Mid-Term Study Questions - Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness

Mid-Term Study Questions - Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness...

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Mid-Term Study Questions: Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness 1. What’s the distinction between metaethical questions and normative questions in ethics? Clearly state the cognitivism/noncognitivism controversy that we defined in class. Does the fact that there seems to be a substantial ethical disagreement across different cultures cast doubt on ethical cognitivism? Justify your answer. Normative: An authoritative standard; a model by which other things are judged; an example for imitation or emulation. It reflects the ordinary view that some things are better than others Metaethics: Branch of philosophy that explores the status, foundation, and scope of moral values, properties, and words. It focuses on what morality itself is. It’s the reasoning about the presuppositions behind or underneath a normative ethical view or theory . It discovers the origin or cause of right and wrong. Not concerned with discovering what the right action is, or what our obligations might be, or what sort of ideals and values are preferable, or how to become virtuous. Metaethics asks questions like: o “What’s the meaning of ethical terms, such as ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘right’, ‘should’, etc.?” o “What are the motives for acting ethically?” o “What is the nature of moral reason? How is it different (if it is different) from other types of reasoning? o “What does it mean to say something is ‘ethically good’? Noncognitivism: To say that a moral statement is non-cognitive is to say that it’s neither true nor false, that is, they lack truth-value. Noncognitivists: Agree with error theorists that there are no moral properties or moral facts. But rather than thinking that this makes moral statements false, non- cognitivists claim that moral statements are not in the business of predicating properties or making statements which could be true or false in any substantial sense. Think that moral statements have no substantial truth conditions. According to non- cognitivists, when people utter moral sentences they are not typically expressing states of mind which are beliefs or which are cognitive in the way that beliefs are. Rather they are expressing non-cognitive attitudes more similar to desires, approval or disapproval. Cognitivism: To say that a moral statement is cognitive is to say that it’s either true or false . It’s the denial of non-cognitivism. It holds that moral statements do express beliefs and that they are apt for truth and falsity Yes, because whether one person believes one thing and another believes something else, there is a right answer Ex: If two people see a house and one person sees it as blue and the other as grey, they both believe something different but one of them is right
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2. Define an egoistic action. Given this definition, must every action that benefits the actor be egoistic? Explain. What are the different versions of egoism discussed in lecture?
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