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Michele Merritt

on 19 April 2016

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Transcript of Ethics:1

Morality as Virtue: Aristotle
The Golden Mean
Back to Teleology
What's the Telos of Humans?
What is true about our nature?
Eudaimonia and Rationality
We will NATURALLY to be happy.
But to be VIRTUOUS, we must contemplate the good
Temperance and Strength of Will
Continence vs. Incontience
Can we really be 'weak- willed'?
Morality as Sentiment
How we
learn morals
Virtues (and Vices)
Courage, Temperance, Liberality,
Magnificence, Pride, Temper,
Friendliness, Truthfulness, Wittiness,
Shame, Justice
Instead, we experience
things as beautiful, ugly, pleasurable, painful, etc.
and label them 'good'
and 'bad' - Sentiment is
from when morality is
derived, not reason.
Hume again:
(cc) photo by Jakob Montrasio
The Highest Virtue
Why must rationality/contemplation
be utilized in order to acheive a 'good life' ?
Relativist or Absolutist?
Specific actions?
Absolutist vs. Relativist Morals
Motivation: Altruistic vs. Egoistic
Kant's Categorical Imperative
Maxims = personal law of action
and Ethics

What sorts of things
count as ethical
questions/problems? (metaethics)
one of the first
dilemmas of ethics:
Euthyphro's Paradox
Applicability of
Aristotle Today?
why must Hume insist that reason alone cannot produce ethical principles?
necessary/ a priori?
No: You cannot derive an 'ought' from an 'is'
Problems with
* The Good Will (contra Aristotle's Happiness)
* Rationality (contra Hume)
* Duty vs. Inclination (we must be happy, but not because we want to)
Emphasizing Intentions: Deontology

Imperatives: Hypothetical vs. Categorical
All your maxims should conform to a universal law - (CI, 1): Act only such that you can will that your what you are doing could become a universal law
Other versions?
Treat people, whether others or your own person never as mere means, but as ends in themselves

Act so as to promote the flourishing of humanity
Problems for Deontology:
* Conflicting Duties
* White Lies and other 'Grey Areas'
* Inclinations = entirely discounted?
Bentham and the
Hedonistic Calculus
The Two Soveriegn Masters"
Happiness as the only INTRINSIC as oppposed to INSTRUMENTAL good
Sound Familiar?
Higher and Lower Pleasures
But how are we to judge?
Rejecting Morality
Existentialist Ethics
Is Nietzsche as destructive as he seems?
Failure of all 'systems' of good and bad

Choice and the individual

How can we be both existentialists and humanists?
'Standard' Ethics vs. Ethics of Care

Why might taking women's experience into account change ethical theorizing?

Does this entail moral relativism?
'Wille zur macht'
* Reason vs Emotion

* Public vs. Private

* Socially constructed
(male) self
Against Natural Law Theory:
Corvino on Homosexuality
Unnatural = Bad??
But what IS natural/unnatural?
* the Abnormal

* Not practiced by other species

* Not innate

* Violates an organ's 'telos'

* what is disgusting
Aristotle + Christianity
= Natural Law Theory (sometimes conflated with Divine Command Theory of Ethics)
What is Morality?
What are Moral Issues?
In other words, we never have a sense impression of 'right' and 'wrong'
Emotivism: Morality derives from the emotions/sentiment
Where do our ethical laws come from?
Ring of Gyges
(from Plato's Republic)
Utilitarianism: Morality is determined by how much happiness an action produces
Full transcript