Rule-Utilitarianism: Objections and Replies Keith Burgess-Jackson 16 February 2016

Size: px
Start display at page:

Download "Rule-Utilitarianism: Objections and Replies Keith Burgess-Jackson 16 February 2016"

Transcription

1 Rule-Utilitarianism: Objections and Replies Keith Burgess-Jackson 16 February 2016 Rule-Utilitarianism (RU): 1 For all acts x, x is right iff x conforms to the optimal set of rules. 2 Commentary: The optimal set of rules is that set which, if generally accepted (and followed), would maximize happiness. An act conforms to a set of rules when it complies (i.e., is in accordance) with one of the rules in that set. For example, if one of the rules in the optimal set is If you have made a promise, then keep it, then my act of keeping a promise on a given occasion conforms to that set, and is, therefore, according to RU, right, while my act of breaking a promise on a given occasion does not conform to that set, and is, therefore, according to RU, wrong (since wrong means not right ). The Extensional-Equivalence Objection: 1. If (any) two normative ethical theories are extensionally equivalent, 3 then either (a) both theories are acceptable or (b) both theories are unacceptable. 2. AU and RU are normative ethical theories. 3. If AU and RU are extensionally equivalent, then either (a) both AU and RU are acceptable or (b) both AU and RU are unacceptable (from 1 and 2). 4. AU and RU are extensionally equivalent. 1 Also known as Indirect Utilitarianism and Restricted Utilitarianism. The contrasts are with Direct Utilitarianism and Extreme Utilitarianism, respectively. 2 Here is William H. Shaw s statement of the theory: an action is morally right if and only if it accords with that set of rules, the general acceptance of which would result in more happiness than any alternative set of rules. William H. Shaw, Contemporary Ethics: Taking Account of Utilitarianism (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1999), To say that two normative theories are extensionally equivalent is to say that they generate exactly the same normative judgments. Any act judged to be right according to one theory is judged to be right according to the other. In itself, extensional equivalence is neither good nor bad. But if it can be shown that a given theory is extensionally equivalent to another theory that is known to be unacceptable, then we have a refutation of the given theory. For in any case in which the unacceptable theory implies an incorrect normative judgment, the new theory must have the same unacceptable implication. Fred Feldman, Introductory Ethics (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1978), 65. 1

2 5. Either (a) both AU and RU are acceptable or (b) both AU and RU are unacceptable (from 3 and 4, modus ponens). 6. AU is unacceptable. 7. It is not the case that both AU and RU are acceptable (from 6). 8. Both AU and RU are unacceptable (from 5 and 7, disjunctive syllogism). 9. RU is unacceptable (from 8, simplification). accepts premises 1, 2, and 6, but rejects premise 4. AU and RU are extensionally equivalent only if it doesn t matter how teachable, learnable, memorable, and usable the rules are. But these things matter. The rule If you have made a promise, then keep it is teachable, learnable, memorable, and usable (in the sense of being easy to apply), but the rule If you have made a promise, then do whatever maximizes utility is none of these things. If we place restrictions on what counts as a rule, as the rule-utilitarian insists that we do, then AU and RU are not extensionally equivalent. 4 Commentary: The objection says, in effect, that RU is not a distinct normative ethical theory. It is said to collapse into, or be reducible to, AU. The reply is that it is distinct because not just anything counts as a rule. The No-Improvement Objection: 1. If (any) two normative ethical theories are extensionally equivalent, then neither is an improvement on the other. 2. AU and RU are normative ethical theories. 3. If AU and RU are extensionally equivalent, then neither is an improvement on the other (from 1 and 2). 4. AU and RU are extensionally equivalent. 5. Neither AU nor RU is an improvement on the other (from 3 4 According to William H. Shaw, the rules need to be simple enough that people can learn them and guide their conduct by them for otherwise the rules will not maximize happiness. Shaw, Contemporary Ethics,

3 and 4). 6. RU is not an improvement on AU (from 5). 7. RU is acceptable only if it is an improvement on AU. 8. RU is unacceptable (from 6 and 7). accepts premises 1 and 2, but rejects premises 4 and 7. Premise 4 is rejected because AU and RU are not extensionally equivalent (see the reply to the Extensional-Equivalence Objection). Premise 7 is rejected because it is question-begging. 5 One might just as well say that AU is acceptable only if it is an improvement on RU (and then infer that AU is unacceptable). Commentary: This objection differs from the Extensional-Equivalence Objection in the following way. In the former, RU is said to be just as bad as AU, which is claimed to be unacceptable. In the latter, RU is said to be no better than AU, which is not claimed to be unacceptable. The Rule-Worshipping Objection: 1. A normative ethical theory is unacceptable if it is irrational. 2. A normative ethical theory is irrational if it endorses means that are inappropriate to its end. 3. A normative ethical theory is unacceptable if it endorses means that are inappropriate to its end (from 1 and 2). 4. RU is a normative ethical theory. 5. RU is unacceptable if it endorses means that are inappropriate to its end (from 3 and 4). 6. RU endorses means that are inappropriate to its end. 6 5 To beg the question is to assume as a premise precisely what one is supposed to establish. The classic example goes as follows. Suppose I am trying to persuade you that God exists. I cite the Bible in support of my conclusion. You ask me why you should accept what the Bible says. I reply, Because it s the authoritative word of God. I cannot assume that God exists in the course of arguing that God exists! 6 The end of any form of utilitarianism, including RU, is the maximization of utility. As a means to this end, RU endorses rule-following even when one believes, or suspects, that rule-breaking will maximize utility. According to J. J. C. Smart, this is irrational; 3

4 7. RU is unacceptable (from 5 and 6). accepts premises 1, 2, and 4, but rejects premise 6. As G. E. Moore ( ) observes, though we may be sure that there are cases where the rule should be broken, we can never know which those cases are, and ought, therefore, never to break it. 7 In other words, given our (inevitable) ignorance, the means endorsed by RU following rules are not inappropriate to its end, which is the maximization of utility. This is true even when one believes, or suspects, that rule-breaking will maximize utility. 8 Commentary: The objector says that it is irrational to worship rules. The rule-utilitarian replies that he or she is not worshipping rules but following them. The Dilemma Objection: 9 1. Either (a) RU is extensionally equivalent to AU or (b) RU is not extensionally equivalent to AU. 2. If RU is extensionally equivalent to AU, then RU is no better than AU. 10 it constitutes superstitious rule-worship... and not the rational thought of a philosopher. J. J. C. Smart, Extreme and Restricted Utilitarianism, The Philosophical Quarterly 6 (October 1956): , at 349 (ellipsis added). 7 George Edward Moore, Principia Ethica (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1903 [1966 reprint]), Smart asks: [I]s it not monstrous to suppose that if we have worked out the consequences and if we have perfect faith in the impartiality of our calculations, and if we know that in this instance to break R will have better results than to keep it, we should nevertheless obey the rule? Is it not to erect R into a sort of idol if we keep it when breaking it will prevent, say, some avoidable misery? Smart, Extreme and Restricted Utilitarianism, (italics in original). Moore s reply to Smart would be that we can never know whether the case before us is one in which breaking the rule (as opposed to following it) will maximize utility. Smart thinks we sometimes know this and are therefore irrational in following the rule; Moore thinks we never know this and are therefore not irrational in following the rule. 9 The objection takes the form of a constructive dilemma, which is a valid argument form. To say that an argument form is valid is to say that it is impossible for its premises to be true while its conclusion is false. In other words, the premises logically imply the conclusion. The form is: Either p or q; if p, then r; if q, then s; therefore, either r or s. Any argument that has a valid form is a valid argument, so this argument is valid. 10 See, e.g., Smart, Extreme and Restricted Utilitarianism,

5 3. If RU is not extensionally equivalent to AU, then RU implies either that some optimific 11 acts are not right or that some right acts are not optimific in which case endorsing RU amounts to irrational rule worship Either (a) RU is no better than AU or (b) RU implies either that some optimific acts are not right or that some right acts are not optimific in which case endorsing RU amounts to irrational rule worship (from 1, 2, and 3, constructive dilemma). Reply: The rule-utilitarian accepts the validity of the argument and accepts premises 1 and 2, but rejects premise 3. Premise 1 is true by virtue of its form ( p or not-p ). Premise 2 is true but question-begging, since only someone who believes that AU is true (and RU, therefore, false) would think that RU is no better than AU. 13 Premise 3 is both false and question-begging. It is false because there are good reasons to follow rules even in those cases in which breaking the rules would maximize utility (see the reply to the Rule-Worshipping Objection). It is question-begging because only someone who believes that AU is true (and RU, therefore, false) would think that endorsing RU amounts to irrational rule worship. 14 Commentary: This objection differs from the No-Improvement Objection and the Rule-Worshipping Objection in that it has a disjunctive ( either-or ) conclusion. It says, in effect, that RU has at least one serious problem. The rule-utilitarian replies that both problems have been solved, separately. 11 Act x is optimific iff x maximizes utility. 12 See, e.g., Smart, Extreme and Restricted Utilitarianism, One might just as well say that RU is no worse than (or just as good as) AU. 14 One might just as well say that endorsing AU amounts to act worship. As Shelly Kagan puts it: In effect, the charge of rule worship implicitly presumes that it is acts rather than rules that are to be directly evaluated by appeal to the overall good; thus, it simply begs the question against the rule consequentialist. Shelly Kagan, Normative Ethics, Dimensions of Philosophy Series, ed. Norman Daniels and Keith Lehrer (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1998),

Rule-Egoism: Objections and Replies Keith Burgess-Jackson 28 February 2016

Rule-Egoism: Objections and Replies Keith Burgess-Jackson 28 February 2016 Rule-Egoism: Objections and Replies Keith Burgess-Jackson 28 February 2016 Rule-Egoism (RE): 1 For all acts x, x is right iff x conforms to the egooptimal set of rules. Commentary: The ego-optimal set

More information

Lecture Notes William L. Rowe, The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism (1979) Keith Burgess-Jackson 22 November 2015

Lecture Notes William L. Rowe, The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism (1979) Keith Burgess-Jackson 22 November 2015 Lecture Notes William L. Rowe, The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism (1979) Keith Burgess-Jackson 22 November 2015 Introduction. Rowe (1931-2015) asks and answers three interrelated questions

More information

Sorensen on Unknowable Obligations

Sorensen on Unknowable Obligations Sorensen on Unknowable Obligations Theodore Sider Utilitas 7 (1995): 273 9 1. Access principles Vagueness in the phrase can know aside, the principle of Access An act is obligatory only if its agent can

More information

Philosophy 1100: Ethics

Philosophy 1100: Ethics Philosophy 1100: Ethics! Topic 1 - Course Introduction: 1. What is Philosophy? 2. What is Ethics? 3. Logic! a. Truth! b. Arguments! c. Validity! d. Soundness What is Philosophy? The Three Fundamental Questions

More information

The Naturalistic Fallacy Julia Tanner

The Naturalistic Fallacy Julia Tanner The Naturalistic Fallacy The naturalistic fallacy is a source of much confusion. In what follows I will explain what G.E. Moore meant by the naturalistic fallacy, give modern day examples of it then mention

More information

Session 8 Smith, Is There A Prima Facie Obligation to Obey the Law?

Session 8 Smith, Is There A Prima Facie Obligation to Obey the Law? Session 8 Smith, Is There A Prima Facie Obligation to Obey the Law? Identifying the Question Not: Does the fact that some act is against the law provide us with a reason to believe (i.e. evidence) that

More information

PHI 1500: Major Issues in Philosophy

PHI 1500: Major Issues in Philosophy PHI 1500: Major Issues in Philosophy Session 23 November 25 th, 2015 Ethics: Thomson 1 Ø Today we will expand upon the comparison of consequentialism and deontology, by looking at how those ethical theories

More information

Last time we were discussing the following view about what it is right and wrong to do:

Last time we were discussing the following view about what it is right and wrong to do: Last time we were discussing the following view about what it is right and wrong to do: We noted one sort of objection to this view: namely that, as stated, it does not really give us much help in deciding

More information

Phil Notes: Rawls Theory of Distributive Justice

Phil Notes: Rawls Theory of Distributive Justice Notes: Rawls Theory of Distributive Justice I. Basic Concepts Distributive Justice: Justice in the distribution of goods/wealth. Patterned/end-state conceptions of distributive justice: Say there is some

More information

Peter Vallentyne. In recent years the problem of moral dilemmas has received the attention of

Peter Vallentyne. In recent years the problem of moral dilemmas has received the attention of Moral Dilemmas and Comparative Conceptions of Morality, Southern Journal of Philosophy XXX (1992): 117-124. Peter Vallentyne In recent years the problem of moral dilemmas has received the attention of

More information

Logic. Premise #1 (Reason #1) Premise #2 (Reason #2) Conclusion. Example #1:

Logic. Premise #1 (Reason #1) Premise #2 (Reason #2) Conclusion. Example #1: Part I: Logic Logic Logic is the study of right or correct thinking. It focuses upon the analysis and construction of arguments. An argument is the reasons given for one s opinion. One s opinion should

More information

Epistemology as Methodology

Epistemology as Methodology Epistemology as Methodology Gilbert Harman June 27, 2005 What is distinctive about my views in epistemology? One thing is that my concern with epistemology is a concern with methodology. Furthermore, I

More information

Divine command theory

Divine command theory Today we will be discussing divine command theory. But first I will give a (very) brief overview of the semester, and the discipline of philosophy. Why do this? One of the functions of an introductory

More information

At least two other worrying sorts of cases for consequentialism are worth considering:

At least two other worrying sorts of cases for consequentialism are worth considering: Kantian ethics Last time, in our discussion of consequentialism, we discussed Williams examples of George the chemist and Jim and the Indians. In each of these examples, Williams thinks that we should

More information

What Is a Normative Ethical Theory? Keith Burgess-Jackson 8 January 2017

What Is a Normative Ethical Theory? Keith Burgess-Jackson 8 January 2017 What Is a Normative Ethical Theory? Keith Burgess-Jackson 8 January 2017 A normative ethical theory is a statement of necessary and sufficient conditions for moral rightness. 1 It purports to tell us what

More information

AUTHORITY Authority is a much more complex concept, and we need to make distinctions between several different ideas of authority.

AUTHORITY Authority is a much more complex concept, and we need to make distinctions between several different ideas of authority. Michael Lacewing Authority and legitimacy POWER Power, in the context of politics, can be defined as the ability to get others to do things even when they might not want to. Power can operate through persuasion,

More information

Today we begin our discussion of the existence of God.

Today we begin our discussion of the existence of God. Aquinas Second Way Today we begin our discussion of the existence of God. The main philosophical problem about the existence of God can be put like this: is it possible to provide good arguments either

More information

PHI 1700: Global Ethics

PHI 1700: Global Ethics PHI 1700: Global Ethics Session 16 March 31 st, 2016 Thomson, Killing, Letting Die, and the Trolley Problem Today we begin our unit on Applied Ethics, using the normative ethical theories we have studied

More information

ARGUMENT. Copyright by Pearson Education, publishing as Longman Publishers Fowler/Aaron, The Little, Brown Handbook, Ninth Edition

ARGUMENT. Copyright by Pearson Education, publishing as Longman Publishers Fowler/Aaron, The Little, Brown Handbook, Ninth Edition ARGUMENT Questions for Critically Reading an Argument What claims does the writer make? What kinds and quality of evidence does the writer provide? What assumptions underlie the argument? What is the writer

More information

Mill s Utilitarianism Reading list and essay questions. Tom Porter, LMH. Stuart Mill

Mill s Utilitarianism Reading list and essay questions. Tom Porter, LMH. Stuart Mill Mill s Utilitarianism list and essay questions Tom Porter, LMH This reading list is divided into four topics (see below). It is essential that you read the texts marked with an asterisk (*) if you are

More information

Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.

Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law. Michael Lacewing Is morality based on reason? KANT S ARGUMENT Immanuel Kant argued that morality was based on reason alone, and once we understood this, we would see that acting morally is the same as

More information

Kant s Categorical Imperative and euthanasia Michael Lacewing

Kant s Categorical Imperative and euthanasia Michael Lacewing Kant s Categorical Imperative and euthanasia Michael Lacewing enquiries@alevelphilosophy.co.uk Michael Lacewing Deontology Deontologists believe that morality is a matter of duty (the Greek deon means

More information

Ethics Handout 13 Williams, A Critique of Utilitarianism

Ethics Handout 13 Williams, A Critique of Utilitarianism 24.231 Ethics Handout 13 Williams, A Critique of Utilitarianism First, some preliminaries: It s important to be clear about what views Williams argument, and the other arguments we ve been considering,

More information

Title of the paper: Act-utilitarianism, Relationships and Cheating. Mailing address: Sirkkalankatu 36 B 44, Turku, Finland

Title of the paper: Act-utilitarianism, Relationships and Cheating. Mailing address: Sirkkalankatu 36 B 44, Turku, Finland Author s name: Arvi Pakaslahti Title of the paper: Act-utilitarianism, Relationships and Cheating Institutional affiliation: University of Turku E-mail address: arvi.pakaslahti@utu.fi Telephone number:

More information

Ethical Theories. A comparison of the three main branches of normative ethics

Ethical Theories. A comparison of the three main branches of normative ethics Ethical Theories A comparison of the three main branches of normative ethics Three main Ethical Approaches Three main approaches to normative ethics: Virtue ethics (ethics of character) Consequentialism

More information

In the selection from Kantʼs book, The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, which we read for today, Kant begins with this claim:

In the selection from Kantʼs book, The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, which we read for today, Kant begins with this claim: Kant s ethics So far in our discussion of ethics we have been focusing on different versions of consequentialism - the view that one is morally obliged to pursue the course of action which, of the available

More information

Metaethics: Intuitionism, emotivism and prescriptivism. Michael Lacewing

Metaethics: Intuitionism, emotivism and prescriptivism. Michael Lacewing enquiries@alevelphilosophy.co.uk Michael Lacewing Metaethics: Intuitionism, emotivism and prescriptivism Michael Lacewing Moral realism is perhaps the common sense position on ethics for many people. Many

More information

JOHN STUART MILL UTILITARIANISM. Introduction to Ethical Theory Benjamin Visscher Hole IV

JOHN STUART MILL UTILITARIANISM. Introduction to Ethical Theory Benjamin Visscher Hole IV JOHN STUART MILL UTILITARIANISM Introduction to Ethical Theory Benjamin Visscher Hole IV Hedonistic Utilitarianism Utilitarianism: An act is right if and only if (and because) it would (if performed) likely

More information

Earman and Roberts on Empiricism about Laws

Earman and Roberts on Empiricism about Laws Earman and Roberts on Empiricism about Laws Bradford Skow Abstract Earman and Roberts [2005] argue that a standard definition of empiricism about laws of nature is inadequate, and propose an alternative

More information

Kant s deontological ethics

Kant s deontological ethics Michael Lacewing Kant s deontological ethics DEONTOLOGY Deontologists believe that morality is a matter of duty. We have moral duties to do things which it is right to do and moral duties not to do things

More information

AUTONOMY AND PRACTICAL LAW

AUTONOMY AND PRACTICAL LAW Philosophical Books Vol. 49 No. 2 April 2008 pp. 107 113 AUTONOMY AND PRACTICAL LAW samuel j. kerstein The University of Maryland, College Park It s a pleasure to comment on Agency and Autonomy in Kant

More information

What We Can Learn From The Skeptical Puzzle. Tim Black

What We Can Learn From The Skeptical Puzzle. Tim Black What We Can Learn From The Skeptical Puzzle Tim Black In Iris: European Journal of Philosophy and Public Debate 1 (2009): 439-447 (This version might be different in certain respects from the published

More information

The Problem of Induction and Popper s Deductivism

The Problem of Induction and Popper s Deductivism The Problem of Induction and Popper s Deductivism Issues: I. Problem of Induction II. Popper s rejection of induction III. Salmon s critique of deductivism 2 I. The problem of induction 1. Inductive vs.

More information

If I know that P, and know that if P, then Q, I am thereby in a position to know that Q.

If I know that P, and know that if P, then Q, I am thereby in a position to know that Q. The lottery paradox The lottery paradox is a kind of skeptical argument: that is, it is a kind of argument designed to show that we do not know many of the things we ordinarily take ourselves to know.

More information

Divine Command Theory

Divine Command Theory Divine Command Theory 1. Divine Command Theory: This is the view that rightness stems from God s commands: That is, an action is right if God commands it, and wrong if He forbids it. On this view, morality

More information

Today we begin our discussion of the existence of God.

Today we begin our discussion of the existence of God. Aquinas Five Ways Today we begin our discussion of the existence of God. The main philosophical problem about the existence of God can be put like this: is it possible to provide good arguments either

More information

Might Theory X Be a Theory of Diminishing Marginal Value?

Might Theory X Be a Theory of Diminishing Marginal Value? Might Theory X Be a Theory of Diminishing Marginal Value? Theodore Sider Analysis 51 (1991): 265 271 Abstract Act Utilitarianisms divide into Total and Average versions. Total versions seem to imply Parfit

More information

Kant s Normative Ethics Brad Hooker

Kant s Normative Ethics Brad Hooker Kant s Normative Ethics Brad Hooker One central moral idea is that your doing some act is morally permissible only if others doing that act would also be morally permissible. There are a number of different

More information

IS BUSINESS ETHICS AN OXYMORON? Dragoş BÎGU 1 Ionuţ ANASTASIU 2. KEYWORDS: business ethics, purpose of business, public vs. private sector ethics.

IS BUSINESS ETHICS AN OXYMORON? Dragoş BÎGU 1 Ionuţ ANASTASIU 2. KEYWORDS: business ethics, purpose of business, public vs. private sector ethics. IS BUSINESS ETHICS AN OXYMORON? Dragoş BÎGU 1 Ionuţ ANASTASIU 2 ABSTRACT In this article, we examine some objections to the enterprise of business ethics. We draw the distinction between two lines of argumentation

More information

Introduction to Epistemology

Introduction to Epistemology 1 Introduction to Epistemology Reading Questions Epistemology Foundationalism The Infinite Regress Argument for Foundationalism Types of An Example Foundationalism: The Wall Model Tests for Foundationality

More information

AS Religious Studies: Teleological Ethics. Utilitarianism & Situation Ethics. Peter Baron

AS Religious Studies: Teleological Ethics. Utilitarianism & Situation Ethics. Peter Baron AS Religious Studies: Teleological Ethics Utilitarianism & Situation Ethics Peter Baron 1 Published by Inducit Learning Ltd trading as pushmepress.com, Pawlett House, West Street, Somerton, Somerset TA11

More information

Wide or narrow scope? John Broome

Wide or narrow scope? John Broome Wide or narrow scope? John Broome 1. Introduction In his major paper Why be rational?, 1 Niko Kolodny argues for the thesis that you have no reason to satisfy the requirements of rationality. His main

More information

A Philosophy of Ethical Behavior

A Philosophy of Ethical Behavior A Philosophy of Ethical Behavior Andrew J. Marsiglia, PhD, CCP Morality and ethics is produced from non-empirical information or innate understanding as well as from empirical information. It is acquired

More information

PROOF AND PROBABILITY(teaching notes)

PROOF AND PROBABILITY(teaching notes) PROOF AND PROBABILITY(teaching notes) In arguing for God s existence, it is important to distinguish between proof and probability. Different rules of reasoning apply depending on whether we are testing

More information

PHENOMENAL CONSERVATISM, REFLECTION AND SELF-DEFEAT

PHENOMENAL CONSERVATISM, REFLECTION AND SELF-DEFEAT PHENOMENAL CONSERVATISM, REFLECTION AND SELF-DEFEAT Julien BEILLARD ABSTRACT: Huemer defends phenomenal conservatism (PC) and also the further claim that belief in any rival theory is self-defeating (SD).

More information

PHIL 202: Core Ethics Fall 2014; Classics in Metaethics David O. Brink Handout #1: G.E. Moore and the Open Question Argument

PHIL 202: Core Ethics Fall 2014; Classics in Metaethics David O. Brink Handout #1: G.E. Moore and the Open Question Argument Draft of 9-28- 14 PHIL 202: Core Ethics Fall 2014; Classics in Metaethics David O. Brink Handout #1: G.E. Moore and the Open Question Argument G.E. Moore s ideas in ethical theory were developed in Principia

More information

Truth as Correspondence. Tony Roy

Truth as Correspondence. Tony Roy 6 Truth as Correspondence Tony Roy In this short paper, I discuss certain aspects of a common-sense approach to truth and falsity. It is my experience that many will object to what I have to say. As you

More information

ARGUMENTS. Arguments. arguments

ARGUMENTS. Arguments. arguments ARGUMENTS Arguments arguments 1 Argument Worksheet 1. An argument is a collection of propositions with one proposition, the conclusion, following from the other propositions, the premises. Inference is

More information

Must God Be Perfectly Good?

Must God Be Perfectly Good? Must God Be Perfectly Good? Jay Michael Arnold Introduction Richard Swinburne, in his seminal book, The Coherence of Theism, claims I propose to argue that not merely is perfect goodness compatible with

More information

Russell s view of propositions in the Principles of Mathematics

Russell s view of propositions in the Principles of Mathematics Russell s view of propositions in the Principles of Mathematics phil 43904 Jeff Speaks September 11, 2007 1 Propositions, terms, things, concepts........................ 1 2 Verbs and verbal nouns express

More information

6.6 Common Argument Forms and Fallacies

6.6 Common Argument Forms and Fallacies 6.6 Common Argument Forms and Fallacies 1. Common Valid Argument Forms: In the previous section (6.4), we learned how to determine whether or not an argument is valid using truth tables. There are certain

More information

Utilitarianism. If the ends don t justify the means well, what does?

Utilitarianism. If the ends don t justify the means well, what does? Utilitarianism If the ends don t justify the means well, what does? A Revolution In Ethics For our purposes, utilitarianism can be said to have been founded by Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832); developed and

More information

Introduction to Metaethics

Introduction to Metaethics Introduction to Metaethics Felix Pinkert 103 Ethics: Metaethics, University of Oxford, Hilary Term 2015 What is Metaethics? 1 What is Metaethics? 2 A spectrum from more to less objective theories 3 Specifying

More information

5. While this type of ethics may universally forbid or mandate certain sorts of actions (Aristotle and Aquinas, e.g., have their own candidates),

5. While this type of ethics may universally forbid or mandate certain sorts of actions (Aristotle and Aquinas, e.g., have their own candidates), Dr. John D. Jones Basic Themes in Theory of Ethics (Note: I use the terms "ethics" and "morality" and their cognates as synonymous with one another. I assume that you have covered this material in your

More information

Thin and Full Theories of Goodness

Thin and Full Theories of Goodness Weithman 1. Thin and Full Theories of Goodness Rawls first draws the distinction between the thin and the full theories of goodness in section 60 of A Theory of Justice. The first and perhaps the most

More information

INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHICAL ARGUMENTATION. Supplemental Lecture Slides Phil240: Introduction to Ethical Theory Benjamin Visscher Hole IV

INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHICAL ARGUMENTATION. Supplemental Lecture Slides Phil240: Introduction to Ethical Theory Benjamin Visscher Hole IV INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHICAL ARGUMENTATION Supplemental Lecture Slides Phil240: Introduction to Ethical Theory Benjamin Visscher Hole IV PHILOSOPHY CONSISTS IN CRITICAL ENGAGEMENT The philosophers we

More information

Fallacies through vacuity. Philosophy and Logic Sections

Fallacies through vacuity. Philosophy and Logic Sections Fallacies through vacuity Philosophy and Logic Sections 6.1-6.3 Fallacies: Family Tree I. Formal Fallacies II. Informal Fallacies A. Fallacies of Clarity B. Vacuous arguments C. Fallacies of relevance

More information

Conditionals I: the material conditional

Conditionals I: the material conditional Conditionals I: the material conditional UC Berkeley, Philosophy 142, Spring 2016 John MacFarlane 1 Introduction In Philosophy 12A you were taught to formalize English conditionals using the horseshoe

More information

PHIL 341: Ethical Theory

PHIL 341: Ethical Theory PHIL 341: Ethical Theory Student data (on cards) Contact info: name, address, phone number, university ID, etc. Background: especially data on satisfaction of the prerequisite (two prior courses in philosophy).

More information

Ethics: What Is Right?

Ethics: What Is Right? 8 Ethics: What Is Right? The word ethics comes from the Greek word ethos, meaning custom. The Latin equivalent of this term is mores (customs), from which we derive our words moral and morality. Although

More information

Ethical Point of View

Ethical Point of View Ethical Point of View Virtually everybody shares core values Life ( hierarchy of needs security, health?) Happiness (privacy, freedom of expression?) Ability to accomplish goals (public education, property?)

More information

Ethical Relativism. Robert Milton Underwood, Jr.

Ethical Relativism. Robert Milton Underwood, Jr. Ethical Relativism Robert Milton Underwood, Jr. 2008 Underwood 1 Ethical Relativism Without a single uniform moral code for all human activity at all times, we are left with a morality based on relativity.

More information

Lecture Notes Note, The Case for Compulsory Voting in the United States (2007) Keith Burgess-Jackson 21 April 2016

Lecture Notes Note, The Case for Compulsory Voting in the United States (2007) Keith Burgess-Jackson 21 April 2016 Lecture Notes Note, The Case for Compulsory Voting in the United States (2007) Keith Burgess-Jackson 21 April 2016 Introduction. Voter turnout in the United States is much lower than in other democracies

More information

GLO S S A RY Absolute Act consequentialism Act utilitarianism Ad hominem attack Agnostics Altruism Ambiguous Amoralists Argument Atheism Autonomy

GLO S S A RY Absolute Act consequentialism Act utilitarianism Ad hominem attack Agnostics Altruism Ambiguous Amoralists Argument Atheism Autonomy GLOSSARY Absolute: Never permissibly broken; violating an absolute moral rule is always wrong. Act consequentialism: The normative ethical theory that says that an act is morally right just because it

More information

Deductive Arguments and the Truth-Table Method Intro to Philosophy, Spring 2012 Torrey Wang Handout 2

Deductive Arguments and the Truth-Table Method Intro to Philosophy, Spring 2012 Torrey Wang Handout 2 Deductive Arguments and the Truth-Table Method Intro to Philosophy, Spring 2012 Torrey Wang Handout 2 I. Deductive reasoning The following schematic arguments all exhibit forms of reasoning that are intended

More information

The psychological theory of persons

The psychological theory of persons The psychological theory of persons Last week were discussing dualist views of persons, according to which human beings are immaterial things distinct from their bodies. We closed by discussing some problems

More information

God and Morality. This module investigates whether God must, or even can, provide a foundation for morality.

God and Morality. This module investigates whether God must, or even can, provide a foundation for morality. God and Morality Credit value: 10 Module level: Module tutor: 2 nd Year Undergraduate The Reverend Dr David Efird Module overview: This module investigates whether God must, or even can, provide a foundation

More information

Taking Things for Granted: Comments on Harman and Sherman

Taking Things for Granted: Comments on Harman and Sherman Taking Things for Granted: Comments on Harman and Sherman Thomas Kelly Princeton University tkelly@princeton.edu I think that the phenomenon of taking things for granted is an interesting and important

More information

Lecture 2: Moral Reasoning & Evaluating Ethical Theories

Lecture 2: Moral Reasoning & Evaluating Ethical Theories Lecture 2: Moral Reasoning & Evaluating Ethical Theories I. Introduction In this ethics course, we are going to avoid divine command theory and various appeals to authority and put our trust in critical

More information

What is the methodology for doing metaphysics?

What is the methodology for doing metaphysics? PHIL 4603: Metaphysics Prof. Funkhouser What is Metaphysics? What is the subject matter of metaphysics? Metaphysics is the study of what exists (ontology) and the nature of things at the most abstract

More information

Why economics needs ethical theory by John Broome, University of Oxford

Why economics needs ethical theory by John Broome, University of Oxford Why economics needs ethical theory by John Broome, University of Oxford For the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, London, 2000. Economics is a branch of ethics. Well, that

More information

In an article titled Ethical Absolutism and the

In an article titled Ethical Absolutism and the Stance Volume 3 April 2010 A Substantive Revision to Firth's Ideal Observer Theory ABSTRACT: This paper examines Ideal Observer Theory and uses criticisms of it to lay the foundation for a revised theory

More information

Utilitarianism. Jeremy Bentham

Utilitarianism. Jeremy Bentham Utilitarianism Jeremy Bentham Review and Aims for This Week Religion and Morality: what is right is what the Gods love or command Cultural relativism: an action is right for a culture C iff it is approved

More information

KANTIAN DEONTOLOGY KANTIAN DEONTOLOGY

KANTIAN DEONTOLOGY KANTIAN DEONTOLOGY KANTIAN DEONTOLOGY A. What is Deontology? 1. Deontological approaches in ethics usually contrasted with teleological approaches. 2. A teleological theory is goal oriented: - a morally right act is one

More information

KANTIAN DEONTOLOGY KANTIAN DEONTOLOGY

KANTIAN DEONTOLOGY KANTIAN DEONTOLOGY KANTIAN DEONTOLOGY A. What is Deontology? 1. Deontological approaches in ethics usually contrasted with teleological approaches. 2. A teleological theory is goal oriented: - a morally right act is one

More information

Handout #1: Argument Terminology

Handout #1: Argument Terminology Handout #1: Argument Terminology 1 Argument, Proposition, Premise, Conclusion Open Question: What happens when two people are in an argument? An argument is an abstraction from what goes on when people

More information

Hurka on the Intrinsic Value of Attitudes

Hurka on the Intrinsic Value of Attitudes Hurka on the Intrinsic Value of Attitudes In Virtue, Vice, and Value Thomas Hurka develops an interesting and unusual form of consequentialist theory. 1 One of its distinctive features is the set of claims

More information

Strengths and Weaknesses of Weak and Strong Supervenience. Abstract

Strengths and Weaknesses of Weak and Strong Supervenience. Abstract Strengths and Weaknesses of Weak and Strong Supervenience Draft Date: 9/1/99 Mark Moyer Abstract What is the relation between weak and strong supervenience? Kim claims that weak supervenience is weaker,

More information

Chapter 1, Part III: Proofs

Chapter 1, Part III: Proofs Chapter 1, Part III: Proofs Summary Valid Arguments and Rules of Inference Proof Methods Proof Strategies Section 1.6 Section Summary Valid Arguments Inference Rules for Propositional Logic Using Rules

More information

TOO MANY OPINIONS By Jim Wilson

TOO MANY OPINIONS By Jim Wilson TOO MANY OPINIONS By Jim Wilson Over the years I have heard the comment that small group Bible studies were events where each member of the group shared his ignorance with the other members. This has gotten

More information

Introduction to Philosophy

Introduction to Philosophy Introduction to Philosophy PHIL 2000--Call # 14373 Kent Baldner Teaching Assistants: Adam Griffin Patrick Cronin Sections ( Labs ) all meet on Wednesdays, starting Wed., Sep. 10. 11:00 11:50, 3205 Dunbar

More information

Chapter 5: Fallacies. 23 February 2015

Chapter 5: Fallacies. 23 February 2015 Chapter 5: Fallacies 23 February 2015 Plan for today Talk a bit more about arguments notice that the function of arguments explains why there are lots of bad arguments Turn to the concept of fallacy and

More information

Explain and critically assess the Singer Solution to Global Poverty

Explain and critically assess the Singer Solution to Global Poverty 1 Explain and critically assess the Singer Solution to Global Poverty Introduction In this essay, I will summarise Singer's solution to world poverty, and then consider some of the objections that may

More information

THE MORAL POINT OF VIEW

THE MORAL POINT OF VIEW THE MORAL POINT OF VIEW Kurt Baier Introduction, H. Gene Blocker IN THE READING THAT FOLLOWS, the contemporary philosopher Kurt Baier argues that egoism not only fails as an ethical theory but also fails

More information

Logical Fallacies in Attacks Against the Bible: Eleven Examples

Logical Fallacies in Attacks Against the Bible: Eleven Examples Logical Fallacies in Attacks Against the Bible: Eleven Examples Edwin K. P. Chong Version: August 26, 2003 In this essay, I describe, by way of examples, eleven fallacies of logic and their use in attacking

More information

Philosophy 1100: Ethics

Philosophy 1100: Ethics Philosophy 1100: Ethics Topic 7: Ross Theory of Prima Facie Duties 1. Something all our theories have had in common 2. W.D. Ross 3. The Concept of a Prima Facie Duty 4. Ross List of Prima Facie Duties

More information

Cultural Relativism. 1. What is Cultural Relativism? 2. Is Cultural Relativism true? 3. What can we learn from Cultural Relativism?

Cultural Relativism. 1. What is Cultural Relativism? 2. Is Cultural Relativism true? 3. What can we learn from Cultural Relativism? 1. What is Cultural Relativism? 2. Is Cultural Relativism true? 3. What can we learn from Cultural Relativism? What is it? Rough idea: There is no universal truth in ethics. There are only customary practices

More information

Here is what he has to say about the question of whether God exists:

Here is what he has to say about the question of whether God exists: Pascal s wager Blaise Pascal was a 17th century French philosopher, theologian, and mathematician; he made foundational contributions to, among other areas, the early development of the theory of probability.

More information

Unhappy Humans and Happy Pigs

Unhappy Humans and Happy Pigs Joshua Seigal John Stuart Mill is famous for having expanded Bentham s utilitarianism to incorporate higher and lower pleasures. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in the dictum better to be a human

More information

On Cuneo s defence of the parity premise

On Cuneo s defence of the parity premise 1 On Cuneo s defence of the parity premise G.J.E. Rutten 1. Introduction In his book The Normative Web Terence Cuneo provides a core argument for his moral realism of a paradigmatic sort. Paradigmatic

More information

A Quick Overview. What is Philosophy? Why do Philosophy? Study Tips. What is Philosophy?

A Quick Overview. What is Philosophy? Why do Philosophy? Study Tips. What is Philosophy? 1 A Quick Overview What is Philosophy? Why do Philosophy? Study Tips What is Philosophy? I love philosophy! It s an activity that anyone can enjoy, without special tools or training (although, of course,

More information

DIVINE CONTINGENCY Einar Duenger Bohn IFIKK, University of Oslo

DIVINE CONTINGENCY Einar Duenger Bohn IFIKK, University of Oslo DIVINE CONTINGENCY Einar Duenger Bohn IFIKK, University of Oslo Brian Leftow s God and Necessity is interesting, full of details, bold and ambitious. Roughly, the main question at hand is: assuming there

More information

KRIPKE ON PRIVATE LANGUAGE

KRIPKE ON PRIVATE LANGUAGE PAUL HOFFMAN KRIPKE ON PRIVATE LANGUAGE (Received 6 February, 1984) INTRODUCTION In his recent book Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language: An Elementary Exposition, Saul Kripke gives a new interpretation

More information

ATTRACTION, DESCRIPTION AND THE DESIRE-SATISFACTION THEORY OF WELFARE

ATTRACTION, DESCRIPTION AND THE DESIRE-SATISFACTION THEORY OF WELFARE DISCUSSION NOTE ATTRACTION, DESCRIPTION AND THE DESIRE-SATISFACTION THEORY OF WELFARE BY EDEN LIN JOURNAL OF ETHICS & SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY DISCUSSION NOTE OCTOBER 2016 URL: WWW.JESP.ORG COPYRIGHT EDEN LIN

More information

Chapter 1 Quiz. 6. A set of personal principles formalized into a code of behavior refers to a value system. True False

Chapter 1 Quiz. 6. A set of personal principles formalized into a code of behavior refers to a value system. True False True / False Questions 1. The field of ethics is the study of how people try to live their lives according to a standard of "right" behavior. 2. A structured community of people bound together by similar

More information

Day 3: , Truth Tables, Validity, and Translation

Day 3: , Truth Tables, Validity, and Translation Day 3: 6.1 6.8, Truth Tables, Validity, and Translation Let A = Ann is agile. B = Bob is boring. Consider: (A B) A This is a valid argument. All valid arguments are like this. The conclusion is implicitly

More information

COP3502: Introduction to Computer Science Ethics Lecture 1.2

COP3502: Introduction to Computer Science Ethics Lecture 1.2 COP3502: Introduction to Computer Science Ethics Lecture 1.2 Wickus Nienaber Department of Computer Science COP3502-1 Introduction to Computer Science Florida State University March 25, 2010 Ethics Society:

More information

Unit 2 Handout 3: DesJardin s Environmental Ethics. Chapter 4 Responsibilities to Future Generations

Unit 2 Handout 3: DesJardin s Environmental Ethics. Chapter 4 Responsibilities to Future Generations Philosophy 160C Fall 2008 jayme johnson Unit 2 Handout 3: DesJardin s Environmental Ethics Chapter 4 Responsibilities to Future Generations Population, Consumption, and Environmental Ethics I = PAT this

More information

The Pursuit of Happiness in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics: Three Readings of the ἔργον Argument

The Pursuit of Happiness in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics: Three Readings of the ἔργον Argument Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (henceforth NE) famously features an argument, central to the logic of the whole work, called the 'ergon' argument or function argument, which admits of at least two prominent,

More information

A. The Three Main Branches of the Philosophical Study of Ethics. 1. Meta-ethics. 2. Normative Ethics. 3. Applied Ethics

A. The Three Main Branches of the Philosophical Study of Ethics. 1. Meta-ethics. 2. Normative Ethics. 3. Applied Ethics A. The Three Main Branches of the Philosophical Study of Ethics 1. Meta-ethics 2. Normative Ethics 3. Applied Ethics 1 B. Meta-ethics consists in the attempt to answer the fundamental philosophical questions

More information