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89 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
Natural law
Morals are based on nature. They are not invented by men
David Hume
argued that ration is slave to the passions. As such, morality is not based on reason, but on how we feel about certain actions.
builds on Hume’s theories and puts forth that there are things of value that cannot be understood from only the point of view of the individual. Things such as solidarity and reciprocity only make sense at the group level. As such, there needs of the community must be weighed against the needs of the individual.
Social contract
a. The social contract is the imaginary obligations and method of enforcement that people allegedly subscribe to in a civil society. Some moral philosophers think that man is naturally aggressive and selfish to such an extent that the social contract is completely unnatural (and therefore requires strong enforcement). Other philosophers think that the social contract is much more natural and requires less force.
a. Actions are wrong or right are not based on the outcome of the action. Actions are right or wrong in themselves. So, according to deontology, lying is wrong even if it would save someone’s life.
b. Sometimes called nonconsequentialist.
c. Morality is based on duty.
is a way of evaluating moral decisions based on the amount of pleasure that it provides. Good is defined as what brings pleasure to people. Bad is that which brings pain.
John Stuart Mill
is a strong proponent of utility
Virtue ethics
Virtue ethics are based on the character (virtues) of humans
promoted virtue ethics. Aristotle argued that happiness is the ultimate good
c. Nietzsche did not feel that humans had a will to happiness, but that they had a will to power. He argued that all people desired power more than anything else did. However, only the strong could attain any type of real power
noble ethics
Nietzsche belief people exhibited the virtues of pride, self-assertion, power, cruelty, honor, rank, and nobility, then they were acting with noble ethics (or master ethics, they were the overman, or they were the superman
slave ethics
Nietzsche belief , most people are weak; they cannot achieve nobile ethics They include love, compassion, sympathy, obedience, altruism, self-sacrifice, and humility
Psychological egoism
claims that all people are motivated only by their own self-interest. This type of egoism is a result of what supporters consider a biological fact.
Ethical egoism
is the moral system that claims that people should act only in their own self-interest. Supports of this moral system do not claim that we are necessarily motivated to this by biology, but that we should act this way regardless.
is selfless concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures, and central to many religious traditions. In English, this idea was often described as the Golden rule of ethics.
Divine command
a. If God commands you not to do something, then it is wrong to do it.
b. If God commands nothing about an action, then it morally permissible.
c. If God commands you to do a specific action, then it is morally obligatory.
certain moral principles cannot be proved or that they are self-evident.
a. One definition speaks to the political and/or moral beliefs that women should be considered equal to men.
b. Another definition revolves around the concept that women are fundamentally different from men and that most moral philosophy has only been investigated from the man’s point of view. Since women are different, they may face different moral problems or different solutions to classic moral problems
based on a belief that the human experience is no more and no less than simply existing; many people find existentialism synonymous with depression. Abstract moral questions are somewhat absurd in existentialism. The existentialist attempts to exist in each moment by making conscious choices. Moral dilemmas are only possible when someone is faced with a choice that could cause them to break a commitment.
most famous existentialist
Distributive justice
talks about who should get which benefits and which burdens
Retributive justice
talks about what punishments are appropriate for wrongdoing
Corrective justice
when and how to compensate someone for a loss
Samual Pufendorf
formulated the correlativity of rights and duties (or obligations) If I have a right to speech, then others have the duty to refrain from stopping my speech. If I have a right to health care, then others have the obligation to provide that health care.
absolute right
a right that can never be violated. For example, some people believe that everyone has a right to life. Many also believe that people can justifiably kill someone in self-defense. If you believe that even self-defense is not a good enough reason to kill then you believe in an absolute right to life.
Positive rights
are things that I have a right to have. For example, if I have a right to fair trial, then I must be given that trial.
Legal rights
enforced through laws and penalties
Moral rights
do not carry the weight of law, but people can still try to influence people to respect moral rights by using criticism, encouragement, etc.
Prima facie rights
are rights that must be met unless something more important overrides them. (Usually another prima facie right.) For example, you have a right to avoid harm, but someone else may have the right to harm you if you are actively trying to kill them. Your right to avoid harm was overridden by their right to life
Ronald Dworkin
Dworkin has argued that morality is based on rights and that some rights are so fundamental that they should rarely be interfered with
Fundamental rights
are rights that you must have to enjoy other rights. For example, you must be alive and eating to enjoy your right to speech and religion.
Derivative rights
are rights that you have because you have other rights. If you have a right to eat food, then you should probably have the right to possess food.
William David Ross
argued that in a given situation there are a number of prima-facie obligations that must be satisfied. The moral dilemma is to find the most important obligation at the time.
actual duty
duty or obligation that is determined to be the most important at the time
by far the most powerful proponent of duty. He argues that happiness is not the ultimate good, and that motive is the only way to measure moral actions. If you are motivated to perform an action out of duty, then it is a moral action. All other motives lack moral significance.
hypothetical imperative
a rule that you formulate to reach an end. For example, if you want to be physically fit, then you will exercise. Hypothetical imperatives are not necessarily absolute or universal
categorical imperative
is an absolute and universal moral rule. Kant stated it 3 different ways:
1. Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.
2. Act as though the maxim of your action were by your will to become a universal law of nature.
3. Act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always as an end and never as a means only.
Moral agency
a person's capacity for making moral judgments and taking actions that comport with morality.
Moral standing
determines the extent to which its well-being must be ethically considered for its own sake
Moral relations
friendship, loyalty, fidelity, etc
The right of self-determination is the right to choose one's own actions or course of life, so long as doing so does not interfere unduly with the lives and actions of others.
a moral obligation to act to benefit others, that is, to act in the interest of others
is the state of doing no harm to others. It means you are not trying to help other people, but you are also trying not to hurt them.
someone (or the state) threatens harm in order to get you to do what they want.
doctrine of double effect
how to deal with the side effects of actions. In general, we consider it ok for a good action to have some bad side effects, but we rarely consider it ok for a bad action to have a good side effect. For example, we consider it acceptable for a doctor to prescribe painkillers to a terminal patient that is tremendous pain even though it sometimes kills them. We also do not consider it ok to intentional torture and kill an innocent person even if it leads to good things.
failure to treat people fairly because of a bias against (or for) some because of a characteristic such as race, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, physical appearance, or disability that is irrelevant to the decision at hand (e.g., job skills or qualifications for public housing)
is the meta-ethical belief that all ethical sentences reduce to factual statements about the attitudes of individuals
Moral objectivism or moderate moral realism is the position that certain acts are objectively right or wrong, independent of human opinion. According to Richard Boyd, moral realism means that:

Moral statements are the sorts of statements which are (or which express propositions which are) true or false (or approximately true, largely false, etc.);
The truth or falsity (approximate truth...) of moral statements is largely independent of our moral opinions, theories, etc.;
Ordinary canons of moral reasoning—together with ordinary canons of scientific and everyday factual reasoning—constitute, under many circumstances at least, a reliable method for obtaining and improving (approximate) moral knowledge.
Value theory
investigate how people positively and negatively value things and concepts, the reasons they use in making their evaluations, and the scope of applications of legitimate evaluations across the social world. When put into practice, these views are meant to explain our views of the good
to imply that the evolution of our particular moral sense was the result of the recognition of facts about hypothetical agreement. Thus an early human, disposed to judge that others could reasonably object to what she was intent on doing and motivated by that judgment, enhanced reproductive fitness partly because such judgments were sometimes true.
Moral Skepticism
views that deny or raise doubts about various roles of reason in morality
the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence.
David Hume
explained that the naturalistic fallacy is when we confuse what is with what ought to be. Just because certain events or actions exist does not mean that they are morally correct.
the group of problems that deal with how we study ethics. For example, instead of asking if something is good or bad, we ask what it means for something to be good or bad
normative ethics
Any system of ethics that ultimately relies on rules
Descriptive ethics
nonnormative ethic that simply tries to describe ethical behavior and beliefs
a statement of belief along with its supporting evidence
a portion of argument that is either not stated (it is assumed) or is assumed to be true in the context of the argument
axiological theory
equates moral judgments with value judgments. For example, if you say that something is morally correct because it does something good, then you are promoting an axiological view. To contrast, deontological theories are not axiological. They do not make any type of value judgment.
a. Moral language describes real events,
b. Moral claims are either true or false, and
c. We can and do have moral knowledge.
Moral reasoning slippery slope
argument attempts to show that something is bad because it might eventually lead to something else that is obviously bad. For example, someone might say, “If we pass a law prohibiting assault rifles, then eventually we will pass laws banning all types of guns.” We consider this argument logically false. To be a valid argument, it is necessary to demonstrate how one action inevitably leads to the final consequence.
Moral reasoning straw man
argument is another logically false argument. If you distort someone else’s position and then attack that position, then you are attacking the straw man. For example, some people that supported the war in Iraq accused people who opposed the war of supporting Saddam Hussein
Moral reasoning false dilemma
When someone presents only two options as the solutions to a problem
Active euthanasia
is when someone takes an active role in helping someone to die. For example, administering enough drugs to kill someone is active.
Passive euthanasia
is when we let people die to do inaction. For example, removing a feeding tube is passive
Affirmative action
is a system whereby minorities and women gain easier access to employment and education.
is a term used to describe the belief that humans are the most important species on the planet and that the needs of humans supersede all other species.
John Stuart Mill
right action does not necessarily indicate virtuous good
Plato, Aristotle
character is most important
consequences are irrelevant
rightness determined by outcome
weak deontological
goodness relevant but not decisive
no reference to right or good
references right in terms of good
value terms
good, bad, desirable, worthy
right, wrong, duty, obligation, ought
entitlement terms
rights, claims, demands, justice
two or equally basic rules
one fundamental rule
moral particularism
rightness depends situation not from rules
ethics non-violence
act non-violently
ethics of love
act lovingly
principle of justice
one ought always act justly
maximize the general good
act on maxims that can be universalized
natural law ethics
act in accordance with nature
Divine Command Theory
whatever God commands is right
ethical egoism
always maximize own personal good
moral legalism
rightness determined by rules principles and commandments