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Anthropology 1026F/G

IMPORTANT FOR FINAL EXAM Write one essay - BB & topic (choice of topics: deals with a theory of ethics Blackburn talks about & somehow join it with some discussion with Hippolytos) Essay is 50% (out of 40) 20 Short Answer is 50% (2 marks per question, their are part marks, 40 marks) Set of short answer questions Straight forward - could answer in a word, no need for sentences, 4 lines is too long Questions are from Blackburn Blackburn Some reasons are better than others There are inclining reasons to be offered when there are disputes about ethics When we express what we think it is not all were doing, offer something behind the opinion and those are the reasons Sometimes some peoples opinions are not worth taking seriously because they are so wrong (objecting the correct time).. finally we just tune them out. Blackburn is prepared to tune out subjectivists (time wasting position) Maximize pleasure, preferences, best interests There are things we have to do that will be conturing to your best interests There are choices like this that we have to make - but no one can ever make these choices - our wiring. Is egoism correct? It is a psychological theory Grand Unifying theory, could be false/wrong Egoism: an empirical, theory ought to be based on experience Reason, there are things people can know A theory is only empirical if its at least possible for observations to show that the theory is false/wrong. Theory: always acts on self interest - its got to be an empirical theory because its about philosophy, which is an empirical science Can we imagine situations where someone does not act within their own self interests? Example: self sacrifice: they are not maximizing their own pleasure or happiness cutting & anorexia - they are not maximizing their own pleasures bad relationships - difficult to get out of, and then possibly back in another after pathological cases, not acting to maximize their pleasure or satisfaction Guilt can be overcome if the choice went towards pleasure and happiness People will do the right thing without maximizing their own interests or pleasure Ex) jumping on a grenade to lessen the impact for those around it Think of cases that falsify the theory, and then see if there are any actual such cases in the world, therefore we reject the theory because it is then false Sacrifices people make for their own children, especially when there is not a great deal of satisfaction - when there isnt much happiness, it will be a falsifying case Not optimistically, but for them its the right thing to do They get pleasure from the sense that this is the right thing to do Look at them, do they look like they are having a good time? Often the answer is no. Care for the child, but might institutionalize a child if they are physically or mentally ill Some parents wont do that, some will Forgetting the ethical issue, you will find a happier family when the child has been institutionalized. WHOLE POINT: people will choose unhappy things If this is true, there is some room for ethics, because they might choose the thing that makes them unhappy. People act heroically at the cost of themselves, does anyone believe in heroic action? Gospel of John- lay his life down for his fellow man - idea of self sacrifice Titanic - lay their lives down for strangers Sacrifice friends over perfect stranger, where does that warmth of feeling come from? Yet one might still do the relevant thing. There is non egoistic action About Epicureans: Egoism is a threat to ethics Everyone always acts for themselves - within their own best interest and there is no choice about this matter (but if there really is no choice, then its just a waste of time to tell people to do what they cant) It is obvious sometimes we dont act solely for ourselves Altruistic action? Behaviorist criterion of wanting Action/choice is the criterion of whether there is a desire Way of thinking about the mind I cant see your thoughts or emotions We can see what we do, how you talk (external) You can never know what is going on within someones mind Behaviorists say - there is nothing going on internally, only observe responses, can predict what they will do If you take this general view of mental life If you got to go get your kid in the middle of the night you must want to do it, because you chose it We dont normally adopt the moralist way of talking (distances himself from behaviorism) Behaviorism has a great deal of influence in North American psychology til the late 60s, therefore is was an important way of thinking since then, there is a more open way of mental states (interior) Evolutionary Theory If evolution is true, there cant be ethics Organisms fall into groupings (different species of things) and within this their are subspecies Traits get passed along when mating occurs and an offspring is produced, the genes of the parents in their DNA is transfered into the fertilized egg - in effect, the DNA is a recipe for its own replication But theres variation with ethnicities therefore variation with the offspring Different traits within organisms contribute to different levels of biological fitness Biological fitness - the number of offspring that one produces, the more, the greater chances of success Different changes in time effect differences in biological fitness The DNA doesnt want anything, its a machine, it doesnt want to reproduce itself Blackburn points out biologists write about how genes want to reproduce themselves and that they are in competition with each other as if they want their team to win DNA determines the structure of organisms and the structure of the mechanism of reconstruction, male, female Sexually reproducing organisms want to engage in sexual activity This gives people the idea people want to do that They want to produce offspring carrying their genes Now we use birth control to make sure every time we participate in sexual activity an offspring is not produced - hoping not to produce a child Blackburn - doesnt tell us why humans do it You behave in a certain way because of your genes - called behavioral genetics, supposed to explain a great deal about genetics (women are genetically programmed to be careful about seeking mates because they want successful offspring, and they must spend a great deal of time creating that offspring - 9 months) Idea is: investment from the males perspective is very short therefore it is different that women. Explaining why men are more promiscuous than women. But it doesn't explain why they would ever use birth control - no genetic explanation Problem: being exclusively homosexual, no chance to succeed in sexual reproduction Blackburn - behavioral genetics is not particularly convincing, so its not Causes necessitate their effect - every event is caused Causality is transitive, a is bigger than b, b is bigger than c, then a is bigger than c Causes precede their effects in time, if a causes b then a is before b Gradually, we are going to come to causes that were created even before we were born. A cause that necessitated me to buy the ice cream before i was born. Fixed by events that happened long long ago, I am not responsible for all the things in the chain, but if Im not responsible and it caused me to buy the ice cream, then Im not responsible for buying the ice cream, so I never decided to buy it. Determinism: A threat to ethics. Suggests no one is responsible, everything we do are causes over what we do, and everyone acts on this Evolutionary theory is thought by some to be a deterministic theory Blackburn doesnt deal with this but he deals with genetic determinism Part of the explanation of our nature is that it is genetic The deterministic picture that necessitates the effect says we are like the light (pushes a bottom, then we do what were caused to do, like very unintelligent machines, part of the view) blackburn replies (input responsiveness) Reason responsiveness We are reason sensitive People are not programmed to learn english as an infant If we were to be put anywhere in the world we would tailor out linguistic performance Our program doesnt determine what language we are going to speak We can learn a wide range of languages When it comes to actions, we are not programmed, we can do many things The moral climate wont be sufficient to guarantee anything or no one would violate it, there isnt a good reason There is room for ethics because nothing is determined Ethics influences what we do
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