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What is an argument? What are premises and conclusions?
An Argument has 2 parts: premises and conclusions
i. Premises-an assumption that something is true.
ii. Conclusions- an asserted to be true based on the premises
What is validity? Soundness?
a. Arguments are valid in the logician’s sense when the conclusion follows from the premises.
b. An argument is valid when the conclusion must be true if the premises are true. Mind the “if”.
c. Validity has nothing to do with whether the premises are actually true.
What is the difference between descriptive and prescriptive/normative statements?
Descriptive describes how people act. Prescriptive tells how people should act.
What’s the difference between ethics and meta-ethics?
a. Meta-ethics- talks about the nature of ethics and moral reasoning. Discussions about whether ethics is relative and whether we always act from self-interest are examples of meta-ethical discussions.
b. Ethics- interested in determining the content of our moral behavior. Normative ethical theories seek to provide action-guides; procedures for answering the Practical Question ("What ought I to do?")
What’s the difference between beliefs and desires or non-cognitive states?
a. Beliefs are more like an opinion
b. Desires are something you can actively try to achieve
c. Non-cognitive states such as dreaming may tell you about your desires however you are not actively pursuing them
What are the 3 tests of objectivity and what does Enoch want them to show?
a. The spinach test
b. The disagreement/deliberation test
c. The “what if?” test
d. They do not show that moral claims can be objectively true or false. But they do show that moral claims try to be objective. That is, if there are moral truths, we think of them as things we discover, not as things that we create.
What is a priori knowledge? Example of it?
Independent of an experience such as mathematics, morality
What is psychological egoism? What is the difference between PE and ethical egoism?
a. Psychological Egoism: Ultimately, we only care about ourselves. We only care about others in a self-serving way.
b. Ethical egoism is a claim about what we should do. Descriptive theory and prescriptive one. Psychological egoism does tell us about how people do behave
A prima facie reason to believe something is a kind of first-glance reason. It’s whatever lends a view initial plausibility.
Feinberg argues against 4 prima facie reasons to believe P.E. what are these reasons, and what are his arguments?
a. My motives are mine — I can only act for the sake of my ends.
b. Since the success of my actions is usually accompanied by a pleasant feeling, I only act for the sake of getting that pleasant feeling.
c. According to (c), we’re all deceiving ourselves about our benevolent motives. There’s no logical mistake here. It’s an empirical claim.
d. According to (d), we learn right from wrong by means of the carrot and stick. But there are two problems here: – 1. Teaching a child to seek nothing but their happiness leads to the paradox of hedonism. – 2. A child who has been educated in this way will not really care about doing the right thing.
What are tautologies/ analytic truths and how do they differ from synthetic truths?
a. Analytic: True in virtue of the meaning of the words involved, or because of the meaning of the logical constants involved, Knowable a priori, Necessarily true (or: it is impossible for them to be false).
b. Synthetic: True because they correspond to the facts, Knowable a posteriori (i.e. you need to look at the world in order to know them). Contingently true (or: they could have turned out false, e.g. “I’m my parents’ youngest son.”)
What is the paradox of hedonism
a. Ultimately, if all we care about is our own happiness, then we’re doomed to miss out on it. – This is the paradox of hedonism: the more you try to obtain happiness, the less likely you are to get it.
What is Feinberg’s argument against PE?
Feinberg thinks that PE’s logical status is unclear. When it comes to PE, we should ask: Is it true? – If it is true, is it true because of the meaning of the words (analytic), or is it true because it corresponds to the facts (synthetic)?
What is the fallacy of the suppressed correlative?
Type of argument that tries to redefine a correlative (one of two mutually exclusive options) so that one alternative encompasses the other, i.e. making one alternative impossible.
What’s the difference between common sense morality and ethical egoism?
a. Ethical Egoism: the view that everything we do should benefit us. - This is a normative position, not descriptive, like psychological egoism. It gives us practical advice, not theoretical knowledge.
b. Common sense morality: makes us take a degrading attitude towards others, treating them as charity cases. Individuals are only good for sacrificing themselves for the sake of others: moochers, parasites, etc.
What could it mean to say that common sense morality is self-defeating? Why does Rachels think this argument for EE fails?
What does Rachels mean when he says EE is unacceptably arbitrary? Should an ethical egoist accept this argument?
a. EE requires us to treat ourselves as more important than others. We are basically the same as others — there is no special difference between myself and others. Moral theories should not be arbitrary (by the general principle). EE is arbitrary. EE should be rejected.
What is value theory?
Value theory, or axiology, is concerned with answering the following kinds of questions: What sorts of things do we value? What sorts of things are valuable? What is it to value, anyway?
What is the difference between instrumental goods and intrinsic goods/final ends?
a. Instrumental goods: Something is instrumentally good only insofar as it is effective in obtaining some other good.
b. Intrinsic goods: Something is intrinsically good when it is good without qualification. It is not good for something else -- it’s just good.
What are the 3 families of theories that Parfit considers?
c. Objective List
What is Parfit’s argument against Narrow Hedonism? What is Nozick’s?
a. Narrow hedonism assumes that pain and pleasure are two distinct states of mind.
i. But not all pains are alike, and not all pleasures are alike either.
ii. Pains are worse the more you want them to stop, and pleasures are better the more you want them. More pleasant = more preferred.Nozick’s experience machine
What is Parfit’s argument against Unrestricted Desire Satisfaction Theories?
a. According to this theory, a person’s life goes best when every single desire she has is fulfilled.
i. But there’s a problem: the stranger on a train case. The stranger case shows us that the relevant desires for a person’s well-being concern her, not somebody else.
What is Success Theory?
a. Very close to Preference Hedonism, except when it comes to what we can introspect. On Success Theory, you don’t need to know whether your desires have been fulfilled.
1. What does Scheffler mean when he says most of us believe in the “afterlife”?
There are 2 thought experiments where we lose our confidence in the existence of an afterlife. What does Scheffler think these thought experiments show?
a. Limits to our egoism/individualism?
b. Importance of the personal (religious) afterlife
c. Duties to future generations
What do the afterlife thought experiments tell us about value?
a. We tend to value different things depending on how much time we have left
What is the Alvy Singer problem for Scheffler’s argument?
Alvy Singer problem: imminent vs. eventual extinction
Are our attitudes towards a loss of the afterlife and our own imminent deaths inconsistent? What about our attitudes towards our extinction in the distant future?
We tend to doubt a personal afterlife more when tragedy strikes
How does the ordinary notion of absurdity relate to the philosophical sense?
“Most people feel on occasion that life is absurd, and some feel it vividly and continually.”
What are the 3 metaphorical expressions of philosophical absurdity and how does Nagel argue against them?
a. “Life is absurd because nothing we do now will matter in a million years.”
i. Is this right? -Is this claim self-defeating? -Does it beg the question?
b.“We are tiny specks in the infinite vastness of the universe; our lives are mere instants even on a geological time scale, let alone a cosmic one; we will all be dead any minute.”
i.Does this make life absurd? -A test: imagine the opposite is true. Is life any less absurd?
c.“...because we are going to die, all chains of justification must leave off in mid-air… All of it is an elaborate journey leading nowhere.”
i. Chains of justification often reach their ends - Threat of a regress - Unclear how to satisfy the demand
What is the difference between the first person and the third person points of view?
a. First person: internal perspective: - Living with a lot of care and intense concern
b. Third person: external perspective- Detached, impersonal interest - Where does doubt come in? - What are we trying to justify?
How does Nagel think these points of view relate to philosophical absurdity?
Absurdity comes from collision of viewpoints… ...what if one of these viewpoints isn’t real? - We never abandon the first person view - Nagel: this misunderstands justification
What is the relationship between epistemological skepticism and the absurd?
a. Epistemological skepticism - Asking for justification/reasons - Ruling out relevant alternatives - Taking things for granted and the third person perspective - (Internal vs. external justification?)
b. If absurdity comes from a clash between two viewpoints, then escape means: - Abandon one viewpoint or the other, or - Bring them together somehow
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