Ethics 1

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Philosophical Concepts Forum

Instructions

You are going to discuss your thinking on concepts you read on the What is Philosophy? page (under the Welcome to Philosophy 202: Ethics modules, on the Start Here! Introduction to Ethicspage).

Your initial post and peer reply should each consist of approximately 100 words.

Choose one or two concepts outlined and, in your own words, explain them as you would to someone entirely unfamiliar with philosophy. Be sure to include an example. Here is a sample:

  • Relativism
    • What is right/good is determined by particular groups
    • Tends to avoid “objectivism” (there is some universal concept of right and wrong)

The philosophical term “relativism” is similar to the term “relative” in our daily lives. For example, saying “It’s hot out today,” in reference to the weather, is a claim about how the weather feels to you. Suppose someone responds, “No, it’s not hot out. It’s just right!” The feeling is relative to the individual. We can also think of “relative” in terms of families. A mother or father, brother or sister, etc., is a relative, that is, someone related in a specific way.

In philosophy, and more specifically in ethics, “relativism” is a view about right and wrong being relative to a group, culture, or individual. Relativism is contrasted with an objective view of morality. If morality is objective, it is universal, or it holds for everyone. So, if tipping a server is objectively good, it’s good for everyone. If you’re a sort of relativist, you might say that tipping is wrong, for example, in certain cultures, but not in others.

What is Philosophy

What is Philosophy?

· The word means “love of wisdom”

· Note that we use the term much differently than it’s used in everyday speech.

· Critically examining all aspects of everything. More specifically it’s a methodological inquiry into the principles and presuppositions of any field of study.

·

MetaphysicsLinks to an external site.
 & 
OntologyLinks to an external site.

·

EpistemologyLinks to an external site.

·

AestheticsLinks to an external site.

·

LogicLinks to an external site.

·

EthicsLinks to an external site.

· AND…

· Philosophy of Law

· Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics

· Philosophy of Math

· Political Philosophy

· Philosophy of Science

· Philosophy of Language

· Philosophy of Mind

· Phenomenology

Ethics

· Study of action/focus of good action

· Ethical theories are supposed to guide actions

· Ethics and/versus Religion

· Religion is NOT necessary for morality

· Not to say that religion and morality can’t be related, but rather they aren’t NECESSARILY related.

· Egoism

· I can and should do whatever I want to do.

· Like Hedonism: you should pursue pleasure above all else)

· Relativism

· What is right/good is determined by particular groups

· Tends to avoid “objectivism” (there is some universal concept of right and wrong)

· Virtue (morality requires the development of a good character)

· We become habituated to acting well by developing virtuous characters

· How each person acts virtuously depends on his or her own abilities

· Consequentialism (evaluates based on outcomes)

· You determine the rightness of an act based on the outcomes it will produce

·   Utilitarianism : aprx. The greatest good for the greatest number.

· Deontology (evaluates intention)

· You determine the rightness of an act based on the intent behind it.

· Kant: you always have to see if the intention is a good intention

· Rights

· This gets complicated and messy.

· What is a right?

· A claim against?

· A claim to?

· A power over?

· How do they square with duties?

· Necessary correlate?

· Which has priority?

· What is the ontological relationship?

· Justice

· Do we have obligations to others?

· Distribution v. Entitlement

Moral Agent and the Moral Patient

· Moral Agent is someone who is responsible for their actions, such that when that act badly we can reprimand them.

· Moral Agents are rational, autonomous, volitional beings.

· Rational = capable of reason

· Autonomous = self-legislating (can decide how to act for yourself)

· Volitional = capable of acting of their thoughts (free, free will).

· Moral Patient

· A being that deserves moral consideration.

· Moral consideration means that we need to think about how our acts will affect the being. This doesn’t mean that we need to treat all moral patients equally. 

· How we decide the criteria for moral consideration is open for debate. 

· Sentience = feeling pleasure or pain

· Consciousness = self-awareness

· Harmable = capable of experiencing either physical or mental harm

· Human

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