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PHIL1730Philosophy Exam Review1. Aristotle claims that when doing ethics, “it will be satisfactory if we can indicate the truth roughly and in outline; since we argue from and about what holds good usually, it will be satisfactory if we can draw conclusions of the same sort.” Why does he think this? Do you agree?- Two main things to address1. What he means by indicating truth roughly and in outline  Different areas of inquiry have different standards of precision- Math – very precise/careful; one mistake can make the entire proof false- Similarly, rhetoric (such as philosophy), a mistake can render an argument false. Also there is a snowball effect; mistakes continue- Ethics is not proving something; just a persuasive argumento So, rhetoric and math standards cannot be used in equivalenceo Does not need to be true in every single solution; only needs to hold true for general cases2. Why does he think this holds true for ethics? Political science section Goods can vary; bravery is not always good; can get you killed Virtue is not the only way to reach happiness; need external goods (generous but also have money to donate) Again, must be in general because not all virtuous people lead happy lives So, should not follow standards (precision/universality) like math- Math (primarily geometry at the time) is within your control- External goods are not always in your control3. Agree/disagree? Do not need original explanation; use what was learned in class Agree – King Priam lived virtuous life but had bad things happen to him Should be short; use 2-3 sentences and move on2. Aristotle gives an argument – often called the “function argument” -- intended to show that eudaimonia is “activity of the soul exhibiting virtue”. Explain this argument in detail, and critically evaluate it.- Write premises in paragraph form and explain how they relate- Premiseso 1. For anything that has a function, the good for that thing depends on the function Ex. A knife’s function is to cut, so its good (to be a good specimen) is to cut well.Using it to hammer may not work well, but not bad; not meant as a hammer.o 2. As a naturally occurring being, human beings have a functionPHIL1730o 3. So, the good for human beings depends on their function Intermediate conclusion; ties 1 and 2 together Since humans have a function, its good depends on their functiono 4. A thing’s function should distinguish it from all other thingso 5. What distinguishes humans from everything else is our ability to reason Proves this by saying we share the ability to live/grow with plants and perception.  We are able to reason our conduct: what ends we want and making choices to pursue that endo 6. (conclusion) So, a good for human beings is to reason well to guide our conduct A good human being is one that reasons well (selects ends and most effective/noble means to those ends) 3, 4, 5 needed for 6- Doing it in accordance with reason – making decisions- Doing it in accordance with virtue – doing it well- Eudaimonia – reaching that end well; in accordance with virtue- Criticism – nothing has functions; evolution shaping every organism’s characteristics makes his argument unsound. External influences act on the organism; not naturally function. Outdated reasoning.3. What is moral relativism? What is the most common argument given in defense of it, which we discussed in class? What are some problems with the argument? Can they be fixed?- The argument given and the view are two different things.- Moral relativism is (what it is):o There are no universal, objective, cultural-independent moral codes No moral codes that apply to all cultures- View argument (Cultural Differences Argument, actual argument for it):o 1. (only premise) Different cultures have different moral codeso 2. (conclusion) Therefore, moral relativism is true- Problemso May be invalid (CDA); even if 1 is true, 2 is false 1. Different people have different believes about astronomy- One believes Earth is flat, other thinks it is round 2. There is no correct answer Obviously wrong; just because they disagree does not mean there is not a universal answer; someone is just wrongo Maybe the moral codes are not different at all; may be some underlying similarity, just amanifestation Ex. One culture thinks it is wrong to eat meat while another allows eating meat- Culture that thinks it is wrong could believe that people reincarnated into that meat. Both respect the dead.PHIL1730 There are some similarity in basis, so 1 is falseo If moral relativism is true, you can never criticize other cultures E.g. cannot criticize Nazi Germany because it was just for them- Cannot criticize own society, no such thing as moral progress- Defenseo Talking about invalidity is not relevant Abductive inference – just the best explanation for why the phenomenon occurs- Maybe just no moral law is better explanation than simply we have not gotten there Although science has a convergence, philosophy has not; no agreement so thereis no universal moral law- What we can learn (Can this be fixed? Although false, can still learn something from it)o Should be toleranto Understand another culture’s practices before criticizing4. What is Aristotle’s doctrine of the mean? Give examples of the mean and extremes in regard to several particular virtues. What are some criticisms that have been made of the doctrine of the mean? Are they right?1. Doctrine of the mean – best action in a situationo Virtue is the mean between two vices (excessive or deficiency)o Mean is not just the middle; it is the mean relative to us (person in situation and the situation itself) Ex. Situation – running into a burning building to save:- A fish – rash - Baby – heroic Person- Regular person – okay if does not want to go in- Firefighter – cowardly if does not want to go ino How to find the mean – what would one do if one were virtuous? Think of it as a virtuous observer instructing on what to do2. Examples: see Books III (end), IV and PowerPoint for vices/virtues3. Criticismso According to the Doctrine, any given emotion/feeling can have a vice of deficiency/excess Medieval Christian theologians on love – Christians claimed there is no excess when it comes to loving Godo Should feel appropriately Stoics – best life is with little/no emotion- Pillaged town and murdered


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UVA PHIL 1730 - Exam Review

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