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52 Cards in this Set

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The belief that there is one and only one truth; those who espouse absolutism usually also believe that they know what this absolute truth is. In ethics, absolutism is usually contrasted to relativism.
The conviction that one simply does not know whether God exists or not; it is often accompanied with a further conviction that one need not care whether God exists or not.
A selfless concern for other people purely for their own sake. Altruism is usually contrasted with selfishness or egoism in ethics.
The Greek word for "excellence" or "virtue." For the Greeks, this was not limited to human beings. A guitar, for example, has its areté in producing harmonious music
The belief that God does not exist. In the last two centuries, some of the most influential atheistic philosophers have been Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, and Jean-Paul Sartre.
The ability to freely determine one’s own course in life. Etymologically, it goes back to the Greek words for "self" and "law." This term is most strongly associated with Immanuel Kant, for whom it meant the ability to give the moral law to oneself.
A calculus is simply a means of computing something, and a moral calculus is just a means of calculating what the right moral decision is in a particular case.
Categorical Imperative
An unconditional command. "Always act in such a way that the maxim of your action can be willed as a universal law."
The belief that both determinism and freedom of the will are true.
Any position in ethics which claims that the rightness or wrongness of actions depends on their consequences.
An example which claims to undermine or refute the principle or theory against which it is advanced.
A deductive argument is an argument whose conclusion follows necessarily from its premises. This contrasts to various kinds of inductive arguments, which offer only a degree of probability to support their conclusion.
Any position in ethics which claims that the rightness or wrongness of actions depends on whether they correspond to our duty or not. The word derives from the Greek word for duty, deon.
Divine Command Theory
Any position in ethics which claims that the rightness or wrongness of actions depends on whether they correspond to God’s commands or not
A philosophical theory which holds that moral judgments are simply expressions of positive or negative feelings.
(1) An intellectual movement in modern Europe from the sixteenth until the eighteenth centuries that believed in the power of human reason to understand the world and to guide human conduct. (2) For Buddhists, the state of Enlightenment or nirvana is the goal of human existence.
Ethical Egoism
A moral theory that, in its most common version (universal ethical egoism) states that each person ought to act in his or her own Self-interest. Also see Psychological Egoism.
The explicit, philosophical reflection on moral beliefs and practices. The difference between ethics and morality is similar to the difference between musicology and music. Ethics is a conscious stepping back and reflecting on morality, just as musicology is a conscious reflection on music.
A person’s ethnicity refers to that individual’s affiliation with a particular cultural tradition that may be national in character. Ethnicity differs from race in that ethnicity is a sociological concept whereas race is a biological phenomenon.
The is the word that Aristotle uses for "happiness" or "flourishing." It comes from the Greek "eu," which means "happy" or "well" or "harmonious," and "daimon," which refers to the individual’s spirit.
A person’s gender refers to that individual’s affiliation with either male or female social roles. Gender differs from sex in the same way that ethnicity differs from race: gender is a sociological concept, while sex is a biological one.
Of, or pertaining to, pleasure.
For Kant, heteronomy is the opposite of autonomy. Whereas an autonomous person is one whose will is self-determined, a heteronomous person is one whose will is determined by something outside of the person, such as overwhelming emotions. Etymologically, heteronomy goes back to the Greek words for "other" and "law."
Hypothetical Imperative.
A conditional command, such as, "If you want to lose weight, stop eating cookies." Some philosophers have claimed that morality is only a system of hypothetical imperatives, while others—such as Kant—have maintained that morality is a matter of categorical imperatives. Also see categorical imperative.
In ethics, an impartial standpoint is one which treats everyone as equal. For many philosophers, impartiality is an essential component of the moral point of view.
A command. Philosophers often distinguish between hypothetical imperatives and categorical imperatives; see the entries under each of these topics.
This is the word that Kant used to refer to our sensuous feelings, emotions, and desires. Kant contrasts inclination with reason. Whereas inclination was seen as physical, causally-determined, and irrational, reason was portrayed as non-physical, free, and obviously rational.
Any position which attempts to reconcile apparently conflicting tendencies or values into a single framework. Integrationist positions are contrasted with separatist positions, which advocate keeping groups separate from one another.
the subjective rule that an individual uses in making a decision.
The arithmetical average of items in a group.
Philosophers often contrast means and ends. The ends we seek are the goals we try to achieve, while the means are the actions or things which we use in order to accomplish those ends. have argued that we should never treat human beings merely as means to an end.
Moral Isolationism
The view that we ought not to be morally concerned with, or involved with, people outside of our own immediate group. Moral isolationism is often a consequences of some versions of moral relativism.
Moral Luck
The phenomenon that the moral goodness or badness of some of our actions depends simply on chance.
"Morality" refers to the first-order beliefs and practices about good and evil by means of which we guide our behavior. Contrast with Ethics, which is the second-order, reflective consideration of our moral beliefs and practices.
An excessive preoccupation with oneself. In mythology, Narcissus was a beautiful young man who fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.
Natural Law
In ethics, believers in natural law hold (a) that there is a natural order to the human world, (b) that this natural order is good, and (c) that people therefore ought not to violate that order.
In ethics, naturalism is the theory that moral values can be derived from facts about the world and human nature. The naturalist holds that "is" can imply "ought."
Naturalistic Fallacy
any argument which attempts to define the good in any terms whatsoever, including naturalistic terms. Good is simple and indefinable. Some philosophers, most notably defenders of naturalism, have argued that Moore and others are wrong and that such arguments are not necessarily fallacious.
The belief that there is no value or truth. Literally, a belief in nothing (nihil). Most philosophical discussions of nihilism arise out of a consideration of Fredrich Nietzsche’s remarks on nihilism, especially in The Will to Power.
A Kantian term that refers to the unknowable world as it is in itself. According to Kant, we can only know the world as it appears to us, as a phenomenon. We can never know it as it is in itself, as a noumenon. The adjectival forms of these two words are "phenomenal" and "noumenal," respectively.
refers to specific attachments (friendships, loyalties, etc.) and desires (fundamental projects, personal hopes in life) that are usually seen as morally irrelevant to the rational moral self.
See noumenal
The belief that there are multiple perspectives on an issue, each of which contains part of the truth but none of which contain the whole truth. In ethics, moral pluralism is the belief that different moral theories each capture part of truth of the moral life, but none of those theories has the entire answer.
Prima Facie
In the original Latin, this phrase means "at first glance." In ethics, it usually occurs in discussions of duties. A prima facie duty is one which appears binding but which may, upon closer inspection, turn out to be overridden by other. stronger duties.
Descriptive ethical relativism simply claims as a matter of fact that different people have different moral beliefs, but it takes no stand on whether those beliefs are valid or not. Normative ethical relativism claims that each culture’s (or group’s) beliefs are right within that culture, and that it is impossible to validly judge another culture’s values from the outside.
entitlements to do something without interference from other people (negative rights) or entitlements that obligate others to do something positive to assist you (positive rights). Some rights (natural rights, human rights) belong to everyone by nature or simply by virtue of being human; some rights (legal rights) belong to people by virtue of their membership in a particular political state; other rights (moral rights) are based in acceptance of a particular moral theory.
the skeptics were inquirers who were dedicated to the investigation of concrete experience and wary of theories that might cloud or confuse that experience. In modern times, skeptics have been wary of the trustworthiness of sense experience. Thus classical skepticism was skeptical primarily about theories, while modern skepticism is skeptical primarily about experience.
An extreme version of relativism, which maintains that each person’s beliefs are relative to that person alone and cannot be judged from the outside by any other person.
A supererogatory act is one that is morally good and that goes beyond what is required by duty. demand that we always do the act that yields the most good have no room for supererogatory acts.
Transcendental Argument
seeks to establish the necessary conditions of the possibility of something’s being the case
A maxim is universalizable if it can consistently be willed as a law that everyone ought to obey. The only maxims which are morally good are those which can be universalized. The test of universalizability ensures that everyone has the same moral obligations in morally similar situations.
A moral theory that says that what is moral right is whatever produces the greatest overall amount of pleasure (hedonistic utilitarianism) or happiness (eudaimonistic utilitarianism). Some utilitarians (act utilitarians) claim that we should weigh the consequences of each individual action, while others (rule utilitarians) maintain that we should look at the consequences of adopting particular rules of conduct.