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PHIL 433
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PHIL 433A Final Exam NotesArgument and Philosophical MethodologyArgumentAn argument is the set of at least two claims where one of them is the conclusion and the others isare premisesValid argumentAn argument in which all premises being true implies that the conclusion is trueInvalid argumentOpposite of valid argument an argument in which all premises being true does not imply that the conclusion is trueSound argumentA valid argument with all true premisesUnsound argumentAn argument that is either invalid or contains at least one false premiseMoral argumentAn argument with a moral claim as its conclusionThought experimentA thought experiment is a kind of mental experiment one performs through an exercise of imaginationCounterexampleAn example that counters a given claim or argumentReflective equilibriumThe end point of a process of moral deliberation that involves going back and forth between moral principles with the purpose of reaching a state of consistency so that the principle matches our beliefsCircular argumentAn argument in which the conclusion appears as a premise in the same argumentStraw Man FallacyMisrepresenting your opponents arguments so that it is easily shown to be unsound or weakFalse dilemmaWhen one presents fewer options than are actually available when arguing for a viewYou are either with us or with the terroristsNormative ethicsNormative ethics attempts to determine what people ought to believe about some ethical issue and whyQuestions about normative ethics are answered through reason and argument Normative ethics is prescriptiveit is concerned with what one ought be not with what is the caseDescriptive ethicsDescriptive ethics attempts to describe a certain populations beliefs about some ethical issue which is why it properly belongs to the social sciences Questions in descriptive ethics are answered by empirical investigation eg polls Cultural RelativismCultural or ethical relativismCultural relativism is the belief that there is no objective truth in ethicsThat is morally right or wrong are solely determined by ones cultureObjection 1Moral infallibility of ones culture CR implies all moral values of ones culture are necessarily trueBut no one believes that ones culture is morally perfectSurely there are things done in our culture that are morally problematicObjection 2Moral values of all other cultures are trueThat means that genital mutilation execution of political prisoners and the stoning of homosexuals are morally rightBut these are not right so CR is wrongObjection 3Moral progress is impossible if ones cultural beliefs are morally perfectBut progress has occurred eg slavery is abolished or racial segregationArgument 1Another argument that has led some to embrace ethical relativism is a general puzzlement about how ethical claims could possibly be objectively true as moral claims are not subject to empirical verification Moral claims seemcloser to judgments of taste or preferences and it is quite reasonable to regard judgments of taste as mere expressions or reports of personal preferencesArgument 2One argument is motivated by a desire to be tolerant of other cultures values and ways of life and to avoid the kind of cultural imperialism and ethnocentrism that has characterized much of European and North American historyHowever this is inconsistentThey are saying that there is no objective right or wrong in ethics BUT they are also saying that cultural imperialism is objectively wrong and respect for differences is objectively rightUtilitarianismDefinition of utilitarianismUtilitarianism is the view that right actions laws and policies promote the greatest amount of pleasure or the least amount of pain for all concernedThere are three parts to classical act utilitarianism which are the followingDefinition of 1 Consequentialismthe right act is entirely determined by the consequentialismconsequences the right act promotes the most good or least badDefinition of hedonism2 Hedonismthe sole ultimate good is pleasure and the sole ultimate bad is painDefinition of equal 3 Equal considerationno ones good is to be counted as more important considerationthan anyone elsesSituational ethicSituational ethic is an aspect of consequentialismThere are no absolute rules whether something is moralimmoral depends on the situation
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