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Unformatted text preview: Philosophy 145 Final Review Summaries of Ethical Mentalities: Moral/Cultural Relativism: Your moral compass is a function of society's beliefs. Only supports movements that maintain the status quo. Utilitarian Calculus: When judging an action, you must find the scalar sum for how happy it would make people and how many people would be made happy. Consequentialism: In the Utilitarian mentality, it is only the expected consequences that matter, not the actual ones (Ie, the dinner party with the bad food.) Utilitarianism (in general): Each Utilitarian must have their own objectives and projects, but in order to account for your own projects, you must make an exception of yourself. Act Utilitarians:Act in the way that will make the greatest amount of people the happiest. Rule Utilitarians: Apply a general rule to many situations in order to make the most amounts of people the happiest. Kantianism: Do not use a person merely as a means to an end. Also do good, even if you don't want to, follow the categorical imperatives (something that applies to everyone, give to the poor...what not) He believes that truths are based on reason alone, and that you will be able to go from an "ought" to an "is".He judges things based on the self defeating tasks, and if the entire society did it, would it still work (ie. Cheating on exams.) Egoists: Do what is in your best interest. Virtue Ethicists: Act by those virtues which will lead you to the not just good, but a good life and a good person. Nihilism: They believe that ethics are void, empty and fake. APPLIED ETHICS: Euthanasia: James Rachels: He believes that active and passive euthanasia are equal (the equivalence thesis). Active Euthanasia is directly killing someone, while passive Euthanasia is allowing someone to die by neglect or inaction. Winston Nesbitt: Nesbitt believes that killing a person is morally worse than letting someone die ("the difference thesis"). He addresses Rachels' argument by saying that in the situation that Rachels provided, both Smith and Jones are morally equal because they both had the intent to kill their nephew, as they were both prepared to kill their nephew. He furthers by saying that the difference lies in intent, that individuals who let die, never have the intent to kill someone, rather they just let someone die, as opposed to an active criminal who kill their victim with intent. Abortion: Judith Jarvis Thompson: Pro-choice because she believes that the mother's right to chose what to do with her body trumps the right of the baby's right to life. Thomson believes that the only way that a parent has an obligation to the child is through acts of volunteerism, without which there is no obligation on the side of the parents. Baruch Brody ( Pro-Life) Pro-life because he believes that the baby's right to life trumps the mother's choice to do what she wants with her body. Brody makes the distinction between what we are critical of and what we are morally obliged to do. His self defense argument believes that there should be three items taken into account. (1) when the existence of y poses a threat to X's life. (2) When Y is unjust to do the threatening of X's life. (3) When Y is responsible and guilty of trying to kill X. 1 is justified for abortion, 2 does not apply and 3 is the point where Brody will base his arguments. This is important to Brody's argument because he will try and make us see that we cannot decide who has the greater worth of living. How can we arbitrarily decide who should live and who should not? Francis Beckwith: (Pro-Life) Beckwith systematically breaks down Thomson's position on abortion through finding 9 faults of her argument. These faults are assuming volunteerism, against family morality, the notion that the unborn have a prima facie right to the mother's body, outright killing rather then letting die, inconsistencies in the burden of pregnancy, against radical feminism, macho view of body control. He believes that the act of sexual intercourse promotes a sense of obligation on the side of the woman. Don Marquis: (Pro-Life) He believes that killing in all circumstances is impermissible. The most horrible consequence in a killing is the effect on the victim past and future experiences that will be lost upon termination of the victims life, more importantly future experiences. This is the entitled "future like ours" belief that the aborted fetus should have had a future but it was cut short. Applies to all forms of killing. General structure of his argument is that is starts with an assumption convening what is wrong (in this case killing) and then he looks for the characteristic or the consequence of the wrong action which makes it most wrong (in this case the future like ours assertion) to support his argument. He does make provisions for abortions that must be had in order to prevent similar loss of a future by the mother. Alastair Norcross: (Pro-Choice): He believes that if abortion is considered to be immoral, than contraception is morally wrong as well. The unrestricted composition, we don't know which sperm was denied a "life like ours," so something was denied and that is all that matters, and so Marquis is wrong. Peter McInerney: (Pro-choice) Paske defines personhood and defines it characteristically and fundamentally as requiring the ability for conceptualization and metacognition. As fetuses are not able to comprehend their world, they are not persons, so in that light, killing fetuses is not immoral. Gerald Paske: (Pro-choice): He believes that Marquis has misidentified the property which renders killing wrong, similar argument to McInerney. Traditional PunishmentCurrent System: Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Deterrence. David Lewis- (Argues current penal system is unjust): The penal lottery is the probability(punishment) = probability(death). Murderers and attempted murderers are treated the same. Proposes a direct correlation between punishment and death. States that the current system of only punishing the successful criminals more harshly than the unsuccessful criminal is unjust by a matter of luck only. Idea of the penal lottery: based upon your crime committed you are entered into a lottery and randomly, individuals in the lottery are chosen to be sentenced to the death penalty. Lewis's biggest principle is not performance success (namely killing or not killing the victim) rather it is more important that they criminal attempted his crime that he should be punished equally as a person who engaged in the same premeditated action, however succeeded in their initial goal to kill the victim. Randy Barnett- (Argues for Paradigm of Restitution System) Follow Thomas Kuhn, we cannot judge a paradigm is we are currently living with it. Initial point of contentions is that the three principles of punishment (prevention (in jail, the idea is that they cannot commit crimes against society, but there is still a noticeable trend of crimes in prisons), rehabilitations (they just become better criminals when they are in jail) and deterrence (they would not have done they crime if they were afraid of the punishment) do not adequately justify the practice of the current penal system. Advocate of the "restitution system" where all punishments can be converted into a system of monetary retributions. A crime he defines as a violation of one individual's rights by another and justice consists of the offender "making good the loss he has caused." He believes that criminal law should be handled like tort law. Main arguments against this are, how doe you quantify crimes like murder in money, who do you pay the money to, and what about victimless crimes? What about if you cannot pay the crime, they must enter an indentured slavery system to make up the amount of money you owe. Franklin Miller- (Argues against Barnett's Paradigm) He says that Barnett ignores the complexity of the problem of punishment and that Barnett examines the three goals independently rather than a collective whole. He argues that punishment serves as a symbolic condemnation of the offender for his offense. Through the act of punishment, society upholds and enforces collective norms. Also fails to address the idea that some crimes do not have individual victims such as animals, drunken driving, tax fraud, and prostitution. Sutton believes that Miller has a strong argument. Roger Pilon- (Argues against Barnett's paradigm): Pilon's biggest concern is the function of the wealthy individual. Tort law does not consider mens rea (criminal intent). There are certain crimes that money cannot solve. He is concerned that wealthy criminals have nothing really to lose in the interchange when they have to compensate the victim? What about rich criminal compensating a rich victim, the money does not matter and restitution fails. Compensation does not make the criminal hurt, like they did the victim if they are wealthy. He begins to advocate a lex talionis system. Stanley Kleinberg- (Argues against Barnett's paradigm): First broaches wealth and how the wealthy are less deterred to commit crimes. Talks about professional criminals and escaping capture often. Specifically discusses the issues concerning criminal trespasses against children and the anxiety felt by their parents. A restitution sum would not help the fears that parents would no longer be able to leave their children unattended. Additionally this system only works if the criminal is apprehended. CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: Jeffery Reiman- (Against Capital Punishment) Main claim is that abolishing capital punishment is a further step in the "advancement" of civilization. He believes that is we abolish torture that is good, but abolishing the death penalty is even better. He does not disagree that the state has a right to execute murderers, but he believes that there is sound moral reason that the state should not execute its right to execute murderers. He comments about Hammurabi's code, and how that was considered the maximum punishment as opposed to the minimum (eye for an eye mentality). He argues that death is not natural; you prematurely end someone's life which is unnatural. Also foreknowledged death causes great psychological pain which exceeds the punishment itself and increases its severity. He likens this analogy to rape and torture and because the state does not exercise those rights, they should not exercise right to execute. (Rape Rapists and torture torturers, why is it right to murder murderers?) We should no exercise that right. We should draw the line and not execute criminals, better society. Stephen Nathanson- (Against Capital Punishment) Main claim is that the death penalty is exercised in an arbitrary fashion. He believes that the death penalty has been issued disproportionately against black and poor criminals. He states that a poor black man accused of murder is more likely to receive the death penalty than a wealthy white man, which renders the practice morally unacceptable. Analogies that he uses are speeding tickets only issued to people with facial or long hair or a teacher who will only take action against plagiarists who the teacher does not like. The imposition of punishment is unjust because it is objectionably discriminatory. Sutton: Believes that capital punishment is racist against the victim. White person and black person are the victim, and if the victim is white, the chances for capital punishment go up, whereas is the victim is black, the odds that capital punishment will be awarded are much less. Ernest Van den Haag- (Pro Capital Punishment) He agrees with Reiman with respect to lex talionis, however, Reiman says that lex talionis establishes the maximum punishment, whereas for van den Haag it sets the bar for the minimum. He questions the theoretical basis of Reiman's assertion. He has three objections against Reiman: 1. He believes that torture is repulsive and that is why we do not engage in it, however, death is not repulsive, thus we are free to engage in the practice. 2. We should sometimes torture torturers and not that we should never murder murderers. 3. Questions the `dis-advancement of society" principle of Reiman. Why should we believe that more civilization is better than less? He disagrees with the reasoning that poverty and wealth should be considered for circumstances that should be mitigated. You cannot include environmental circumstances. Furthermore murderers commit their actions know that the death penalty may be subsequent punishment. He has 2 objections against Nathanson: 1. He denies Nathanson's claim that Black murders are discriminated against. 2. He argues that even if black murders are discriminated against, this shows that we should execute more white murderers. He maintains that it is better to kill more murders, even if they are all black, than no murderers at all. Distributive JusticeCapitalism: The view that there ought to be private property and free exchange of goods with a few restrictions on trade. Socialism: The view that there ought to be a relatively even distribution of property throughout society so that there is very little wealth stratification. Communism: More like socialism, but is focused primarily on workers, and is generally against private ownership of property. Libertarianism: The view that the state's only interest if to protect its citizens from harm or hindrance by other citizens and other states. Anarchy: The belief that there should not be an organized state, which is not to be confused with chaos. John Rawls- (favors a combination of capitalism and socialism) He believes that justice is fairness. He functions under the premise of the veil of ignorance, a famous thought experiment where people have to imagine what society they would want, not knowing where they would be in the overall social hierarchy. He believes the fairest society is one that we would pick under the veil of ignorance. This blindness factor will lead us to the difference principle where any inequality in wealth to be just much result in the poorest member of the society being in a better position than they would be, should the injustice not exist. The political philosophy leads us to a mixture of a capitalist/socialist state of sorts. Lowest amount of disparity without total equality ( i.e. 350-250-150). Robert Nozick -(Libertarian) He believes that Rawls is just a "time splice" of equality. Argues that redistributive taxation is unjust. Should someone own something, the State is not entitled to take it in order to increase someone else's welfare, even when that person may be much worse off. Justice in acquisition: ownership can be transferred that are legitimate (buying at a mutually agreeable sum, giving away...) or illegitimate ways (stealing). He outlines his points through the principles of Just Acquisition and transfer (as listed above). He believes that a systematic application of these principles will disrupt any patterned theory of justice, which implies that the current pattern of justice must be wrong. Nozick believes that the only interest the state should have is to protect its citizens from harm from other citizens and states. He states that if you acquire something justly, then you are entitled to it. If you are entitled to something, you can justly transfer it. If you start with something just, and apply just principles to it, it should remain just. Sortiz Principles, you have a heap of sand, and you slowly pull away grains from it. Alan Goldman: Assumes that Nozick's paradigm is true and then goes to show that it can be just. He believes that every time that you transfer something, it loses a small amount of entitlement with each transaction. He beieves that, should you be endowed a certain amount of money, you are comepletely entitled to that money that was given to you, however you are not entitled to the interst that amounts with the sum. There is the entitlement that the owner has and the smaller amount of entitlement that the receiver has. Goldman argues that you can have can have just redistribution of wealth as the entitlement decreases from transaction to transaction. Mark Michael- (Pro-redistribution) Attacks the idea of self ownership conflicting with the redistribution of wealth problem. He argues that the fruits of one's labor must be a product of their own labor, without artificial enhancements. He agrees with the self ownership principle, and that a person is entitled to the "fruits of ones labor" Only that income that comes to the worker by virtue of his own labor, can be considered his self owned amount. Any money that is gained by luck (is the lottery or the cobbler's magic red pill) cannot be considered the fruits of their labor and therefore may be redistributed. Same Sex MarriageJeff Jordan: (Against Same Sex Marriage): He does not question whether homosexuality itself is morally questionable; rather he looks only at the institution of marriage. He argues for the "accommodation" principle by having the state not decree where they fall on the side of the argument. Essentially the idea of "don't ask, don't tell." He believes that as soon as the state gets involved, someone becomes right/wrong, and he believes that it is not the state's decision to regulate. Jordan argues that state neutrality counts as a consideration against instituting same sex marriage. He wants to appeal to the fact that the state should refuse to sanction same sex marriages by appealing to the idea that marriage is a public rather than a private institution, and to the fact that there is widespread public disagreement about the moral status of homosexuality. Sutton: Talked about marriage from a religious standpoint and how it viewed marriage as a union for procreation alone. David Boonin: (Supports Same Sex Marriage) He believes that the premise (there is a public dilemma) surrounding same sex marriage because it is ambiguous and either way of resolving the issue renders the fourth and fifth premises as false. He also believes that Jordan fails to overcome the claim that if the state should not sanction same sex marriage, then it implies that the same is true in the case of interracial marriage. Andrew Sullivan: (Supports Same Sex marriage), focuses on "what the allegedly neutral liberal state should do" with respect to same sex marriage given the understanding that marriage "is not simply a private contract; it is a social and public recognition of a private commitment." He argues that marriage is about a special bond between two individuals and is in no way entirely about sexual reproduction. In this light there is no way to justify extending marriage rights to heterosexuals while denying them to homosexuals. He believes that the state not taking a side in the dilemma of same sex marriage involves violating a central human right. Key Vocabulary: Lex talionis: eye for an eye Prima facie: at first glance Ad honinum: argument against the man i.e. vs e.g: ie is that is to say, and eg is for example. Mens rea: guilty mind Reductio ad absurdum: proof by contradiction, a type of logical argument where one assumes a claim for the sake of the argument derives an absurd or ridiculous outcome and then concludes that the original assumption must be wrong as it led to an absurd result. Categorical Imperative (Kant): Something that applies to everyone: Give to charity. Hypothetical Imperative (Kant): If you want X, then you should do Y. Self Defeating Task (Kant): Kant applies this to a world or angels, and tests to see if everyone did it, could everyone still do it? (Like cheating on exams and borrowing money with no intention of paying it back.) The Veil of Ignorance (John Rawls): A thought experiment where we have to think about what type of society we would like to be in, not knowing where in that society we would be put. This will lead to a relatively even distribution of wealth as no one would willingly vote for a system where they many come out in a very bad position such as extreme poverty. The Difference Principle (John Rawls): His principles behind the veil of ignorance, Rawls believes will lead us to a just society. Within a just society, for any inequality in wealth, it must result in the poorest members of society being better off than they would have been if the inequality had not exited, ...
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This test prep was uploaded on 12/14/2007 for the course PHIL 1450 taught by Professor Sutton,p during the Fall '07 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).
- Fall '07