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UofL PHIL 211 - Exam 1 Study Guide

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PHIL 211 1st EditionExam # 1 Study Guide Lecture: 1 – 2Lecture #1 Freedom of Speech- Protection of anonymous speecho 1960- Talley vs. California: LA court said it is not allowed to hand out anonymouspamphlets; Supreme Court struck it down and said that is prohibiting the first amendment o 1995- McIntyre vs. Ohio Elections Commissions: Supreme Court again reversed alaw concerning anonymous speech- Flag desecration: US Code, Title 18, Part I, Chapter 33 you cannot defile or mutilate the US flago Texas vs. Johnson in 1989- Johnson burnt the US flag (going against the US law) and therefore got fined for the act, the Supreme Court declared there were different meanings when burning a flag, he was burning it in protest and therefore it was a speech act which means it was protected by the First Amendment - Limits of freedom of speech: libel, slander, obscenity, porn, hate speech, etc. o Snyder vs. Phelps- Snyder family filed a lawsuit against members of the WestboroBaptist Church when they held signs at their sons funeral that was offensive to theUS Army (their son was a marine), eventually this made it to the Supreme Court and they decided that constitutionally, they were allowed to do this - National Socialist Part vs. Skokie in 1997- Nazi party wanted to march through village in US, majority of people living in this village were Jewish (there were also many survivors of the Holocaust) so it went to court; Nazi party said this was expression of speech, Supreme Court ruled that the Nazis could not be prohibited from doing that - The moral issue: the fact that a speech act is legal or protected by the constitution does not necessarily mean that it is moral (or the right thing to do is not equal to what is legally permitted); but then a conflict arises: if we are committed to protecting freedom ofspeech, then we are also committed to allowing the expression of speech with morally problematic (offensive, harmful) content o Is it possible to defend the right to obscene and offensive speech without promoting or endorsing the content of the speech - Utilitarianism is an ethical theory; utilitarianism: under any circumstances, the right action to perform is the one that maximizes utility (principle of utility)  utility is thebalance of happiness over unhappiness ; the goal of morality is to maximize happiness and minimize unhappinesso EX: legalizing marihuana; you must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the situation, and see what options were better and answer the question: will the legalization of marihuana bring better consequences than its prohibition?- Utilitarianism doesn’t state that we must always benefit the greatest number of people- anaction might maximize overall utility without benefiting the greater number of people (ex: you can give every 1 cent, or a few people millions of dollar; it is proven the latter brings more happiness)- Utilitarianism doesn’t state that we must always choose the action that creates the greatestamount of happiness- some actions might increase happiness but also create a great amount of misery - Does the morality of actions depends on their actual consequences or on their expected consequences? - Deontology- “deon” = duty, “logos” = study  fulfill what you’re doing, focus of this theory is justice or to be fair; always treat a human being (including yourself) as an end and never as mere means – treating someone as a means to an end is permissible as long as you are not treating them merely as means (ex: a cab driver to take you to your destination = treating that taxi driver as a means {he helped you get to the airport}, but not mere means {you did not abuse him in anyway, rather you had an agreement}- if you had held a gun to the taxi driver’s head and had him drive you then did not pay him, that is treating him as mere means because you abused him for your own purposeso If you are treating human beings as an end and not as mere means, you are promoting their welfare as much as possible, do not harm them, respect their rights, treat them with respect and never violate their autonomy (“auto” – self + “nomos” – law; it is a person’s rational capacity for self-governance, emphasis on rationality: autonomous agents are rational agents; we have autonomy when our choices and actions are truly our own, when they are the products of our own desires and wishes)- When is an expression of speech immoral?o Utilitarianism: it fails to maximize utilityo Deontology: it treats people as mere means- Offensive speech I moral if it maximizes utility o Two ways: particular and generalo Particular (about a specific speech act): ex. An offensive joke is moral because thetelling of that particular joke causes more happiness than unhappiness. Other jokes, however might not be moral because they fail to maximize utilityo General: allowing freedom of speech (even in the case of offensive speech) is better for society, then it is the right thing to do to allow this freedom - Offensive speech with deontology o Offensive speech is immoral if it treats people as mere meanso Racist and sexists remarks are always immoral according to deontologyo By their very nature, such remarks fail to treat people with respect and consequently, treat them as mere means Lecture #2 Statements, Reasons and Arguments- Critical thinking- systematic evaluation or formulation of beliefs or statements, by rational standards - Statement: assertion that something is or is not the case o Ex: I am here, I am in pain, the moon is made out of cheese, Rafal Nadal is the best tennis player, Helium is not a noble gas (even if these are not true, they are still statements- could be based on personal belief) o Statements are the carriers of truth or falsity (they can be true or false) o Not all sentences express statements! o Examples or sentences: how are you? (question) get out! (command) Hello (greeting) Oh my! (exclamation) o Our aim with statements is to determine how strongly we ought to believe them (depending on if they’re true or false) - Reasons are expressed by statements, they provide support for statements (they provide us with grounds for believing that a statement is true)- Argument: a pattern of assertion (or sentences): there is at least one assertion that provides support for another assertion; the supporting assertion is called premise. The supported assertion is called conclusion o an argument is something that provides us with reasons to


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