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PHIL 215
Brian Orend

PHIL 215 Midterm worth 45%, Take-home Final worth 55% Don't have to buy the book. Attend lectures and it's hard not to do well. Lecture #1 Why do we care about ethics? Generally, good ethics lead to good business. Madoff - Ponzi scheme (Pyramid Scam) "147 years sentence" - middle class - wanted to go to upperclass - considered working legitimately vs. going with a scam. - saved up $60k initial sum - went to a couple of "suckers", billy and sally who each have $100k to start with. - (S&P 500 is about 6.5% over the past 100 years) - on Jan 1st, invest 100k from billy and sally. - on Dec 31st, pays out 30k each to billy and sally. - On the next year, Madoff asks each of billy and sally to get 2 more friends - On the next year, Madoff has 600K from 6 ppl, and only has to pay out 30k x6 - His son turned him in. What does it mean to behave ethically? - To gain insight from the 5 theories: (all have strengths, but all have flaws) 1. Virtue 2. Deontology 3. Consequentialism 4. Rights based 5. Feminism We shall use a plural of these above, because: 1. Wisdom of multiple advisors 2. Wisdom of NOT going with your gut (instincts/intuition are usually from your earliest upbringing - parental, religious, etc - conditioned to simply be most comfortable) 3. Minimize chance of getting in trouble 4. “Chain vs. Table” Chain approach: start with some premise and slowly build, one chainlink at a time, to some conclusion. However, this is a bad argumentative strategy because it's only as strong as its weakest link. Putting all your eggs in one basket is not a good strategy. Table approach: surface of the table is the conclusion, and the table's legs are the premises. Virtue Ethics Summary: - Key concept is virtue defined as an "excellence of character." This tradition is all about the development of good character over time; moral problems are character defects. - Founding figure: ARISTOTLE (384-322 BC) - His ethical vision: In life, we must pursue eudaimonia (i.e. our fullest development) - "Eudaimonia" - "happiness, flourishing, human excellence" - This is: - Pleasure + - Internal Goods + - the virtues - External Goods - good society & parents (Aristotle said that if you were not bore into a good family, your emotional growth would be stunted. He did not believe in redemption. He believed that if a bad upbringing would not allow any further development morally) - financial security - health & safety - friends & relationships - beauty *Solve Moral Dilemmas by Consulting a Moral Expert A virtue: - is not natural, or automatic - must be developed over time, with conscious & deliberate effort (like exercising a muscle) - must become a reliable, stable part of your character - benefits self & others - "traits we praise in others & strive to develop in ourselves" - are usually in a mean between extremes (e.g. courage) - 4 cardinal virtues: courage, moderation, prudence, justice. Strengths: 1. Excellent verified account of general human happiness 2. Actions comes out of character. 3. Attention to moral development, & the need for continued moral "practice" 4. Stress on social & relationship context needed for (moral) thriving not just individuals making choices in a vacuum, 5. (Inspiringly Optimistic & Hopeful) Common Criticisms: 1. "Inspiring", or Naive, re: "perfectibility" 2. Illiberal, Oppressive Overtones re: character judgement & social context 3. Elitism & Issue of "moral Experts" 4. Too Selfish to be a Moral Code? 5. Vagueness of Virtues + Cultural Relativity (e.g. of courage) 6. Are Virtues Enough? Duty-Based Ethics Summary “Deontology”: - Key concept is duty / obligation / responsibility. Key differences from virtue ethics: 1) deontology separates prudence & morality, whereas virtue ethics blended them; 2) deontology focuses on judging actions; virtue ethics conce
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