Review for final exam
What is “ethics”?
Distinction between descriptive claims and normative claims
Why people have a belief vs Whether belief is true
Objectivity in ethics
Distinguished from cultural relativism
Distinguished from subjectivism
Arguments for and against
Why be moral?
Is there opposition between justice and self-interest? Between expedience and morality?
Nietzsche’s “genealogy” of morals – rejection of nihilism and authorship of values
Plato on rational self-interest
Morality and religion
Plato: is it good because God loves it or does God love it because it’s good? A question about whether goodness is intrinsic.
Natural Law: there are objective truths about morality/justice discoverable by human intellect. Manmade laws must conform to natural law to be valid.
Plato and Cicero on virtues
Thomas Aquinas on virtue and knowing the divine
Martin Luther King, Jr. – modern use of natural law theory; civil disobedience
Rationalist constructivism: Kant’s theory
Bentham version, Mill version
Greatest good for the greatest number
Hedonistic conception of pleasure in Bentham; Mill disagrees
Mill defines distinction between deontological theories and consequentialist theories
Act-utilitarianism vs rule-utilitarianism
Scottish enlightenment tradition
Hutcheson and the “moral sense”
Hume and Smith on sympathy
Smith’s “impartial spectator”
Relationship between self-interest and cooperation
“Morals by Agreement”
Virtues as states of character conducive to human flourishing
Doctrine of the mean
Human flourishing distinguished from mere pleasures/contentment
VE helps solve motivational problem for felt obligations
VE gives us a way to avoid Kant vs Utilitarian dilemmas
Readings: assigned selections from ch. 1; chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10; Richter handout; Regan handout; Foot handout; King handout, Smith reading on website, Taylor videos
See also: slides