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Introduction. Values, Self & Knowledge. The big picture. Meetings Topics Aims Constraints. Assessment Essay plan, essay, exam, tutorial participation Admin details. Our meetings. 10 lectures 3 hours (!) 2 breaks Slides available after lecture 5 tutorials 1 hour.

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introduction

Introduction

Values, Self & Knowledge

the big picture
The big picture
  • Meetings
  • Topics
  • Aims
  • Constraints
  • Assessment
    • Essay plan, essay, exam, tutorial participation
  • Admin details
our meetings
Our meetings
  • 10 lectures
    • 3 hours (!)
    • 2 breaks
    • Slides available after lecture
  • 5 tutorials
    • 1 hour
what is philosophy
What is Philosophy?
  • Biology
  • Civil Engineering
  • Philosophy?
the swiss cheese paradox
The Swiss Cheese Paradox
  • The more holes there are, the less cheese there is.
  • Swiss cheese has holes.
  • More Swiss cheese, more holes.
  • Therefore, the more Swiss cheese there is, the less cheese there is.
the swiss cheese paradox1
The Swiss Cheese Paradox

(X) Swiss cheese has holes.

(1) More Swiss cheese, more holes.

(2) The more holes there are, the less cheese there is.

(3) Therefore, the more Swiss cheese there is, the less cheese there is.

the swiss cheese paradox2
The Swiss Cheese Paradox

(1) X Y

(2) Y Z

(3) Thus, X Z

(1) More Swiss cheese, more holes.

(2) The more holes there are, the less cheese there is.

(3) Therefore, the more Swiss cheese there is, the less cheese there is.

compelling example
Compelling example

(1) Tom is a lion Tom is a cat

(2) Tom is a cat Tom is a mammal

(3) Thus, Tom is a lion Tom is a mammal

the swiss cheese paradox3
The Swiss Cheese Paradox

(1) X Y

(2) Y Z

(3) Thus, X Z

(1) More Swiss cheese, more holes.

(2) The more holes there are, the less cheese there is.

(3) Therefore, the more Swiss cheese there is, the less cheese there is.

what philosophers do
What philosophers do

Consider Bill Clinton. Clinton might have been different in many ways. Had things turned out otherwise, he might have never been impeached.

In fact, he might never have been president… He might have lived in a different country. He might have had electric blue hair.

But now: could he have been a flower?

what philosophers do1
What philosophers do

We can of course imagine an eccentric person naming a flower ‘Bill Clinton’. But the question is not whether a flower could have been named ‘Bill Clinton’. The question is whether a flower could have been Bill Clinton.

Concerning the man actually called Bill Clinton (i.e. the actual 42nd president of the United States), could he have been a flower?

And the answer seems to be no… Likewise, it seems that Clinton could not have been a table, or an antelope.

Ted Sider, Riddles of Existence

introduction to philosophy
Introduction to Philosophy

Through Process

Through Issues

topics
Topics

What is morality?

Ethics

Is this moral?

Why be moral?

Are we free?

What am I?

Self

Is the mind the brain?

recommended approach
Recommended approach
  • Solve the puzzles
  • Understand the questions

Participate

Read

assessment
Assessment

Essay Plan (10%)

  • 500 words
  • Due 11 March 9 am
  • Submit via Turnitin

Exam (40%)

  • Short essay responses
  • 2 hrs
  • Focus on 2nd half of term

Essay (40%)

  • 1500 words
  • Due 8 Apr 9 am
  • Submit via Turnitin

Tutorial participation (10%)

  • Constructive contribution
contact details
Contact details
  • Jason Phan
  • jphan@uow.edu.au
philosophy the others
Philosophy & the others

Morality

  • What moral beliefs do different cultures have?
  • How best to develop a child morally?
  • How is moral behaviour linked to brain function?

Why should we be moral?

Is morality merely social conventions?

Is it immoral to eat meat?

what s the difference
What’s the difference?

I would be a nice person by ceasing to exploit the poor

I should be a nice person by ceasing to exploit the poor

Would you be moral?

Should you be moral?

what should i do
What should I do?
  • What I should do
      • What I have reason to do
      • Matter of rationality
  • What I would do
      • What I actually do
      • Empirical matter
something puzzling about morality
Something puzzling about morality

Catherine Wilson:

Moral obligations “reduce the advantages of those who observe them”

= It is rational to reduce one’s advantage???

nature
Nature
  • A system of increasing & using one’s advantages
  • The strong take advantage of the weak
  • The smart take advantage of the dim
why should i be moral
Why should I be moral?

Nature seems a system of increasing one’s advantage

Being moral seems to reduce my advantage

mother teresa
Mother Teresa
  • For over 45 years, she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying in the slums of India
  • Praiseworthy human being
the ring of gyges1
The Ring of Gyges

“…as he was sitting among them he chanced to turn the collet of the ring inside his hand, when instantly he became invisible to the rest of the company and they began to speak of him as if he were no longer present.

Whereupon he contrived to be chosen one of the messengers who were sent to the court; where as soon as he arrived he seduced the queen, and with her help conspired against the king and slew him, and took the kingdom.”

the ring of gyges2
The Ring of Gyges

“…If you could imagine any one obtaining this power of becoming invisible, and never doing any wrong or touching what was another's, he would be thought by the lookers-on to be a most wretched idiot, although they would praise him to one another's faces, and keep up appearances with one another from a fear that they too might suffer injustice.”

egoism
Egoism
  • Psychological egoism
      • Every person’s actions are only motivated by her concern for her own well-being
  • Rational egoism
      • Every person’s actions should only be motivated by her concern for her own well-being
is altruism possible
Is altruism possible?

“Why, bless your soul, Ed, that was the very essence of selfishness. I should have had no peace of mind all day had I gone on and left that suffering old sow worrying over those pigs.

I did it to get peace of mind, don’t you see?”

is altruism possible1
Is altruism possible?
  • Whenever you act, you are acting out of an interest that you have.
  • Since you are acting out of your interest, then you are acting selfishly.
  • Since you’re acting selfishly, you’re not being altruistic.

What if you have an unselfish interest?

ted bundy
Ted Bundy
  • Confessed to 30 murders committed between 1974 – 78.
  • "...a sadistic sociopath who took pleasure from another human's pain and the control he had over his victims, to the point of death, and even after.”

The Stranger Beside Me,

by Ann Rule

why should bundy be moral
Why should Bundy be moral?

“Then I learned that all moral judgments are "value judgments," that all value judgments are subjective, and that none can be proved to be either "right" or "wrong." I even read somewhere that the Chief Justice of the United States had written that the American Constitution expressed nothing more than collective value judgments.

Believe it or not, I figured out for myself - what apparently the Chief Justice couldn't figure out for himself -- that if the rationality of one value judgment was zero, multiplying it by millions would not make it one whit more rational.

slide38

Nor is there any "reason" to obey the law for anyone, like myself, who has the boldness and daring -- the strength of character -- to throw off its shackles. ... I discovered that to become truly free, truly unfettered, I had to become truly uninhibited.

And I quickly discovered that the greatest obstacle to my freedom, the greatest block and limitation to it, consists in the insupportable "value judgment" that I was bound to respect the rights of others. I asked myself, who were these "others"?

Other human beings, with human rights? Why is it more wrong to kill a human animal than any other animal, a pig or a sheep or a steer? Is your life more to you than a hog's life to a hog? Why should I be willing to sacrifice my pleasure more for the one than for the other?

slide39

Surely, you would not, in this age of scientific enlightenment, declare that God or nature has marked some pleasures as "moral" or "good" and others as "immoral" or "bad"? In any case, let me assure you, my dear young lady, that there is absolutely no comparison between the pleasure I might take in eating ham and the pleasure I anticipate in raping and murdering you.

That is the honest conclusion to which my education has led me -- after the most conscientious examination of my spontaneous and uninhibited self.”

- Statement by Ted Bundy, paraphrased and rewritten by Harry V. Jaffa.

why are we trying to find out if we should be moral by analysing a psychopath
Why are we trying to find out if we should be moral by analysing a psychopath?
  • Not because we are psychopaths
  • But because the psychopath illustrates more clearly the implications of our view of moral motivation
should bundy be moral
Should Bundy be moral?
  • Interest-based theories
    • A person should be moral if and only if being moral furthers his/her interests
  • Are Bundy’s interests served by being moral?
a thought experiment
A thought experiment
  • Super-Bundy
    • A lot smarter than Bundy
    • Will not get caught
    • Will do a lot more evil than Bundy
    • No feeling of guilt, only intense pleasure
  • Why should Super-Bundy be moral?
how should we respond to super bundy
How should we respond to Super-Bundy?
  • Call him names
    • Evil, terrible, inhuman…
  • Try to influence him
    • “You would be moral if you stop murdering…”
big picture
Big picture

Why should I be moral?

Because it furthers my interests

???

My interests are all selfish

My interests are not all selfish

Rational Egoism

how should we respond to bundy
How should we respond to Bundy?
  • Demand that he stop harming others
    • “You should not cause others to suffer just for your own pleasure…”
  • Consider him blameworthy
    • But someone seems blameworthy only when he did something he should not do
more puzzling things about morality
More puzzling things about morality
  • Morality seems to have authority
    • Super-Bundy is blameworthy for his evil action
    • Super-Bundy should be moral
more puzzling things about morality1
More puzzling things about morality

Morality seems to have authority

“What is distinctive of moral requirements is that they are thought of as providing a reason to act which outweighs or overrides any reason the agent may have to act in some other way.

Moral requirements are thus seen as independent of desire in the further sense that they have a claim on our obedience that is not conditional on there being nothing else which we want more.”

- David McNaughton

a matter of arbitrary taste
A matter of arbitrary taste?

A saintly life

An evil life

BETTER!

reflective equilibrium
Reflective equilibrium
  • One should do only what furthers one’s interests
  • Morality has authority
big picture1
Big picture

Why should I be moral?

Because it furthers my interests

???

My interests are all selfish

My interests are not all selfish

Rational Egoism

what friends do
What friends do
  • I am buying her a gift because I value her friendship.
  • I value her friendship because of…

Why do YOU value friendship?

2 kinds of value
2 kinds of value
  • Instrumental value
    • Value possessed due to functionality
    • Valuable as a means
  • Intrinsic value
    • Value possessed in itself
    • Valuable as an end
puzzle
Puzzle

Unknown to you, a scientist meddled with your brain such that you now value stacking and unstacking cards repeatedly.

Should you value stacking and unstackingcards repeatedly?

Cards are needed for you to stack and unstack them. Should you value cards for that reason?

puzzle of instrumental value
Puzzle of instrumental value

Why do you value X?

  • I value X because it gets me Y.

Why do you value Y?

  • I value Y because it gets me Z.

Why do you value Z?

  • No reason.
  • Only causes.
reasoned or brute
Reasoned or brute?
  • Understanding why I am having this belief/response
      • A scientist meddled with my brain
  • Understanding why I should have this belief/response.
      • Because of scientific observations
looking back
Looking back
  • Are we assuming that only the satisfaction of our interests is intrinsically valuable?
  • Moral authority, moral blame & praise
    • We can best make sense of these if the subjects of moral consideration have intrinsic value
    • Need for respect
big picture2
Big picture

Why should I be moral?

The satisfaction of my interests is intrinsically valuable

Because it furthers my interests

Other people/creatures are intrinsically valuable

moral action science
Moral action & science
  • Are these theories scientifically grounded?
      • Rationality evolved in us only because that capacity increases reproductive fitness
don t be too moral
Don’t be too moral?
  • It is rational to be moral only if it furthers your reproductive fitness
  • Sociobiology/evolutionary psychology
    • we have evolved to be social creatures
    • We have social interests
  • Docility and bounded rationality
moral action science1
Moral action & science

“Docile persons tend to learn and believe what they perceive others in the society want them to learn and believe.

Thus the content of what is learned will not be fully screened for its contribution to personal fitness.”

moral action science2
Moral action & science

Because of bounded rationality, the docile individual will often be unable to distinguish socially prescribed behavior that contributes to fitness from altruistic behavior (i.e., socially prescribed behavior that does not contribute to fitness). In fact, docility will reduce the inclination to evaluate independently the contributions of behavior to fitness.

…By virtue of bounded rationality, the docile person cannot acquire the personally advantageous learning that provides the increment, d, of fitness without acquiring also the altruistic behaviors that cost the decrement.

- Herbert Simon, 1990

is simon right
Is Simon right?

Deeply wrong (I think)

Faulty reasoning

  • Just because you have evolved have a belief doesn’t prove you should hold the belief
  • Just because evolution is steered by reproductive fitness does not prove we should only pursue reproductive fitness
review
Review
  • Rational Egoism
  • The possibility of altruism
  • Intrinsic & instrumental value
  • Moral authority & blame/praise
  • Should & Would
    • Rational vs psychological
  • Specific to general
    • Why should I be moral?
    • Why should I do X?
coming up
Coming up…

Why should I be moral?

What is morality?