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PHIL 215- MODULE 1.docx

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University of Waterloo
PHIL 215
Brian Orend

Definition of Core Terms:  Ethics is the broadest term when we think about the values and ideals that apply to our actions  Ethics: o How you should live your life? (A set of ideal, general question)  Nested within the definition of ethics is Morality  Morality: o How you should treat other people? (The narrower question, the moral question)  Narrower and nested within the moral question is the question of Justice  How to treat each other, social institution impact how we should treat people is justice  Justice  Justice: o How should social institutions be shaped? o Social institutions:  Legal system  Implement laws  Decision-making process on criminal acts?  Government process  Create laws  How should people be picked for the government?  Education  Early primary education influences how we treat people  What should we teach? How should we teach it?  Religion?  Some people want to include it, some don’t  How powerful is religious influence?  Healthcare  Determines how you live and if you live  Structured? Funding? Free market?  Economic organizations  Ground rules of economy  Power and opportunity are determined by economic structure o Free market? Religions? Teleology/Virtue Ethics:  Definition: o Telos + logos o Logos means the study of or the inquiry into  Biology: the study of life, of living things  Psychology: an inquiry into the human mind o Telos is the greek word for goal, end, purpose o Teleology: An inquiry into purpose  Founded by Aristotle, an ancient Greek Philosopher  He founded the study of biology, formal logic, psychology, literary criticism  Loved dissecting creatures and figuring out how they work  He loved to figure out how animals works  What makes human being unique is Rationality  Rationality is the capacity of Reason  Rationality and reason is natures clue about how we should live our lifeethical question  Aristotle said we should live our lives by (purpose of life):  Rationally  Live a life according to reason  To the fullest extent capable  Teleologists believed there is a purpose to human life and the point of life is to fulfill it to the best of your ability, o Achieving a goal o Realizing an end o Fulfilling a purpose  What is the rational life? o Reason  Theoretical  Science  Mathematics  Formal logic  Practical  Application of reason o To human life in general o To an individuals actions (how do you exhibit rationality in your actions)  How can I exhibit rationality in my actions? o Aristotle thinks that you exhibit rationality in your actions if you try to be the best you can be o Believed in human perfectibility o Believed that we can fulfill our nature, this is possible, sensible goal  What is human perfectibility? o Eudaimonia  “Eu” is a Greek prefix that indicates goodness and positivity  “Daimon” refers to ones spirit or personality  “Eudaimonia” is translated into wellbeing and flourishing (doing well and feeling well at the same time) Review  We alone have rationality  Natures clue as to how we should behave  Pursue our own well-being and flourishing Components of a Flourishing Life  What is a flourishing life? (eudiamonia) 1. Pleasure  Pleasant: a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for the condition of excellence of flourishing Aristotle is talking about 2. External goods: things that are not part of your character  The kind of life we want to lead o We want financial resources, not wealthy but enough to support ourselves  Ex. If we can’t afford food, we will occupy ourselves with finding ways to put food on the table  Good Upbringing o Aristotle is aristocratic and a bit of a snob o Somebody with a bad upbringing has so many things that stand in front of them (negative)  Friends o Morally important as they are the most regular human relations o They give us the opportunity to display morally good behaviour o Important for moral development  Just society o An unstable society will have no chance of having a flourishing life  Good looks o Greeks thought beauty was attached to ethical behaviour 3. Internal goods  Virtues o Personal characteristics  Ex. Brown hair  o Developed through free choice o Difficult to achieve o Corrective of natural human tendencies  Working towards displaying virtues  Ex. Courage is a virtue because we don’t usually have to be courageous o Beneficial to self and other o Worthy of moral praise o Personal characteristics that are developed through free choice those are difficult to achieve because you have to work at. They are corrective of natural human tendencies. o Greek-four Cardinal Virtues  Wisdom  rather play than fain knowledge  Courageinclined “flight or fight” response  Moderation  Justice o Western culture has all kind a of virtue (Jane Austin is known for inventing virtues) o Christian Virtues:  Faith  Hope  Charity not naturally generous  Love (important) Application of Theory  Teleology/Virtue Ethics  Consequentialism  Deontology  Rights Based  Ethical Issues in Business o Conflict of interest o Who’s owns intellectual property? o Is affirmative action an appropriate hiring process? o Is mandatory retirement plausible? o What kind of health and safety issues do I owe to my employees? Teleology/ Virtue Ethics  How would you solve a moral dilemma?  SHORT TERM SOLUTION Decision process: What would a virtuous person do in my position? o I should live my life in pursuit of developing the virtues in me to the extent that I can (answer to ethical question for teleology) o If you have a dilemma, think of what a virtuous person would do  LONG TERM SOLUTION: what are the resources and education that I need to become such a person myself? (Virtuous person) o It’s all about character, integrity, courageous, moderate ect. For a teleologists  Criticisms: o Some people think its to selfish to be a plausible perspective on morality in particular  Focus on self-realization, some people think it should be elsewhere focused  Teleology is about “me” perfecting “my” nature, “me” fulfilling “my” purpose in life, “me” becoming the best that “I” can be o Optimistic  Some people believe that we just cannot be perfect and this is being to optimistic  All theories are however, supposed to be optimistic because they tell you how you SHOULD be  There is a notion of perfectibility with this theory o Some people think that teleology has an elitist overtone  A lower person asking someone for advice  There’s a hierarchical, aristocratic over tone cause only a few people know what’s right o There is a troubling vagueness over teleology because of its emphasis on character  Ex. Abortion (moral issue when the woman has an unwanted pregnancy)  Teleologist would say what would a virtuous person do? o But virtuous people can disagree o Unhelpful  Succumbing to the advice of wise expert  What should we do in the short term before we become virtuous o Relativism  What seems like the good life varies from culture to culture  So who’s the virtuous person?  What’s virtuous behaviour? Deontology  Definition: o “Logos” means: study of, inquiry into, account of o “Deon” means: duty o The study of duty  Ethical question: How should you live your life? o In accord with certain fundamental duties or rules (adhere to duty/rule)  Which rules? o Two versions:  Religious  Ex. Christianity  Christianity is not exclusively a deontological conception  Major world religions incorporate all four (deontology, teleology, consequentialism, rights based)  Christianity has thoughts that are deontological by nature  Ten commandments, the golden rules (Ethical question: HOW I SHOULD LIVE MY LIFE?, Moral Question: How should you treat other people? LOOK AT THE RULES)  Decision process: figure out what rules apply and follow it  Secular  Ex. Immanuel Kant o Lived during the French revolution, German enchantment time, philosopher  The Categorical Imperative (like the golden rule) o Difference is that this is dictator of reason o Justification is secular o A command of rational nature  You ask yourself what to do, reflect on the problem (rational power) o We don’t need to appeal to god, for morality and justice o You have to pass two tests for your actions to be moral:  Universality Test:  One ethical and moral code for all peoples  Its discoverable by reason  Cultural diversity fallible  One true think and applies to all and there’s a reason for it  Everyone has a veto over the proposed action and if anyone has a veto it impermissible o Are you acting on a genuinely universal role?  Why is he obsessed with the Universal Test? o Motivations for immoral behaviour o To exempt ourselves from moral rules (better or can do something compared to others) o The idea that people exempt themselves from things, oking bad things o To test it, think to yourself and see if people would veto it o Ex. Lying is bad, so no way to exempt it  Humanity test:  “Treat other people as ends in
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