Odell_Phil100ethics - Handout for Philosophy 100 Dr. Odell...

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1 Handout for Philosophy 100 Dr. Odell Addition Comments on Meaning of Life Issue My view concerning the meaning of life is founded upon the recognition that the complex nature of the facts concerning life’s meaning can only be fully comprehended by a multi-dimensional approach. And although it nearly impossible to find a complete list of all the dimensions that are relevant, the following open-ended list is a fruitful place to start: (a) “mystical” or “out of body experiences” what I will refer to as E+ experiences , (b) ethical conduct understood as providing a comprehensive or wide ranging goal , which I claim can be satisfied by my ethical theory (Fact based Practice Consequentialism) in as much as such conduct contributes both to the subject’s welfare and the welfare of others, (c) heightened or enhanced experience associated with adventure, (d) and likewise for artistic expression, (e) creative endeavor concerning the self and others, (f) knowledge and learning, (g) love, (h) happiness or contentment (which involves luck with regard to such dimensions as good health, longevity etc., and (i) traces of one’s existence of lasting, although not eternal, importance to both the welfare and enjoyment of others, and (j) whether or not virtuous. These ten dimensions are not exhaustive, but are clearly important determinations of ones life, both from the personal and public perspectives. Some of these dimensions are, however, more significant than others. Every life can be evaluated both personally —from the perspective of the subject —and publicly —from the objective or community perspective. I will begin by looking carefully at and elaborating the personal assessment of life’s meaningfulness. I will then look carefully at public or community assessment. And if time permits, after I have covered ethics and the theory of knowledge, I will return to the topic concerning the meaning of life. Ethical Theories Introduction The domain of what ethicists consider to be descriptive ethics is comprised of descriptive judgments. If one is asked to provide a detailed description of his or her own ethics, the ethics of his or her nation, society, or community, what that person has been asked to do is what ethicists refer to as descriptive ethics. Such a description will involve describing the practices, moral rules, and laws of a particular person, nation, society or community. Ethicists contrast descriptive ethics with normative ethics , and claim that it is with the latter and with meta-ethics that they are concerned. They relegate the former to the social sciences. If one wishes to compare the ethics of one society with another, what one is doing can be said to be comparative ethics, and this activity is also relegated to the social sciences. Ethicists primarily pursue either
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2008 for the course PHIL 100 taught by Professor ? during the Spring '07 term at Maryland.

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Odell_Phil100ethics - Handout for Philosophy 100 Dr. Odell...

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