ethics revision

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  • Created on: 27-10-11 15:17
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Free Will & Determinism
If we're not free then we're not MR. If we're free, then how can God be all 3 attributes?
Freedom & Moral responsibility
Moral blame and full responsibility are only given to actions which are undertaken in free will
If we are not free, we have no MR as Kant says `ought implies can'
`Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities' - Voltaire
HD distinction of MR & legal/causal e.g. Darrow protect not punish (Skinner alt punishment)
For SD & libertarians MR is consequence (for Sartre burden) of free will
Hard Determinism
Hondereich ­ `All choices & intentions no more than effects of other equally necessitated events'
Theory undermines teleological ethical theories
Roots in Newton & Aristotle + recent contributions inc. neuroscience & Zimby
If we have no MR, wrong to punish/reward e.g. Darrow (Skinner alt to punishment + God punish)
Quantum physics supports notion of `free will'
Court use as justification for lesser punish (Darrow) w/ diminished response & plea of insanity
Libertarians ­ HD confuses contingently w/ necessarily true (Hume ­ cause just stat matter)
Doesn't focus on FW (lack of) existence but on the sense of loss which makes HD hard to accept
Have life-hope incompatible w/ truth. JSM ­ incubus of depressing reality
Hope, MR & rationalising punishment will all be lost
Opposite of Sartre who saw FW as creating `bad faith' ­ middle ground?
`Essay concerning human understanding' important for N/N as it questions whether we are
determined by internal or external factors - example of LOS w/ sleeping man + Flew's analogy
We are born tabula rasa but knowledge determined by cog dev stage (Piaget conscience)
Liberty of indifference ­ freedom for alternate choice
We are right to deliberate over our actions as our choice is free
Smart ­ `utopia thesis' moral goodness requires flexible nature which can give into temptations
Liberty of spontaneity ­ freedom is an illusion
If we understand influences on FW then we realise it's just an illusion like Voltaire taught. We
think ourselves free as long as our knowledge of these factors is not complete e.g. Flew & Ayer
Reason men think themselves free is they're conscious of their actions & ignorant of the causes
Hospers ­ innate decision making we attribute to FW (neuroscience)
Libertarianism / Incompatibilism
Reject HD on grounds it rules out moral responsibility & SD as they see FW&D as incompatible
Cause & effect irrelevant, moral actions result of indiv values & ethical model freely chosen
applied (as none purely relativist & thus partly deterministic, some libertarians reject)
MR consequence of freedom, Sartre went as far as to see it as a burden `condemned to be free'

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Sartre ­ penknife vs. humans, as there's no God we're tabula rasa & define own essence
`existence precedes essence'. Also uses this to reject objective moral.…read more

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Helps Christians understand evil as part of God's greater plan
Different form HD & doesn't receive the support from modern science
Hick ­ epistemic distance + God created evil to bring us closer to him
Undermines omnibenevolence even for Calvin's idea of grace + MR ­ both central to C & bible
e.g.…read more

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God given but not the voice of God
Aquinas and reason
God given power of reason not inner sense of right & wrong like St. Paul `reason making right
decisions'.…read more

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Conscience directs us towards benevolence & away from self-love (v. C) ­ justification of evil on
basis of conscience demonstrates incompatible CC adopting Aquinas' view
Is God as `author' TD? ­ makes us do bad things e.g. Abraham (psych explanation + RE)
Are we rational? Completely following ridiculous considering Sutcliffe + secular conditioning
Similar to ME intuitionism
Problem of evil ­ conscience allows evil + HD by conscience, goes against Irenaeus theodicy
Following conscience was following divine law.…read more

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Can be appreciated by all ­ theists can say God makes conscience dev (Irenaeus)
Children lack MR before 10 ­ Bulger? + Dawkins on child being brought up religiously
Fromm two consciences
Conscience comes from those around us who exert authority which involves punishment/reward
which overtime we internalise (support/contradict Skinner) ­ Nazi background
Guilty conscience result of displeasing authority & fear rejection from them.…read more

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Raises question what should be done if informed conscience disagrees w/ teaching of CC? e.g.
pill made by RC. Teach if we fail to follow conscience then we sin ­ Anglican view of allowing
indiv conscience to discern what is right more applicable
Some believe FW required e.g. Irenaeus, not blindly follow
Secular conscience as ethical guide
Suggest more caution required before following unquestioningly
Many suggest if you follow properly, it will stop you breaking laws ­ not always true e.g. MLK.…read more

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G.E. Moore - EN makes fundamental error: moral statements can't be verified empirically o r
equated w/ any other concept. Can't move from is/ought (Ryle + Hume) to do so is to commit
naturalistic fallacy ­ open statements
Concrete morals hold little weight outside religion
To anchor ethics to science dangerous e.g. quantum physics
Good is something that can't be defined using natural experience but still meaningful & is non -natural
property.…read more

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Moral sense they allude to never fully explained (assert there is 1: moral argument)
Subjective approach to ethics doesn't give us concrete justification for ethical behaviour, just
claims that goodness is indefinable - although NET mistake meaning of good, they do
How reliable is intuition? More social bg than any firm basis of morality (FWD & conscience)
Non-cognitive theories
Hume - ethics only sentiments, desire distinct from reason can't move between is/ought + Ayer's
verification principle & Vienna circle - EL not meaningful
Ayer…read more

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Virtue Ethics
NET focus on what we ought to do, VE focus on who we ought to become. However, still focuses on
what's right, implying it exists (ME) classified as NET. Interested in defining good & associated qualities
Keenan - Who am I? Who ought I to become? How do I get there?
Ancient Greeks ­ stories of great heroes show vision of morality `you are what you do'.…read more


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