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MORAL PHILOSOPHY KEY REVISION

Meta-Ethics: the study of the meaning of ethical terms; i.e. asking what do we mean by `good, do
such concepts exist independently and how can discover them if they do?

COGNITIVISTS

The concept of universal objective god-transcendent knowledge
General Arguments
- Mistakes not possible: without morals…

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not fully understood the situation and thus true w.o.w. impossible
ARISTOTLE: to act with virtue is not just to have moral knowledge, but to exercise it in the
right way ­ w.o.w is possible


Problems specific to Plato:

Moral elitism
The Sun as an analogy of what is good is…

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Problems specific to Relativism:

If disagreement of cultures: is evidence of no objective universal moral truth, then
agreement becomes evidence of objective universal moral truth
If we cannot judge from outside a culture: then we cannot condemn things like the
holocaust- C.A. comes up later under tolerance
Cultural difference: overplayed…

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E.G. `I do not agree with abortion' is really `don't have an abortion'
To say something is wrong is to say that anyone in a similar situation ought not to do it

Problems specific to Prescriptivism:

Action Guiding: If there is no moral truth, then no-one is wrong/right, is it…

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ACT UTILITARIANISM

BENTHAM ­ teleological (consequence)
To live by the principle of utility ­ the greatest happiness for the greatest number
Happiness can be measured, according to Bentham on the Hedonic calculus
When making moral decisions, look at what would make the greatest amount of people
happy ­ simple

Problems…

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SINGER
We should aim to maximise the satisfaction of others preferences
Free from bias as you can satisfy someone's preferences without them having to be awatre
of it
It is easier to know whether someone is satisfied rather than how much happiness they have
gained
Relies on maximising others preferences…

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It is not about the consequence, but the doing of a duty because it is good will ­ the intrinsic
good in actions rather than whether they bring about good

Strengths with Deontology

Intentions: an action that brings about good consequences is not considered morally
praiseworthy unless the person had…

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"only the person who is good knows what is good"
Doctrine of the mean ­ Aristotle's doctrine on how to behave
The best way to behave is the intermediate ­ between extremes
E.G. courage is the intermediate between cowardice and rashness
Good lies between the two bads
You can feel…

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