morals

covers social contract theory, different types of egoism and relativism.

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social contract

social contract: agreement on moral principles through device of contract free rational individuals consented to. hence, moral rules are conventions laid down by contract to which we assent.

so.. **** and slavery were conventionally ok?

e.g. sexual age of consent. 12 yr olds more mature in past. fits convention.

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Egoism


  • psychological egoism -its a fact of human nature we never do anything but act in own interest
  • ethical egoism -its morally right we ought to act in own self-interest, to maximise own good.
  • enlightened ethical egoist -more long-term thought, need to be kind to get kindness back./ be good to feel good.


crit: David Hume - ''sympathy' (compassion)... is much fainter than our concern for ourselves (ethical egoism)''

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the healthy personality

plato divides human personality/ soul into 3.

DESIRE -for physical appetites e.g. sex, food, power

SPIRIT -has emotional capacity, will power, courage, loyalty

REASON -separates from animals, enables judgement + avoid obsessiveness, bad habits.

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how to use the categorical imperative

Kant -no one can be an exception to rule. e.g. if one wants to con, every1 has to be allowed to, law made, no one trusts.

universality removes self-interest. behavior must be consistent.

contrasts with Plato, uses reason to find goals, intrinsic goods. Kant -reason for testing consistency.

but, rational people wouldn't universalise rules that can turn against them. if want help, must help others. can't say, i will always take and not give. but could say, don't expect any help anyway. then looks like enlightened self interest.

duties are imperative regardless of consequences.

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Natural Justice

Follows from virtue theory, Aquinas describes natural law as moral code existing in nature's purpose.

1) moral rules depend on finding out purpose of human's life. so sex is for reproduction, leads to homosexual acts, contraception wrong?

2) applying moral commands in real life dilemmas more complicated. Satre's pupil: solider, fight for country or look after mother? both seen as duties, both seen as Christian love.

satre -our actions are examples to other and will be judged.

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why be moral? -conclusion

either way, we have to choose. have to make some commitments

all choices depends on others (use them as measure), thats how we feel guilt, pride.. so when we choose how to act we have to think about how people will see our choice

have to make some long-term commitments, e.g. education, relationships. our lives are important

we want our lives to be significant.

  • maximise self-interest
  • behaving virtuously
  • overcome self-interest
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