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Philosophies of Morality. Spiritual Growth Project Quote. “A person who governs his or her passions is master of his or her world. We must either command them or be enslaved by them. It is better to be a hammer than an anvil.” Saint Dominic de Guzman

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spiritual growth project quote
Spiritual Growth Project Quote
  • “A person who governs his or her passions is master of his or her world. We must either command them or be enslaved by them. It is better to be a hammer than an anvil.”
    • Saint Dominic de Guzman
  • Controlling our passions (good and bad) can be a fruitful spiritual exercise.
    • What will you give up this week?
philosophies of morality1
Philosophies of Morality
  • Philosophy – love of wisdom
    • Using reason to know what is right and wrong in a particular situation
  • Philosophy is the framework and lens through which the world is viewed
    • Investigating the underlying reasons for our decisions and actions
  • We will look at several moral philosophies to see where we agree and where we might critique them.
  • Greek philosopher (384-322 BC)
  • Premise: All things have a purpose for which they were created – Final cause or telos.
  • Purpose of human life is happiness.
  • Subjective and objective elements of happiness:
    • Subjective – what activity or sport one enjoys
    • Objective – life of virtue leads to happiness
  • Nature dictates that a life of virtue is what ultimately makes every human happy.
forming character through virtue
Forming character through virtue
  • Moral character determines how virtuous we act.
  • Case study: “The Emperor’s Club”
  • How would you describe moral character?
  • How would you describe the moral character of the various main characters in the story?
moral character
Moral character
  • Character - “A fairly stable set of attitudes, opinions, and dispositions that results in fairly stable patterns or ways of acting and reacting.”
  • Character is determined by the relationship between the rational and appetitive parts of the human being
    • Rational - ability to know right from wrong
    • Appetitive - desires and emotions
objective happiness
Objective happiness
  • For humans to objectively reach happiness, the rational part must control the appetitive part through discipline and good habits - Aristotle
  • “A person who governs his or her passions is master of his or her world. We must either command them or be enslaved by them. It is better to be a hammer than an anvil.” – St. Dominic
virtue happiness
Virtue = happiness
  • Life of virtue and controlling desires leads to happiness
  • Life in pursuit of desire instead of virtue leads to misery
  • Mr. Hundert vs. Sedwick Bell
building moral character
Building moral character
  • Who am I? We become the sum total of our actions.  
  • Build our moral character through what we choose to do.  
  • Aristotle says: Beware of instant pleasure and seek long term happiness.
four types of moral character
Four types of moral character
  • Vicious - Corrupted by vice - rational part has been overcome by appetitive.  Can’t tell right and wrong.
  • Incontinent - Knows right from wrong, but character too weak to choose what is right.
  • Continent - Knows right from wrong, struggles against bad habits to be virtuous
  • Virtuous - Created habits of doing what is right, becomes part of who they are.  
    • In control of passions and knows the pleasure in helping others.  
seven deadly sins and contrasting virtues
Seven Deadly Sins and Contrasting Virtues
  • Pride -    Humility
  • Anger -    Kindness
  • Greed -    Generosity
  • Envy -    Love
  • Gluttony - Temperance
  • Lust -    Self-Control
  • Sloth -    Zeal
natural law
Natural Law
  • Freedom of indifference
    • Freedom to do whatever one wants
  • Freedom of excellence
    • Freedom to choose love/what is good for self and others
  • How does Pinckaers argue for a freedom of excellence as rooted in human nature?
natural law and freedom
Natural Law and Freedom
  • Make an outline of the article
    • I. Main point
      • 1. supporting detail
      • 2. supporting detail
    • II. Main Point
      • 1. supporting detail
      • 2. supporting detail
  • Use your own words
  • Add a quote or two if you find a really good one.
renees descartes
Renees Descartes
  • mathematician and philosopher
  • 17th Century France
  • How do we know what is real and true?
  • Extreme skepticism
  • Unable to prove much of what he had been taught
  • Even doubted his own senses, which can be deceived (think the matrix)
cogito ergo sum
Cogito Ergo Sum
  • The only thing he could know for sure was that he was thinking:
  • “Cogito ergo sum”
  • I think, therefore I am -
  • Senses could not be trust but some innate, indubitable truths are planted in the human mind
  • 1+1=2 and other mathematical truths
descartes and god
Descartes and God
  • Stated God could be proved through reason:
  • We can conceive of an all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect source of all.
  • Our imperfect minds could not come up with this - it must be innate.
catholic but rejected revelation
Catholic, but rejected revelation
  • Beginning of the Enlightenment (Age of Reason)
  • Period of Philosophy where morality is based on reason alone.
  • Turn to the self for the ground of existence (not God or the world).
  • We can know all truth apart from God.
catholic response
Catholic response
  • Aquinas
  • We can know God through reason, but only a few reach this potential
  • Even the most intelligent would have a limited knowledge of God
  • Philosophical understanding of God (Aristotle)
    • A perfect being who cares only for self
    • Humans are obligated to love their friends
  • Christian revelation of God
    • God is a community of love that gets involved in creation
    • Humans are called to love all, including their enemies
human rights
Human Rights
  • What does it mean to have rights?
  • - Protection from outside interference, as long as it does not infringe on others’ rights.
  • - Having a claim on society to give a basic service
    • right to education, basic necessities
  • - Hierarchy of rights - Which rights are most important?
john locke
John Locke
  • Human Rights Ethics
  • 1632-1704
  • Reacting against the “Divine right of Kings” - authority is from God and absolute
  • Opposite of Descartes - Believed truth only came through senses and humans were a blank slate (Empiricist)
    • For example - Luke’s math skills - need to be taught
  • Self-preservation is more important than the right of kings
inalienable rights
Inalienable Rights
  • Three natural rights (prior to government) given by the creator:
    • Life: entitled to living
    • Liberty: entitled to do what one wants as long as it doesn’t affect right to life of others
    • Property: entitled to own what one earns as long as it doesn’t affect first two rights
      • Why do you think this was changed to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness?
    • Cannot be taken away or given away
  • Humans have rights because of their capacity to reason.
  • Weakest should have the same rights as the strongest in society.
church and rights
Church and rights
  • CCC 1930 - Rights that flow from the dignity of humans is prior to society and must be recognized by society.
  • CCC 2273 – Some rights belong to human nature and cannot be taken away.
  • Some rights are primary when rights conflict
    • Right to life over right to free speech (“fire!”) or privacy (phone taps/background check for guns)
    • Right to life vs. Right to Privacy (Abortion)
  • It is difficult to articulate what happens when rights are in conflict.
  • Right and wrong is defined in terms of rights leads to a morality of following law rather than fullness of life.
  • If someone has a right to do something, does that make it morally good?  
right to do what is bad for us
“Right” to do what is bad for us.
  • Actions that were previously crimes are recognized as rights
    • Evangelium Vitae 4 - John Paul II 4 “A new cultural climate is developing and taking hold, which gives crimes against life a new and-if possible-even more sinister character, giving rise to further grave concern: broad sectors of public opinion justify certain crimes against life in the name of the rights of individual freedom, and on this basis they claim not only exemption from punishment but even authorization by the State, so that these things can be done with total freedom and indeed with the free assistance of health-care systems.”
  • Abortion & Assisted Suicide - justified by right to privacy “right to my own body”
  • Aristotle – subjective and objective happiness.
    • Types of character and the role of virtue in obtaining happiness
  • Natural law –inclinations of humans that natural law is based on.
  • Descartes – implications for morality
    • Turn to self; get rid of revelation
    • Aquinas response
  • Locke – hierarchy of rights; rights vs. goodness