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Lecture 3

PHLA11 Lecture 3: PHLA11 – Lecture 3 – Continuation of Arguments and Intro to Utilitarianism


Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHLA11H3
Professor
Julia Nefsky
Lecture
3

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PHLA11 – Lecture 3 – Continuation of Arguments and Intro to Utilitarianism
Evaluating the Arguments we read:
1. Determine what’s the conclusion and premises
2. Ask: Are the premises plausible? How might one object compare to them?
3. Are the inferences valid?
4. If not, what would it take to make the argument valid?
Implicit Premises:
Suppose “ All animals are mortal. So, we need to face it : Fido is going to die
one day. He’s not going to live forever.”
oWhat I said explicitly:
P1: All animals are mortal
C: Therefore, Fido is mortal
Invalid Argument because if Fido is a rock, it's not
mortal since your P1 says that all animals are mortal,
and a rock is not an animal
Implicit Premise: Fido is an animal
oP1: All animals are mortal
oP2: Fido is an animal
oC: Therefore, Fido is mortal
An example of a valid argument
P1: Driving above the speed limit is illegal
C: Therefore, It’s wrong to drive above the speed limit
oPremise = true
oBut is the inference valid?
Implicit Premises: If some activity is illegal, it’s wrong to do it
Argument:
oP1. Driving above the speed limit is illegal
oP2. If some activity is illegal, it’s wrong to do it
oC. Therefore, it’s wrong to drive above the speed limit
Valid argument
There may be counter arguments for P2., since if it is early in
the morning and you have to drive someone to the emergency
section of the hospital, and there are no cars on the road, it
may be ok for you to drive beyond the speed limit
Moral Theories:
Attempt to explain, at the most general and fundamental level, what
differentiates right acts from wrong acts
3 categories of Moral Evaluation:
1. Obligatory
2. Permissible (Right)
3. Impermissible (Wrong)
oEvery act is either permissible or impermissible
Utilitarianism:
Classic formulations: Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Henry Sidgwick
In Defense of Utilitarianism – an excerpt from Mill’s book Utilitarianism
(1861)
The Greatest Happiness Principle:
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