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VA LU E S A N D T H E G O O D L I F E The good, the right, & the Virtuous
W H AT A R E YO U R VA L U E S ? W H AT A R E YO U R P R I O R I T I E S ? Accomplishment Respect Enjoyment Honesty Love Meaningful work Happiness Adventure Fun Nice car Spirituality Romance Money Freedom Contribution to Creativity A fulfilling sex life Fame something outside the self Knowledge A good job Good education Friendship Generosity Children Big house Entertainment Self-discipline Long life Vacations in the Safety Talent Travel Bahamas Intelligence Good health Recognition Leisure Recreation
GOOD STATES OF AFFAIRS It’s good to eat. It’s better to eat well. It’s best that all eat well. The best classes are those that are not just interesting andrelevant, but teach you something about who you are and how youshould be. Replacing the drug war with a health-based approach would helppreserve families, lower prison costs, and help addicts kick the habit. We need the death penalty in order to deter would-be murderersfrom committing murders. Death penalty = less murders.
WHAT IS VALUABLE AND HOW IS IT VALUABLE In what way is it valuable? intrinsic value: The worth objects have in their own right, independent of their value to any other end. instrumental value: The worth objects have in fulfilling other endsWhat type(s) of thing are valuable? Individualism – Only individual beings can have intrinsic moral value (e.g. higher mammals, sentient beings, all living things) Holism - Collective entities can also have intrinsic moral value (e.g., ecosystems, wilderness or endangered species)
THE RIGHT As a parent, I have to look out for my children’s well-being first. I have the right to be treated with respect like everyone else It would be wrong to tell you what she said – I promised! Give more to charity. You know that it’s the right thing to do. Killing innocent people is wrong, no matter how much it lowers theprice of oil. It’s wrong to allow a murderer to live. Justifies demands retribution.
THE GOOD LIFEThe enviable life – a life that we wouldlike to have when viewed from the insideThe admirable life – a life that we admireand respect.
THE GOOD LIFE1. Are there many kinds of desirable lives2. Are there many kinds of admirable lives?1. Is the admirable life the enviable life?2. Is the enviable life the admirable life?
KEY QUESTION: What is the connection betweengood states of affairs, right actions, and a goodcharacter?Sample approach 1: consequence-based ethicso Start/focus on good states of affairso Right actions are those that bring about good states of affairso A good character is one that leads you bring about good states of affairsSample approach 2: duty-based ethicso Start/focus on right actionso Good states of affairs are those in which right actions are takeno A good character is one that leads you to perform right actionsSample approach 3: character-based ethicso Start/focus on good charactero Good states of affairs are those in which good characters are developedo Right actions are those that bring about (arise from) good character
SELF-INTEREST & MORALITY1. Are we universally selfish? PSYCHOLOGICAL EGOISM (PE) Every person only cares intrinsically about (descriptive question) him or herself. All human motivations are2. Should we be universally selfish? selfish. (prescriptive question) Objection: Sometimes people truly behave altruistically Reply: People help others because it makes them feel good, not from altruism. Objection: That pleasure can be the biproduct, rather than the motivation
ETHICAL EGOISMETHICAL EGOISM – One ought to do what is in his or herown rational self-interest. ARGUMENT 1: THE RING OF GYGES “The achievement of his own happiness is man’s P1. Everyonemoral purpose”their self-interest if they could highest would pursue – Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness (1964) P2. Whatever everyone would do is what anyone should do. C. We ought to pursue only our own interests. 12
ETHICAL EGOISMETHICAL EGOISM - Everyone ought to do what is in his orher own rational self-interest. ARGUMENT 2: BEST FOR EVERYONE P1. It is by pursuing our own benefit that we best help others achieve theirs C. We ought to pursue only our own interests. 13
ETHICAL EGOISMARGUMENT 3: RESPECTING INDIVIDUAL INTEGRITY (Rand)P1. A person has only one life to live. If we value the individual then we must treatthis life is of supreme importance – it’s all one has and is.P2. The ethics of altruism regards the life of the individual as something one mustbe ready to sacrifice for the good of othersC1. Therefore, the ethics of altruism doesn’t properly value the individual.P3. Ethical Egoism, which allows each person to view his or her own life as beingof ultimate value, is the only philosophy that takes the life of the individualseriously.C2. Thus, Ethical Egoism is the philosophy that ought to be accepted 14
ETHICAL EGOISMARGUMENT 4: EGOISM UNDERLIES COMMON MORALITYP1. The hodge-podge of various duties prescribed by common sensemorality requires an explanationP2. The best explanation of common sense morality is that all of ourduties are ultimately derived from the fundamental principle of self-interestC. Therefore, we should accept Ethical Egoism 15
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MORALITY AND SELF-INTEREST? Conflict HarmonyMorality requires that we sometimes act The morally right thing to do is alsoagainst our own best interest… what is in our best interest. Being a good person leads to rewards and beingOption 1: … and morality is right a bad person leads to punishments.Problem: Why should I do what is Problem 1: It seems easy to come upagainst my self-interest? with some potential act that will benefit me, but wrongly harm others.Option 2: … and morality is wrong Problem 2: Implausibly implies thatProblem: Morality seems like it has force moral and immoral people have sameand can’t be ignored. motivation, but one is just smarter.