PHI-2630 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Free Range, Euthanasia, Moral Treatment

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25 Apr 2016
School
Department
Course
Ethical Issues & Life Choices – Spring 2016
Study Guide for Exam #3
Notes on the Exam: The exam will be held on Tuesday, April 26, 5:30-7:30pm, in our normal
classroom. The exam will consist of some combination of definitions, short- and medium-length
answer. You will be responsible for all of the material covered in class as well as that found in
the readings. The following is intended as a guide to help you know what to focus on in studying
for the exam. If you are able to provide thorough answers to the following questions, you should
be in good shape for the exam.
Hint: Remember to think of the readings in terms of (1) the thesis of the argument (i.e., the main
point), (2) support for the thesis (i.e., the actual argument), (3) possible objections (focus on
those found in the readings and discussed in class), and (4) possible responses to the objections.
Arguments
What is an argument?
A set of statements that include some of those statements (“premises”) are offered in
support of one of the other statement (“conclusion”).
Example: We should demolish the building (conclusion), because the experts say it’s
unsafe (premise).
The statement must be an assertion, claim, and or declarative statement. However, it must
have a truth-value.
What is the difference between an argument and an assertion?
An assertion is simply a claim or statement.
An argument shows that something is true.
What is the difference between an argument and an explanation?
Argument’s goal: to show THAT some statements are true. Evidence is needed.
Example: Susan is screaming because her cat just committed suicide.
Explanation’s goal: to show WHY some statements are true. Cause is needed.
Example: Susan will succeed in business because she is smart.
What is the difference between deductive and inductive arguments?
Deductive argument: an argument that is supposed to give logically conclusive support to
its conclusion
Has to be valid & sound
Doesn’t matter if it is true or false, but must offer a truth-value.
Inductive argument: an argument that is supposed to offer probable support to its
conclusion.
Has to be possibly true
Gets evaluated by “strong” or weak
Example: weak argument – because of a small sample size
My cat has a tail.
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My parents’ cat has a tail.
My sister’s cat has a tail.
So all cats have a tail.
*If you change “all” in the conclusion to “most” (which means more than ½ in this class), it
is still considered a weak argument. However, if you change “all” to “some,” then it is a
very strong argument. *
Structure:
1. A is similar to B (share properties of each other).
2. A has property P.
3. B has property P.
What is a valid argument?
A valid argument is an argument in which if all the premises are true, the conclusion must
also be true.
What is a sound argument?
A sound argument is a valid argument where all of the premises are true in actuality. An
argument has to be valid for it to be sound. If an argument is invalid, then the argument is
unsound.
The example above used for “valid argument,” is unsound because not all dogs are robots
in actuality.
What is the difference between descriptive statements and normative statements?
Descriptive statement: makes an assertion that is offered as a statement of the facts that
pertain in reality.
The scientific study of moral beliefs and practices aims to describe and explain
how people actually behave and think when dealing with moral issues and concepts
What do people think is right?
Normative statement: one that states some value or evaluative rule as a stand of other
judgments.
How should people act or how one ought to act morally speaking?
Essentially establish the soundness of moral norms, especially the norms embodied
in a comprehensive moral system or theory.
What are moral arguments? What do they need to succeed? Why?
An argument with a moral claim for the conclusion
Moral arguments: an argument with a moral claim for the conclusion
A type of normative claim, “ought to be/should be.”
If the conclusion of an argument is a moral claim, then at least one of the premises must be
a moral claim and at least one premise must be a non-moral statement about a state of
affairs, usually a specific type of action.
Example:
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1. Not using every medical means available to keep a seriously ill newborn
infant alive is allowing the infant to die. Non-moral claim, a specific
type of action
2. Allowing terminally ill newborn infants to die is wrong. Moral claim
3. Therefore, not using every medical means available to keep a seriously ill
newborn infant alive is wrong. Moral claim of conclusion
It is impossible to derive/infer a claim about the way things ought to be or should be
based solely on the way things are.
In general, there are only two ways to criticize an argument. What are they?
1. Show that some (at least 1) premises are false.
2. Show that, even if all the premises are true, they fail to adequately support the
conclusion.
You should be able to take an argument, diagram it and simplify it.
Abortion
What is the difference between positive obligations and negative obligations?
Positive Obligation: Obligations to do things for someone ex. Taking care of a newborn
child
Negative Obligation: Obligation to refrain from doing certain things for someone ex. Such
as hitting infants or other similar actions
What is the difference between positive rights and negative rights?
Positive: Generate positive obligations ex. Right to an attorney
oblige actions. Right to be subjected to an action of another person or group.
Negative: generate negative obligations ex. Right to remain silent
oblige inactions. Right not to be subjected to an action of another person or group
Warren
How does Warren respond to the following argument?
1. It is wrong to kill innocent human beings.
2. Fetuses are innocent human beings.
3. Therefore, it is wrong to kill fetuses.
She claims that the plausibility of the premises rest on an equivocation on the term ‘human
being’ which has two different meanings:
Genetic sense: member of the species.
Moral Sense: full-fledged member of moral community
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