Ethics Textbook Notes.docx

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PHIL 2120
John Hacker- Wright

Ethics Textbook NotesCHAPTER 1 Socrates Dialogue in othWe must not let our decision be determined by our emotions We must try and get our facts straight and to keep minds clear Questions can be settled be reason We cannot answer such questions by appealing to what ppl generally think as they may be wrong We must think for ourselvesWe ought never to do what is morally wrong Only thing we need to answer is whether it is wrong or right not what will happen to us what people will think or how we feelTherefore Socrates believes he should not break the law by escaping jailFirst we should not harm anyone Socrates escape would harm the state since it would violate states lawSecond if one stays living in a state when one could leave one agrees to obey its laws Thus if Socrates escaped he would break an agreement which is something one should not doThird ones society is virtually ones parent and teacher and one ought to obey parentteacher 1 We ought never to harm anyone 2 We ought to keep our promises3 We ought to obey or respect our parents and teachersHe also uses another premise which involves a statement of fact and applies rule to the case 1 If I escape I will harm society 2 If I escape I will be breaking a promise 3 If I escape Ill be disobey parents and teachers Moral philosophy arises when we pass beyond the stage in which we are directed by traditional rules and even beyond the stage in which these rules are so internalized that we can said to be innerdirected to which we think for ourselvesThree kinds of thinking that relate to morality 1 There is descriptive empirical inquiry historical psychologists and sociologists Here the goal is to describe the phenomena of mortality or to work out a theory of human nature which bears on ethical questions 2 There is normative thinking Socrates in crito that anyone who asks what is right good or obligatory May take form of asserting a normative judgment or take form of debating with oneself or someone else about what is right 3 Analytical critical or metaethical thinking It asks questions like What is the meaning or use of the expressions right or goodSQ 1 Can we answer moral questions by appealing to what people generally thinkAccording to Socrates it is not possible to answer moral questions by appealing to what ppl think This is because people can be wrong and we must think for ourselvesCHAPTER 3 Moral Judgments and Personal PreferencesIt is possible for two different expressions of personal preference to be true at the same timeThere is a difference between types of personal preference and moral judgments ie Jack says he likes to go to beach compared to Jack saying abortion is right In the second case we want to know if Jack is correct rather than what he likes so we need justification Moral rights cannot be determined by find out personal preferences Why Thinking It Does Not Make It SoThe same is true about what people think If one person thinks it is right to help people are not off while one person disagrees they are both stating what they think and it is possible for both to be trueHowever if one DENIES what the other person states then he believes he is CORRECT and does not merely think that The Irrelevance of StatisticsSince there is strength in numbers the correct method for answering problems is to find out what most people think or feel All that polls can reveal is what most people feel or think though For instance many people change their minds over time as things are subject to changeIe everyone use to think world was flat AKA in the end people CAN be wrongTherefore majority cannot be an answer to questionsThe Appeal to a Moral AuthoritySuppose there is someone who is never mistaken If the person judges something wrong it is wrong and vice versa This person is called a moral authority
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