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GCC PHILO 101 - Ethical and Relative Absolutism Notes

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Ethical and Relative Absolutism Ethical Absolutism - 2 Incorrect definitions: - Q: Is wife-beating wrong? a. Ethical relativists answer depending on culture b. Ethical absolutists say it does not depend on your culture - Q: What makes an action absolutely right and absolutely wrong? (4 Versions) 1. Divine Command Theory a. Not on test 2. Utilitarianism (Mill) a. Wife beating is wrong because it does not maximize happiness (it causes much more suffering than happiness) b. Look at the consequences 3. Kant (follow good rule) a. Violates a rule like respecting your wife b. Do not look at the consequences c. (do you want everyone to break their promises? Do you want everyone to treat others with respect? A good rule is a rule you rationally want everyone to follow) 4. Virtue Theory a. It’s bad for your psychological health to beat your wife - Contrast Kant and Mill (Utilitarianism): 3 Cases Kant Mill Anne Frank Tell the truth about how you know where the Nazi’s are (morality is about following the right rules, not paying attention to the consenquences) Lie (morality is about maximizing happiness) Forced Organ Donor Case Do not force the organ donations because you kill innocent people It is morally good to kill an innocent person and steal his liver Kafka You promised the author on his deathbed that you would destroy his literature. According to him, you keep your promise because rationality (everybody should keep their promises) Break your promise and publish the writing (maximize happiness; you help the community) - THE BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KANT AND MILL IS that if you want to know what is moral and immoral, according to Utilitarians you look at theconsequences, and according to Kant you look at the principle (do NOT consider the consequences). - According to Kant, is morality relative to culture? No. According to Mill, it is not either because they are ethical absolutists. According to Kant, it is not relative to circumstances. According to Mill, it is relative to circumstances. - Q: Is “Honor-Killing absolutely wrong”? 1. DCT: 2. Utilitarianism 3. Kantian ethics: (follow good rules) 4. Virtue POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY Q: What should the government do about… 1. Personal Issues? 2. Economic Issues? Examples 1. Personal Issues: should prostitution, PA suicide, and marijuana be legal or illegal? 2. Economic Issues: should the government collect this Tax and provide service? - Legal (less gov.): Liberalists, Libertarians - Liberty Principle - Freedom (weirdo’s and conformer’s argument) - Illegal (more gov.): Populists, Conservatives - These actions (all actions) affect others (wear a seatbelt because you are harming others) - Paternalism - it is legitimate for your government to protect you from yourself (wear a seatbelt because you are harming yourself) - Lower Taxes-Fewer Services (less gov.): Conservatives, Libertarians - (Extreme) Taxing is stealing. (Security, NO public schools, NO Obamacare, NO free horseback riding) - (Moderate) LT makes the economy work better. (Security, public schools, NO Obamacare, NO free horseback riding) - Higher Taxes-More Services (more gov.): Populists, Liberalists - (Moderate)”Original Position Argument” by Rowls states that every participant in our country deserves a decent life; basic fairnessrequires that everybody gets a decent life (Security, public schools, Obamacare, NO free horseback riding) - (Extreme) Exploitation (Hary) Personal Issues Economic Issues “Populism” (most govt.) illegal HT - MS Liberalism (Democrats) legal HT - MS Conservatism (Republicans) illegal LT - FS Libertarians (least govt.) legal LT - FS - Libertarians are different than Anarchists because anarchists believe no government is legit. They would burn down the constitution, white house, no police, etc. - Libertarians hate the government but not that much; government is legitimate, just a VERY SMALL one (minimal government) - The only legitimate purpose of a minimal government is to provide security (police and military) - Starve the beast: the beast is the government. Decrease taxes to starve it Test Practice A. If you want marijuana to be legal and you are opposed to the idea that we should provide free college, you are Libertarian B. Suppose Jack wants cigarettes to be illegal and he is in favor of raising income tax to provide mothers with one year of family leave. He is a Populist Obama Care: everybody that’s poor gets a doctor that is paid for. - We can raise income tax to have Obama Care or Universal Health Care (Raise Income Tax - Obama Care) - So when you get to 65 years old, you get a social security check; young people pay several hundred a month and send it to starving old people so they can pay for rent when retired(Payroll Tax - Social Security) - (Estate/Inheritance Tax - Free college)PERSONAL ARGUMENTS Q: Should marijuana be legal or illegal? - Argument in favor of legal - Book: On Liberty, J.S. Mill - Main Idea: The Liberty Principle - Each individual ought to be free as long as they are not harming others (you can harm yourself, but don’t harm anyone else) - Apply: prostitution legal, seat belt - Weirdos and conformers argument: freedom benefit everybody - It benefits the weirdos because they gain control of their own lives - It benefits the conformers because you can learn that it might be a big mistake or have a big advantage (you can see if weed kills you in ten years and learn not to smoke it) - Weirdos are few people who want to be weird and conformers are most people who do not want marijuana, who want to wear helmets - 2 Arguments in favor of illegal - Everything you do affects others (you are harming others), it is just not as obvious - Paternalism: The view that it is legitimate for the government to protect an individual for himself - Paternalistic laws: Suicide laws, seat belt laws, incest


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