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Lecture 1

Philosophy 34-226 Lecture 1: Notes on Introduction of Law

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University of Windsor

Lecture 1 on Introduction of Law, Morality, and Punishment Dialogical thinking: two-way argument Why Law and Morality and Punishment?  Morality: what people consider to be right behaviour, unspoken rules  Laws are written/spoken moral rules  One of the sources of law are religious texts (pre-liberal societies were often regulated by religion and the connection between law and morality weren’t very well established) I Philosophy  Means the love of wisdom  For every law, there is a system of value behind it, usually implicit  World views can change: different laws reflect the world view  Law reflects the social order, values, and world view  “Should” and “ought” is very important to philosophy: not facts but what ought to be/what the world should be like  Description versus normativity: description describes what exists (ex, sociology) and normativity is what should be (philosophy) II Ethics and Morality  Morality and ethics essentially mean the same thing: ethics is a Greek word, morality is a Latin word  Ethics and morality are the same thing at the first instance  Morality is about customs (mores) and tells us how we ought to do certain things (ex, how we bury the dead)  Greeks were looking for an essence of morality: how people live, how they ought to live (more critical questions): ethics is a critical reflection on morality  Morality is what people do, ethics is how people should be doing (question of normativity)  Ex, “never kill a human being” is morality, “never kill a human being because…” is ethics  Ethics tries to find a solution to things; it tells us how we ought to live (behind this assumption is values)  Ethics is always a process of interpretation and evaluating the evidence (it’s never ending)  Ethics is more of a verb than a noun  How ethics is defined had gone through numerous people (some say ethics is nothing more than fancy morality, but others say it’s separate and for professionals)  Some say ethics is about what is really right/permissible/good  Others say ethics is only about definitions and clarification of moral language  Others still say ethics is more like a science (about justification and evidence for claims) and some say ethics is about prescription (prescribes a course of action that tells you what you should/shouldn’t do)  Ethics tries to figure out what should be good always/everywhere  Ethics is a formal study that tells us about what could be and tells us how things could be better (social imagination)  Ethics is basically a critical evaluation of morality III Why ethics when there is law?  Ethics criticizes morality, and morality is embedded in law  Some think the law is sufficient on its own since law can be enforced (morality cannot)  Also, morality is so diverse but laws fit all  The law is not infallible (laws can make mistakes) and because of t
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