response to the two objections of simple subjectivism
1. accounting for disagreement
2. we are always right
1. accounting for disagreement: emotivism isn't saying that beliefs are different; desires are different
2. we are always right; emotivist statements aren't seen as true or false
Why is moral disagreement a problem for Subjectivism generally? Where do both versions (simple and ethical) stand on this? How does the Shelton case relate?
-subjectivism sees moral opinions as expressions of feeling so reasoning and argument are pointless
-simple: only shows approval or disapproval
-ethical: only based on feelings
-it implies that our moral judgements are beyond reproach (dog biting), simple subjectivism says our judgement says our judgements can't be criticized because they are always true, emotivism says we can't because they aren't judgements at all
-cant criticize clearly wrong things/statements like he should save her
Why might the idea that moral judgements cannot be proved sound appealing to some?
to anyone who lost an argument
Why is it absurd to say that ethical judgements are solely opinion-based
they have no rational foundation
What are the three points in response to those who insist that moral judgements are improvable?
1. people think proof must be scientific but for ethics proof is giving reasons, analyzing arguments, defining principles, etc
2. we only think about difficult uses like abortion but there are simple issues we all agree upon
3. proving an opinion to be correct and persuading someone to accept it are two different things. Something could be true but we may still not listen to/accept it
Define "Ethical Egoism" and "altruism" in terms of interest
-ethical egoism: each person out to pursue only their self-interest
-altruism: being interested in promoting the welfare of others
What is the differences between Psychological and Ethical Egoism?
-pysch: how we are
-ethical: how we ought to be
Outline the cases for and against psychological egoism
1. for: we always do what we want: good or bad, it is still self-interest
against: not because we want to but because we ought to (writing a letter to grandma because your mom told you to and you should) AND it is dependent on desire, not self-interest if it coulee be harmful to you
2. for: we do what makes us feel good: acting unselfishly makes us feel good and that why we do it
against: we could have self and strong benevolent issues
Why is this statement false: "ethical egoism rules out actions that help others"
you can help someone just to give yourself peace of mind
Why is altruism self-defeating?
it could exhaust your energy/resources
Summarize Ayn Rand's vie
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