Moral Philosophy

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  • Created by: Susy
  • Created on: 21-12-13 17:53
What does Hume say about crossing the is-ought gap?
No amount of fact can generate morals - it is fallacious to say that just because something is the case doesn't mean that it ought to be (link to Copernican Revolution)
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What is the purpose of Hume's 'A Treatise of Human Nature'?
Hume strove to create a naturalistic account of the psychological basis of human nature upon which he could establish his meta-ethical theory.
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What does Hume say about the primary-secondary analogy?
that ‘Vice and virtue…may be compar’d to sounds, colours, heats and cold which…are not qualities in objects but perceptions in the mind.’
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For Hume are moral judgements subjective or objective?
moral judgements are subjective insofar as they are dependent upon how the fact is perceived but objective in that normal human observers respond to these facts in the same way.
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What abnormalities support Hume's analogy?
A colour-blind individual cannot perceive secondary qualities in the same way as others, the psychopath fails to recognise the attendant demands fact make of them
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Who propagates the naturalistic approach?
Plato and Aristotle ground virtue ethics in Plato’s triadic conception of the soul and Aristotle’s notion of the rational soul, utilitarians (e.g. Bentham and Mill) in natural desire to seek pleasure and to avoid pain and Hume in emotional reactions
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What potentially devastating criticism does G.E. Moore pose to any attempt to equate goodness to any natural property?
‘goodness is simple and unanalysable, but it is not part of the natural world’ and attempts to justify this position through the open-question argument.
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What criticisms are there of the open-question argument?
That happiness and goodness are merely conceptualised differently (like H20 and water) and Nietzsche's attack on definitions.
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Williams is a cultural relativist - what does he say we should do?
dopt a degree of ‘humility’ when judging the ethical systems of other countries and accept that morality and goodness are not universally understood in the same way
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Who was A.J. Ayer influenced by?
the Vienna Circle who espoused logical positivism (statements which can be verified logically or empirically are meaningful, are meaningless pseudo-statements - verification principle)
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Which moral theory did A.J. Ayer develop?
Emotivism
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What is emotivism?
the belief that, whilst facts describe a state of affairs, values are merely expressions of a particular attitude. For example, according to Ayer, to say that ‘stealing is wrong’ is equivalent to saying ‘I do not like stealing’.
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What is a criticism of emotivism (emotion)?
emotivism still fails to escape cognitivism. As it is grounded in human emotion and so is grounded in facts about the shared psychological basis of human nature.
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What is a criticism of emotivism (art)?
fails to expound the difference between moral expressions of approval and disapproval and ordinary expressions
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Who is chiefly associated with prescriptivism?
Richard Hare
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What is prescriptivism?
The belief that the common feature of all good acts is that they are commended and not that the exhibit any particular or intrinsic quality and that therefore moral language is used to prescribe certain behaviours.
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What is a criticism of prescriptivism (suicide bomber)?
Fails to recognise that the content of a moral judgement is important. For instance, a suicide bomberfulfils Hare’s demands for moral believes to be authentic. However, despite this it seems self-evident that the suicide bomber is not moral.
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What is the purpose of Hume's 'A Treatise of Human Nature'?

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Hume strove to create a naturalistic account of the psychological basis of human nature upon which he could establish his meta-ethical theory.

Card 3

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What does Hume say about the primary-secondary analogy?

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Card 4

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For Hume are moral judgements subjective or objective?

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What abnormalities support Hume's analogy?

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