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PHIL 2070 Chapter Notes -Ethology, Social Code

Course Code
PHIL 2070
Susan Dimock

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PHIL 2070 Jan. 8
Ethical Relativism
-Moral Relativism: what is right or good is dependent on the relevant party
-Individual Moral Relativism: what is right or good is determined by each
-Cultural Moral Relativism: what is right or good is determined by each culture
-Objective Moral Values: there are absolute answers to all questions
The Folkway is “Right”. Rights. Morals
-Folkway: the right way is the way which ancestors have used and have passed
- Rights can never be ‘God-given’ or ‘natural’ or absolute in any sense
- Morals can never be intuitive, they are historical, empirical, and institutional
Integration of the Mores of a Group or Age
- Changes in history are primarily due to changes in life conditions
- New philosophies and ethical rules are created to justify the new ways
Purpose of the Present Work
-Ethology: the study of manners, customs, usages, and mores and the study of the
way in which they are formed, grow or decay
- Greeks: ethos, sum of the characteristic usages, ideas, standards, and codes by
which a group was differentiated and individualized
- Romans: mores, the notion that customs served welfare, and had traditional and
mystic sanction, so that they were properly authoritative and sacred
-Moral: what belongs or appertains to the mores
Why Use the Word Mores?
- In mores we must recognize a dominating force in history, constituting a
condition as to do what can be done, and as to the methods which can be
Mores are a Directive Force
- Philosophy and ethics are pursued as separate disciplines, and are both products
of the folkways (secondary and derived from the mores)
- The real process in bodies of men is not one of deduction from philosophy or
ethics, it is one of minute efforts to live well under the certain conditions,
maintained by fellow men, to act as a union, as a result folkways become coercive
What is Goodness or Badness of the Mores?
- A more is always good at the time in which it is used, if the life conditions
change, the mores may prove to bring pain or suffering (bad)
- Everything regards mores within a time must be regarded as justified by the time,
to learn from the past not to criticize it, but rather critique it
-Good Mores: well adapted to the situation
-Bad Mores: are not so adaptive
The Mores have the Authority of Facts
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