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Values and Society Lecture 1.docx

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Byron Williston

Values and Society – Lecture 1 Notes The Nature of Philosophical Ethics “Ethics is not about just any question, but about the way one should live” – Socrates Example: views on capital punishment, abortion, etc. Two Types of Statement: 1) Descriptive (or “is” statement). This statement makes claims about the way the world is, was, or will be (either true or false). Most things we say every day are descriptive statements. Examples: “The earth is flat”, “I will arrive at 5:30 sharp”, “Temperature is a mean kinetic energy”, etc. 2) Normative (or “ought” statements). All moral claims are normative statements. They make claisms about the way the world ought to be or have been (whenever we have a desire). Examples: “I should get dressed before noon”, “The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation”, etc. Philosophical ethics: is the reasoned attempt to resolve important practical dilemmas. Its conclusions are action guiding. That is, it tells us which actions are permissible. Some examples of practical dilemmas are: - Should we allow euthanasia? - Under what circumstances are we perm
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