Lec 5 chapter 3 subjectivism
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PHIL 2525 Contemporary Moral Issues PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Lec 5 Chapter 3: Subjectivism. PHIL 2525 Contemporary Moral Issues. Protagoras: Agnostic. "Concerning the gods, I have no means of knowing whether they exist or not or of what sort they may be, because of the obscurity of the subject, and the brevity of human life.

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PHIL 2525 Contemporary Moral Issues

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Lec 5 chapter 3 subjectivism

Lec 5

Chapter 3: Subjectivism

PHIL 2525Contemporary Moral Issues


Protagoras agnostic

Protagoras: Agnostic

  • "Concerning the gods, I have no means of knowing whether they exist or not or of what sort they may be, because of the obscurity of the subject, and the brevity of human life.


Protagoras moral skeptic

Protagoras: Moral Skeptic

  • "Man is the measure of all things: of the things which are, that they are, and of the things which are not, that they are not"


T he main points of protagoras moral skepticism

The main points of Protagoras’ moral skepticism:

  • There is no ultimate moral truth

  • Our individual moral views are equally true

  • The practical benefit of our moral values is more important than their truth

  • The practical benefit of moral values is a function of social custom rather than nature


William graham sumner

William Graham Sumner:

  • We learn [the morals of our society] as unconsciously as we learn to walk and hear and breathe, and [we] never know any reason why the [morals] are what they are. The justification of them is that when we wake to consciousness of life we find the facts which already hold us in the bonds of tradition, custom and habit.”


David hume 1711 1776

David Hume 1711 - 1776

  • Simple subjectivism...

  • ‘morality is a matter of sentiment rather than fact…’

  • A sense like our other senses...filtering our experience...


Phil 2525 contemporary moral issues

  • The agent: the person doing (or not doing) the action

  • The receiver: the person directly affected

  • The spectator: the person watching and judging


Hume s moral theory

Hume's moral theory:

  • Agents perform actions.

  • Receivers experience pleasure or pain.

  • Spectators sympathetically experience the pleasure or pain.

  • The moral spectator's sympathetic pleasure or pain constitutes a moral assessment of the agent's character trait, thereby deeming the trait to be a virtue or a vice.


Hume s moral theory1

Hume's moral theory:

  • Agents perform actions.

  • Receivers experience pleasure or pain.

  • Spectators sympathetically experience the pleasure or pain.

  • The moral spectator's sympathetic pleasure or pain constitutes a moral assessment of the agent's character trait, thereby deeming the trait to be a virtue or a vice.


Hume s moral theory2

Hume's moral theory:

The agent performs an act

The receiver either benefits or suffers

The spectator judges what he sees

  • If the spectator approves, the act was moral

  • If the spectator disapproves, the act was immoral

    Also important:

    Moral actions stem from character:

  • Virtuous

  • Vicious


Sympathy is the key

Sympathy is the key...


Hume simple subjectivism

Hume: simple subjectivism...

  • “defines virtue to be whatever mental action or quality gives to a spectator the pleasing sentiment of approbation; and vice the contrary.”


Simple subjectivism seems good and easy and tolerant

Simple subjectivism seems good and easy and tolerant...

But it has traps:

  • It cannot account for moral disagreement


Simple subjectivism seems good and easy and tolerant1

Simple subjectivism seems good and easy and tolerant...

But it has traps:

  • It cannot account for moral disagreement

  • It implies that we’re always right


Simple subjectivism seems good and easy and tolerant2

Simple subjectivism seems good and easy and tolerant...

But it has traps:

  • It cannot account for moral disagreement

  • It implies that we’re always right

  • It makes morality itself a useless concept


Simple subjectivism seems good and easy and tolerant3

Simple subjectivism seems good and easy and tolerant...

But it has traps:

  • It cannot account for moral disagreement

  • It implies that we’re always right

  • It makes morality itself a useless concept

  • It reduces moral choices to mere likes and dislikes


The second stage emotivism

The Second Stage: Emotivism

Emotivist Thesis:

  • moral judgments -- though they have the surface grammar of statements -- are really disguised commands.


3 5 rachels responds

3.5: Rachels responds:

Moral judgments must be

supported by reasons...

  • If you like peaches, you don’t have to defend your preference

  • But if you like torturing cats, you should have a reason


3 5 rachels counterproposal

3.5: Rachels’ counterproposal:

There are moral facts...

  • It's a false dichotomy to think

    • Either there are moral facts in the same way that there are facts about stars and planets

    • Or else "values" are nothing more than the expression of subjective feelings.

      Maybe there’s a third way...


3 5 rachels

3.5: Rachels

"Moral truths are truths of reason:

  • that is...a moral judgment is true if it is backed by better reasons than the alternatives." P 45


Conventional ethical relativism

Conventional ethical relativism

  • If we are all our own moral arbiters, how can there be any ‘morality’?

  • Conventionalism tries to blunt the harshness of that by requiring ‘social acceptance’


Traps here also

Traps here also...

  • Hitler had social acceptance for his invasion of Poland

  • George Bush had social acceptance for his invasion of Iraq


3 7 the question of homosexuality

3.7 The Question of Homosexuality...


Rachels conclusion

Rachels conclusion...

  • moral thinking and moral conduct are a matter of weighing reasons and being guided by them

  • in focusing on attitudes and feelings, Ethical Subjectivism seems to be going in the wrong direction


Leopold and loeb 1924

Leopold and Loeb 1924

  • Clarence Darrow for the defence


Charles manson

Charles Manson


Ashley

Ashley...


Ashley1

Ashley


Ashley2

Ashley


Ashley3

Ashley


Katie thorpe

Katie Thorpe


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