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UA PHIL 150C1 - Exam 2 Study Guide

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PHIL 150 1st EditionExam # 2 Study Guide Lectures: 2 - 51. What thesis about the nature of morality do James and Stuart Rachels illustrate through the cases of Baby Theresa, Jodie and Mary, and Tracy Latimer?- They use those examples to illustrate two features of morality. First, moral judgments must be supported by good reasons, that is, by an accurate representation of the facts and by valid moral principles. Second, moral judgments must give “equal weight to the interests of each individual affected by one’s action.”2. Why do James and Stuart Rachels claim that the conclusion of the Cultural Differences Argument does not follow from the premise?- Because disagreement does not entail that there is no objective truth of the matter. For example, most people believed in the past that the Earth is flat, whereas most people believe today that the Earth is spherical. However, that disagreement does not entail that there is no objective truth about the shape of the Earth.3. Do James and Stuart Rachels say that cultural relativism is false? Explain.- They never directly say that cultural relativism is false, yet they suggest that it is false, because it entails implausible claims. For example, cultural relativism entails that we cannot compare the moral value of different societies. If this were true, then the abolition of slavery in the US was not a case of moral progress—on the contrary, cultural relativism entails that the abolition of slavery was wrong, because slavery was upheld by the moral code of (at least) the pre-Civil-War American South. Since the abolition of slavery was arguably a case of moral progress, then it seems that we can compare the moral value of different societies. Andthis suggests that cultural relativism is false.G.P. The logical structure of this critique of moral relativism is this (letters stand for claims):If P, then Q.Not-Q.Therefore,Not-P.This form of argument, known as “modus tollens,” is a valid deduction and is very common in philosophy. Another common valid deduction is the “modus ponens”:If P, then Q.P.Therefore, Q.4. What would be, according to James and Stuart Rachels, a plausible standard for assessing social practices? Would that standard be compatible with cultural relativism? Why yes or no?- James and Stuart Rachels argue that a social practice is morally acceptable just in case it promotes the welfare of the people affected by it. Since this is a culture-independent standard, cultural relativism would reject it.5. Do James and Stuart Rachels claim that tolerance of other cultures is a virtue? Explain.- They say that tolerance of other cultures is a virtue unless those cultures display outrageous practices. As they put it, “the toleration of torture, slavery, and rape is a vice, not a virtue” (p. 30).6. What is the main difference between simple subjectivism and emotivism?- Simple Subjectivism claims that moral judgments state facts- more specifically, the fact that the speaker approves, or disapproves, of certain actions. In contrast, emotivism denies that moral judgments state facts, and claims that moral judgments are used for the following purposes: (i) to express (as something different from stating) attitudes in favor of, or against, certain actions, and/or (ii) to get others to perform, or not to perform, certain actions.7. Formulate, as a modus tollens, the objection to which, according to James and Stuart Rachels, simple subjectivism is vulnerable. Recall that a modus tollens is a valid deduction that has this logical structure: If P, then Q.-If simple subjectivism is true, then people never disagree about moral mattersPeople sometimes disagree about moral mattersTherefore, Simple subjectivism is false8. Define Moral Philosophy- The study of what morality is and what it requires of us9. What is Minimum Conception?-A core that every moral theory should accept, at least as a starting point10. When is an argument sound?-If its assumptions are true and the conclusion follows logically from them11. What is the difference between Impartial and Partial?- Impartial: to treat everyone alike; no one gets special treatmentPartial: to show favoritism12. What is the Minimum Conception of Morality?-The effort to guide one’s conduct by reason; to do what there are the best reasons for doing-while giving equal weight to the interests of each individual affected by one’s action13. Define Cultural Relativism.- There is no such thing as universal truth in ethics, there are only the various culture codes- Challenges our belief in the objectivity and legitimacy of moral truth- Holds that the norms of a culture reign supreme within the bounds of the culture itself14. What are the claims of a Cultural Relativist? 1. Different societies have different moral codes2. The moral code of a society determines what is right within that society; that is, if the moral code of a society says that a certain action is right, then that action is right, at least within that society3. There is no objective standard that can be used to judge one society’s code as better than another’s. There are no moral truths that hold for all people at all times4. The moral code of our own society has no special status; it is but one among many5. It is arrogant for us to judge other cultures. We should always be tolerant of them15. What is a standard that might reasonably be used in thinking about any social practice?- Whether the practice promotes or hinders the welfare of the people affected by it16. What is the basic idea behind Ethical Subjectivism?- The theory that our moral opinions are based on our feelings and nothing more17. Define Simple Subjectivism. - When a person says that something is morally good or bad, this means that he or she approves of that thing, or disapproves of it, and nothing more. Simple Subjectivism cannot be correct; each side agrees that the other side believes in his or her opinion, no conflict18. What is Emotivism?- The use of moral language to persuade/express attitudes19. What is the difference in disagreement in belief and disagreement in attitude?- Disagreement in belief: people believe different things, both of which cannot be true. Disagreement in attitude: people want different outcomes, both of which cannot occur. Moraldisagreement is disagreement in attitude20. Define the Error Theory.- People are at least trying to say something true when they talk about ethics21. What is Nihilism?- The belief that


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