Friday, July 7, 2017

Ronald Nash Ethics Class Notes

Normative words - Affirmative words "ought" "duty" "right" "good"

Non-normative - Facts

Intrinsic goodness - Good in of itself

Extrinsic (instrumental) goodness - Good due to outcomes

Moral duties vs non-moral duties

Deontologist - Consequences are not regulative. We have duties regardless of consequences. Rationalistic ethics. Wanted to rescue ethics from relativism.

Categorical imperative is a moral duty.

Hypothetical imperatives are non moral duties. These take "if -->then" forms.  If you want to do well in class, then you need to study. This is different then you "ought" to study. These are relative to a person's desire.

Provided a rationale case to respect the moral law / categorical imperative. So act in such a way that you can will your maxim (rule of conduct under consideration) to be a universal law. If you lie, you only get an advantage if everyone else is telling the truth. (Golden rule?)

Don't treat people as a means to an end.

Laws of morality are like the laws of mathematics and logic.  Laws of math are discovered not invented. Kant wants morals to be absolute. When you violate morals you are acting irrationally.

Kant differs with Christian ethics. Feelings negate morals??? They need to be self imposed.

Moral systems:
Consequentialist theories / Utilitarianism- Emphasize good and consequences of action. End results. Telological outcomes. This can be used to support conduct that is immoral.

W.D. Ross "Act vs Action": Combines consequential and deontological ethics
Acts are what we do outside and have to do with the "fitting" thing to do..

Action look at the inside ie motives. Helping a rich old lady across the street ie out of greed

What about wrong act with a good action. Good motive, bad delivery.

Finally, bad motives with bad actions.

Differentiate between Psychological vs Ethical Hedonsim
Psychological means that all men due follow their pleasures no matter what you do

Egoistic Hedonism
Cyrenaics believed pleasure was the ultimate good. "eat, drink, be merry"Epicureus preferred mind over body pleasures.

Plato said if there is a such thing as bad pleasure, then by definition pleasure cannot be the ultimate good.

Aristotle said that seeking pleasure, for its own sake, is self-defeating. Seeking merely pleasure will lessen it.

Altruistic Hedonists / Hedonistic Utilitarianism
Looks out for the pleasure of others. Looking for the greatest pleasure for the greatest number of people.

Jeremy Bentham - Pleasure is the ultimate good. Hedonic calculus. Thomas Carlyle called this a "pig's philosophy." Someone else said it is better to be a dissatisfied Socrates then a contented pig.

John Stuart Mills noted that there are different types of pleasure and there are higher pleasures. Philosophers have noted, however, that if there are higher pleasures then there must be a standard that is higher than pleasure that is ranking pleasures.

Ideal Utilitarianism (non-hedonistic utilitarianism)
G.E. Moore
Act in a way that produces the most amount of good (not pleasure!).

Rule Utilitarianism
Not about acts, but about which rules we should follow. Telling the truth has better consequences than another alternative rule. Secularist need to have grounding.

Joseph Fletcher Situational Ethics

4 cardinal and 3? Theological virtues

Society vs state.  State has the power of coercion 

Classical liberals in the 1800s promote freedom but do not believe is transcendeny morals. Conservatives do. Frank Meyer and William Buckley in the mid to late nineties synthesized these two to make up modern conservatives. 

Plato said physical pain is temporary but damage to your soul is forever

5 Principles/justification of what the state can do:
Private harm
Public harm
Legal paternalism

Legal moralism

Aristotelian Ethics
Goal is for the human good
Particular vs Universal Justice.
There is a "golden mean" between too little of something and too much, but this does not refer to certain things like adultery, where there is no acceptable amount.
Justice is about receiving one's due. Wall Street bankers may be immoral to some, but they are not breaking any rules, and although they may be violating moral laws, they are still acting justly.
Not treating unequals equally! Meaning, if I get a 100% on a test and you get  50% we don't receive the same/equal grade.

A study of what humans value.
Objects only have subjective value b/c it is all about what you are willing to give up at that certain time.
If economic values are subjective than it is impossible to predict the future prices! Thus top down economies like socialism and communism with economic planners never work.
Resources are scarce, including time. When we make choices,there is always an opportunity cost for our choices, namely our #2 desire!
Choices show our values.
Marginal Opportunity Cost - What they are willing to buy or give up for one less unit. Margin refers to any change at the limits. ie 1 burrito $5 2nd burrito you are only willing to pay $3
3 Economic Systems: Capitalism, Socialism, Mixed Economy/Interventionism
Crises that are blamed on capitalism, but is caused by interventionism
Swedish economy is hard to place in the scale. The amount of economic freedom determines where you are among the systems.
Captialism is a voluntary exchange under rules (ie no breach of contract, use of force, etc.).

Ludwig Von Mises  in his 1920 book on socialism prediced it's fall. What's wrong with socialism? Say there is a farmer with no contact with the outside world. You go to him to buy eggs. He charges $50 for a dozen and you say "no thank you." He then sells them to you for 50 cents a dozen and you ask "how many eggs do you have?" The farmer has no idea what the going rate is at the time because he has no contact with the market ie he has no information about supply and demand .

In socialism, the price controllers do not have enough information supply and demand /what the market desires. A few people cannot know what the wants and desires of the public are at anytime.

[nice article on Mises]

American public schools have been overtaken by liberally ideology via the philosophy of John Dewey and now the NEA.

Dr. Nash is a big school choice/voucher supporter with the caveat that government vouchers to private schools may control what private schools can teach (and believe that government overreach will likely happen).

Christian Ethics
Rules (specific examples) vs Principals (generalizations)

Dr. Nash's view - A thenomist is someone who believes all the OT rules are in effect unless specifically abrogated by the NT. A dispensationalist is someone who believes all the OT rules are abrogated unless specifically sanctioned by the NT.

Reconstructionists  are people who want Christianity to influence culture (ie dominion theology). All theonomists are reconstructionists, but not all reconstructionists are theonomists.

Abortion arguments. Need to distinguish between gender vs equity feminists (Nash's terms). Gender feminists see being female as oppressive and want everything they can to take of the shackles. Female reproduction is a major aggression against women, so they want abortion, irregardless if the fetus is a life.

Pro-life feminists see abortion as favoring irresponsible males and is another tool of the patriarchy. Men can only take life and women are the only ones who can give life. Reproduction is a beautiful thing.

Just War: From Wiki (but mentioned by Nash)
The purpose of the doctrine is to ensure war is morally justifiable through a series of criteria, all of which must be met for a war to be considered just. The criteria are split into two groups: "right to go to war" (jus ad bellum) and "right conduct in war" (jus in bello).

Ghandi non-violent resistance is a utopian pipe dream because it works against the British army, but not the Nazis!

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