The effort to guide one's conduct by reasoning -Reasons: for acting the way you do -Impartiality: treating everyone as equals
What is a moral principle
is a normative statement used to prescribe how people ought or ought not to behave or to evaluate human behaviors as morally right or wrong
What is the difference between descriptive and prescriptive claims?
Descriptive describes how something actually behaves in nature for example water freezes at 32F. Prescriptive claims describe how something ought to behave.
What is a moral argument? Illustrate with an example
A moral argument includes a moral principle in the premise and a moral judgment in the conclusion
What does it mean to say that a moral principle is objectively true?
a statement is objectively true when it expresses a fact in reality regardless of what any individual happens to believe about that fact
What does it mean to say that a moral principle is universal?
a moral principle is universal when it ought to be accepted (as true) and followed by all people at all times
According to Cultural Relativism, why is it wrong for you to physically abuse children? is this a good reason? Why or why not?
because your society says its wrong. This is not a good reason because something is considered right or wrong merely because it is forbidden or permitted in that society.
What does it mean to say that the moral code of a society determines what is morally right and wrong in that society?
meaning that an action, social practice, policy is right or wrong in a given society merely because it is permitted or forbidden in that society
What is the cultural differences argument? why is it a bad argument
P1 Different cultures have different moral codes C There are no objective moral "truths" bad argument: just b/c ppl disagree about which moral principle ppl ought to adopt doesn't mean that there is no objective truth to the matter. Ex earth is round
What are some of the (bad) implications CR discussed by Rachels?
1. We can't rationally criticize the seemingly immoral customs of other cultures ex. Nazis, Al-quida, US slavery 2. We cant rationally criticize seemingly immoral customs and practices of our own society ex. capital punishment 3. No moral progress
Why is the existence of cross-cultural moral principles evidence that CR is false?
Despite differences in moral codes across cultures 1. All societies must have certain basic moral values 2. All societies do in fact share certain basic moral values Ex. value honesty, human life, happiness, protect certain basic human rights w/o those values no functional society
What is an omnigod?
omnibenevolent- all good omnipotent- all powerful omniscient- all knowing
What is the Euthyphro Problem?
Is it right because god commands it or does he command it because it is right?
If DCT is true, would it be wrong for you to molest small children if God commanded you to?
No it wouldn't be wrong simply because God commanded it
If DCT is true, why would it be wrong for you to steal from your neighbor? Is this a good reason? why or why not?
Because God commands that one should not steal from thy neighbor and merely for that reason is it wrong therefore this is not a good reason
What are some of the virtues of DCT discussed by Rachels?
1. Moral principles are objectively true 2. It is easy to figure out what is right and wrong (consult God or religious txts) 3. The possible threat of being punished by God (in the after life) motivates people to live morally good lives
DCT allows morality to be arbitrary. What does this mean? why is this a problem for this theory?
the truth of MP depends on whether God wills it to be true. Theory allows God to will whatever he wants to be right. Ex. God wills ppl to molest a child (there is no good reason for him willing this), problem b/c morality requires reasons
What are the main differences between NLT and DCT?
NLT: true moral judgments and principles exist independent of God's will. DCT: God wills what is right or wrong and that action is right or wrong merely because God said so.
Why is NLT a better religious moral theory than DCT?
NLT requires that God have good reasons Ex. one ought not violate the basic rights of others (God cannot violate this), 2+2=4
According to NLT, why is sodomy wrong?
Natural function of our organs is to procreate, sodomy is wrong because it violates the natural laws that God created the world in accordance with
Why think that moral principles can't be laws of nature?
because contemporary science offers laws that describe how things in fact behave, they don't prescribe how things should behave ex. water will become a solid at 32F, not should become
What is wrong with relying solely on religious texts to solve particular moral problems?
many of the problems that ppl face in reality are not directly addressed in religious texts and text is open to interpretation
What is the principle of utility, and how does one use it to figure out whether an action, social policy or practice is morally right or wrong?
We should always choose that action, social policy, or practice that maximizes happiness better than any available alternative
Explain the following concepts: Consequentialism; Hedonism; Impartiality
Consequentialism: actions are judged to be right or wrong solely by virtue of their consequences and nothing else matters Hedonism: whether an action is right or wrong depends solely on how much happiness it yields as a consequence; everything is irrelevant. Hedonism: the only kind of moral value that exists is happiness Impartiality: Each persons happiness is equally valuable, should treat each other equally
Provide examples of higher and lower order pleasures.
How would a utilitarian argue for the following claim: Gay marriage should be legalized in the US.
P1 We should always choose that action, social practice or policy that maximizes happiness better than any available alternative P2 Gay marriage maximizes happiness better than any available alternative C Gay marriage should be leaglized in the US
What are some of the virtues of Utilitarianism discussed by Rachels?
1. Seems like common sense 2. It explains why some things are obviously wrong- child molestation, rape (causing unnecessary harm) 3. It requires us to care about the welfare of others (essential to a moral theory)
What is the basic idea behind the Justice Argument against Utilitarianism
Ex. lynchings by community, convict innocent man to stop lynchings, utilitarianism would lead you to bare false witness because maximizes happiness. The correct moral theory should not imply that it is sometimes morally permissible to commit grave injustices
What is the basic idea behind the Rights Argument against Utilitarianism
Ex. York vs. Story, woman assulted, her pictures circulated through police dept. Theory doesn't acknowledge rights. The correct moral theory should not imly that it is sometimes morally permissible to violate someone's basic civil rights
What is the basic idea behind the "Too Demanding" Argument against Utilitarianism
The correct moral theory should not imply that one be morally required to lower one's quality of life to that of the neediest people one can help.
What is the basic idea behind the Personal Relationships Argument against Utilitarianism
theory ignores the fact that your family will have preference on you rather than a stranger. The correct moral theory should not imply that we value the welfare of our friends and family any less than that of strangers
What is the relationship between rights and duties? Illustrate with an example
Every right has a corresponding duty. When you say you have a right to something you mean others have the duty to give you that right. Ex. I have the right not to be killed, therefore, others have the duty or obligation not to kill me.
What does it mean to say that a moral principle (rule, duty, etc.) is absolute
it means that it is exceptionless- one ought not violate the principle under any circumstances.
Why is it implausible to think that all moral principles (rules, duties, etc) are absolute? illustrate with an example
Ex. you ought not intentionally kill innocent people (if you think this is absolute). Then a gov't or military ought not intentionally kill noncombatants--> Truman dropping bomb on Hiroshima, saved lives in the long run by ending war quickly
What is a hypothetical imperative? Illustrate with an example
If subject S wants X, then S ought to do Y. If you want to get drunk you ought to drink.
What is a categorical imperative? Illustrate with an example
Doesn't depend on what you want, subject S ought to do Y regardless of what you want. Ex. you ought not molest children.
How does one use Kant's Categorical Imperatives to figure out whether an action is morally right or wrong? Be able to give an example
Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time (rationally) will that it should become a universal law (rule/principal) Act, particular maxim, universal maxim, self-defeating? if yes then morally wrong. Ex. Gary rapes an MU student
What is the means/end version of Kant's Categorical imperative? what does it mean to treat someone as a means merely? as an end in themselves? Be able to illustrate with an example
Treating someone as merely a means= not taking into consideration the wants and desires of others (not respecting their autonomy) Treat someone as an end: treat someone in a way that does respect what he/she thinks is in his/her own best interest (consentual sex)
State at least one reason for thinking that embryos are not persons
They are not viable/sentient
State at least one reason for thinking that fetuses are persons
They are viable/sentient
According to Marquis, why is there a standoff between anti-abortionists and pro-choice advocates?
because they can't agree on whether a fetus is a person or not/whether to treat them with the basic right to life
What is Marquis' strategy for dealing with the standoff between anti-abortionists and pro-choice advocates
asks the question: why is it wrong to kill anything with a future like ours?
According to Marquis, why is it prima facie wrong to kill someone?
Killing normal adult humans is prima facie wrong b/c doing so deprives them of activities, projects,experiences, and enjoyments that are either valuable for their own sakes or are means to things that are valuable for their own sakes.
Why is Marquis' explanation for the wrongness of killing a good explanation?
1. Explains why killing is one of the worst actions we can perform 2. Explains why pre-mature death is so tragic (disease, accident, etc) 3. This explanation is consistent with morally permissible voluntary action euthanasia
According to Marquis, why is it wrong to kill standard fetuses?
P1 Standard fetus (like infants and children) are similar to adults in that they too have valuable futures. C It is prima facie morally wrong to kill fetuses
Why is Marquis wrong to think that his position does not assume that standard fetuses are persons that have the right to be killed?
It is wrong to kill fetuses because it deprives them of valuable futures like ours. Objection: Does not make sense to say that you can deprive someone of something unless that being has a right to that thing. Marquis is assuming fetuses have the basic right to a valuable FLO.
According to Warren, what are the conditions for personhood?
1. Consciousness and in particular the capacity to feel pain 2. reasoning 3. self-motivated activity 4. the capacity to communicate by whatever means, msgs of an indefinite variety of types 5. the presence of self concepts, self awareness
Why does Warren think that it is morally permissible to kill embryos and fetuses?
because a fetus does not satisfy any of the requirements for personhood
What is the objection to Warren's view regarding infants? What is her response?
Infants are not technically persons so if would be ok to kill them. Her response= there are other reasons not to kill an infant
Why is it fallacious to think that since an actual person has the right not to be killed, then a potential person has the right not to be killed.
Just because you are potentially something with a certain right doesnt mean you have that right. ex. obama before pres. had right to potentially be pres. bu didn't have those rights until elected.
Roughly how many children under the age of 5 die daily as a result of malnutrition?
Do we have the resources to adequately feed (i.e. nourish) the current human population?
What point is singer making in his discussion of the case of Bob and his Bugatti?
P1 If Bob has a moral obligation to throw the switch to save a child's life, then you have a moral obligation to donate at least $200 to a famine relief organization. C We have a moral obligation to donate $200.
What moral principle does Singer use to argue that middle class citizens of affluent societies have a moral obligation to donate a significant portion of their wealth to famine relief organizations?
If one can prevent something bad from happening to someone else without sacrificing anything of comparable moral significance, then one has a moral obligation to do so.
How would a utilitarian and a Kantian justify the plausibility of this principle?
Utilitarian: they would be in support as long as there was an overall maximized level of happiness Kantian: support because you can universalize principle
What are some of the possible objections to Singer's argument? How does Singer respond to them?
If others donate then I don't have to--> You still need to donate because others might not
What are the two most prominent arguments for recreational drug prohibition
Harm to user's: P1 Drug use is very harmful to users P2 The government should prohibit people from doing things that harm themselves C Therefore the gov't should legally prohibit recreational drug use Harm to others: P1 Rec. drug users harm society as a whole because they may become irresponsible family members, friends, coworkers, and citizens as a result of using drugs P2 The gov't should prohibit activ. that result in harming society as a whole C The gov't should prohibit rec. drug use
What are Huemer's objections to these arguments?
Harm to users: the following legal activities cause harm to individuals- Tabacco, drinking alcohol, over eating, being rude to boss but the gov't doesn't outlaw these Harm to others: Howard the dead beat who already is irresponsible not as a result of drugs. Drug users only MAY do these things
What is Huemer's argument for thinking the prohibition of recreational drugs is an injustice?
P1 Psychologically normal adults have a right to use drugs recreationally P2 The government should protect (not violate) citizen's rights C The government should not legally prohibit the recreational use of drugs
What basic moral principle does Huemer use to argue why US citizens have the right to use drugs recreationally?
The right to control one's own body & mind
What are the possible objections to his argument? How does Huemer reply to them?
1. Harm to others -Reply: no less harmful than other things we allow
What is the Standard Anti-Homosexuality Argument?
P1 Homosexuality is unnatural C Homosexuality is morally wrong
What are the multiple meanings of "unnatural" discussed by Leiser?
1. Morally wrong 2. Violates the laws of nature 3. Artificial 4. Uncommon and abnormal
According to Leiser, why does the Standard Anti-Homosexuality Argument fail?
because none of the "unnatrual" meanings (1-4) are good justifications to claim that homosexuality is unnatural. 2. can't violate laws of nature b/c describe 3. computer, cars, clothes 4. mere fact that something is uncommon doesn't mean its wrong.
According to Dixon, why is the fraternity case an obvious case of rape but not the regretted sexual encounter case?
because the female victim was unconscious and could not have given any possible consent, satisfies both actus reus and mens reus b/c dumping. Regretted sex, male still asked for consent and female was able to give consent b/c only buzzed.
What moral principles are men and women violating when they engage in impaired sex?
Men: Men have a duty to ensure that women clearly communicate their considered preferences about sex prior to engaging in sex Women: Women have a duty to make their considered preferences about sex clear to their potential partners
According to Dixon, should men be legally punished for impaired sex? Why or why not?
No because 1. undully punishes men when women are no less responsible 2. risk of having arbitrary guilty judgments (against men) due to the vagueness of the concept of "impaired" 3. Men would not have fair warning to conform their behavior to the law
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