Morality Revision Notes

My friend had created these notes a few months ago. Really good overview of the topic in my eyes.

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  • Created by: Aamina2
  • Created on: 29-08-13 18:24
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1. Ethical egoism
Ought to maximise our own good.
Maximising own good can help others e.g => Mother is happy when she makes child happy
2. Problems
Egoist would not want other egoists -> needs everyone else to be truthful
Means egoist cannot universalise egoism.
1. Psychological Egoism
Always act in own self interest -> "act morally to benefit me"
Only do selfless things for "peace of mind" -> satisfying yourself.
2. Problems
Does not answer "why be moral" -> just says you will always be selfish.
1. Enlightened Egoism/ Contractarian Approach
Act in ways that benefit our S.I in long term.
Social contract = agreement of mutual rules to our advantage -> making a contract means we
have something in common about good life.
Contractarians follow the social contracts.
2. Problems (For Contractariansim)
Never signed one?
Turns morality into something merely legal
Isn't true morality -> just S.I -> Morality is not self interest with a contract
Can it apply to those unable to make a contract? (no reasoning)
Veil of ignorance
Imagine person behind veil -> know nothing of position they will hold in world & asked to
form rules for the world.
Even an egoist would pick to have fair rules & establish fair play.
Egoist would do this to have peace of mind -> ensure their own security in world.
Rauls 3 principles
Equal opportunities
Liberty for all
Difference principle (any arrangements must benefit all)
Hobbes (State of Nature & Social Contract)
People motivated by -> S.I, power & self preservation

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State of nature = no laws, no gov, only competing persons. "life in S.O.N -> nasty, brutish &
Want peace and security
Make contracts to live under strong sovereigns -> any kind of sovereign, even bad dictators
are better than "S.O.N" -> (S.O.N is semi mythical, no one knows what it was like)
Locke (State of Nature & Social Contract)
S.O.…read more

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3 characteristics => Reason, Spirit, Desire
Reason is used to use strength of will (spirit) to repress desire
This stops us from being like animals and makes us human
Example => recovering alcoholic -> uses reason to suggest that drinking alcohol is bad.
However, their body may crave for it. A person uses their strength of will to refrain from
giving into desire => getting closer to psychic harmony & having a healthy personality.
2.…read more


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