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Philosophy Notes PP 110

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Don Morgenson

Chapter 1 Philosophy: the love of wisdom. wants to answer the questions about the ultimate nature of the universe, the standards of knowledge, the objectivity of moral claims, and the existence and nature of god What is philosophy? Known as a particular method, or in terms of its subject matter, or as a kind of intellectual attitude Philosophy as a method •Philosophers use rational arguments of the world (compared to scientists who make observations) Example: if both scientists and philosophers are involved in contemporary studies of the human mind, philosophers are involved in more cognitive science discovering if dreaming is actually dreams (or if dreaming is nothing more than certain electro-chemical events in the brain) • Philosophers use different techniques of investigation Philosophy as a subject matter •philosophers study a special set of issues. •3 major characteristics of philosophy are: •1. They are of deep and lasting interest to human beings •2. They have answers, but the answers have to yet been settled on •3. The answers cannot be decided by science, faith, or common sense •Philosophers seek the one answer that is ore justified than any other possible answer •The first foundational philosophical questions is: What exists? (ie, does God exist?) •Second foundational philosophical question: What do we know? (i.e., can we be sure that a scientific theory is true?) •Third major philosophical questionsL What should we do? (i.e., If i make a million dollars selling widgets or playing ball, is it okay for me to keep all the money and do whatI want or do I have some kind of moral obligation to give a portion away to charity?) Philosophy as an attitude •Sees philosophy as a state of being, a kind of intellectual independence •Question the assumptions behind every claim until we come to our most basic beliefs about reality •Example: are criminals responsible for their actions and that this is at least partly why we punish them? Or is society pressures to blame Ethics: How ought we to live our lives? •Ethics is the philosophical sub discipline, which examines morality, metaphysics, and epistemology. One of the largest and most important areas of philosophy •Normative ethics: The study of the standards of right and wrong, good or bad. •Normative ethic theories: do not attempt to merely describe how people actually behave or report what people think is right. lays out prescriptions for how people really ought to think and behave •Classifying different normative moral theories is in terms of their emphasis on the right and the good (positives). i.e., kant is right actions •Applied ethics: The study of how ethical norms or rules ought to applied in particular case of unusual difficulty (i.e., abortion, mercy killing, animal abuse, genetic research, etc Plato Born 427 BCE - 347 BCE Best claim to be the inventor of Western Philosophy Thoughts encompassed all areas of central philosophy Thought philosophy as a special discipline with its own intellectual method. Convinced there was foundational importance in human life. Believed The Forms were changeless, eternal objects, which lie outside of he physical world and mind of individuals Believed there was 3 fundamentally different kinds of psychological impulses in humans: •appetitive desires, i.e. food, sex, and money •spirited desires, i.e. fame, power, and honor •rational desires, i.e. knowledge and truth Because of this 3 categories, the human soul was divided into three parts and people were classified according to the dominant part of they soul. (for example, people are either money lovers, honour lovers, or wisdom lovers < philosophers) Aristole - After Plato’s death (347 BCE), Aristole left Athens - His mother had connections in Atarneus where Hermias was a philosophical studies student - Aristole started his own school at the town Assos - page 32 October 18, 2012 Nietzsche/Feminism 1. The will to power 2. A brief history of morality 3. Reason and emotion 4. The public and the private 5. The concept of the self Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900 1. Quoted saying life is simply the will to power. 2. Definition = The tendency in every living thing to dominate, overcome, exploit, and subjugate everything that opposes it How does the will to power relate to morality? - Morality denies this force by asking us to “equate another person’s will with our own” 2 ways to criticize Nietzsche 1. His descriptive claims about human nature are false 2. Though the descriptive claims are true we should try to constrain our urge to dominate other 3 stages Stage 1: The Master Morality that characterized the ancient Greek and Roman world. Key feature: Refusal to PITY the weak. The weak are inferior. Stage 2: Slave morality that is Judeo-Christianity and which triumphs over pagan Rome. Key events: 313 CE, Emperor Constantine 1 legalizes Christianity throughout the Empire. 379 CE, Emperor Theodosius 1 makes Christianity the official religion of the Empire Key feature of slave morality The qualities that the nobles despised came to be seen as the highest most godly values. 3. The rise of the great moral systems, like deontology and utilitarianmis The key to modern morality: It’s Christian ethics minus God Modern morality Is a tool used by the weak to control and ppress the strong. It is a slave morality, minus God, that corrupts the will to power. 2 aspects of distorted thinking 1. Traditional ethics attempts to be context-independent that is universal 2. Denigration of emotions vis-à-vis reason Two aspects of the denigration of emotion - The moral life demands the cultivation of the moral emotions - This should then be reflected in the respect shown to the moral emotions in moral theory Summary True moral understanding is deeply context-dependent. And this context is defined by our emotional engagement with other agents. 3 assumptions of traditional ethics 1. The public and the private are absolutely separate 2. What does on in the private is not relevant to true morality 3. The private sphere is essentially feminine, the public sphere essentially masculine The argument for assumption 3 a. women are more purely biological than men are b. the proper sphere of the biological for humans is the private c. therefore, women essentially belong in the house and not in the more refined public sphere Into to Political Philosophy and Mill Political Philosophy is the normative study of the relation between the individual and the State. This is about both what we owe to the State and what it owes to us. 3 Key points to the state as “body” analogy 1. The importance of sovereignty: Supremacy with respect to power and rank 2. The supreme authority must also be seen as legitimate 3. Concord and sedition (disagree, uprising), Hobbe’s terms, correspond, respectively to health and sickness. The State: A nation or territory considered as a single political community organized under a sovereign and legitimate government 3 Broad Questions of Political Philosophy 1. To what extent is the government justified in coercing citizens and on what grounds? 2. Do citizens have a moral obligation to obey the laws that governments create, even unjust laws? 3. What is the fairest way to distribute benefits and burdens among citizens? How do you distribute benefits and burdens, like absolute quality of income (job of the government to do so) How to justify governmental restriction on individual liberty 1. To prevent sin (legal moralism) Simply forbidden. 2. To prevent offense to others (offence principle) 3. To prevent harm to the self (paternalism) 4. To benefit others (The welfare principle) 5. To prevent harm to others (the harm principle) 1. The Harm Principle “My freedom ends at the tip of your nose” Cannot say that you’re doing this for your end. Not a sufficient warrant. Cannot do because to do so because it’s wise or right. 3 Key points from Mill 1, Individuals should be free to express themselves any way they see fit 2. The only limit to that freedom is the ability of others in society to express themselves 3. The state is never justified in preventing me from harming myself (rejection of paternalism) 3. Legal moralism - Placing limits on individual liberty in the interests of clear moral standard
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