Ethics 1

means: “love of wisdom”

– is from philosophy
– there is no right or wrong
– critical thinking needed
– is not law
– is not prudence

branches into:
-epistemology “study of knowledge”
-metaphysics “study of reality”
– ethics “study of morality”

“study of knowledge”
– asks questions (what is knowledge, how do we know something is true)
– finds answers
– coherentism
– pragmatism
– correspondence

“study of morality”

“study of reality”

– is to use discrimination
– evaluating consequences and risks

– epistemologist
– studied under Socrates
– asks questions about knowledge & the universe around him
– believed in the Tripartite theory of Knowledge or Justified True Belief

Tripartite theory of Knowledge or Justified True Belief
(Plato believed) eg “Brad knows that X is true if: (1) X is true. (2) Brad believes that X is true. (3) Brad justified in believing that X is true.”
– These 3 things have to be shown to know that something is true. The importance of justifying is an argument between philosophers.
– Problems with this theory: (1) is that you can have justified true belief without actually processing knowledge. (2) How knowledge and beliefs are justified.

Belief formed through Plato’s theory (sextist and Puricus)
We have to continually justify ourselves for infinite to gain knowledge.
eg “Leo Tolstoy wrote War and Peace” is a justified true belief.
– the only thing that can be justify this statement is another statement.
– this philosopher thought to not judge things, just enter with a clear mind and live in happiness.

coherentism theory of knowledge
something is true as long as it consistant with an already accepted statement of belief
eg believing that you could fall off the edge of the earth sailing past the horizon because the earth is flat

pragmatism theory of knowledge
a belief is true if it makes a practical difference in ones life. Truth is subjective and relative to each individual
eg a bad person turning good because of a new found belief in God
Problem: not consistent & is contradictory
eg belief in God

correspondence theory of knowledge
something is true as long as it corresponds with a fact. The object is always true, but the subject can be labelled as true or false
Problem: the object is taken and perceived through our senses which leaves room for error.

series of facts or statements that lead to a conclusion, and is different from contradiction. Made up of PROPOSITION, CONCLUSION & PREMISES

(argument) is a statement of fact which can labelled as true or false
eg all humans are mortal

end of argument

(argument) propositions or statements of facts that lead to the conclusion

value assumption
eg every human life is valuable
– assumes that this is a common value

conceptual matter
something in an argument that needs to further defined.
eg every HUMAN LIFE is valuable…
– the means of “human life“ needs to be further defined

– original argument: people with mental illnesses can recover from their disease & should not be shunned after they have recovered
– with _______: a person with pneumonia can recover from their disease & should not be shunned after they have recovered
– needs a close comparison

(argument) Defines if an argument is good (sound) or bad
sound argument: premises have to support the conclusion & have to be true

sound argument
(1) premises have to support the conclusion (2) Premises have to be true

There are two main branches in ethics:
1. normative ethics
2. meta-ethics

normative ethics
(branch of ethics) actually make a judgement about something

(branch of ethics) means “beyond ethics,” does not make a judgement, examines the wording in an argument

Intrinsic Good
goods which are good unto themselves, are good because they are good eg happiness

Extrinsic Good
are good only because they lead to something else
eg money bringing happiness
2 types: instrumental & Complementary

Instrumental Extrinsic Good:
(type of Extrinsic Good) something that is good because its a means to an end

Complementary Extrinsic Good:
(type of Extrinsic Good) is good because it compliments something else
eg taxes to implement universal health care

means right

means wrong

a term in reference to a person who has no moral guidelines eg having coffee is like killing, rare condition can be caused by frontal lobe damage

something that has nothing to do with ethics or morals eg lion killing a gazelle, manners

Descriptive Statement
describes something without making a judgement eg capital punishment acts as a deterrant

prescriptive (normative) statement
judges something

moral compass, regardless to education & upbringing.
Charles Darwin believes that this is from evolution, not from God

There are two main types of ethic theories:
1) Non-Consequentalist/Deontological:
2) Consequentalist/Teleological:

means “duty act,” looks at the act or motive to determine if the actions were moral or immoral

means “end,” relates to the consequences of an act. Killing your friend to only loose one person rather then 3.

divine command theory
religion has dictated morality. X is good because God wills it, X is bad because God condemns it. Benefits: heaven preventing immoral actions, as well the numbers of ppl disagreeing with your actions does not determine if your actions were moral or not due to God’s beliefs. Weaknesses: Who can determine what God told someone, atheist’s in this belief have no morals, can God change his mind?

Divine Command Theory
Morality and religion have been closely tied to one another for thousands of years. Until quite recently, religion was the primary, if not the only, source of morals. Religion generally disseminated its ethical guidelines through sacred texts, oral traditions and/or important figures (e.g. prophets). A couple hundred years ago, however, the enlightenment questioned the authority of religion in the realm of ethics, and, instead, claimed that reason should ethic’s sole authority.

(story that outlines one of the major problems with divine command theory) meets socrates and tells him he wants his father to be thrown in jail because it was wrong he murder his servant. Socrates replies with “what is good?”

(story that outlines one of the major problems with divine command theory) asks euthyphro do the God’s fight about morality. Asks is morality coming directly from the Gods?
If it comes outside of the Gods we do not need the Gods for morality

looks at the consequences

looks at the act

Ethical Relativism
there is no objective right or wrong. Rather, morality is relative to either individuals or societies.

Individual Ethical Relativism
there is no objective right or wrong. Rather, morality is relative to individuals
eg a boy killing a kitten because he does not think it is wrong to him, it may be wrong to others
problem: no one can do wrong, no consequences

Cultural Ethical Relativism
there is no objective right or wrong. Rather, morality is relative to societies
eg female circumcision in africa
– strengths: (1) ppl subscribe to this due to TOLERANCE, to avoid the effects of intolerance (2) Diversity of morals
– weaknesses: (1) inconsistency on the grounds of tolerance (2) no universal moral guidelines (3) what do you do with intolerance? (4) surface differences may not actually be differences & similarities between cultures can be shown (5) many belong to more then one culture, the word culture is very broad (6) cannot have ethical arguments in it

Cultural Ethical Relativism
is deontological, morals are subjective

Moral Realism
morals are objective. 2 branches: Moral Absolutism & Moral Pluralism

Cultural Ethical Relativism
cannot judge other cultures, only judge their own

Moral Absolutism
(Moral Realism) morals stay the same in every single circumstance

Moral Pluralism
(Moral Realism) there is a number of difference moral values & guidelines. Because they are different they sometimes conflict, but nevertheless they are still completely valid and completely equal eg harming someone in self defense

Ethical Egoism
is based on Psychological Egoism, which claims that all humans are intrinsically selfish. Believe that we should act according to our selfish desires at all times.
weaknesses: (1) not everything is done in own self interest eg smoking & drinking (2) altruistic acts (doing an act with no concern for yourself). (3) it is hard to argue motivation

makes a judgement

altruistic act
doing an act with no concern for yourself

ethical egoism
1. We are not able to perform an action except out of self -interest.
2. We are not morally obligated to perform an action unless motivated by self- interest.
3. Therefore, we are morally obligated to do only what our self- interest motivates us to do.
Problem: goes from a descriptive (is) to a normative statement (ought). Big leap to say “this is the way things are therefore this is how we should act”
2 branches: individual & universal

Individual Ethical Egoism
(ethical egoism) I ought to act according to my own self-interested, & everyone around me ought to act in my own self-interest

universal ethical egoism
(ethical egoism) everyone should act according to their own self-interest, regardless of the interests of others
problem: things results in chaos eg ppl fighting over food. prisoner’s dilemma…

psychological egoism
(ethical egoism) all of us are intrinsically selfish (descriptive statement). If you do a kind act for another it is because you expect something in return

prisoners dilemma
problem with ethical egoism – remaining silent vs ratting your friend out, being selish and ratting him out in chance for no jail time, but if both ppl rat out one another they both go to jail.

problems with ethical egoism
1. cannot bring an ought to and is or vice versa
2. does not always work out in certain scenarios
3. does not deal with ethics, deals with prudence

to act according to egoism instead of ethics, weighing out risks and consequences

strengths of ethical egoism
1. it is only a matter of deciding what is best for you
2. makes ethics easy
3. cultural

ethical egoism
is teleological

the ring of gyges
glaucon: the origin of justice… is a mean or compromise, bet the best of all, which is to do injustice and not be punished, and the worst of all, which is to suffer injustice, being at a middle point bet the 2, is tolerated not as good, but as a lesser evil….

believes that if anyone was given the invisible ring of gyges we will all do the same thing because we are all selfish

thomas hobbes
Says in LEVIATHAN the human beings are intrinsically selfish and power hungry, he subscribes to psychological egoism, he says that each of us are capable of murder, not everyones desires are going to be fulfilled, he believes in a chaotic society (eg food). We need a leader to keep us from falling into chaos and war (supreme ruler)

is a scary sea monster, thomas hobbes says we need a king like this to prevent us from going into war and chaos due to psychological egoism

This theory began with Jeremy Bentham. who believed all actions should be judged by their consequences and in accordance with the Utility Principle, which is: The morally best (or better) alternative is that which produces the greatest (or greater) net utility, where utility is defined in terms of pleasure or happiness. (something is good if it produces the most pleasure and happiness for the most # of ppl)

Utility Principle
(Utilitarianism) The morally best (or better) alternative is that which produces the greatest (or greater) net utility, where utility is defined in terms of pleasure or happiness. (something is good if it produces the most pleasure and happiness for the most # of ppl)

(Jeremy Bentham) belief that the only knowledge one can have is through direct observations, studies and experiments, does not believe in gut feelings.

felicfic calculus
(Jeremy Bentham) calculations of happiness. Pleasure – pain.
Act A: gives 10 people pleasure and 5 people pain = 5 units of pleasure
Act B: gives 4 people pleasure and 0 people pain = 4 units of pleasure
According to Bentham act A is more moral.
Intensity of pleasure and pain must be taken into account….
Act A: gives 10 people pleasure (4/10) and 5 people pain (2/10) = 30 units of pleasure
Act B: gives 4 people pleasure (8/10) and 0 people pain = 32 units of pleasure
Now act B is most moral
the duration of pain and pleasure must be taken into account….
Act A: gives 10 people pleasure (4/10) at 5 days and 5 people pain (2/10) at 5 days.
Act B: gives 4 people pleasure (8/10) at 2 days and 0 people pain.
Now act A is more moral

felicfic calculus
pleasure – pain.
With taking duration, intensity, fruitfulness & probability into account

(utilitarianism) the possibility that action X will lead to more pleasurable actions. the chance that X has of being followed by sensation of the same kind: that is, pleasures, if it be a pleasure: pains, if it be a pain.
** definition: pleasure in the future

(utilitarianism) the possibility that action X itself will lead to pleasure.
eg eating a chocolate bar vs buying a lottery ticket and winning = eating a chocolate bar will give more pleasure, because the chances of winning the lottery are low

happiness economics
(utilitarianism) numbers assigned to pleasure & pain and enforced in the court of law in the USA

john stuart mill
(utilitarianism) …

problem: majority rules
eg woman who was raped by 6 man, womans pain could be 100, and each man pleasure is measured in 20 units, which would deem these acts moral.

act utilitarianism
consider the consequences of some particular act
strengths: logical, objective, treats all ppl as equal, avoids absolutism
weakness: allows for horrible acts to be considered moral, majority rules in many cases,

rule utilitarianism
consider the consequences of some practice rule of beh, takes a rule or general practice and apply it. eg if I start stealing then everyone might think it is ok and everyone will do so as well
strengths: logical, objective, treats all ppl as equal
weakness: absolutism

john stuart mills
benthans theory of utilitarianism…. measured statisfaction

2 types: act & rule
strengths: logical, objective, treats all ppl as equal
weakness: avoids conscience & gut feelings, mistakes are considered immoral, judged based on consequences which does not always work best, goes against basic human intuitions

is NOT that branch of philosophy that seeks to discover what different moral beliefs different people do in fact have

is that branch of philosophy that is concerned with how we ought to live, with the idea of the good, and with the meaning of such concepts as right and wrong.

one reason why we study _____ is to see whether we can justify the beliefs we already hold

moral theory
A _______ is a systematic presentation of some view of the basis of good and bad

NOT is primarily a descriptive discipline

emotions or feelings
While ___________ may play some role in moral considerations, one is also expected to give reasons for one’s moral judgments

Ethical considerations
do NOT always start with the top, in other words, with the formulation of ethical principles or basic ethical values

normative statement
“People often find it difficult to do what they believe is right” is NOT a _________ statement

normative ethics
eg “Capital punishment is wrong because it is wrong to directly take a human life.”

one analyzes the meaning and function of ethical language.

teleological moral theory
is one in which ends or goals play a key role.

A branch of philosophy that uses reason to support positions.

The meanings of ethical language.

_____ gives a good ethical foundation because
It can provide the motivation and inspiration for ethical action

reason for developing our natural moral reasoning skills
-We should be able to critically evaluate our own beliefs.
– People of all perspectives should be able to hold meaningful dialogue with each other.
– The diversity of the community necessitates values built of reason.

A synonym for unethical is

important to making a good argument
– Ethics requires skillful reasoning
– The structure of the argument
– The conclusion follows from the premises
– The argument has internal logic

sound argument
Another name for a good argument is

Ethical theory
Provides reasons for judging actions to be right or wrong

The difference between teleological and deontological
Deontological is focused of intention and teleological is focused on consequence

is focused of intention

is focused on consequence

is about…

ethical relativism
there is no objective good or bad, right or wrong.

Social or cultural relativism
holds that what is right is whatever one’s society or culture holds is right

individual ethical relativism
I cannot be objectively mistaken in my moral judgments

moral skeptics
hold that it is difficult or impossible to know what is good or bad, right or wrong

disagree; disagreement
If people ______ about some moral matter, their ________ will NOT always be due to their having different moral values.

G. E. Moore
is classified as a moral realist because he believed that there was some really existing quality of goodness that we could perceive by intuition.

Moral pluralists
problem: whether the good is one or many

Ethical relativism
holds that There is no objective right and wrong.

Social cohesion
Which is not a reason for supporting ethical relativism

reason for supporting ethical relativism
– Moral uncertainty.
– Diversity of moral views.
– Situational differences.

supervenient moral property
may include:
– Courage
– Generosity.
– Honesty.

Mary Migley, “moral isolationism”
Is not forced upon us and makes no sense at all.

Isolating barriers
Prevent us from truly examining our own culture.

ethical egoism
is a normative theory, about what we OUGHT to do, how we OUGHT to act.

Psychological egoism
is a descriptive theory

ethical egoism
is a normative theory.

normative theory
is a theory that tells us what we ought to do.

descriptive theory
is a theory that tells us what IS

psychological egoism
is a theory about what ppl are like, ppl are basically selfish.

psychological egoism
The motivational form of ___________ asserts that we always TRY do what we think is in our own best interest

The view that everyone ought to take care of him or herself because this would work to the benefit of all is not egoism but a form of ___________.

Abramham Lincoln
it was reported one day that he was riding in a coach over a bridge he heard a mother pig sqeeling. her piglets had slipped into the water. He then rescued the pigs. When his companion said that he was UNSELFISH he responded that he did not do this because of the pigs sake but because later on he would have no peace thinking about the incident if he acted otherwise

evaluation ethical egoism
is done by:
– grounding in psychological egoism
– consitency or coherence
– derivation from economic theory
– conformity to commonsense morality

W.D. Falk
suppose we want to know if someone has been given a moral education. someone might answer that she had because she had been taught not to lie, to treat others kindly, not to drink to excess, & to work hard. when asked what reasons she had been given for behaving thus, suppose she responded that she was taught not to lie because others would not trust her. treat others well because they would do the same in return. work hard because it brought satisfaction. ________ thinks that this is not a sign of MORAL EDUCATION that she had been given counsels of PRUDENCE

W.D. Falk
thinking if one has prudence they cannot have moral education

Benjamin Franklin’s
The counsels in _________ Poor Richard’s Almanac were examples of how practicing certain virtues was in a person’s own best interest

psychological egoism
people Act in the way they perceive to be best for them.

In the story questioning Lincoln’s ability to be selfless, Lincoln ________ piglets

For psychological egoism to be valid, we must show people Act with an aim of achieving ____________.

individual ethical egoism
one should Do what is in one’s self interest

Effectiveness in satisfying individual interest
___________________ is not used in evaluating ethical egoism

ethical egoism
– We should treat others well because we want to be treated well in return.
– We should work hard because a “job well done is its own reward.”
– We should work hard because doing so is a good model for our children.

ring of Gyges
A ring that cam make the wearer invisible, therefore good ppl can commit bad actions without being caught

Even “good” people will do evil if they can act without consequence

act utilitarianism
states we OUGHT to consider the consequences of EACH ACT SEPARATELY

rule utilitarianism
states we OUGHT to consider the consequences of the act performed as a GENERAL PRACTICE

cost-benefit analysis
is a measure of efficiency. problem: is it hard to put a value on things such as freedom/life.

calculating the greatest amount of happiness
– pleasure minus pain
– duration
– intensity
– fruitfulness
– likelihood or probability

classical utilitarianism
is a pleasure or happiness theory

instrumental goods
are useful for attaining the goals of happiness & pleasure

intrinsic goods
are good in themselves

intrinsic good
The reason that Mill believes that pleasure is the only __________ is because he believes that it is the only thing that everyone desires for its own sake

principle of utility/greater happiness principle
basic moral principle of utilitarianism

is a moral theory that holds that we ought to promote utility and not pleasure.

utilitarian moral theory, happiness is an ______ good.

wrote in Utilitarianism “all the grand sources of human suffering are in a great degree, many of them almost entirely, conquerable by human care and effort.”

According to _______, some pleasures may be more valuable than others but only in so far as they are of greater intensity or duration

act utilitarianism
if it produces more net utility or pleasure to give money that I had promised to return to a friend, to famine relief instead, then I ought to give it to the relief fund.


rule utilitarian
“If the practice of lying is bad, then one ought not to lie now, even if in this case to lie would actually bring about better consequences.”

In his Utilitarianism _____ answers those who say that his theory is a crass pleasure theory fit only for beasts by noting that though it is a pleasure theory it acknowledges a wide variety of pleasures including those that only humans can experience

According to _______, the only way to prove that something is desirable in itself (as an end) is to notice that people do desire it.

In the reading from Utilitarianism ______ writes that we have learned by experience that murder and theft are wrong because they are generally injurious to human happiness

In his work, Utilitarianism, _____ test or basis for distinguishing higher from lower pleasures is the preference of those who have experience of both

approximately _______ people have leaped to their death from the Golden Gate Bridge

The complexity of calculating morality using a cost benefit analysis.
MacKinnon used the story of the Golden Gate Bridge to illistrate _______________________________

Rene Descartes
not one of the founders of utilitarianism

founders of utilitarianism
– James Mill.
– Jeremy Bentham.
– John Stuart Mill

in utilitarianism what is an example of intrinsic good ________

included in calculating the amount of happiness
– Intensity.
– Likelihood.
– Duration.

The result
According to utilitarianism what is most useful for evaluating the morality of an action?

As a general practice
Rule Utilitarianism asks that we consider the consequences of each act

cost benefit analysis
The ____________ is used by in all of the following circumstances
– Choosing to build an airport.
– Deciding if taxes are being spent wisely.
– Deciding what type of punishment will result in better adults

necessary to act morally according to _______
– To consider all the variables involved in an action.
– To consider all people to be of equal value.
– To produce a result that produces the greatest good for the greatest number.