(naturalistic fallacy)

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1 general questions about the nature of morality and about the meaning of moral concepts determining what the ethical principles of guiding the actions (truth and opinion) the metaphysical question of whether there are objective facts in ethics (1) Are there any ethical truths? (2) If so, what makes the ethical truths true? (Ethical subjectivism): there is opinion but no truth in ethics.((1) no) All true propositions are is-propositions; there are no true ought-propositions. Ethical statements are neither true nor false. (Ethical realism): there are objective ethical facts that exist independently of anyone s opinion.((1)yes) (Conventionalism): there are ethical truths, but they are true because of someone s opinion.((1) true, the answer to (2) is different from realism, someone may be God, society, or the individual) * J. P. Sartre: conventionalism by each individual, who makes an action right or wrong 2 (naturalistic fallacy) Every ethical statements is untrue. Hume: an ethical statement cannot validly be deduced from a set of factual premisses. You cannot infer an ethical conclusion from purely non-ethical premisses. If ethical statements are not deducible from purely is-premisses, then ethical statements are neither true nor false. You cannot deduce ethical statements from purely is-premisses. Hence, ethical statements are neither true nor false. If a biological statement is not deducible from purely physical premisses, then the biological statement is neither true nor false. You cannot deduce biological statements from purely physical premisses.

2 2 Hence, biological statements are neither true nor false. (naturalistic fallacy) G. E. Moore, Principia Ethica The term morally right does not mean the same thing as the term maximizes pleasure and minimizes pain. (Moore s the Naturalistic Fallacy Argument) The expression temperature does not mean the same thing as the expression mean kinetic energy. Hence, the property named by the first expression is not identical with the property named by the second. (Naturalistic Fallacy Fallacy, Searle) Theory Laden abductive Scientific facts are needed to explain why people have the scientific beliefs they do. But ethical facts are not needed to explain why people have the ethical beliefs they do. This is why we have a good abductive reason to think that there are photons, genes, and so on, but no good abductive reason to think that there are ethical facts. General ethical principles can help explain the ethical properties of specific actions. The point of an ethical statement is to guide behavior - to say how we ought to think and act, not to describe how we actually think and act. the divine command theory: an action is right or wrong because God says that it is. ethical relativism: an action is made right or wrong in a society by the norms the society adopts. existentialism: individuals freely create the ethical standards that determine whether their lives are good ones or bad ones. Those truths are made true by someone s say-so. Something outside of the action (extrinsic to it) makes the action right or wrong. Trivial semantic conventionalism, Substantive conventionalism If we used language differently, the word dog might not name a four-legged animal.

3 3 If we used language differently, dogs might not be four-legged animals. Ethical conventionalism holds that ethical propositions are very different from other propositions. They are true dependent of anyone s say-so. X This theory holds that the rightness or wrongness of an action is settled by the say-so of the society to which the actor belongs. It says that what it is right or wrong to do depends on the society in which you live. Ethical relativism is a version of conventionalism. Individual human beings must freely create their own moral values. the greatest good for the greatest number Mill s argument for the Greatest Happiness Principle (1) Seeing something proves that it is visible. (2) Hence, desiring something proves that it is desirable. (3) The only thing that each person ultimately desires is his or her own happiness. (4) The only thing that is ultimately desirable for a person is his or her own happiness. Hence, each person should perform those actions that promote the greatest happiness. (2) (1) (1) (2) (3) (4) (3) (2) (1) Hume: actions never derive from reason alone; they must always have a non-rational source. The reason can play only an instrumental role in guiding people s action. Kant rejects this idea, and says that moral rules are categorical imperatives. End, means hypothetical: It says that I should stop smoking if I want to protect my health. Hume thought that reason can do no more than this. Kant held that moral rules are categorical, in form. An act that is wrong is wrong. Moral rules say Don t do X. Moral rules, categorical imperative, describe what we must do whether we want to or not. Scientific law and moral law Newton s law doesn t sat what the planets ought to do; moral laws say how people ought to behave. But, they are both universal and impersonal. The moral value of an action derives from its maxim, not from its consequences. Kant rejects consequentialism. Reason (not desire) determines what it is right and wrong to do. A moral action must embody a maxim that is universalizable. Moral acts can be universalized; immoral acts can t.

4 4 Reason alone can t tell why the scientific laws are true. Kant held that what it is right to do in a specific situation is dictated by the rational requirement of universalizability. People are ends in themselves. * Primary in Kant s philosophy was the notion that the world conforms to the operations of the mind, not the other way around. As a result of this, the mind imposes certain categories of thought which deal with how experience is synthesized. These concepts are quantity, quality, relation and modality. Moral categories are as universal as those described above, applying to all rational beings. These conditions are a priori, or prior to experience and are principles that help lead to behavior one can call good. Nothing can possibly be conceived in the world, or even out of it, which can be called good, without qualification, except a good will, says Kant. His point is that the essence of a morally good act is the principle that a person affirms when he/she wills an act. This also implies that a person needs to utilize the good will despite inclination or self-interest. Kant believes that a rational being strives to do what ought to be done for the sake of moral law as opposed to possible outcomes. This also has the benefit of one not needing to consult astrological charts to determine future results, based upon present choices, in order to determine whether an action was good or not. The categorical imperatives are a set of commands to direct our will. These apply to all people and commands conduct immediately, without having any other purpose or conditions. It is categorical because of it's application to all rational beings and imperative because it s the principle by which one should act. The basic formulation of the categorical imperative is : Act only on that maxim whereby thou canst at the same time will that it should become a universal law. While this may seem somewhat like speculation to future events, it is devoid of the consequences of inclination because universal law, in this respect, is similar to a natural law of science. One cannot decide whether water will boil or not when heated. The categorical imperative is universal and the consideration of it reveals its universality as it applies to all. Other formulations of the categorical imperative include; not treating other human beings as a means rather than an end, and that of the will regarding itself when making a universal law. Although the implications of not treating other human beings as a means rather than an end has interesting possibilities as far as politics and business, I will conclude by considering the Kant s notion of autonomy. Immanuel Kant s ethics are based upon responsibility as a human being. To be aware of one s rational powers in the exercise of moral duty is paramount. Awareness of existence is sufficient proof of moral law, for morality is simply a formalized definition of what it means to be a rational being. As Brendan Liddell states in the conclusion of Kant on the Foundation of Morality, A human being is duty-bound because he is a human being. good life Are there general principle about the good life? Since we are all humans, general principles can be described that specify what a good life would be. a good human being

5 human beings are goal-directed systems. Human beings seek happiness. 5

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