Lecture%208 - Lecture8:ReligiousEthicsand...

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Lecture 8: Religious Ethics and  Introduction to Aquinas February 16, 2011
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St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) The works of Aristotle and Plato are a major influence on  Aquinas: Europe was just awakening to the Greek classics   during this time. Born in Italy, studied in Italy, Germany and France. Worked and taught in universities his entire adult life.  His philosophy “Thomism” was the basic approach to  philosophy that ruled Europe for approximately 500  years.  Maybe people are still “Thomists” today (namely,  Catholics). He was made a saint 50 years after his death. In 1879, the Catholic Church announced that Thomas’  thought was the official philosophy of the Church. 
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How many of you consider religion  to be necessary for there to be  morality? A. No, religion is not necessary for there to be universal  right and wrong. B. Yes, religion is necessary for there to be universal right  and wrong, and God exists, so there is universal right  and wrong. C. Yes, religion is necessary for there to be universal right  and wrong, and God doesn’t exist, so there is no  universal right and wrong D. I don’t know. Maybe God and universal right/wrong are  connected, maybe not.
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Religious Ethics Divine Command Theory: The theory that “X is good” only good  because God has decreed that “X is good” (and that what is wrong or  bad is only so because God has said so). This view is problematic for the following dilemma (Euythphro  dilemma): Either God’s commands are arbitrary or they are based  on reasons. Assume murder is wrong merely because God says so, in which  case it is arbitrary. Nothing about murder itself makes it wrong.  God could have said “murder thy neighbor” rather than “love thy  neighbor”.  But if it is arbitrary, then we ought not to listen to  God’s command. Assume there is a reason that God has chosen “love thy neighbor” 
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This note was uploaded on 02/27/2011 for the course PHIL 105 taught by Professor Ruckgarber during the Spring '10 term at University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.

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Lecture%208 - Lecture8:ReligiousEthicsand...

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