course summary notes

Topics: Morality, Ethics, Human Pages: 15 (2941 words) Published: October 16, 2013
CHAPTER 1 Ethics & ethical reasoning
Ethics as a set of guidance/principles/norms which shows we how should we act, how should we choose, how should we live.

Argument: a group of statements (premises: basis of conclusion) which are claimed to provide support/reasons for the other statement

3 kinds of arguments
 Deductive argument: premises are clamed to support the conclusion in such a way that it is impossible for the premises to be true, the conclusion false. Conclusion is claimed to follow necessarily from premises

Invalid argument: possible for the premises to be true & conclusion false Soundness = a deductive argument that is valid & has all true premises

Valid ≠ sound; e.g. all women have ear-holes; Joyce is a womanJoyce has a ear-hole sound must be = valid

 Inductive argument: premises are claimed to support the conclusion in such a way that it is improbable (不太可能唔等impossible) the premises be true & conclusion false. Conclusion is claimed to follow only probably from premises

 Argument from analogy/ analogical reasoning: reasoning that depends on a comparison of instances (有相似地方因而推論兩者相似,但不一定準確) - Sufficiently similar instances  good  no right/ wrong Fallacy = a defect in an argument that consists in something other than merely false premises Informal fallacy = can be detected only through analysis of content of argument e.g. all trees are plants; all plants are buildings; all trees are buildings  valid but not sound

Ethical relativism: ethical values/ beliefs are relative to various individuals/societies  no objective right/wrong

2 kinds of moral relativism
 personal/ individual ethical relativism
- ethical judgments/ beliefs are the expressions of moral outlook & attitudes of individual persons - personal choices e.g. homosexuality
- people are isolated; choices would not affect others e.g. what cloths we wear

 Social/cultural ethical relativism
- ethnical values vary from society to society
- basis for moral judgments lies in social/ cultural views  no particular social ethical norms are better than others absolutely

Ground of supporting ethical relativism - diversity of ethical views e.g.楢山節孝 - ethical uncertainty: various choices & values among people e.g. pre-marriage pregnancy - situational differences: different places have different cultures & values difficult to judge primacy of moral codes

 moral progress/improvement of society e.g. freedom
 moral judgment of practice of other ethnic groups

CHAPTER 2 Consequentialism - Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism/ Greatest happiness principle
- choose the best overall consequences for everyone concerned = do that produces the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest no. of people = maximizes utility: happiness/pleasure (spiritually) net utility = pleasure - pain - moral worth of an action is determined only by its resulting outcome  nature of act/motive - no best/worse, only better options

Principle of utility
- every action should do according to the tendency which it appears to have to augment/diminish happiness to the party whose interest is in question - promote greater happiness in choices/actions e.g. killing is morally wrong unless it promotes happiness

Types of pleasure - physical pleasure: satisfaction of physical need e.g. hungry - intellectual pleasure: satisfaction of spiritual need e.g. happiness derived from reading - aesthetic pleasure: e.g. painting

Intrinsic(= end) goods: pleasure/happiness itself
Instrumental(= means) goods: useful for attaining the goals of happiness & pleasure e.g. freedom, books Measurement of utility
Intensity: more intense the pleasure  better
Duration: longer lasting the pleasure  better
Fruitfulness: immediate/ long-term
Likelihood: higher probability of occurrence  better

Evaluation on utilitarianism
 too complex to take count with...
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