Criminal Ethics 412 (The fundamentals of Ethics Russ Shafer-Landau Oxford 3rd Edition)

Terms in this set (45)

Philosophical beliefs

The beliefs of Socrates, as distinct from those of Plato, are difficult to discern. Little in the way of concrete evidence exists to demarcate the two. The lengthy presentation of ideas given in most of the dialogues may be deformed by Plato, and some scholars think Plato so adapted the Socratic style as to make the literary character and the philosopher himself impossible to distinguish. Others argue that he did have his own theories and beliefs, but there is much controversy over what these might have been, owing to the difficulty of separating Socrates from Plato and the difficulty of interpreting even the dramatic writings concerning Socrates. Consequently, distinguishing the philosophical beliefs of Socrates from those of Plato and Xenophon is not easy and it must be remembered that what is attributed to Socrates might more closely reflect the specific concerns of these thinkers.

The matter is complicated because the historical Socrates seems to have been notorious for asking questions but not answering, claiming to lack wisdom concerning the subjects about which he questioned others.[31]

If anything in general can be said about the philosophical beliefs of Socrates, it is that he was morally, intellectually, and politically at odds with many of his fellow Athenians. When he is on trial for heresy and corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens, he uses his method of elenchos to demonstrate to the jurors that their moral values are wrong-headed. He tells them they are concerned with their families, careers, and political responsibilities when they ought to be worried about the "welfare of their souls". Socrates' assertion that the gods had singled him out as a divine emissary seemed to provoke irritation, if not outright ridicule. Socrates also questioned the Sophistic doctrine that arete (virtue) can be taught. He liked to observe that successful fathers (such as the prominent military general Pericles) did not produce sons of their own quality. Socrates argued that moral excellence was more a matter of divine bequest than parental nurture. This belief may have contributed to his lack of anxiety about the future of his own sons

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socrates
Causality, the four causes

Main article: Four causes

Aristotle suggested that the reason for anything coming about can be attributed to four different types of simultaneously active causal factors:
Material cause describes the material out of which something is composed. Thus the material cause of a table is wood, and the material cause of a car is rubber and steel. It is not about action. It does not mean one domino knocks over another domino.
The formal cause is its form, i.e., the arrangement of that matter. It tells us what a thing is, that any thing is determined by the definition, form, pattern, essence, whole, synthesis or archetype. It embraces the account of causes in terms of fundamental principles or general laws, as the whole (i.e., macrostructure) is the cause of its parts, a relationship known as the whole-part causation. Plainly put, the formal cause is the idea existing in the first place as exemplar in the mind of the sculptor, and in the second place as intrinsic, determining cause, embodied in the matter. Formal cause could only refer to the essential quality of causation. A simple example of the formal cause is the mental image or idea that allows an artist, architect, or engineer to create his drawings.
The efficient cause is "the primary source", or that from which the change under consideration proceeds. It identifies 'what makes of what is made and what causes change of what is changed' and so suggests all sorts of agents, nonliving or living, acting as the sources of change or movement or rest. Representing the current understanding of causality as the relation of cause and effect, this covers the modern definitions of "cause" as either the agent or agency or particular events or states of affairs. So, take the two dominoes, this time of equal weighting, the first is knocked over causing the second also to fall over.
The final cause is its purpose, or that for the sake of which a thing exists or is done, including both purposeful and instrumental actions and activities. The final cause or teleos is the purpose or function that something is supposed to serve. This covers modern ideas of motivating causes, such as volition, need, desire, ethics, or spiritual beliefs.

Additionally, things can be causes of one another, causing each other reciprocally, as hard work causes fitness and vice versa, although not in the same way or function, the one is as the beginning of change, the other as the goal. (Thus Aristotle first suggested a reciprocal or circular causality as a relation of mutual dependence or influence of cause upon effect). Moreover, Aristotle indicated that the same thing can be the cause of contrary effects; its presence and absence may result in different outcomes. Simply it is the goal or purpose that brings about an event. Our two dominoes require someone or something to intentionally knock over the first domino, because it cannot fall of its own accord.

Aristotle marked two modes of causation: proper (prior) causation and accidental (chance) causation. All causes, proper and incidental, can be spoken as potential or as actual, particular or generic. The same language refers to the effects of causes, so that generic effects assigned to generic causes, particular effects to particular causes, operating causes to actual effects. Essentially, causality does not suggest a temporal relation between cause and effect.

Practical philosophy

Ethics

Main article: Aristotelian ethics

Aristotle considered ethics to be a practical rather than theoretical study, i.e., one aimed at becoming good and doing good rather than knowing for its own sake. He wrote several treatises on ethics, including most notably, the Nicomachean Ethics.

Aristotle taught that virtue has to do with the proper function (ergon) of a thing. An eye is only a good eye in so much as it can see, because the proper function of an eye is sight. Aristotle reasoned that humans must have a function specific to humans, and that this function must be an activity of the psuchē (normally translated as soul) in accordance with reason (logos). Aristotle identified such an optimum activity of the soul as the aim of all human deliberate action, eudaimonia, generally translated as "happiness" or sometimes "well being". To have the potential of ever being happy in this way necessarily requires a good character (ēthikē aretē), often translated as moral (or ethical) virtue (or excellence).[64]

Aristotle taught that to achieve a virtuous and potentially happy character requires a first stage of having the fortune to be habituated not deliberately, but by teachers, and experience, leading to a later stage in which one consciously chooses to do the best things. When the best people come to live life this way their practical wisdom (phronesis) and their intellect (nous) can develop with each other towards the highest possible human virtue, the wisdom of an accomplished theoretical or speculative thinker, or in other words, a philosopher.[65]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotle
Greek Philospher emphasized the distinction between "nature"
(physis, φúσις) on the one hand and "law", "custom", or "convention" (nomos, νóμος) on the other. What the law commanded varied from place to place, but what was "by nature" should be the same everywhere. A "law of nature" would therefore have had the flavor more of a paradox than something that obviously existed.[1] Against the conventionalism that the distinction between nature and custom could engender, Socrates and his philosophic heirs, Plato and Aristotle, posited the existence of natural justice or natural right (dikaion physikon, δικαιον φυσικον, Latin ius naturale). Of these, Aristotle is often said to be the father of natural law.[3]

Aristotle's association with natural law may be due to the interpretation given to his works by Thomas Aquinas.[13] But whether Aquinas correctly read Aristotle is a disputed question. According to some, Aquinas conflates the natural law and natural right, the latter of which Aristotle posits in Book V of the Nicomachean Ethics (Book IV of the Eudemian Ethics). According to this interpretation, Aquinas's influence was such as to affect a number of early translations of these passages in an unfortunate manner, though more recent translations render them more literally.[14] Aristotle notes that natural justice is a species of political justice, viz. the scheme of distributive and corrective justice that would be established under the best political community; were this to take the form of law, this could be called a natural law, though Aristotle does not discuss this and suggests in the Politics that the best regime may not rule by law at all.[15]

The best evidence of Aristotle's having thought there was a natural law comes from the Rhetoric, where Aristotle notes that, aside from the "particular" laws that each people has set up for itself, there is a "common" law that is according to nature.[16] Specifically, he quotes Sophocles and Empedocles:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_law
The development of this tradition of natural justice into one of natural law is usually attributed to the Stoics. The rise of natural law as a universal system coincided with the rise of large empires and kingdoms in the Greek world.[18][full citation needed] Whereas the "higher" law Aristotle suggested one could appeal to was emphatically natural, in contradistinction to being the result of divine positive legislation, the Stoic natural law was indifferent to the divine or natural source of the law: the Stoics asserted the existence of a rational and purposeful order to the universe (a divine or eternal law), and the means by which a rational being lived in accordance with this order was the natural law, which spelled out action that accorded with virtue.[1]

As the English historian A. J. Carlyle (1861-1943) notes:


There is no change in political theory so startling in its completeness as the change from the theory of Aristotle to the later philosophical view represented by Cicero and Seneca.... We think that this cannot be better exemplified than with regard to the theory of the equality of human nature."[19] Charles H. McIlwain likewise observes that "the idea of the equality of men is the profoundest contribution of the Stoics to political thought" and that "its greatest influence is in the changed conception of law that in part resulted from it.[20]

Natural law first appeared among the stoics who believed that God is everywhere and in everyone. Within humans is a "divine spark" which helps them to live in accordance with nature. The stoics felt that there was a way in which the universe had been designed and natural law helped us to harmonise with this.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_law
By the 17th Century, the Medieval teleological view came under intense criticism from some quarters. Thomas Hobbes instead founded a contractualist theory of legal positivism on what all men could agree upon: what they sought (happiness) was subject to contention, but a broad consensus could form around what they feared (violent death at the hands of another). The natural law was how a rational human being, seeking to survive and prosper, would act. Natural law, therefore, was discovered by considering humankind's natural rights, whereas previously it could be said that natural rights were discovered by considering the natural law. In Hobbes' opinion, the only way natural law could prevail was for men to submit to the commands of the sovereign. Because the ultimate source of law now comes from the sovereign, and the sovereign's decisions need not be grounded in morality, legal positivism is born. Jeremy Bentham's modifications on legal positivism further developed the theory.

As used by Thomas Hobbes in his treatises Leviathan and De Cive, natural law is "a precept, or general rule, found out by reason, by which a man is forbidden to do that which is destructive of his life, or takes away the means of preserving the same; and to omit that by which he thinks it may best be preserved."[74]

According to Hobbes, there are nineteen Laws. The first two are expounded in chapter XIV of Leviathan ("of the first and second natural laws; and of contracts"); the others in chapter XV ("of other laws of nature").
The first Law of nature is that every man ought to endeavour peace, as far as he has hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek and use all helps and advantages of war.
The second Law of nature is that a man be willing, when others are so too, as far forth, as for peace, and defence of himself he shall think it necessary, to lay down this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other men, as he would allow other men against himself.
The third Law is that men perform their covenants made. In this law of nature consisteth the fountain and original of justice... when a covenant is made, then to break it is unjust and the definition of injustice is no other than the not performance of covenant. And whatsoever is not unjust is just.
The fourth Law is that a man which receiveth benefit from another of mere grace, endeavour that he which giveth it, have no reasonable cause to repent him of his good will. Breach of this law is called ingratitude.
The fifth Law is complaisance: that every man strive to accommodate himself to the rest. The observers of this law may be called sociable; the contrary, stubborn, insociable, froward, intractable.
The sixth Law is that upon caution of the future time, a man ought to pardon the offences past of them that repenting, desire it.
The seventh Law is that in revenges, men look not at the greatness of the evil past, but the greatness of the good to follow.
The eighth Law is that no man by deed, word, countenance, or gesture, declare hatred or contempt of another. The breach of which law is commonly called contumely.
The ninth Law is that every man acknowledge another for his equal by nature. The breach of this precept is pride.
The tenth law is that at the entrance into the conditions of peace, no man require to reserve to himself any right, which he is not content should be reserved to every one of the rest. The breach of this precept is arrogance, and observers of the precept are called modest.
The eleventh law is that if a man be trusted to judge between man and man, that he deal equally between them.
The twelfth law is that such things as cannot be divided, be enjoyed in common, if it can be; and if the quantity of the thing permit, without stint; otherwise proportionably to the number of them that have right.
The thirteenth law is the entire right, or else...the first possession (in the case of alternating use), of a thing that can neither be divided nor enjoyed in common should be determined by lottery.
The fourteenth law is that those things which cannot be enjoyed in common, nor divided, ought to be adjudged to the first possessor; and in some cases to the first born, as acquired by lot.
The fifteenth law is that all men that mediate peace be allowed safe conduct.
The sixteenth law is that they that are at controversie, submit their Right to the judgement of an Arbitrator.
The seventeenth law is that no man is a fit Arbitrator in his own cause.
The eighteenth law is that no man should serve as a judge in a case if greater profit, or honour, or pleasure apparently ariseth [for him] out of the victory of one party, than of the other.
The nineteenth law is that in a disagreement of fact, the judge should not give more weight to the testimony of one party than another, and absent other evidence, should give credit to the testimony of other witnesses.

Hobbes's philosophy includes a frontal assault on the founding principles of the earlier natural legal tradition,[75] disregarding the traditional association of virtue with happiness,[76] and likewise re-defining "law" to remove any notion of the promotion of the common good.[77] Hobbes has no use for Aristotle's association of nature with human perfection, inverting Aristotle's use of the word "nature." Hobbes posits a primitive, unconnected state of nature in which men, having a "natural proclivity...to hurt each other" also have "a Right to every thing, even to one anothers body";[78] and "nothing can be Unjust" in this "warre of every man against every man" in which human life is "solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short."[79] Rejecting Cicero's view that men join in society primarily through "a certain social spirit which nature has implanted in man,"[80] Hobbes declares that men join in society simply for the purpose of "getting themselves out from that miserable condition of Warre, which is necessarily consequent...to the naturall Passions of men, when there is no visible Power to keep them in awe."[81] As part of his campaign against the classical idea of natural human sociability, Hobbes inverts that fundamental natural legal maxim, the Golden Rule. Hobbes's version
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_law
John Bramhall[edit]
Hobbes now turned to complete the fundamental treatise of his philosophical system. He worked so steadily that De Corpore was first printed in 1654. Also in 1654, a small treatise, Of Liberty and Necessity, was published by Bishop John Bramhall, addressed at Hobbes. Bramhall, a strong Arminian, had met and debated with Hobbes and afterwards wrote down his views and sent them privately to be answered in this form by Hobbes. Hobbes duly replied, but not for publication. But a French acquaintance took a copy of the reply and published it with "an extravagantly laudatory epistle." Bramhall countered in 1655, when he printed everything that had passed between them (under the title of A Defence of the True Liberty of Human Actions from Antecedent or Extrinsic Necessity). In 1656 Hobbes was ready with The Questions concerning Liberty, Necessity and Chance, in which he replied "with astonishing force" to the bishop. As perhaps the first clear exposition of the psychological doctrine of determinism, Hobbes's own two pieces were important in the history of the free-will controversy. The bishop returned to the charge in 1658 with Castigations of Mr Hobbes's Animadversions, and also included a bulky appendix entitled The Catching of Leviathan the Great Whale.

John Locke[edit]
Hobbes explained that our forefathers lived in an anarchy, which he believed to be a state of nature. He said that people chose a leader to rule them; making an unwritten social contract, giving the leader absolute power. The people kept only the power to protect their own lives. Hobbes was strongly influenced by the chaos and destruction caused by the English Civil War. The ideas Hobbes expressed in Leviathan reflected his belief that people acted from self-interest and without regard for other people. In Hobbes's view, the natural world was a place where only the strong would survive unless order was imposed by a greater power of a ruler or leader. The social contract Hobbes described was based on the exchange of individual liberty for group safety and order. John Locke, another philosopher, disagreed. He accepted the idea of the social contract but believed that people had given up only some of their individual rights. Among those they kept were the rights to live, to enjoy liberty, and to own property. Locke said the people expected their ruler to preserve these rights, and a ruler who violated these rights violated the natural law and broke the social contract. Locke, in contrast to Hobbes, believed that the contract between ruler and ruled could not limit the individual's natural right to enjoy life, political equality, and the ownership of property. in his book Two Treatises of Government, Locke argued that these individual rights were superior to laws and governments. Governments existed for the purpose of protecting these rights. Thus, a ruler's claim to absolute power contradicted the natural order because people would not—and could not—willingly surrender their fundamental natural rights. A ruler who denied the people's basic rights was a tyrant and could justly be overthrown.

John Wallis[edit]
For more details on this topic, see Hobbes-Wallis controversy.
Hobbes opposed the existing academic arrangements, and assailed the system of the original universities in "Leviathan". He went on to publish "De Corpore", which contained not only tendentious views on mathematics, but also an unacceptable proof of the squaring of the circle. This all led mathematicians to target him for polemics and sparked John Wallis to become one of his most persistent opponents. From 1655, the publishing date of "De Corpore", Hobbes and Wallis went round after round trying to disprove each other's positions. After years of debate, the spat over proving the squaring of the circle gained such notoriety that this feud has become one of the most infamous in mathematical history.

Atheism[edit]
Hobbes has been accused of atheism, or (in the case of Bramhall) of teachings which could lead to atheism. This was an important accusation, and Hobbes himself wrote, in his answer to Bramhall's "the catching of the Leviathan" that "atheism, impiety, and the like are words of the greatest defamation possible".[18] Hobbes always defended himself from such accusations.[19] In more recent times also, much has been made of his religious views by scholars such as Richard Tuck and J. G. A. Pocock, but there is still widespread disagreement about the exact significance of Hobbes's unusual views on religion.

As Martinich (1995, p. 31) has pointed out, in Hobbes's time, the term "atheist" was frequently applied to people who believed in God, but not divine providence, or to people who believed in God, but also maintained other beliefs which were inconsistent with such belief. He says that this "sort of discrepancy has led to many errors in determining who was an atheist in the early modern period". In this extended early modern sense of atheism, Hobbes did indeed take positions which were in strong disagreement with church teachings of his time. For example, Hobbes argued repeatedly that there are no incorporeal substances, and that all things, including human thoughts, and even God, heaven, and hell are corporeal, matter in motion. He argued that "though Scripture acknowledge spirits, yet doth it nowhere say, that they are incorporeal, meaning thereby without dimensions and quantity".[20] (In this view, Hobbes claimed to be following Tertullian, whose views were not condemned in the First Council of Nicaea.) He also, like Locke, stated that true revelation can never be in disagreement with human reason and experience,[21] although he also argues that people should accept revelation and its interpretations also for the reason that they should accept the commands of their sovereign, in order to avoid war.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Hobbes
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