1. Monday, September 12, 2011

1 Monday, - WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY Example Ethics without God you cannot be good unless you believe in God If there is no God then everything is

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WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY? Example: Ethics without God? - you cannot be good unless you believe in God - “If there is no God, then everything is permitted” - What if we say: “Whatever is moral is what God commands” - What if God ordered you to kill a child? - Which of the following would be more plausible? (1) That must be right, since God said it (2) God didn ʼ t really order that! - most Christians would choose (2) - But they would do so on the same basis as atheists - so, the belief that all of your values come from God does not make a difference - some basic moral intuition is independent of religious belief - answer (2) implies that you know what ʼ s good without having to consult God - What does this say about philosophy and its approach to ethics? (1) philosophy holds nothing sacred sacred means that it cannot be questioned without being at fault or doing something which you should never do (2) rational argument is crucial in philosophy What counts as acceptable arguments? - human beings are rational not as opposed to irrational, but because we are capable of irrationality - arational - where rationality does not even arise - REASON: but what does that exclude? Authority is worthless the fact that somebody said something is never a compelling reason to believe it ultimately, you have to be responsible for your own judgement when looking at something said by an authority authority is never a sufFcient reason to believe something if there are contrary arguments that might place these Frst ones into question Tradition is worthless example: foot-binding, clitoridectomy there are really good reasons for thinking that these traditions are extremely harmful if the reason is “its tradition” you can almost be certain that the thing is bad, because you wouldn ʼ t appeal to tradition unless you lost the argument with reason ±aith is “believing what you know ain ʼ t true” and is worthless if your belief has any consequences involving your behaviour, that is anti- philosophical - Why are we saying these things? All these are appealed to only by those who have already lost the argument A Third Characterization of Philosophy: - Philosophy aims at changing our vision of the world by argument - An analogy: we can change what we LITERALLY see by means of language
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This note was uploaded on 11/18/2011 for the course PHL 243H1 taught by Professor Professordesousa during the Fall '11 term at University of Toronto- Toronto.

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1 Monday, - WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY Example Ethics without God you cannot be good unless you believe in God If there is no God then everything is

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