Moral Philosophy

Utilitariansim, Deontological, Virtue Ethics, Realism, Anti-Realism 

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UTILITARIANISM : What is it?

The bedrock for all moral actions based on the 'principle of utlility' (maximum happiness, for the maximum amount of people)

Happiness defined as pleasure in the absence of pain. 

Gardner: ask him why does he like gardening? because it keeps me fit, why do you like keeping fit? because it makes me happy, seems irrational to continue to ask questions. Bedrock for all moral actions. 

Amount of happiness allows us to compare acts 'commensurable' theory.

Everyones happiness is equal 'egalitarian theory'

ACT utilitariaism judges each situation is isolation in relation to how much happiness the conseqences will produce. 'consequentialist' theory.

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UTILITARIANISM : Whats wrong with it?

Hedonistic. Leads to Mills distiction between higher and lower pleasures, but then his failure to see the irrational idea of the competant judge (debauched rock star, high life of a proffesseur)

Minority Mistreatment. Leads to U reply that society has false sense of security so not maximum happiness, some minorities loose out, just how society works. Contageous disease example.

Calculating Consequences. Link to practical issue animal welfare, reply from U estimate otherwise never make any decisions.

Too Demanding. Give away everything, link to practical issue Vegan lifestyle. No point devising a moral code that advocates inaction and complaceny

Promises? Family Loyalty? Happiness at expense of other things save mother from fire over movie star and promises.

Williams of Integrity. Others caused consequences but individual held accountable. Ignores the motives in the decision, paints a false picture of morality no room for integrity.

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UTILITARIANISM : RULE, outline the theory.

Intends to set up a set of rules for moral behaviour. 

Solves the problem of being too demanding and having the intolerable task of having to make the right moral decison your whole life

Solves problem of minority mistreatment by installing rules such as 'you should not torture' to stop this from happening. 

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UTILITARIANISM: RULE Whats wrong with it?

JJC SMART argued that it dangers collapsing back into ACT U. 

Make a rule you want to make it flexible enough to allow for viable exceptions such as 'you should not kill, unless its for self defense, in which case we can make an exception' 

Make lots of exception until you have to judge each act on its individual merits just like ACT U

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UTILITARIANISM : PREFERENCE What is it?

Preference U believes that due to the many varietys of ways to make people happy, act basis of what is the prefernece of the person performing the act and all those involved.

Moral act one that satisfys preferences of all those involved, with the condition that it doesnt compromise anyone elses happiness.

Singer argues along U lines with the idea of ' equality of interest' 

He extends this to animals aswell stating that all animals are capable of feeling, they are sentient beings. There are some humans that do not have the capacity for self- conciousness or reasoning (terminally ill, babies) so it follows that animals must be taken into equal consideration as some humans do not possess capabilities over and beyond that of animals and both can feel pain.

To ignore this is to commit 'specisism' arbitary preference between dominet group in racism or sexism. 

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UTLITARIANISM : PREFERENCE Whats wrong with it?

Carruthers wants to draw a distinction between interests of animals and humans does this by making an argument for animals lack of conciousness. 

Abbie driving example.

This is the kind of non- concious experience that animals operate by. They cannot think to themselves, they are aware of their enviroment but cant think thoughtfully about it.

Argues that it is impossible to feel sympathy for animals when their true mental capacities are understood. 

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UTILITARIANISM : NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE whats is it

Positive U- is just what act is maxamisation of happiness.

Negative U- is seeking the prevention of pain or unhappiness as it is more moral to minimise pain than maxamise happiness, doesnt need a complicated procedure like the 'utility caluclus'

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UTILITARIANISM : NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE whats wrong

Surely if we were to act in line with Negative Liberty it would be kindest to just painlessly kill everyone as this would minimise unhappiness in a world where there is so much pain and suffering. 

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VIRTUE ETHICS- WHAT IS IT?

Virtue ethics is primarly concerned with character or living well

Aristotle defined virtue as 'a dissposition possessed by someone we admire'

He believed that all human beings had a funtion and that by fullfilling our function we would reach eudimonia or floursh which can only be achieved through fulfulling our function. 

Application of virtue to practical issue such as abortion, courage, honesty etc.

Cheif virtue is practical wisdom which is immitating those virtuous around us as we grow up. Allows us to make the right decisions in the right situation in line with our judgement instead of following some crude rule for all situations. 

Plato believed virtue was when all the elements of our personality were in balance so reason controlled spirit so we are not to inconsiderate 

Aristotle devised 'doctrine of the mean' to find the virtuous action one that lies between the two extremes of vices. 

Natural law eithics, god given funtion, virtues of faith, hope and charity, lead us to 'blessedness' and a union with god.

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VIRTUE ETHICS- advantages?

Virtues and Emotions?- Allows there to be a conncetion with moral acts and emotions unlike Kant. 

Moral Education- more realistic to life of where we get our morals from rather than an abstract rule. Not one cold caluclate rule- practical issue.

Holistic- Looks at your whole life and the happiness you have had in it, it wont just condem you for one mistake- tie this to practical issue. 

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VIRTUE ETHICS- Whats wrong with it?

Too vague. Doesn't give us good moral advice into what to do in a certain situation practical issue of abortion what would the virtuous person do? Hurthouse reply all theories are vauge at first glance. U, D.E virtue ethics just needs to say whats 'the virtuous person would do' not impossible task. Look to accepted morals and standards and decide from that. Abortion- to help or not. 

Value of the non virtuous- society would be worse off without people selfishly indule in their passion to excess.  

Doesnt draw a distiction between vices. For example, biting your nails and cannibalism are both vices, but surely they are not the same 

Historical figures and virtue- napolean and stalin, both physically strong and partriotic 

Character-Aristotle believes that if someone has the right personality then they will be virtuous automatically. Doesn't take into account situational factors such as authorities. 

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Natural Law- whats wrong with it.

It relies on an outdated teleological view of the world. People do not believe that everything has a function let alone humans.  

As locke argued if suicide goes against natural law, then it is more wrong to dam a river as it is a powerful force of nature.

Further it advocates reactionary practices. If you don't believe in biology determining your ethics you may reject the notion of being a house wife. 

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MORAL REALISM

Moral realism referes to the doctrine that states that there can be moral facts it holds that we can point to some

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