Philosophy & Ethics G582 Key Philosophers (OCR)

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Flashcards on Philosophy & Ethics G582 Key Philosophers (OCR), created by A K on 06/17/2014.

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DAVID HUME Naturalistic fallacy - An "ought" cannot be derived from and "is." - G E Moore refers to this in meta ethics - E.g. "Killing makes people unhappy, therefore we ought not to kill." This is a category mistake - it makes an illogical jump.
G E MOORE Principia Ethica (1903) Intuitionism - Though goodness cannot be defined, we must still be able to make moral judgments. - We cannot use our 5 senses, but our "moral intuition." - Good is a simple notion, like trying to define yellow. - "When I am asked, 'What is good?', my answer is good is good, and that is the end of the matter."
H. A PRITCHARD Intuitionism - The moral claim "ought" can be given no definition, but everyone notices when they ought to take an action. - Distinguishes between reason and intuition. Reason looks at the facts, intuition determines if an action is wrong. - Some people's morals are different. Intuition is not something everyone can use, and some have developed their moral thinking further than others.
W. D. ROSS Intuitionism - Acknowledges debt to Moore and Pritchard: "right" and "obligatory" are indefinable. - Certain actions are obviously right - Prima Facie duties. E.g. Non-maleficence, justice.
A J AYER Language, Truth and Logic (1936) Emotivism - Roots in 1920s logical positivism. - Moral language does not deal with objective, knowable facts, but with opinions. - All we are saying is "Boo to murder" or "hurrah for justice," hence the nickname "the boo-hurrah theory."
C L STEVENSON Ethics and Language (1944) Emotivism - Modifies Ayer's ideas: Ethical statements are opinion, but are not arbitrary. - Our language is not based on the mood of the day, but on our firm, justifiable beliefs about how the world should work.
R M HARE The Language of Morals (1956) Prescriptivism - Forms a distinctive non-cognitivist view. - When we make ethical statements, we are not just expressing feeling, but encouraging others to share our view. - Ethical language has meaning on a subjective level, human level - moral knowledge is still denied.
BERTRAND RUSSELL Criticisms of emotivism "I cannot see how to refute the arguments for the subjectivity of ethical values, but I find myself incapable of believing that all that is wrong with wanton and cruelty is that I don't like it."
JAMES RACHELS Criticisms of emotivism Moral judgments appeal to reason, they are not just expressions of feeling, and else they would be arbitrary.
ARISTOTLE 384-322 BCE Virtue Ethics - "We are not concerned with what goodness is, but how to become good people, since otherwise our enquiry would be useless." - To practice virtue is to develop phronesis or practical wisdom, and ultimately achieve eudaimonia. - VE does not ask "what is the right thing to do?" but "what sort of person should I become?"
ROBERT LOUDEN Criticisms of Virtue Ethics - Virtue ethics is of little practical help when faced with a moral dilemma. - "It is not always easy to fathom out what the moral exemplar would do in our shoes." - In the current Syria conflict, how can policy makers show compassion for both foreign citizens and their own, strike the balance between bravery vs. rashness, and decide what constitutes a proportional response?
SUSAN WOLF Moral Saints (1982) Criticisms of Virtue Ethics It is difficult to be attracted to become the virtuous person, as virtue results in creating boring people, and should only be used in moderation.
ELIZABETH ANSCOMBE Modern Moral Philosophy (1958) Modern Virtue Ethics - The very concept of moral rules and obligation is inherently flawed, and in stressing the principle of autonomy it rejects the community aspect of morality. - Act based ethical systems seem to ignore the fact that many people do not uphold a belief in God. - Anscombe suggests a return to the emphasis of "human flourishing."
PHILIPPA FOOT Virtues and Vices (1978) Modern Virtue Ethics -Virtue is often an important part of happiness, if not guaranteed. - Foot Draws on Aquinas and Kant, to show that virtue was a vital part of their thinking, proving it part of tradition.
RICHARD TAYLOR Ethics, Faith and Reason (1985) Modern Virtue Ethics - Taylor condemns the ethics of religion as corrupting western civilization. - Pride in one's self if a good example of a virtue to be developed, but condemned by Christianity. - A focus on the individual, not the divine, is needed.
ALISDAIR MACINTYRE After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory (1981) Modern Virtue Ethics - MacIntyre advocates an aretaic approach to ethics, more in tune with modern life. - People are not concerned with the pros and cons of different ethical systems, but rather we should look at virtues throughout history, to see how they work in the modern day. - We should see our life as a story. By deciding our telos, we decide what actions to take.
C. A CAMPBELL Definition of libertarianism "A man can be said to exercise free will in a morally significant way only in so far as his chosen act is one of which he is the sole cause or author, and only if - in the straightforward categorical sense of the term - he 'could have done otherwise'."
IMMANUEL KANT 1924-1804 Libertarianism - Free will is essential to morality - "ought implies can." - Explanation relies on the understanding of 2 realms, the phenomenal in which the PUC rules, and the noumenal where we can make free decisions. - Soft determinism is a "miserable subterfuge."
BARUCH SPINOZA 1632-1677 Determinism "Men are deceived if they think themselves free, an opinion which consists only in this, that they are conscious of their actions and ignorant of the causes by which they are determined." "In the mind there is no absolute free will; but the mind is determined to will this or that by a cause, and this by another cause, and so on until infinity."
JOHN LOCKE 1632-1704 Determinism Poses an analogy in which a sleeping man is locked in a darkened room. Upon awakening, the man decides he will stay, unaware that the room is, in fact, locked. The man has no freedom to choose, however because of his ignorance, he believes he has made a free decision.
DAVID HUME 1711-1776 Compatibilism - All things are necessary - Hume dismisses the notion that some things are uncaused or down to chance. - We do not blame people for things they do ignorantly, and even less for things that are not premeditated. Free will and moral responsibility actually require some form of determinism.
DANIEL DENNET Compatibilism - Cognitive competance has developed over billions of years through evolutionary biology (More complex brains etc.). There is thus an entirely naturalistic explanation as to why our cognitive powers dwarf that of a chimp or dolphin. - However, this intelligence sets us apart from other species. We don't just act for reasons, but we represent them to ourselves and others, and this gives us the obligation to think ahead, anticipate and see the consequences of our actions.
ST PAUL Theological Determinism - "For those God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his son." (Romans 8:29) - Freedom is not being bound by the rules of the OT, the ability to choose and accept God, and to overcome sin through Christ's resurrection. However God chooses who will be saved, and it is through his grace that we may receive salvation.
ST AUGUSTINE 354-430 CE Theological determinism "The potter has authority over the clay from the same lump to make one vessel for honour and another for contempt." Just because God is omniscient, does not mean we do not have free will. God has foreknowledge of our choices and the decisions we make, emphasising his omnipotence.
JEAN CALVIN Theological determinism - "Eternal life is fore ordained for some, and eternal damnation for others." - The absolute sovereignty of God (That nothing happens apart from the will of God) is held in conjunction with notions of God's omnipotence and omniscience. Because of human depravity, we can only know God if he chooses to be known, and pardon and forgiveness of sin are only possible by the grace of God.
MILLARD ERIKSON Theological determinism "Not only is [God] active in everything that occurs, but [god] has planned it. What is happening now was planned a long time ago."
PELAGIUS 360-420 CE Libertarian Christianity Rejected doctrines of original sin, instead believing in man's freewill and inherent capacity for good.
KARL RAHNER Libertarian Christianity Developed inclusivism - as opposed to exclusivism. Humanity can respond to God at any time, because of a gift of grace in each person.
JÜRGEN MOLTMANN Libertarian Christianity God's knowledge is not something fixed, but is developing, shown in the cross as God "learnt" what it meant to suffer. This means that history is not determined by God.
TED HONDERICH Determinism Since everything is physically determined, there is no choice or personal responsibility. There is not even any "self" within us that is the origin of our actions, and instead the mind is a by-product of brain activity and actions are caused by psycho-neural events involving both mind and brain. Each action is merely an effect.
THOMAS AQUINAS 1225-1274 Conscience as reason - 2 elements to conscience - the synderesis, or right reason, the awareness of being able to do good and avoid evil. 2nd is the conscienta, the practical application of the synderesis. - Conscience is an innate is an innate sense of right and wrong given to humans by God. i.e. God gave us the ability to work out right/wrong (synderesis rule), analogous to primary precepts in natural law. - At the same time, conscience is a faculty of reason, the conscienta, "reason making right decisions." It requires us to use reason to find the actions to a particular situation, analogous to secondary precepts.
JOSEPH BUTLER 1692-1752 Innate Conscince - The most crucial thing distinguishing between men and women and the animal world is the ability to reason and rationalise. This is evidence for the possession of a conscience. - Human nature is hierarchical, and at the top is the "principle of reflection" closely related to conscience and God given. - Conscience has supreme authority, and we must follow it to lead a proper, happy life. It "magisterially exerts itself, without being consulted."
JOHN HENRY NEWMAN 1801-1890 Innate conscience - Similar theories on conscience as Butler. - When someone is following their conscience, they are, to an extent, following a divine law given by God. - Newman believes it is God's voice giving us direction, a divine law to be followed at all times.
ST PAUL Innate conscience -Conscience both reflects and directs our behaviour. - Seems to believe that we all know the will of God. Paul writes to the Romans "When gentiles who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, are a law to themselves... They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts." - People with weak consciences can still do wrong.
ST JEROME 347-420 CE Innate conscience - Introduced the Greek "synderesis" which describes the innate ability to reason good and evil. - Speaks of the "spark of conscience," a rational faculty in that it "knows" our thoughts, emotive in that it makes us feel guilt.
ST AUGUSTINE 354-430 CE Innate conscience - Conscience is the voice of God, enabling us to see "the moral rules... from which all laws are copied." - Conscience is a rational faculty, which we must seek within ourselves, bringing us closer to God.
SIGMUND FREUD 1856-1939 Conscience from guilt - Conscience is the result of our parental conditioning as young children. Praise and blame from our parents stays with us, even when they are gone. - Conscience resides in the super ego. Like a moral policeman, the super ego "observes the ego, judges it, threatens it with punishment, exactly like the parents whose place it has taken." (Freud, 1933).
JEAN PAIGET/LAWRENCE KOHLBERG Post-freudian views on conscience - Both associated with developmental psychology. Piaget studied how children play games, identifying 3 stages of development: Age 0-5 is non-moral, 5-10 involves heteronomous morality, then autonomous morality, ages 10 onward. - Kohlberg identifies 6 further stages of development. Most do not get past "keeping the law" but further on is caring for others and then respect for universal principles and demands of an individual conscience.
ERICH FROMM 1900-1980 Post-freudian views on conscience - 2 consciences: The immature, or authoritarian conscience, and the mature, or humanistic conscience. - The former is as a result of external authorities, but to lead fulfilling lives we must progress to the latter, using our own experiences, and that of others.
MARC D HAUSER Other ideas of conscience - Humans are born with "innate" instincts, not genetic. - Hauser uses the "linguistic analogy" suggested by John Rawls. Just as we develop different, and mutually unintelligable, languages on the basis of universal grammatical principles, so Hauser argues there are deep moral "intuitions" that underlie cultural variations in social norms.
THOMAS AQUINAS Sexual Ethics - In Summa Theologicae, Aquinas writes sex is wrong when "the act of its nature is incompatible with the purpose of the sex act." - Sex is also wrong if it "conflicts with right reason" with respect to the other party, for example rape or adultery.
TIMOTHY HSIAO Natural law and sexual ethics - "Sexual ethics begin with a person as an embodied subject of the good. Our bodies are part of us, to an instrument that we inhabit or operate." - Morality is grounded in human nature. What is right/wrong is not along the lines of what is true for animals, what is statistically normal, or even what God commands, but "that which conduces to the flourishing of our human capacities, powers and functions."
KARL MARX 1818-1883 Business ethics - Brought the word "capitalism" to prominence, though used it pejoratively. - Those who do not own the means of production (the protleriat or working class) must sell their labour, leaving the capitalist class, or bourgeoisie, with excessive bargaining power.
ADAM SMITH The Wealth of Nations (1776) amoral business - Suggests business is guided by an "invisible hand." - By focusing solely on its own security and gain, "he frequently promotes society's interests more effectively than when he intends to promote it."
MILTON FRIEDMANN 1912-2006 amoral business "The social responsibility of business is to increase its profit." This is what it is good at, subject to limits set down by law.
WILL HUTTON The State We're In (1995) The third way Hutton advocates that all stakeholders should have a share of the business, such as the environment, consumers, employees and the government.
CHARLES BLATTBERG Criticisms of the third way Blattberg rejects the stakeholder approach for assuming that the interests of all stakeholders can be balanced.
JAMES LOVELOCK 1919- Gaia hypothesis - Developed Gaia hypothesis as a challenge to the anthopocentric world view, instead contending the earth is a living whole. - Name derived by William Golding after Gaia, the Greek goddess of the earth. - In early works, lovelock saw Gaia as regulated by the organisms within it, later to argue that regulation is conducted by the whole of Gaia itself. - recovery from the Chernobyl disaster is given as evidence for the intelligence of Gaia.
LYNN WHITE JR The historical roots of our ecological crisis (1967) Blames Christianity for establishing a dualism between man and nature, for example seen in Gen 1:26-28 were we are told humans are in "the image of God" and that we should "subdue" and "have dominion" over all living things.
MICHAEL LA BOSSIERE Shallow ecology Some species should be allowed to die as part of the natural evolutionary process - protection is not obligatory.
ARNE NAESS 1912-2009 Deep ecology - Heavily influenced by the work of Aldo Leopold in 1949, with help from Naess's collaborator, George Sessions. - Refers to his approach as ecosophy, the idea all living things have rights. - Naess and Sessions reject stewardship as arrogant. Because richness and diversity contribute to well being, and human impact is excessive, there is obligation to change. - Eightfold platform for deep ecology includes abandoning goals for economic growth, preserve diversity, live in self reliant communities, and "touch the earth lightly."
IMMANUEL KANT 1724-1804 Sexual ethics - "Taken by itself, sexual love is a degradation of human nature." - Kant says that sex should take place in marriage, as in this case, the sexual act is taking place in a broader contract between two people. His main concern seems to be that people don't get used for sex, then discarded.
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