PolSci 165 Notes

PolSci 165 Notes - 4/4/07 Ethics: Aesthetic things of...

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4/4/07 Ethics : Aesthetic – things of value, such as art. Moral Theory – Theories of what is good and right. Which actions we should do. Political Theory – What is a just society and what are members of such a society obligated to do? What is the state/gov’t obligated to do? Metaethics Are there moral truths? Are moral truths subjective or objective? Normative Ethics Which moral principle should guide our behavior in order for us to be morally right? What does right/wrong and good/bad mean? - Deontology, Utilitarianism, Virtue theory, Social Contract, Divine Command. Applied Ethics – Takes up a particular issue and questions where it is moral. Ex. 1: is torturing babies for fun morally right? Ex. 2: should drugs be legal in the U.S.? We will no discuss the legality of any issues – merely whether it is morally right or wrong. Fact-Value Gap (ought/is) . Just because things are a certain way, does not mean that they should be. Ex. 1: Slavery (legal [in the past] but not moral) Ex. 2: Non-procreative sexual activity (moral but not legal [in the past] ) Ethical Relativism (ER): The view that there is no morally correct answer to questions like these. Moral Values are not absolute, but relative. Moral issues are merely matters of opinions. AKA: Cultural Relativism. Problems: No arguments about right and wrong. No moral progress. When we disagree over moral issues, we are merely expressing a difference of preferences (according to ER). In this class, we assume that ER is false.
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4/6/07 Regents of University of California v. Bakke (1978) - Allan Bakke o White Male o Applied to UC Davis medical school twice. o He was denied admission in both 1973 and 1974. - The admissions process: - Applicants are rated in several categories. o Interviews o Overall GPA o Science Courses GPA o MCAT scores o Letters of Recommendation o Extracurricular activities - The Medical school had a first year class size of 100: o 84 were admitted through “regular admissions.” o 16 were admitted through “special admissions.” These 16 were NOT ranked against the regular admissions. They had their own numerical value to compete against. - Bakke’s benchmark score was not high enough to qualify under “ regular admissions,” but it was higher than those that were admitted through “ special admissions”. - The central issue is that the medical school could not be sure that Bakke would not have been admitted if the special admission policy had not been in place. - UC Davis said that it’s not as though the people admitted by the “special admissions” program were not qualified. It just turned out that Bakke was more qualified. - Bakke sued UC Davis on the grounds that special admissions amounted to racial discrimination because it violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14 th Amendment, the California Constitution, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. -
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PolSci 165 Notes - 4/4/07 Ethics: Aesthetic things of...

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