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Consequentialism and Utilitarianism 01/14/2014
True or False
All sound arguments are valid.
True
All valid arguments are sound
False
There are sound arguments with false conclusions
False
If all of the premises of an argument are true and the conclusion is true, the argument is valid.
True False Just because 3 statements are true doesn’t mean the support each other and make the
argument valid.
If an argument is valid, all of the premises of that argument are true.
False
If all of the premises of an argument are true and the conclusion is false, the argument is invalid.
True
How to evaluate arguments:
Ask yourself:
Which statements are the premises? Which is the conclusion?
Eliminate any unnecessary words or phrases.
Make any implicit premises explicit.
Write the argument in standard form.
Do the premises support the conclusion?
If the argument is deductive, is the argument valid?
If the argument is inductive, is the argument strong?
Are the premises true?
If a deductive argument is valid and has all the true premises, it is sound.
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If an inductive argument is strong and has all true premises, it is cogent.
CONSEQUENTIALISM AND UTILITARIANISM
Background
A moral dilemma is a scenario in which the agent has moral reasons to do both of the two actions and it
is open to the agent to do either action but doing both is not possible.
Ethical theories address the following questions:
What is morally good in and of itself (should be pursued as an end)?
Moral goodness is a normative property of actions.
What makes an act a right or wrong act?
Rightness and wrongness are normative properties of actions
What are our moral duties?
Ethical theories are more abstract than a discussion about a particular issue, such as capital punishment.
They provide a unitary theory that attempts to answer how we ought to act in any prudential situation.
Consequentialism is a family of ethical theories
The view that whether an act is right depends only on consequences (as opposed to the intrinsic nature of
the act or anything that happens prior to the act).
The only relevant moral factors are the consequences of an action (or some type of action). This is a
forward-looking theory
No action or type of action is intrinsically valuable in and of itself; it is valuable only as a means of
producing a certain consequence (instrumentally valuable)
Arguably, all consequentialist theories accept agent neutrality
There is no time limit on how close in time the consequences to occur for the action to count. Any
consequences of the relevant type in the future.
Types of consequences that a version of consequentialism might care about:
Well being
Knowledge, beauty
The amount of coffee produced
Utilitarianism
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