PHIL 1550 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Divine Command Theory, Moral Absolutism, Domestic Violence

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Philo
Jan 8
4 main areas of enquiry in philosophy
-metaphysics (study of reality and lie outside of physics). Ex: why is their a universe?. It a question about
physics but cannot be answered by physics. Questions about God, immortality. The pursuit of questions
that are more abstract than science.
-epistemology (theory of knowledge + biology). Ex: what is knowledge?. How do we know what we
know? Discuss what counts as knowledge, truth, certainty. Practiced in conjunction with metaphysics.
-logic (study of arguments). About arguments not opinions. Arguments must be supported. Arguments
are claims which can be premises which can lead to conclusion. Premises, which is how you support
your argument, make conclusion necessary. Best argument is when all claims are true. Valid argument
does not mean its true. Sound argument means it is true. Best argument is both sound and valid. Logic
studies argumentation.
-axiology/value theory (contains aesthetics and ethics). Questions of aesthetics is questions of beauty,
art. In ethics the questions revolve around morality. Ethics comprise: meta-ethics , moral virtues, moral
psychology, metaphysics of free will, applied ethics.
Moral considerability: if a being is considerable then he or she should count.
Where does the concept of right or wrong come from?
-law is a good guide, but is not always right (Nazi Germany, slavery)
Moral relativism
-moral theory most people have. Reason is multiculturalism.
-morals change with different culture.
-people who believe in moral relativism would essentially believe that infibulation (female circumcision)
would be ok since it normal in that culture.
-another example: in some cultures domestic abuse is ok. Moral relativists would have to agree with
this.
-finding a genuine moral relativist is extremely hard because they all have inherent values.
Moral absolutism
-claim to give absolute answers to moral questions
-Divine command theory: right is wrong is what God or Gods command. Could be problematic since,
which religion is right? Which text is right one? is killing wrong cause god said so or does god say so
because killing is wrong? Either of these saying make God either less infinite. If morality is guided by
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