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Terms in this set (39)
According to Plato, how does the best city fall apart? Be able to talk about this process and the progression from the best city to the worst.
The best city falls apart by a P-King making a mistake in the breeding program and these children made will come to power and neglect the system of education. Over time, rules will grow less suited to rule and a civil war will result between the two groups, one that seeks material possessions and a second that clings to virtue and tradition/order. This will end with a compromise dividing the city.
Plato's typology of the various regimes (be able to talk about the characteristics of each regime and the characters of the people who give rise to each regime)
P's argument for the immortality of the soul
Plato's argument for the immortality of the soul starts with the argument from opposites, which states that everything comes to be from its opposite, and since life and death are opposites, they are stuck in a cycle where death cannot be a permanent end. It is followed by the Theory of Recollection which says that all learning is an act of recollection. Since we knew the information before, but forgot it, this implies that the soul must have existed prior to birth. The third argument is the affinity argument which states that the soul is immortal and when decide could become a ghost and a philosopher's soul will dwell free in the heavens.
The Myth of Er and its significance for the Republic as a whole (why does P choose to end the Republic with this story?)
The Myth Of Er explains how a soldier dies and when he wakes up he tells a story of how the just go to heaven and the unjust go to hell hone judged and after a one thousand year stay in heaven, the move to another life where they are given the choice and each person chooses their own path. This is to explain that the soul is immortal and the philosophy is key to making good decisions in this life and the next.
Aristotle's ethical methodology,
Begins with identifying common beliefs, finding problems with those and resolving them to preserve a common belief.
What is A's primary question in the Ethics (what is he seeking?
"What is good for human beings to become a better person?"
What are the formal characteristics of the supreme good (eudaimonia)?
The formal characteristics of the supreme good are that it is the good in which we seek for its own sake and for the sake of which we seek everything else.
The difference between intrinsic and instrumental goods,
-Intrinsic Goods: goods only for your own sake
-Instrumental Goods: good used to reach another goal
The difference between dominant and inclusive accounts of the NE and what are the strongest arguments for each position?
-Dominant account of the NE believes there is just one activity that leads to a eudaiman life
-Inclusive account of NE believes a eudaiman life consists of a range of goods
A's account of the nature of virtue,
A's account of the Nature of Virtue explains that human nature comprises both virtues of character which make a person better in regards to feelings and desires, and virtues of thought, or practical wisdom, the ability to judge correctly the best action to perform in any situation.
The nature and role of practical wisdom,
Disagreements about happiness (eudaimonia) and what are the 3
main candidates that people associate happiness with,
-some people's conception of eudaimonia changes with their circumstances: when they are poor they think its money; when ill, they think its health
-People often associate happiness with money, honor, and pleasure.
The criteria of completeness and self-sufficiency,
Aristotle says an end is most complete if we want it for its own sake and is self sufficient if it makes a life choice worthy and lacking nothing.
The nature and purpose of function argumentation (what is A's
trying to prove and how does he do it - especially be able to explain the function argument),
Aristotle's function argumentation says that:
1.) X is good if X performs its function well
2.) Humans have a function
3.) the distinctive function is the activity of the part of the soul that has reason
4.) a good person exercises this part of the soul through out their life
The role of fortune and luck in our lives and to what extent it affects our happiness,
Luck plays a role in living a Eudaimon life, so you can't call someone happy until their deaths because fortune and luck can change it at any time.
A's account of the origin of the virtues,
A argues for his account of the origin of the virtues by rejecting that virtues are innate by nature and that virtues are taught. A person can become more generous and kind through habituating making it not innate.
The doctrine of the mean and the two senses of intermediate
The doctrine of the mean proves that whatever the human virtues are, they cause us to be good and carry out our function well. It also distinguishes between two senses of intermediate. There is an intermediate in the object like six is in the middle of two and ten and there is an intermediate relative to us where what is appropriate for us may not be for another person.
The two primary senses of Justice and what characterizes each
(distributive and retributive)
-Distributive Justice: people receive good in proportion to their worth, determined by the virtue manifested by their activities
-Retributive Justice: takes no account of the worth of the parties and only seeks to restore a lost balance
His account of friendship and especially his definition of complete friendship (what are the criteria for complete friendship and what is his fundamental concern about relationships based on pleasure or utility?)
-Aristotle believes that a complete friendship is the greatest external good. Friendships based on pleasure or utility aren't actually friendship at all. Unlike those friendships, in a complete friendship, a person is not loved because he gives pleasure or because he is used, he is loved because of his virtuous character. A complete friendship is also not coincidental like are pleasure or utility because both people are lovable without qualification.
According to Kant, what is the ultimate principle of morality? How does this principle explain the attraction of the golden rule but also point to its shortcomings?
Kant believes that ultimate principle of morality is fairness. This makes the golden rule seem attractive because fairness would want us to treat others the way we want to be treated, but this wrongly places depended on a persons desires, as the same people desire what is bad for them.
What are some of the primary reasons as to why Kant rejects consequentialism/utilitarianism?
Some of the primary reasons why Kant rejects Utilitarianism are that Kant regards many basic moral values absolute and it is never acceptable to break them, he believes the morality of our actions is determined by our intent and nor our consequences. He believes that good will is the only thing valuable in all situations, and not happiness.
What is Kant's test for universalizability? What role does it
play in his moral philosophy?
Kant's test for universalizability is to state your maxim clearly, imagine a world in which every acts upon your maxim, and ask yourself if the goal of your action can be achieved in that world. This places the morality of our own actions on the intentions not the consequences.
What is the challenge of the amoralist? How is Kant able to respond?
The challenge of the amoralist imagines a person who believes in right and wrong, but does not care about morality as if it does not effect them because they believe since that their moral duty sometimes fails to get people what they want, they have no reason to do their moral duty, making that action rational. Kant disagrees and considers moral reason to always be more important than any other kind of consideration.
What is a hypothetical imperative? What is a categorical imperative? What is the difference between the two?
-Hypothetical Imperative: a command of reason that commands us to do whatever is needed to what we care about and tells us how to achieve our goals
-Categorical Imperative: a command of reason that does not depend on what we care about and commands us to do things whether we want to or not.
What is an absolute moral duty? Be able to give an example to
illustrate this. What is Kant's argument for the existence of
absolute moral duties?
Kant thought that certain actions were never permitted, like lying, and it is your moral duty to not lie. Morality is universal and anyone who can reason must obey its commands, and in any conflict between moral duty and other demands like low, self interest or tradition, morality always wins. An example is the inquiring murderer.
What is Kant's principle of humanity? How does he defend this principle?
Kant's principle of humanity states that you should always treat a human being as an end and never as a means. He defends this with the importance of rationality and autonomy. Everyone is owed a level of respect simply of these traits.
According to Kant, what is the one good thing in the universe? What is his argument for this?
The one good things in the universe is good will. The ability to reliably know what you duty is and a steady commitment to doing your duty for its own sake because he thought that acting from such a motive is entirely an exercise of reason
What are some of the major differences between Kant's ethics
and the virtue ethics of Plato and Aristotle?
-Aristotle: regards happiness as being the end of morality
-Kant: has conflict between happiness and morality
-Plato: doesn't believe moral value is determined by an assessment of an action consequence
What are some of the most fundamental difficulties with Kant's
Some fundamental problems with Kant's moral philosophy are that if a maxim's universalizability is a guarantee of its rightness, we can still act on universal maxims and still do wrong.
What is the optimific? What advice do utilitarians give us for attaining the optimific course of action? Be able to explain this process.
-An action is optimific if it is morally required just because it produces the best overall results. To determine if it is optimific, identity what is intrinsically good, identify what is intrinsically bad, and determine all of your options. For each option, determine the value of its results and then pick the action that yields the best balance.
What is the principle of utility and how do utilitarians defend this principle?
The principle or utility says that an action is morally required just because it does more to improve overall well being than other action you could have done in the given circumstances. They defend this principle with the idea that well being is the only things intrinsically valuable and fairing poorly is the only thing that is intrinsically bad.
What are some of the attractions of utilitarianism?
-Tells us the welfare of each person is equally morally valuable
-moral flexibility (explains why moral prohibitions may be sometimes broken)
What is a slippery slope argument and what characterizes such arguments? Be able to give an example to illustrate.
The slippery slope argument emphasizes certain social innovation on the grounds that allowing them will lead to terrible results in the long term. An example is the thought that voluntary euthanasia will lead to allowing the killing of the mentally ill and disable, justifying such practice with the claim that killing the mentally ill and disabled is doing them a favor.
According to utilitarians how do we measure well being? What are some of the most fundamental difficulties with this approach?
Well being is measured by adding up all the benefits it produces, adding the harm is causes, determining the balance, and then seeing whether the balance is greater than any other possible action. A difficulty with this approach is that is Utilitarianism is right, we must maximize both happiness and autonomy to live a good life, but this is not possible because sometimes we must choose between them.
How does JS Mill seek to revise some of Bentham's earlier
views in order to defend utilitarianism?
Mill seeks to revise some of Bentham's earlier view in order to defend Utilitarianism by saying "better to be Socrates dissatisfied, than a fool satisfied". Because Mills couldn't stand Bentham's urging to maximize pleasure no matter the quality, and insisted we maximize the quality of our pleasure as well as its quantity.
What is the argument from value measurement?
The argument from value measurement is the Utilitarianism is true only if there is a precise unit of measurement that can determine the value of an action's result. However, there is no such unit, there for Utilitarianism must be false.
What is the problem of demandingness? Do you think
utilitarianism demands too much of us?
The problem of demandingness is that some people claim Utilitarianism demands too much information and calculating skills that no one could possibly posses. We are not computers and cannot perform calculations for every action.
What is the notion of the supererogatory? What characterizes such actions? How might they serve as a challenge to both Kantian and utilitarian approaches?
The notion of the Supererogatory is that it is an action that is above and beyond the normal call of duty. This behavior is admirable and praise worthy, but not required. Utilitarians claim nothing is above the call of duty because our moral duty is to do the very best we can do and Kant would probably agree that nothing can be better than absolute moral duties. They both face the issue of "how often will morality ask us to sacrifice our interest for those of others?"
Which ethical approach studied in this class do you find most appealing and why? Be able to articulate and defend your answer vis a vis other approaches studied in the class?
The ethical approach I found most appealing was Utilitarianism. The idea of putting the facts of morality not the well being of a nation or city as a whole resonates with me. If slight adjusted, Utilitarianism could, instead of placing focus on well being, place the focus of the growth and improvement of the society as a whole and consequently remove the pressure of making exact calculations regarding balance of benefits and harm caused by an action.
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