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ethics final leben


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theories trying to explain what right and wrong are (where they come from) as opposed to which actions are right and wrong
Who said, \"If God does not exist, then all is permitted\"
Divine Command Theory (DCT)
An action is required of God commands to do it
an action is forbidden if God commands not to do it
an action is permissible or neutral if God does not say anything about it

What kind of theory is DCT and why?
it is a causal theory because DCT doesn\'t specify what actions are actually forbidden, required or neutral, just how they are caused.
The DCT Argument
1. There are some actions that simply are forbidden, required or neutral
2. The best or only explanation for these moral properties is God
Therefore, God is the cause of moral properties

Support for DCT premise 1: There are some actions that are simply forbidden, required or neutral
Craig: Deep down we all know it. \"We know objective moral values exist because we clearly apprehend some of them...torturing a child, incest, rape, ethnic cleansing...
According to Craig, there are three features of moral properties that only God can explain (DCT)
Necessity, ultimate foundation, and improbable discovery of moral facts
What is William Craig\'s Necessity claim (what does it say)
the best thing that an athiestic explanation can do is to say why torture and rape are \"socially unacceptable\" However they can\'t explain why they are
moral abominations\"
What does William Craig\'s foundation claim state?
If an athiest agrees that moral properties are necessairly moral, that is, not just because of social advantage, they have to find some way to \"found\" this. The athiest can only say they \"just are\" wrong or right
According to William Craig, what is improbable discovery?
\"According to the athiest, all of our abilities are a product of evolution. it is \'fantastically improbable\' that a creature would evolve through a chance process to be able to discover the \'abstract realm of moral truth\'\"
Who is Walter Sinnott-Armstrong?
Duke University professor of Ethics
author of \"morality without God\"
What does the necessity claim of DCT state
the athiest can agree that rape and torture are not just socially unacceptable but are wrong no matter what.
what makes rape immoral is that rape harms the victim in terrible ways
what is the foundation claim of DCT
reply 1. the athiest doesn\'t need to give a foundation
reply2. theists can\'t give a better answer
reply 3. is a \'command\' the right kind of foundation we want?

one of plato\'s diologues
socrates meets Euthyphro while going to courthouse
\'what is piety?\' (or what is morality?)
what is moral is what is loved by the gods

major emotivists
David Hume
A.J. Ayer
David Hume
British Empiricist (Scottish, actually) Inspired by Newton
Wrote on history, epistemology, ethics, science, religion, etc.
Inspired Kant, but not very Kantian

Hume on the origin of ideas
Locke and Hume: there are no innate ideas, but ideas come from perceptual experience. Unicorns are our idea of a horn and a horse.
Hume on Morality
moral properties are motivating and goal oriented. observations or reasoning cannot provide motivation or goals. the only place they can come from are emotions.
emotions are not \'representations\' and do not have:
i can be angry about nothing
i can be angry about many things
i can be angry because of something but not about it

pros of emotivism
explains the necessity of moral properties by appealing to the feeling of necessity
explains the inherent motivation of moral properties
Objections to emotivism
1. implies that moral properties only exist in our minds
2. no way to ever resolve moral disagreements
3. does emotivism rule out normative theory (quietism?)

objection to emotivism: All in our minds?
implies that moral properties only exist in our minds
however doesnt some aspect of colors, heat and sound exist outside of our minds?
what if morality was concerned with these?

objection 2 to emotivism: moral disagreement
according to emotivism, people can never genuinely agree about the truth of moral clains (Saints! Steelers!)
however isn\'t there at least some meaningful debate and progress about ethical issues?
objection to emotivism 3: Quietism?
Hume claims that actions should be the slave of passions
however aside from being an obviously bad normative theory, this contradicts his claims about moral properties not being truth-evaluable
evolutionary theory
there is random mutation in genetic traits, passed from parents to offspring. there are limited resources and a struggle for existence. genetic traits are selected.
how are genes considered selfish?
the level of selection is the gene, and those that are selected will be those that tend to produce more genes. they are selfish by producing traits that will allow genes to continue.
fitness-sacrificing behavior
behaving in a way that benefits another individual\'s reproductive fitness (genetic contribution to the gene pool), at the expense of one\'s own reproductive fitness
behaving in a way that benefits another individual
acting with the intention of benefiting another individual
Three solutions to explain helping
1. kin selection
2. reciprocal altruism
3. group selection

Kin selection
Hamilton: Genes can produce organisms that will sometimes sacrafice themselves (or help) to promote the fitness of their genetic relatives.
as far as the gene is concerned, if its vehicle sacrafices its life to save three offspring, thats a good deal.
reciprocal altruism
Robert Trivers: Helping behavior can be explained by an organism selected to help another in a specific way, in expectation that the other organism will do the same for it. (grooming in monkeys, cleaner fish, etc)
group selection
David Sloan Wilson: morality and religion are a result of the need for civil obedience within groups. Selfeshness beats altruism; altruistic groups beat selfish groups. (Prisoner\'s Dilemma)
Phineas Gage
railroad worker with spike blown through head
total personality change
appear totally unconcerned with the distress of others, but worry about their own safety
cognitive-neural process primarily involve three psychological systems:
emotional response, planning and regulation, and intention-reading and social cognition.
What does the ultimatum game show in fMRI?
Sanfey found that rejections of unfair offers correlate with the activation of DLPFC (as well as disgust)
moral nihilism
a meta-ethical theory claiming that right and wrong do not exist
possible Nihilists (and more recent, clear ones)?
Might include: Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Sarte. None are clear though.
more recent and clear: J.L. Mackie and Richard Joyce
Austrailian philosopher of religion, ethics, mind, etc.
also an athiest
famous book: Ethics: inventing right and wrong
calls his position \'moral error-theory\'

how is nihilism different from DCT, emotivism and psychological causes of morality?
it argues that moral claims can be true or false, but they simply fail to refer to anything.
\"murder is wrong\" does not refer to any property, although we may think it does
philospohical naturalism
the claim that science is the best method for discovering what really exists in the world
Whose argument is the argument from queerness
what is the argument from queerness
1. \'philosophical naturalism\' is true. science is the best method for discovering what entities really exist.
2. if moral properties exist they have a number of \'queer\' features, like being necessary and automatically motivating.
3. however, our best scientific theories have only discovered \'normal\' stuff that is contingent and is not motivating outside of people\'s interestes
therefore moral properties do not exist

argument from queerness objection to premise 1: philosophical naturalism is true
why should reality be limited to those laws and entities that have observable effects? supernatural entities are possible and don\'t obey natural laws.
Reply: there is no evidence for these entities, and so far our technology based on science has been more successful.
argument from queerness objection to premise 2: if moray properties exist, they have a number of \'queer\' features like being necessary and automatically motivating
one might deny that moral properties are necessary or self-motivating.
Reply: then one faces a difficult question of why people should care once they agree that an action is forbidden
argument from queerness objection to premise 3: our best scientific theories have only discovered normal stuff that is contingent and is not motivating outside of people\'s interests
science discovers some weird stuff
dark matter, particle-antiparticle pairs
what about math?

The mathematics defence of the argument from queerness
1.moral properties are similar to mathematical properties
2. if math exists, then morality might as well
3. math exists
therefore morality might exist

applied ethics
the study of what actions are forbodden and required (and why) will have practical consequences for many areas
(medical ethics, business ethics, animal and food ethics, etc)
Who are the two main people associated with applied ethics?
Kant and Singer
moral standing
this problem will involve looking at the differences between theories including intention vs. expectation, utility, character and emotions. it will also involve looking at the differences between who gets included in the ethical theories and why (\'moral standing\')
Kant and Animals
Kant\'s theory would not approve of our treatment of animals applied to humans.
Intentionally killing people to eat them, keeping innocents prison, and using people as tools to save our own lives.
but Kant believes that morality comes from rationality
someone has moral standing if they have the ability to form goals
therefore animals have no moral standing or rights

Kant\'s \"amendment\" toward animals
intentional harm to animals is bad because it is indirectly intentional harm to humans
tender feelings toward dumb animals develop humane feelings toward mankind
Singer\'s \"speciesism\" argument
1. the differences between human individuals are similar to the differences between humans and animals
2. individual differences don\'t prevent equal treatment to humans
therefore human-animal differences do not prevent equal treatment of animals

who are the two major persons concerned with abortion?
Marquis and Thompson
Marquis\' argument on abortion - Future like ours:
Yes, the fetus is not \'someone like us\' but it will be someday
1. killing is immoral because it deprives something of future human goods
Future like ours argument in full
1. Killing is immoral because it deprives something of future human goods
2. abortion deprives something of future human goods
therefore abortion is immoral

objection to premise one of future like ours argument: killing is immoral because it deprives something of future human goods
is murder wrong BECAUSE it deprives something of future human goods? if so, then any depriving of future human goods is also immoral. is winning a competition immoral?
objection to premise two of the future like ours argument: abortion deprives something of future human goods
how is it possible to determine that there would have been future goods?
Judith Thomson
deontological view on abortion.
an action is only morally wrong if it is done with a bad intention
The Henry Fonda case
if you are sick and the only thing that will save you is the touch of Henry Fonda, he is not morally responsible to save you, but it would be nice.
two major persons involved in social justice theories
Rawls and Scanlon
veil of ignorance
method explaining that we must nullify the effects of specific contingencies which put men at odds. Parties should not know their place in society, his class position of social status, etc. They know the general facts about human society and understand political affairs and the principles of economic theory, etc. This makes it a dynamic theory-where we could learn more about human psychology and apply it from the original position.
the \"rationality\" of the parties (Justice)
same kind of rationality appealed to in economics
no envy, shame, humiliation or other biases
\"a rational person is thought to have a coherent set of preferences between the options open to him. he ranks these options according to how well they further his purposes and which has the greater chance of being successfully executed\"

the liberty principle of justice
each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive scheme of equal basic liberties compatible with a similar scheme of liberties for others.
the opportunity principle of justice
social and ecomonic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are... attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity.
the difference principle of justice
assuming the framework of institutions required by equal liberty and fair equality of opportunity, the higher expectations of those better situated are just if and only if they work as a part of a scheme which iimproves the expectations of the least advantaged members of society
natural rights
Nozick: \"a line... circumscribes an area in moral space around an individual\"
this boundary can only be crossed by permission, and compensation paid for by non-permitted boundary crossings
Wilt Chamberlin experiment
Imagine everyone has their money through \'just\' principles
Chamberlin knows he is in high demand so his contract stipulates he gets a quarter for every ticket sold
In one season, a million people come to see him and he gets 250,000.
is it morally wrong that he is rich and that money is not evenly distributed?

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