IB Philosophy | Ethics

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Nicomachean Ethics

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22 Terms

1

Nicomachean Ethics

A philosophical work on ethics and human flourishing

  • Aristotle

  • The golden mean / the doctrine of the mean

  • Eudaimonia / the good life

  • virtue & hapinesss

  • contemplation

  • moral education

  • importance of friendship

  • how men should live their best lives

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2

Eudaimonia (Nicomachean)

aristotle’s definition of happiness

  • have connotations for success and fulfillment

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Happiness to Aristotle equates to. . . (Nicomachean)

what the good life is / consists of

  • true happiness is limited because people are deficient in virtue

  • a public affair (importance of friendship)

  • true happiness cannot be found in a hermit

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Virtue (Nicomachean)

a disposition to behave in the right manner (inculcated from a young age)

  • learned at a young age through constant practice

    • ex. someone with the virtue of courage will be happy when applying this virtue and reach for the true good life when someone with the vice of cowardice will find happiness in avoidance of scary things which is a false approach to the good life

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The golden mean/ the doctrine of the mean (Nicomachean)

virtue exists as a mean state between the extreme and deficiency of that virtue i.e cowardice, courage, recklessness

  • not exactly in the middle of the two, usually case by case

  • can only be learned through constant practice/experience

  • no set rules to obey to apply this concept

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6

Metaethics

How do we know what is good and bad

  • defining nature of ethical and moral terms

  • what is morality?

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Moral Realism (Metaethics)

There are moral facts in the same way there are scientific facts

  • any moral proposition can be true or false

Critique

  • if there are moral facts, where do they come from? are they falsifiable

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Grounding problem (metaethics)

A search for a foundation for our moral beliefs, something solid that would make them rue in a way that ti clear, objective and unmoving

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Moral antirealism (metaethics)

moral proposition don’t refer to objective features of the world, there are no moral facts

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Moral absolutists (metaethics)

  • some moral facts don’t ever change

  • moral facts apply universally

  • moral realists

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11

Moral Relativism (metaethics)

more than one moral position on a given topic can be correct

commonly seen as cultural relativism (moral beliefs differ from culture to culture)

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Moral Subjectivism (metaethics)

  • moral statements can be true and false but they refer only to people’s attitudes rather than their actions

  • no moral facts, only moral attitudes

  • moral antirealism

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13

Deontological Ethics

morality of an action is based on the action themselves, not the intent or consequences

  • normative ethical theory

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Kant’s on Deontological Ethics

  1. somethings should never be done, no matter if the consequences are good

  2. never use people as means to an end

  3. the only thing inherently good is the good will, and person is only of good will if they always committed to acting the right way

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Kant’s Categorical Imperative

The supreme principle of morality is a rule of conduct / maxim that applies universally

  • the universality of the principle is that for any maxim, the opposite extreme must be generalized to the whole universe and if it would be detrimental then you should never disobey it

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Kant’s Hypothetical Imperative

A rule of conduct that applies to an individual only if they desire a certain end and willed to act on that desire

  • If you want to be trusted then should always tell the truth

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17

Utilitarianism

An action is right if it promotes happiness or pleasure and wrong if it produces unhappiness or pain - maximize the amount of people happiness is being promoted for

  • evaluated on the basis of consequences

  • Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill

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18

Consequentialism

doctrine that actions should be judged right or wrong based on their consequences

  • classic hedonistic utilitarianism

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19

Normative Ethics

Criteria for judging what is morally right or wrong

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Descriptive Ethics

Form of empirical research into the attitudes of people and individuals / observation of moral decision making

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21

Teleological Ethics

Morality derives from our duty / moral obligation from what i good or desirable as an end to achieve

  • basically consequentialism

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Applied Ethics

Application of normative ethics in bio, environment (animals, world) and government

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