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Arts and Humanities
Terms in this set (54)
1. In class we talked about what Michael Smith calls "The Moral Problem." The moral problem involves the apparent plausibility of three claims. What are these three claims? Why are they inconsistent, i.e., what is "the moral problem"?
1. Moral judgments express beliefs that are claims to truth ("Murder is wrong").
2. Moral judgments are intrinsically motivated; we need a reason in order to act.
3. Motivation requires desires (Hume). Means/end reasoning; our ends are determined by our desires.
Inconsistency: 1 and 2 do not involve desire.
Who accepts #1 in Moral Problem?
Who accepts #2 in Moral Problem?
Who accepts #3 in Moral Problem?
2. What does Moore mean when he says that "good is indefineable"?
"Good is good" means that the "nature" of good is hard to define and anyone who tries to do so would be wrong. Don't define good in it's natural properties. Recognize it's complexity. Just because most normal people would be reasonable to say that what is good is what is pleasurable, don't make that assumption when you're discussing more advanced philosophy.
3. What is the "Open-Question Argument" presented by Moore? Who is Moore's intended target?
Whenever you try to define "the good," you can always intelligibly ask if that thing is actually good (e.g. "Is pleasure actually good?").
Target: ethical naturalists.
3. How does the "Open-Question Argument" ultimately lend support to non-cognitivism?
Because if good is indefinable, then morality is always questionable and therefore not truth-apt.
4. What is Hume's argument for the Fact/Value gap?
Reason is not enough of a motivation to do something. You need desire.
There is a distinction between what is and what ought to be.
4. How does Hume's argument for the fact/value gap affect his account of motivation and lend support to the position of projectivism?
Hume's claim = desire is necessary to motivate someone.
Projectivism = our moral judgments are responses to our projected sentiments on the world.
The link between the two = In order to account for the desire/belief part of motivation, then moral judgments have to involve sentiments that are projected onto the judgments themselves.
5. Why is the fact/value gap supposed to create a problem for the ethical naturalist?
The naturalist thinks moral judgments can claim truths insofar as they correspond to natural properties like pleasure (good=pleasurable for utilitarians). There is a means-end picture of motivation (desire is needed to act, not just reason).
So the fact/value gap problem = Ethical naturalists can't explain the categorical (universally compelling) nature of moral judgments. Can't explain idea that moral judgments give us a reason to act; they can't get the "ought" from the "is."
5. What is Railton's argument for why the fact/value gap is not a problem for ethical naturalism after all?
I don't need to explain the categorical (universally compelling) nature of moral judgments and here's why:
Hypothetical imperatives (not just categorical) can be true. It's a true, empirical fact that if I want to go to med school, I need to study. Interest/subjectivity doesn't invalidate fact, so the fact/value gap is invalid.
5. What does Railton mean by "objectified subjective interest"?
What your interests would be under ideal conditions. (Lonnie, Lonnie Plus).
6. What is the fundamental challenge faced by all non-cognitivists with regard to the surface grammar of moral judgments?
They seem to all make sense, but they don't all fit together (Smith's Moral Problem); Why do we act like non-objective things are objective? Our language suggests moral properties/decisions are facts.
6. How does Stevenson respond to this challenge to non-cognitivists?
Emotivism: the purpose is to justify our actions (state moral properties like facts) to persuade people to act a certain way. Doing so is evolutionarily relevant.
6. How does Blackburn respond to this challenge to non-cognitivists?
They are good to "do" because they are/have been evolutionarily beneficial, quasi realism.
7. What is the "Argument from Queerness"? Who is the intended target of that argument?
Against objective ethical values; target: moral realists like Moore.
If the moral properties are out there, then they're not perceived in any way that we usually perceive things, and that seems kinda...queer.
8. How does Mackie argue for the claim that all moral judgments are uniformly and systematically false? In other words, what is Mackie's argument for his "Error Theory"?
He makes an argument from queerness and an argument from relativity.
9. How is Blackburn's quasi-realism supposed to justify his projectivism?
Dichotomy: moral properties exist TOTALLY independent of human opinion (hardcore moral realism), OR we/our feelings are TOTALLY the source of moral properties (hardcore projectivism).
Blackburn believes the second: The features of the world are empirical. Moral properties don't exist until we have feelings about it. There is nothing "wrong" about a dead body independent of our feelings; the situation is wrong because we feel it is wrong. We do not have justification for saying something is objectively right, but there are evolutionary reasons for /believing/ that we do.
10. What is McDowell's criticism of Blackburn's projectivism?
Blackburn's dichotomy is false. McDowell wants to know why there's no middle ground.
10. How does McDowell's discussion of concept application fit into his criticism of Blackburn's projectivism?
Intersubjectivity: We experience over and over and over again (like "yellow" or "bad") and apply it, and these experiences overlap with other individuals so when one person references yellow, we can be confident that we understand in the same way. The application of these perceptive experiences are subject to rules/standards/criticism.
11. What is the "no-priority" view that McDowell's advocates?
No-priority: The properties we perceive are not the product of feelings. We see something yellow/morally wrong, and we respond according to that recognition, not according to our feelings.
There's a middle ground of Blackburn's dichotomy. There's no experience of value without valuers, but there's also features of the world independent of us recognized by us to be valuable.
11. How does McDowell use the analogy with color perception to support his realism?
We have faculties of perception that interact with independent "stuff" of world (the color yellow) resulting in the experience of "yellow."
So we say "that's good/that murder is bad," and it sounds objective, but it's a result of our perception interacting with independent features; we are committed to "yellow" and committed to murder being bad.
12. What characterizes "practical reason theories" about the nature of morality, such as Korsgaard's and Kant's?
You must be practical (use good reason) because the nature of moral decisions comes from us and we are human. Therefore we can not use empirical science. (aka discontinuous theory).
13. What is the distinction between "Continuity Theories" and "Discontinuity Theories"?
Continuity: moral theory is continuous with epiricism; morality & science are the same or inseparable.
Discontinuity: the two are doing quintessentially different things.
13. What thinkers' theories fall into continuity theories? Which fall into discontinuity theories?
Foot, Railton (there's no difference between happiness and the goal of morality).
Moore, Scanlon, Stevenson.
Blackburn (science exclusively has access to truth).
McDowell, Practical Reason (there is SOME truth in moral reasoning, it's just a different truth).
14. What is the difference between internalism and externalism?
Internalism means the way you come to conclusions comes from within which is subjective because everyone is different and externalism means conclusions are drawn from the things of the world that exist outside of the individual (objective).
15. What is the difference between hypothetical and categorical imperatives?
Hypothetical - If you want y, you should do x.
Categorical - Do x.
15. Why does Kant (and Korsgaard following him) maintain that moral claims must take the form of a categorical imperative? What does accepting this claim imply about the nature of moral motivation?
Because otherwise they are subjective. To recognize something as morally right is enough of a reason to do it - intrinsically motivating.
16. Why does Korsgaard think that acting immorally must also entail acting irrationally?
Because if it's the case that moral judgments provide a reason to be moral no matter their subjective interests, then to act contrary to that is to act irrationally.
16. Why does Foot disagree with Korsgaard's grouping of morality and rationality?
Because Foot thinks you can understand something to be non-moral and still do it anyway, and that that doesn't make you non-rational.
16. What is entailed in having a reason to act according to Foot?
Means-end reasoning, having a subjective desire and having instrumental beliefs of bringing that about.
17. What is Foot's argument for rejecting the categoricity of moral judgments?
There is objective good, but it's not categorically binding.
17. How would Foot explain the experience of obligation?
It only applies to me if I'm the kind of person who cares about being moral.
18. What is contractualism?
The moral validity of an act is based on a group of " sane" individuals' predetermined "contract."
18. How does contractualism differ from utilitarianism?
Utilitarianism is based on well-being, contractualism is open to any motivation. Contractualism is more precise (individual), Ultilatairm is broad (society)
18. What reasons does Scanlon give for rejecting utilitarianism?
It can lead you to a scenario in which you are acting soundly according to utilitarian framework, but nonetheless the situation still strikes the actor as wrong.
Also, the notion of being able to reasonably reject a situation that may have the most utility strikes an observer as utilitarianism having flaws
19. Why does Scanlon think that contractualism will not lead to the adoption of normative utilitarianism?
Utilitarianism can still lead you to situations where rejection of said situation could be reasonable.
Moral properties are reducible to natural properties
Moral judgments express sentiments or attitudes of approval or disapproval and are, therefore, not able to be true or false
Practical Reason Theories
Morality is a demand of practical reason as such
There are no moral properties that exist independent of human opinion
Our experience of moral properties is the result of "spreading" our sentiments onto the world
Moral judgments express beliefs and are, therefore, able to be true or false
Moral properties exist independent of human opinion.
Rejects #2 of Smith's Moral Problem (that moral judgments have a necessary connection with being motivating [internalism]). Evident in virtue ethics and utilitarianism
Non-Cognitivism + Anti-Realism
Typically linked. Moral theories of relativism/subjectivism
Practical Reason Theories
Evident in deontology (rights supercede)
Practical Reason Theorists
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