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PHIL261 midterm Study Guide.docx

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University of Maryland
PHIL 261
Lane Des Autels

THANK YOU EVERYONE WHO WORKED ON THIS. THIS HAS BEEN SO HELPFUL! GOOD LUCK ON THE TEST EVERYONE Q: Do Regan and Taylor agree with each other with inherent worth/value? Whose idea was it? A: Regan believes in strong animal rights, so he likes all animals (including insects) and believes they have inherent worth. Taylor is a biocentrist so he believes that any living thing with a good of its own has moral considerability and, therefore, inherent worth. Regan is the first to use inherent worth. Singer uses sentience to explain what has worth→mammals (mammals arent the only sentient creatures?) Regan uses inherent worth→all animals Warren says inherent worth is “too mysterious”→animals, but not the same degree as humans Taylor uses good of a thing (factors can affect something in a good or bad way)→living organisms What are all the fallacies we should know? There’s a fallacy part at the bottom of the original review sheet Classical value theory? ^only humans produce value? nature is valueless? ***************************************************************************** *************************** ● fact-value gap: Facts: are empirical, descriptive, and subject to scientific assessment (typically are statements), Claims about the world, truth requires investigation Values are normative and non empirical. The way things ought to be. Fact-value gap: one cannot derive an ought (value) statement from an is (fact) statement. i.e. one cannot derive a statement about values from a statement of fact. Comes from David Hume However, you often need empirical statements/assumptions in conjunction with an “ought” premise to have a valid argument (we often employ scientific inquiry to determine which assumptions to rely on). Science and ethics are therefore tied. ● logical validity and soundness: validity→ the conclusion follows from the premises (the truth of the premises leads to the truth of the conclusion (premises aren’t necessarily true) soundness→the premises are true and the argument is valid. Validity does not = truth. Validity is about form, soundness is about form + content ● psychological vs. ethical egoism: Psychological Egoism→every human act is motivated by self interest (Psychological Thesis) ● Philosopher’s Toolkit: Intractable theory (Back and forth) ● Cannot be proven empirically (This is what makes it a thesis vs. being a theory) ● Altruism is impossible ● descriptive ● supporters think you can always reinterpret something as selfish 1 Ethical egoism→each person ought to act to promote his/her self interest (Ethical Theory) ● Philosopher’s Toolkit: Goes against natural human ethos by treating people as commodities (dehumanization) ● prescriptive ● no environmental ethic could really come from this ● how would we resolve moral disagreements? ● used to justify atrocities ● Related to “Social Darwinism” Only the fit survive so we ought to act in our interests to survive. Divine command theory: ● morality is based on religion, whether an act is right or not is not relevant, do what god says to do ● Euthyphro Dilemma- Is an act right because God commands it? or Does God command acts because they are right? ● 1.) there is a god 2.) god commands and forbids certain acts 3.) an act is right iff god commands it 4.) humans can sometimes ascertain what it is god commands or forbids. ● Problems with DCT ○ What are the scriptures? bible,quran etc. ○ Are they consistent? ○ Scriptural ideas we wouldn’t say are moral? (genocide, slavery, gender equality) ○ cant empirically prove the premises/assumptions. ○ If God commands things because they are right, they are right independently and there must be some other feature that makes the acts right. (part of Euthyphro dilemma) Social Darwinism (Ayn Rand): the fittest ought to survive (normative part), we have no duties to render aid to the less fit. Not actually created or advocated by Darwin himself ● What is fitness in relation to human beings? ● Has been used to justify atrocities in human history ● context: discussed during the argument against ethical egoism ● Poverty was often a sign of weakness, not deserving of survival. Welfare programs are thus unnatural. ● bad news for the environment mostly because it is unlikely the environment will actually be ruined in our lifetime, therefore no in this generation would have any duty to start saving it ● Leads to indifference to other people’s issues unless those issues affect your interests. ● Infers we shouldn’t care for disabled or babies. (unless doing so promotes our self interest and we are using it as a tool to increase the likelihood we will survive/thrive) Consequentialism: (Mill) ~the rightness or wrongness of an act is dependent on the consequences ~motives are not taken into account 2 ~ UTILITARIANISM - Jeremy Bentham and John Stewart Mill, based on foundation laid by David Hume - also Peter Singer - a rational, principled basis for deciding matters of law/policy * Experiences of pleasure/happiness are intrinsically good (good for their own sake) ~ other things are good as a means to some end (above) * Pain and suffering are intrinsically bad * Therefore, we should do whatever results in “good” or has good consequences ~ in other words, we should act in a way to bring about the greatest balance of pleasure over pain (utility over disutility) - Principle of Utility (or, the “greatest happiness principle”) ~What is right (or a duty) is whatever maximizes the total amount of net utility - related to assessing a cost-benefit analysis (this procedure is widely used and recommended in deciding questions of public policy) ~ Utilitarianism has a method for deciding between competing policies, unlike Rights Theory ~ Utilitarianism may be “good news for the environment,” a useful tool for deciding matters of environmental protection ~ Policy matters are typically decided based on utilitarian principles (what will promote the greatest good for the most people), whereas legal issues are typically argued in the context of Rights theory (whose rights were infringed upon, etc.) ~Utilitarianism vs. Ethical Egoism - unlike Ethical Egoism, another consequentialist theory, Utilitarianism takes into account (assigns weight/value to) everyone affected by an act, not only the agent’s well being. Utilitarian theories typically take into account all sentient beings (human and nonhuman animals capable of experiencing pleasure, happiness, pain, and suffering) , motives do not matter, has to do with utilitarianism→act in a way that promotes happiness for the most amount of people. so is this an example of “the ends justify the means?” discussed during utilitarianism: what is right is whatever maximizes the total net utility--- > consequentialists theories - closely related to cost-benefit analysis. - appears to discard moral rules if need be broken. - non - anthropocentric - utilitarianism cannot answer trolly problem (a good moral theory should be able to differentiate between two cases) , utilitarianism cannot, therefore it is a bad moral theory. (this is an example of circular reasoning, must explain what a good moral theory is, can’t have it as your premise because that is what you are trying to prove. problems: can happiness be measured? too demanding (can’t buy nice jeans), doesnt tell us how to distribute the good. Categorical imperative: Kant “You can’t determine the moral value of an act by solely assessing its consequences. 3 Ethics is about adhering to principles no matter the consequences.” ○ Two versions, equally important according to Kant ○ 1) Formula of universal law: “act only on those maxims of one’s actions that one can, as a rational being, will to be (or endorse as) universal”. ■ focus on reciprocity ■ maxim = a rule or guide for living/behaving, a “ground rule” ■ one should not act according to a rule if one would not approve of everyone acting on that rule ■ true in every circumstance→ Formula of the Universal law: only act on principles that are universal ○ 2) Formula of the End itself “never treat a person as a mere means” to an end, but always as an end in themselves ■ person = “rational creature” ■ humans are of value because of their abilities to reflect, decide, judge ■ we must refrain from causing harm to people or acting against their wills ● even if the result of doing so would maximize total net utility ● Animals, however, exist merely as a means to an end (and that end is man) ● Aman who shoots his dog because it is no longer useful “does not fail in his duty to the dog” because “it cannot judge” and he owes no duty to non-rational animals. He can harm the dog, but it is not morally significant. ● CONTEXT:Animal rights theorists and animal liberationists (Singer, Regan) and biocentrists (Taylor) EXPAND the categorical imperative (in a way Kant would not support) to include not only “rational creatures” but also non-human animals, all living things, ecosystems, the earth Kant’s Position is ANTI-CONSEQUENTIALIST Problems for Kant: ● why is rationality so important? ● what about non-rational humans (the very young or cognitively disabled)? Can we use them as means to our ends, or test on them as Kant endorses for animals who share comparable mental capacities as young/disabled humans? ● are humans the only rational creatures? ● are humans even rational? ● do we want absolute moral rules? ● are there times when moral rules are overridable? Prescriptive vs descriptive equality: ○ In the case of descriptive use of equality, the common standard is itself descriptive, e.g. two people weigh the same. factual-based claim ○ Aprescriptive use of equality is present when a prescriptive standard is applied, i.e., a norm or rule, e.g. people ought to be equal before the law. Prescriptive assertions of equality contain at least two components. value-based claim ● sentience as a conceptual foundation for moral considerability: Singer 4 the ability to reason should not be the basis for moral consideration, rather the ability to feel pain, or sentience, should determine whether organisms are given moral consideration ● differences in species may lead to some differences in rights but shouldn’t deter from extending the basic principle of equality. ● the capacity for suffering and enjoying things is a prerequisite for having interests at all ● no experimenting on animals ● radical egalitarianism: Regan Bases equality on inherent value- all who have it have it equally- all subjects of life have inherent value. ● requires: the total abolition of the use of animals in science ● the total dissolution of commercial animal agriculture ● and the total elimination of commercial and sport hunting and trapping. ● since we wouldnt say a retarded child has less inherent value, we can’t say the same for non-human species without being speciests. ● Inherent value belongs equally to those who are the experiencing subjects of life. Problems: Inherent value obscure- negatively defined. What is a subject of life? How to we define it? ● contractarianism: Warren agrees, Regan disagrees ● Definition: theories that justify moral principles and political choices because they depend on social contract as lack of ignorance or uncertainty. ● we sign a metaphorical contract to abide by our society’s morality, so this give us the right to moral consideration ● we ought not to be cruel to animals or kill them without good reason. ● Regan says that subjects of a life have a value independent of both the value they may place upon their lives or experiences and the value others may place upon them (inherent value does not come in degrees) ● Why is rationality morally relevant? it does not make us “better” than other animals or more “perfect”, but it is morally relevant insofar as it provides greater possibilities for cooperation and for the nonviolent resolution of problems. Only we can agree to situations where problem solving and reasoning is relevant to creating solutions. ● rationality as a the basis for moral considerability: Kant -Act only on those maxims of one’s actions that one can, as a RATIONAL being, will to be a universal law -never treat a person as a mere means to an end but always as an end in themselves (in this case the professor stated that person=rational being) c Being the existing subject of a life as the basis for moral considerability: Regan moral considerability should be based on similarities between species, if you are capable of being a subject of a life and have individual welfare→you should have moral considerability 5 ● strong vs weak animal rights: ● Weak animal rights:Any creature whose natural mode of life includes the pursuit of certain satisfactions has the right not to be forced to exist without the opportunity to pursue those satisfactions; any creature which is capable of pain, suffering, or frustration has the right that such experiences not be deliberately inflicted upon it without compelling reason; and that no sentient being should be killed without good reason. Strong animal rights-Regan→non-human animals have essentially the same rights as humans Weak animal rights-Singer, Warren→non-human animals have moral rights, but most of these rights are not identical to those of humans ● dominion as despotism vs stewardship: White despotism→according to god, we are meant to rule the life on the planet (ruler) stewardship→according to god, we are meant to guard the life on the planet (guardian) ● hierarchical conception of nature: WHICH AUTHOR IS THIS? -places man over nature ??? -rank structure -humans are responsible for nature→ places humans over them because they cannot take care of themselves - problem→ do humans lack the knowledge to manage our ecosystems? ● necessary vs sufficient conditions: (goodpaster) - classical ethics has focused on rationality and sentience, but Goodpaster wants to take the road not taken→ - moral considerability necessary and sufficient conditions - neither sentience or rationality are necessary, but sufficient. -necessary→conditionA is said to be necessary for a condition of B iff: the falsity ofA guarantees the falsity of B -ex: for an argument to be sound, it is necessary for it to be valid (sound argument is one that is valid while its premises are true)-- not sure how this is an example of a necessary condition -ex: in order to get anA+ in the class you need to take the final -sufficient→condition A is said to be sufficient for a condition of B iff: the truth of A guarantees the truth of B -ex given in class: getting 100% on all the assignments is sufficient for getting anAin the course. -above the necessary criteria ● instrumental vs inherent value: Taylor (the ethics of respect for nature) Rolston III instrumental→ value dependent on usefulness inherent→ value as independent of usefulness ● biocentric outlook (extending community to animals): Taylor and Goodpaster 1. humans are part of the Earth’s community 2. the natural world is an organic system 6 3. organisms are the teleological centers of life 4. humans are not superior ● respect for nature: Taylor a fundamental moral attitude we should have ?? -Every individual living thing in nature is a “teleological-center-of-life,” basically meaning that each living thing has their own intrinsic purpose or worth in the grand design of nature (tell me if I’m using teleological wrong!), all have equal intrinsic value (like Devall and Sessions) -using centers-of-life as mere means demonstrates a lack of respect for the lives and therefore is intrinsically wrong -not sentience centered like Regan or Singer ● good of a thing: Taylor a thing can be benefited or harmed but does not require having interests, can act in interests. Not coextensive with sentience --our duty to promote the goods of these centers-of-life as ends in themselves; goods of their own that we can morally consider for their sake, “welfare interests” can be harmed even and especially in non-sentient beings, even if the living thing does not have “preference interests” (conscious desires,wants) (counterargument for those who question why we should care about their interests if a living being doesn’t have any (non-sentient)) ● land pyramid: Leopold Land is a biotic mechanism and nothing can’t exist without everything else. Top predators→carnivores→herbivores→primary producers→sunlight, atmosphere, etc. ● citizenship: Leopold changes humans from owners of land to citizens of land ● holism: Leopold When all natural systems are treated as one→he wants humans to be part of the equal treatment, they are not above the natural world ● summary moral maxim: Leopold A thing is right when it preserves the well-being of the biotic community. It is not right when it opposes the well-being of the biotic community. ● 3 scientific cornerstones of the Land Ethic: Callicott evolutionary biology, ecological biology, astronomy ??? Is astronomy correct?????? why are these important cornerstones? what do they have to offer to bolster Leopold’s account? they are there to bolster his philosophy and help understand his theories. “Here in outline, then, are the conceptual and logical foundations of the land ethic: its conceptual elements are a Copernican cosmology, a Darwinian proto sociobiological natural history of ethics, Darwinian ties of kinship among all forms of life on Earth, and an Eltonian model (ecological theory and interconnectedness)” - These all are reasons for having the land ethic, and why one is necessary, due to ethic coming before reasoning due to community engagements 7 between people (limitation of freedom in order to join a society where you can benefit more than as an individual. 1. Evolutionary biology- links ethics and social organization 2. Ecological Biology- social integration of human and nonhuman nature. 3. Copernican Astronomy- the earth is only a small part of the universe. ● environmental fascism: Regan Criticism of Leopold’s holistic attitude, Regan disregard the rights of the individual for the sake of the environment ● Fritzell’s paradox: - either: - plain members of biotic community -no responsibility to other creatures -or we’re special or superior - our moral obligations only apply to us, not animals -response: -nature is not amoral -darwin’s sociobiology shows this, but was not well received Humans cannot be different and on the same level as the environment→criticism of Leopold and Callicott (ecosophy) ● ecosophy: Leopold and Callicott 1. human needs/goals are not privileged 2. humans should leave ecology untouched 3. humans should contemplate/understand nature 4. nature is too complex for human understanding 5. nature is a holistic system at dynamic equilibrium ● contradictions in ecosophy: Watson 1. if humans have thrown nature out of equilibrium, this implies that humans are separate 2. posing man against nature is anthropocentric 3. dangers of appealing to “natural” or “normal” 4. biocentrism argues that we should allow all biotic life to develop into its full potential yet they deny this to humans→ directly criticizing Taylor ● anthropocentric vs anthropogenic value: anthropocentric→value is human centered anthropogenic→ value is generated by humans Centric: We like trees, but we need room to build a shopping mall, so we will cut them all down. Genic: We like trees because of a reason (such as aesthetic, historical, or health value), so we choose to save them from a bulldozer even though we can’t build a shopping mall. ● naturalizing value: Rolston III Attempting to take (human) opinion out of value rolston criticizes the idea that value requires a human to exist. 8 value is apart of nature, independent of humans regardless of whether or not a human acknowledges or appreciates it, it still has good or value. value can exists without a mental state. ● ideal observer subjectivism: Hettinger morality has to do with what morals an ideal observer would hold EQUIVOCATION?: logical fallacy -the use of ambiguous language to conceal the truth ● using a term more than once in a chain of reasoning but changing its meaning ● all that is light is not dark ● a feather is light ● a feather is not dark ● moral monism: Norton The idea that one overarching moral theory can prescribe all policy and human actions. In an environmental ethics context, this has led to a debate between anthropocentric and biocentric thinkers. This is discussed at length by Norton, who objects to the idea that only one theory can be used to arrive at appropriate environmental policies. ● applied vs. practical philosophy: Norton applied→philosophical argument about principles having to do with ideas behind policy goals practical→philosophical argument about principles having to do with tools to resolve policy goals ● environmental pragmatism: Norton we do not need to have a universally accepted philosophy (moral monism), we have to act on one that is accepted by most people or a combination of ecological ethics. ● aesthetic value as the basis for moral considerability: Russow Intrinsic value stems from aesthetic value (how things look to people) which grants moral considerability Philosopher’s Toolkit ● begging the question: (I believe it was Kant who did this?) basing a conclusion on an assumption that is as much in need of proof or demonstration as the conclusion itself (the conclusion is masquerading as a premise) - gay marriage is wrong→marriage is between a man and a woman ● straw-man fallacy: Regan→claims that utilitarianism treats individuals as “mere receptacles” ?? misrepresenting an opponent’s position to create the illusion of having refuted it. The straw man fallacy occurs in the following pattern of argument: 1. Person 1 has position X. 2. Person 2 disregards certain key points of X and instead presents the superficially 9 similar position Y. The position Y is a distorted version of X and can be set up in several ways, including: 1. Presenting a misrepresentation of the opponent's position. 2. Quoting an opponent's words out of context—i.e., choosing quotations that misrepresent the opponent's actual intentions (see [4] fallacy of quoting out of context). 3. Presenting someone who defends a position poorly as the defender, then refuting that person's arguments—thus giving the appearance that every upholder of that position (and thus the position itself) has
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