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Lecture 5

PHL105Y5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: John Stuart Mill, Natural Selection 2, Welfarism


Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHL105Y5
Professor
Devlin Russell
Lecture
5

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PHl105 – Lecture 5 – John Stuart Mill
Utilitarianism
What is a moral Action?
A. An action is an action caused by moral feeling
THE EVOLUTIONARY THEORY
Moral Feeling
a. A feeling about actions done to others and
b. That has been selected for by natural selection
Attractions
1. Fits inside of and draws upon the theory of evolution by
natural selection
2. Corresponds nicely with current neuroscience and
physiology
3. Explains the arbitrariness of morality
4. Explains cultural variation
5. Explains the prevalence of moral behavior
6. Explains moral motivation
Problems:
1. Hume’s Law: You cant get an ‘ought’ form an ‘is’
a. The theory cannot explain the prescriptive nature of
moral action:
i. If an action is moral, then one ‘ought’ to do it
Good science tells us how humans work, how they came
to be the way they are and how they usually behave
oALL DESCRPTIVE FACTS and NO PRESCRIPTIVE**
oScience has its limits
2. An argument from the arbitrariness of morality is too
weak
a. Claim is controversial
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