Midterm Study Guide - Midterm Study Guide Contemporary...

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Midterm Study Guide Contemporary Moral Problems 1. What is the Ring of Gyges? What does it tell us about ethics? The ring of Gyges is a story of a Sheppard, Gyges, who finds a magic ring on the finger of a mummified body and discovers it to make him invisible and ends up using it to kill and king and marry the queen to become king. It tells us that all humans are inherently selfish and motivated in a way to act in their own advantage. The skeptical views of this tale are psychological egoism and ethical egoism 2. What is ‘psychological egoism’ and ‘ethical egoism’? Psychological egoism : the view that all men are selfish in everything they do and are motivated by the belief that acting in this way is to their own advantage, Ethical egoism : is a normative view about how men ought to act. Regardless on how they behave, they have no obligation to anything except what is in their own interests 3. What is the difference between descriptive and normative theories? - The descriptive (or positive) variant conceives egoism as a factual description of human affairs. That is, people are motivated by their own interests and desires, and they cannot be described otherwise. The descriptive egoist’s theory is called “psychological egoism.” Psychological egoism describes human nature as being wholly self-centered and self- motivated. -what people do do - The normative variant proposes that people should be so motivated, regardless of what presently motivates their behavior. Normative egoism does not attempt to describe human nature directly, but asserts how people ought to behave. It comes in two general forms: rational egoism and ethical egoism. - what people should do 4. Give two arguments to think psychological egoism is true. Are these good arguments? - if we describe on person’s action as selfish and another’s as unselfish, we are overlooking the crucial fact that in both cases the action is done voluntarily, the agent is merely doing as he most wants to do - this is a bad argument because the object of a want is what determines whether the act is selfish or not. The argument does not take into account what the person actually wants. If the
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person care nothing for others then they are selfish but if they want others to be well off and happy and not act on their personal desire then the person is unselfish - unselfish actions always produce a sense of self satisfaction in the agent and since this sense of satisfaction is a pleasant state the person is really achieving a pleasant state of consciousness rather than to bring about any good for others and the level of unselfishness is only at the superficial level - if the person is truly selfish then their conscious would not even bother with the other persons feelings or sufferings. 5.
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This test prep was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course PHIL 103 taught by Professor Singer during the Spring '08 term at University of Delaware.

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Midterm Study Guide - Midterm Study Guide Contemporary...

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