Ethics Midterm #1 - 5:15:00 PM Environmental Ethics...

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11/02/2008 19:15:00 Environmental Ethics Midterm #1 Friday, February 15 There will be nothing on Speth Besides Speth, we started with an outline of traditional moral theories. You don’t need to know these theories in great detail. Relativism: There is no one way in which people should live. Divine Command View: There is a God who has given specific commands. How we should live is to follow these specific commands ex: Ten Commandments. Natural Law View (Thomas Aquinas): God made the world according to a plan. Being a good person is to live according to God’s plan. We know this plan through reason. Some things are natural and therefore good, and other things are unnatural, for example, sex is for making babies, all other sex is unnatural. Rights Theory: Two versions, Hobbes and Locke. Also called Social Contract Theory. Kant’s Categorical Imperative: Act only on that rule that you can at the same time will be to a universal law. And, always treat people, whether yourself or others, as an end, and not merely as a means. Utilitarianism: Greatest good for the greatest number. Virtue Theories: The meaning of life is a type of self- perfection/ self- transformations. But you should understand why someone might call them “anthropocentric.” Anthropocentrism: The idea that humans are the central concern and that humanity must judge all things accordingly. Likewise, you should have some idea why environmental ethicists tend to think that these theories are too limited. All of these different approaches are about the question: “How should I behave in circumstance x?” They tend to focus on the question, “What are my moral obligations to you?”
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They are all anthropocentric arguments that focus only on the human species, and ignore the rights and moral obligation to non- human animals. Takes Hobbes, for instance. According to Hobbes’ version of rights theory, where does morality come from? State of nature: How humans are in their natural state “Life is solitary , poor, nasty, brutish and short” For Hobbes, morality is invented Eventually, we see that this is a drag “I promise not to harm you if you promise not to harm me” Morality is invented, it’s based on a reciprocal agreement. It consists of those rules that reasonable people make in order to live together in harmony The privilege this promise gives me = Rights What might Hobbes say about our moral obligations to non- human animals? No moral obligation to animals, trees, or future generations To trees? No moral obligation For imperative that looks anthropocentric? Ex: 3000 American lives were lost in 9/11 (doesn’t care about the Iraqi lives) What is utilitarianism?
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