Philosophy final - Philosophical Perspectives Objective Exam#2 Study Guide Section 5.0 Overview of Ethics Platos story of the ring of Gyges(pp

Philosophy final - Philosophical Perspectives Objective...

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Philosophical Perspectives Objective Exam #2 Study Guide Section 5.0 – “Overview of Ethics” Plato’s story of the ring of Gyges (pp. 406-408) Shepherd name Gyges who discovers a ring that will make him invisible when turned a certain way This ring enables him to do whatever he wants without worrying about society’s sanctions Glaucon on the reason for being moral (pp. 406-408) Thinks that most reasonable people would agree that being a just and moral person is not desirable in itself but only desirable for the social rewards it brings and the unpleasant consequences it avoids Thinks that it isn’t really necessary to be a truly moral person Sufficient to merely appear moral to one’s society if one can get away with it Ring of Gyges - no reason to be moral under those circumstances, every reason to get away with all that you can Glaucon thinks that appearance is all that matters in ethics Normative ethics vs. descriptive morality (pp. 408-409) Differentiation between ethics and morality Normative ethics - used to designate the philosophical task of discerning which moral principles are rationally defensible and which actions are genuinely good or bad Example: abhorrently immoral in Nazi Germany to persecute the Jews Descriptive morality - referring to the actual practice of a people and a culture and its beliefs about which behaviors are good or bad Example: moral in Nazi Germany to persecute the Jews The divine command theory of ethics: definition and problems (pp. 409-411) Divine command theory : the theory that the rightness or wrongness of an action is intrinsically related to the fact that God either commands or forbids it Problems with divine command theory: Lack of agreement as to which religious text or authority should guide our ethical deliberations (the Bible, Buddha’s teachings, the Koran, etc.) Even if we agree to live under the guidance of a particular religious tradition, we may disagree as to how to interpret its teachings Some ethical questions cannot be answered by traditional religious teachings apart from philosophical considerations
Plato’s Euthyphro dialogue (pp. 410-411) Socrates raises the question, “Do the gods approve of certain actions because these actions are good or are certain actions good because the gods approve of them?” ‘God approves of certain actions because they are good’ - suggests that God has a reason for approving certain actions (the reason being that they are good) BUT then we should be able to evaluate the goodness (or badness) of the actions themselves and approve/disapprove of them for the same reason that God does, which implies that we have a conception of ethics that is independent of God’s will If “good” and “bad” are arbitrary labels God attached to actions based on sovereign will, then God could have declared hatred, adultery, and murder as morally good Thomas Hobbes on the reason for morality (p. 414) Human existence without a commonly agreed-upon morality would be a “war of

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