midterm 1

midterm 1 - Philosophy 140: Midterm Study Guide Professor...

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Professor Robin Jeshion Midterm: February 29 th , 2012 You should know and be able to articulate: 1. What it is for an argument to be valid. An argument is valid if and only if its conclusion follows from its premises. For a colclusion to follow from its premesis, there must be a logical relationship between them. Eg. P1 – all humans are mortal. P2 – Obama is a human. C- Therefore Obama is mortal. The premises follow from the conclusion in virtue of its form. Valid arguments can have false conclusions: p1 – All humans are moral. P2 – Zeus is a human. C- Therefore, Zeus is mortal. IF P1 and P2 are both true, then C must be true! Likewise, you can have a true conclusion but an invalid argument.But then whats the worth of validity? Valid arguments preserve truth. IF you have true premises, you are guaranteed to get a true conclusion. 2. What it is for an argument to be sound. An argument is sound if and only if it is valid and it has all true premises. So if you think an argument is sound, then, to be consistent you must also think that the conlusion of the argument is true. If you think that an argument is valid but its conlusion is false, then you must locate the problem in the argument with one of its premises and prove that it is not a sound argument. 3. The meta-ethical view of moral relativism. Relativism: The moral rightness or wrongness of an action is not universal, but relative to some person or persons or society or culture. Individual Relativism: the moral rightness or wrongness of an action is relative to the feelings or opinions of a speaker. E.g, I say and believe: “It is morally wrong to have a first trimester abortion” According to Individual Relativism what I said was true for me, because moral truth is relative to individuals, here relative to my own set of beliefs and attitudes. If you believe a first trimester abortion is morally unacceptable, then what I said is not true for you. But there is no conflict here. For the truth of your belief is relative to your own opinions and attitudes. Ethical Relativism: the moral rightness or wrongness or an action is relative to the rules of a society or a culture. The rules of a society or a culture determines the rightness or wrongness of an action. The “highest court of appeal” of a moral rule comes from the society or culture – not any universal or culture-independent moral rule. 4. The Utilitarian approach to ethics, including the Principle of Equality and differences in Bentham’s theory and Mill’s. Moral decisions should be based exclusively on an assessment of the expected consequences of the available courses of action. Greatest Happiness Principle (Principle of Utility): greatest happiness for the greatest number is the foundation of ethics and law. Bentham wanted to “measure” happiness in terms of pleasure and pain.
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This note was uploaded on 04/03/2012 for the course PHIL 140 taught by Professor Yaffe during the Spring '07 term at USC.

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midterm 1 - Philosophy 140: Midterm Study Guide Professor...

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