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51 Cards in this Set

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The study of what we ought to do and conduct our lives. seeks to moral concepts

Moral Relativism

What is right and what is wrong for the members of a culture depends on (is ultimately determined by) the basic moral norms of their culture

Moral Norms

Moral rules that are accepted by members of a culture

-Must be 51% of the majority of the population or higher

BASIC moral norms

Fundamental (underived)

-example: harming other agents is wrong

2 Ways to Criticize an Argument

1. Question the move from the premise to conclusion. Show that the premise could be true while the conclusion could be false

-example: obama thinks in climate change- therefore it is happening

2. Question/show one premise to be false

-example: Annas republican and all republicans are pro gun- therefore Anna is pro gun

If Moral Diversity were true must MR be true?

No, in order for MR to be false, moral objectivism

Moral Diversity Theory

The moral codes of some cultures include basic moral norms that CONFLICT with the basic moral norms that are part of the moral codes of other cultures

Context Sensitivity Theory

The rightness or wrongness of an action (performed in some particular context) partly depends on nonmoral facts that hold in the context in question- facts concerning agents and their circumstances

example: insults vary from place to place

Universality Theory

There are moal norms whose correctness or validity is independent of the moral norms a culture does or might accept, and thus they express universally valid moral standards that apply to all cultures

Moral Objectivism

Moral standards are valid INDEPENDENTLY of

the accepted moral beliefs/norms of a culture

-the rightness/wrongness is independent of human attitudes

Can MD and Objectivism be both true, how?

Yes. One group thinks earths round the other thinks its flat. One group is false

If MR were true, must MD be true?

No. MR could be true but it doesn't prove there are different moral norms (MD)

Could MR & Objectivisim be true at the same time?

No. Cant depend on values and not depend on cultural values at the same time.

Problem with MD

The argument from MD to a MR is that it doesn't necessarily establish MR's true b/c it could be true or objective

Is MD even true?

Agreement at a basic level

-example: don't cheat or hurt

-you morally ought to help other in need if you're able

Problems with MR

1. What do we consider to be a culture?

2. Inconsistent

-examples: Susans church and democrat (abortion)

3. Criticizing MR goes against it

Moral Code

Majority of the culture believe it

What are some consequences that come with MR

1. Problem of formulation

-If MR were true, then moral demands could be inconclusive or inconsistent

2. Moral Progress on basic moral norms- impossible if MR were true

-example: time1, time2: both periods were correct and right at their time

3. We can't sensibly criticize the moral standards of another culture

4. Moral reformers would always be wrong (51%)

-Whether it is morally wrong to interfere depends on the moral code of that culture you're apart of

Principle of Tolerance

It is morally wrong for any culture to interfere with the moral practices of another culture

If MR is true, then PT is true?


If MR is false, then PT must be false?


Divine Command Theory

1. An action is morally right if and only if God wills it; an actions is morally wrong is God forbids it

2. Gods willing the action would be the reason it is right, and God forbidding an action would be the reason it is morally wrong

Why is DCT a virtue

1. DCT allows us to criticize other cultures

2. No problems of formulation about what constitutes a culture

3. Can have moral progress

Psychological Connection between Morality and Religion

A. Religion is NECESSARY to motivate us to be moral

B. Religion is necessary to let us know what IS moral

Socrates ? For DCT

1. Are morally right acts loved by god because they are morally right? (anti DCT)


2. Are they right because they are loved by god? (DCT)


The creed that accepts moral "utility" holds actions are right in proportion as they promote happiness, and wrong if they produce the opposite of happiness

Problem with Socrates 1.

God cannot love something for a reason or else DCT would be false, has to be arbitrary which means no reasoning, it just it

Problem with Socrates 2.

If God willed us to harm others, it would be morally right (required) to do so

Problems with DCT

1. Morality would be arbitrary

2. God could change the rules

3. What is God doesn't exist


An ethical theory that holds that the moral rightness/wrongness of an action depends ENTIRELY on the value of the acts consequents.

-Hedonism and Utilitarianism fall under this


Is a theory of value that states:

-The happiness of an individual is the ONLY thing valuable as an end

Theories of Value

Goodness/value/badness- what actions ought to be taken

Ethical Theories



Defined by its commitment to the greatest happiness principle

1. An action is right as they promote happiness (utility)

2. Wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness (disutility)

-example: drill tooth/ don't drill tooth


The NET total pleasure caused by an act


NET total pain caused by an act

Problems with Utilitarianism

1. Happiness can't be rational aim of human life b/c it is unattainable, so ppl can exist w/o it

2. Leaves ppl cold and unsympathizing since their only concern is the consequents

3. Not enough time to weigh its effect in general utility

4. Underestimates the immoral tendencies of human nature

-justify breaking the rules because it increases the utility

5. Makes us selfish

Quantitative Hedonism

Valuable states of affairs consist in pleasure whose value is a function of its quantity

Qualitative Hedonism

Valuable states of affairs consist in pleasure, whose value is a function of its quality & quantity

example: make dinner with cheap feta cheese=gross

The Informed Preference Test

Of 2 pleasures (x&y), x is greater than y if:

-almost everyone who has experienced x&y would choose x over y

What is Mills proof of for principle of Utilitarianism

1. happiness is desired by people

2. if something is desired then it is desirable. therefore, happiness is desirable

---- (ought/false) (able/true)

Thought Experiment

A technique for testing a hypothesis by imagining a situation and what would be said about it

---experience machine shows hedonism to be false because happiness isn't our only valuable end b/c ppl still don't want to go in

Is hedonism is false is Utilitarianism?

Yes. It is based off hedonism.

Desire-Satisfaction Theory of Value

Valuable in and out of itself. Valuable affairs are those that satisfy our desire

What does Nozick talk about?

The Experience Machine

What does Mill talk about?


What do Arthur, Plato and Mortimer talk about?

The Divine Command Theory

What did Timmons do?

Argue against moral relativism

If moral objectivism were true, then the basic moral norms of ant culture would be false

False because there is no way to say that the basic moral norms wouldn't match up with the standards

Doctrine of the Swine

(Objection to Mills Utilitarianism)

* The Objection1. If utilitarianism is correct, then the only relevant moral consideration is the amount of pleasure.
2. Ex. Suppose that one inherits $100,000. One could go spend it on great food, a new car, and an expensive wardrobe. Or one could spend it on great works of philosophy and literature and take a year off of work to study. The former would certainly bring one more pleasure but it isn't obvious that extravagant spending is the moral choice.
3. Therefore, utilitarianism is false.


Moral Reform

Requires that morality be more than a description of what a society or culture does value, for there has to be some measure against which to assess progress. Otherwise, any change is not reform, but simply difference.