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47 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Argument for harvesting Baby Theresa’s Organs
If we can benefit someone without harming anyone else, we ought to do so
transplanting Theresa’s organs would be beneficial to others and not harm Theresa
--We ought to transplant the organs
Argument against harvesting Baby Theresa’s Organs
It is always wrong to kill
Argument for separating Jodie and Mary
We should save as many lives as we can
if we do nothing, both will die
if we operate, one will live
we should operate
Argument against separating Jodie and Mary
It is always wrong to kill an innocent human being
Mary is an innocent human being
Operating is wrong
Argument for euthanasia for Tracy Lattimer
Tracy could not live a normal life
Tracy’s life consisted only of suffering
Ending Tracy’s suffering was preferable to preserving what little “life” she had
Tracy’s father did the right thing
Argument against euthanasia for Tracy Lattimer
It is an insult to those who are handicapped -- no one has the right to decide if one person’s life is worth more than another’s
it may be a slippery slope
down the chute, Granny
Argument for allowing same-sex marriage
We should allow people to be happy if it causes no harm to others
marriage would allow gay partners to be happy, while not harming others
we should allow gay marriage
Argument against same-sex marriage
Per the Theory of Natural Law
a same-sex union cannot be for the purpose of procreation
therefore it is unnatural
therefore it is wrong
Define Cultural Relativism
Because different cultures have different moral codes
there is no objective truth of morality
Pros of Cultural Relativism
Requires tolerance and respect for other cultures
keeps one culture from imposing their will on another
Cons of Culturual Relativism
CR requires one to be tolerant of intolerance
does not give guidance
does not allow critique - and thus no progress
Argument for Cultural Relativism
different cultures have different moral codes
the best explanation is that there is no objective truth
so there is no objective truth of morality
Arguments against Cultural Relativism
Different people had different views on the shape of the Earth
the differing opinions had no bearing on the truth of the Earth’s shape
Mackie’s argument is inductive and broken - it is illogical to state that the best explanation is a lack of objective morality
Define Subjectivism
There are no moral truths, even per culture - only per individual
divided into Simple Subjectivism and Emotivism
Define Simple Subjectivism
“X is good” = I approve of X
”X is bad” = I disapprove of X
You’re making no statment of fact
there can be no disagreement
Problems of Simple Subjectivism
infallibility - my actions can never be wrong
no possibility of disagreement
Define Emotivism
“X is good” = “Yay for X!”
moral statements are an attempt to change someone’s attitude
the concept of “truth” doesn’t even enter into it, and thus there is no truth
Problems of Emotivism
Anything goes to change people’s opinions
you do not have to be truthful about your own feelings
you can threaten people, etc
such opinions are not treated as valuable
Moral Skepticism v. Moral Nihilism
Skepticism: Flips the moral argument
there are moral truths, they’re just different from the ones society follows
Nihilism: The very concept of morality is irrelevant
things happen, they’re neither good nor bad
Define Mackie’s Argument from Queerness
metaphysical: moral truths would be utterly unlike physical truths - we could not describe them with concepts like “truth”
epistemological: because a moral truth would be outside our ability to sense it, if it existed we could not know it
and thus it would be of no use - you could not point to it and say “this is why I’m right”
Refute Mackie’s Argument from Queerness
The unfair test
fairness is a moral judgement
fairness in this case is decided by tangible facts
we have proven a moral truth (this test was/n’t fair)
Define the Divine Command Theory
“morally right” is that which is commanded by god
”wrong” is that which has been forbidden
Pros of Divine Command Theory
Solves problem of finding an objective morality
provides accountability for moral transgressions
Cons of Divine Command Theory
The Euthyphro Dilemma
Mysterious - if god could decree that something heinous is right, it would boggle the mind
Arbitrary - if anything god says goes, then there’s no reason for one thing or another to be right, god might as well have been randomly picking moralities
Provides the wrong reasons - if there were no god, there would be no wrong
Describe the Euthyphro Dilemma
Is a thing morally true because god commands it, or does god command it because it’s morally true?
Define The Theory of Natural Law
All things naturally have a purpose
to go against this purpose is to be unnatural and thus wrong
we can see what is natural, and thus we may observe the reasoning behind morality
Pros of Natural Law
Agnostic - the appeal to rational order cares not who defined the order
Cons of Natural Law
there is no logical causation between is and ought
nature has no morality - there is no moral truth to gravity or to cause and effect - only facts
Ethical v. Psychological Egoism
Psych: We only ever pursue our own best interestn (unfalsifiable)
Ethical: We ought to pursue our best interests
Ethical Egoism v. Hedonism
Hedonism says you should do whatever feels good for you at the time
EE would take the long view (and still go to the dentist)
Paradox of Hedonism
the things that feel good now may lead to misery later on
Rand’s Proof for Ethical Egoism
Either you’re an Ethical Egoist or an Ethical Altruist
to be an EA is to devalue your own life
EE respects human life while EA does not
we must be EEs
Refutation of Rand’s Ethical Egoism
A straw man (of a false dilemma)
it’s illogical to say that no ethical position besides EE allows actions that do not sacrifice your own happiness
Rachels’s proof for Ethical Egoism
We ought to do whatever would promote everyone’s best interests
the best way to promote everyone’s best interests is to allow everyone to pursue their best interests (being EEs)
Therefore we should all be EEs
Refutation of Rachels’s Ethical Egoism
eliminates the benefits of collaboration and competition
promoting everyone’s interests isn’t EE at all
EE is arbitrary - who says -I- am more important than everyone
Sharing your Ethical Egoism
a moral theory is no good if it cannot be shared with others
if you really were an EE, you would never recommend that others should feel the same way
Descrive the “state of nature”
We have
an equality of need
a scarcity of supply
an equality of power
limited altruism
--without morality there is nothing to stop the brutality of life
so we have the SCT - I won’t kill you if you won’t kill me
Definte the Social Contract Theory
X is right if it would be rational for everyone to accept X as a rule (assuming everyone will in fact accept the rule)
thus, SCT says it is rational to be moral
Discuss SCT’s 4 moral states
Forbidden - Breaking the contract
Required - Anything that would break the contract if not done
Permissible - etiquette, fashion, etc - things that are not a moral issue
Supererogatory - good acts, above and beyond, that are not actually necessary
Describe SCT’s Veil of Ignorance
the people “drawing up the contract” would not know on which side they themselves would fall on social issues
so you wouldn’t forbid homosexuality, because you might be a homosexual, etc
Pros of Social Contract Theory
corrects for oppression (especially as defended by cultural relativism)
promotes fairness and equality
allows you to make the irrational short-term choice to benefit yourself and society in the long term
The Prisoner’s Dilemma
the dominant choice is to confess
but the best possible outcome for the both of you (and thus society...) is for both of you to remain silent
The SCT allows you to agree on the correct action, even if it’s not the immediate-best for each party
Cons of SCT
Lack of inviolate rights
animals have no rights
it has nothing to say about suffering
Describe the Tragedy of the Commons
It’s better if I bring 11 goats, but if everyone acts on that, none of us will have any damned goats
Define Utilitarianism
We should think of an idealized world in which everyone is happy and healthy
and we should work toward that goal
if an action promotes the goal, it is right
if not, it is wrong
Pros of Utilitarianism
There are no dogmatic rules, and no appeals to unseen authority
the goal is happiness (unusual among previous moral theories)
refutes restrictions on personal liberty
Cons of Utilitarianism
What about the will of god?