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must (1) posses some morally relevant feature that counts in its favor (2) the feature is such that were it the only morally relevant feature of the situation, then the act in question would be one's duty proper

Prima Facie Duty


Are primia facie duties self evident?

obligatory (regardless of potential consequences) ; one has a prima facie duty to do it MORE stringent then any other conflicting prima facie duty

Absolute Duty

(1) fidelity (2) reparation (3) gratitude (4) non-maleficence (5) justice (6) beneficence (7) self-improvement

List the 7 prima facie duties

"x" is a good of its kind; indication of success of subject, comparative (ex. good runner)

attributive sense of 'good'

"x" is a good so-and-so; absolute term, ultimately or wholly good (ex. pleasure is good)

predicative sense of 'good'

value of objects, both physical objects and abstract objects, not as ends-in-themselves but a means of achieving something else

instrumental value

regarded as an end or end-in-itself; contains only good and indifferent elements- is good apart from consequences

intrinsic value

final goal or end to which all lesser goals are the means—and it sets the standard by which all lesser goals are evaluate; indifferent elements contribute to the goodness of the whole

ultimate value

someone's life goes best when it goes as they desire it too; evaluate each case independently and make decision based on what is only in their best interest (desire is at the forefront)

preference theory

what is best for someone is what would best fulfill ALL their desires- more general view of life overtime (desire is at forefront)

success theory

(Ross's favorite) certain things in life that have been established as absolutely good and absolutely bad; life would go best if did the things on the list that were deemed good (desire is NOT regarded, only theory of 4 where desire is irrelevant)

objective list theory

the philosophical doctrine that: (1) all pleasure is intrinsically good (2) nothing but pleasure is intrinsically good


disagreements are the result o the subjective nature of morality; normative position concerned with the differences in moral judgements across different people and cultures

moral relativism

theory that the world's cultures are so divided and distinct, persons from 1 culture cannot make reasonable value judgments about other people's cultures (midgely)

moral isolationism

someone OUGHT or ought not to have acted in a certain way, or that it was right or wrong for him to have done so (NOT judgement that someone is good or evil)

inner judgment

various members of society knowingly reach an agreement in intentions- each intending to act in certain ways on the understanding that the others have similar intentions; reached through a process of mutual adjustment and implicit bargaining

moral agreement

actions are guided by general, clearly stated moral principles; either true or false

principled ethics

not motivated by any guiding principles, guided by context of situations (similar to prima facie duties)

unprincipled ethic

general, universal guides to action that are derived from so-called basic moral truths that should be respected unless a morally compelling reason exists not to do so; also referred to as a "ethical principle"

moral principles

A=agent; D=action; motivation=M; considerations=C

OUGHT (A, D, M, C)

view that no moral standards are morally justified, and no moral standard can be known to be true

moral skepticism

the idea that you cannot judge other cultures or have any respect for other cultures that you do not belong to because you do not know anything about them. But, can be possible if a practice, action, or person is intelligible about that culture. To respect someone we have to know enough information about him to make a favorable judgment

moral respect

moral judgment that is true or false that is independent of agents. Even if no one existed in the world, there would still be a right and wrong

moral fact

belief that there are moral facts; clear distinctions between right and wrong; even if people did not exist in the world, the qualification of things as right and wrong would still exist

moral realism

belief that there are NO moral facts, but moral facts arnt required to make sense of moral practice; moral judgemetns exist as statements of taste, belief or preference (moral cognitivism)

moral irrealism

believe there are NO moral facts, but believe that without moral facts, moral practice is not existent either- extreme skepticism, moral judgements have no truth or existence

moral nihilism

what we know or can observe as facts in the world

beliefs (according to smith)

what we want to be truth, what we want the world to be

desires (according to smith)

value of judgements are either wholly true (positive) or wholly fase (bad)- NO EXCEPTIONS


certain moral principles can and should be applied to everyone (synonymous with objective)


an ethical theory is particular to social beings; principles applied on a person by person basis with regard to diversities of opinion and circumstance


suggests that there are moral facts, determined by circumstances, and that our moral judgements express our belies about what these facts are


morality derives from an understanding among people. Agreement is if each number of people intends to adhere to some schedule, plan, or set of principles intending to do this on the understanding that the others similarly intend

moral agreement


moral bargaining

the distinguishing property of mental phenomena of being necessarily directed upon an object


productive of the best possible outcome. Relies on consequences, the outcome leads to the best consequences


(pattern recognition) if one scenario mimics another then the end results should be similar; decide right thing to do based on content of situation

moral seeing model

(court case) right and wrong determined by facts of case, but case is evaluated by making a comparison between 2 things that are similar; source of comparison is different based on content of situation

argument from analogy model (precedence)

(bird) compare each situation to the same ONE paradigm case to determine if right or wrong

prototypic model

if not guided by certain principles then there is no justification for decisions we made (dworkin response: in order to have reasons for actions, need a principle- explanation for actions)

justification objection

if we do not have moral principles it would be impossible to teach morality (dworkin response: learn morality through observation)

teaching morality objection

anything that helps to shape who you are and how you think; information about who you are (your experiences)

contingent factors

if we do not have a general principle to guide us then all our actions would just be random and haphazard (dworkins response: there is consistency if consider factors of case; same factors =same response)

arbitrariness objection

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