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37 Cards in this Set

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•one who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of God
•one for whom the existence of God is a real, continuing, open question
•a doubter of God’s existence, but not as strong as an atheist, who believes that God does not exist
•a disinterested benevolence and unselfish concern for the welfare of others, with no other end in mind
•from ancient Greek, arête, “virtue”
•it proposes that the basis of ethical evaluation should be on the basis of character rather than actions because good character is the most valuable thing a human can possess
aretaic (ethics)
•a form of reasoning asserting that, given two generally similar things, if one of those things has a particular feature, the other may also contain that feature
•arguments from analogy are strong or weak depending on the degrees of similarity between the two things compared
argument from analogy
•a line of reasoning that argues that the intricate and complex nature of the world could not have existed without a divine designer, God
•at the very least, it claims, if the universe shows evidence of intelligent design, then the existence of some intelligent Designer can be inferred as its cause
• also called the teleological argument for God’s existence
argument from design
•refers to the ever-changing world of experience where all inanimate and living things are said to come into existence, exist, then pass away
•in Plato’s universe, it contrasts with the unchanging, eternal world
•the belief that the happiness and good of others is desirable and that such happiness should be spread as equally and as widely as possible among the beings affected
benevolence principle
•in a two-sided argument, where argument A is appropriately assumed to be true, side B must prove it untrue by proving B in order to win
•in American justice, the prosecution has the burden of proof, since the accused is always presumed innocent
•one strategy in debate is to try to shift the burden of proof to the opposing side
burden of proof
•a method of evaluating ethical problems situationally, by analyzing the circumstances of a case
•casuistry contrasts with applying rules or principles to a problem, and rejects the idea that such application of rules or principles yields real solutions
•practiced in Scholastic ethics, it has been revived in modern bioethics
•as a moral principle formulated by Kant, it directs: “act only according to that maxim that you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law”
•more generally, it is a moral requirement which must be obeyed with no exception
•categorical imperatives contrast with hypothetical imperatives
categorical imperative
•a phase used by Rene Descartes to describe those ideas that are so clear and distinct, so self-evident, and so impossible to imagine as false, that we must accept them, even when employing Cartesian doubt
•the redness of a bright, clean fire truck is an example of a clear idea: the unique design of a fire truck, as opposed to all other trucks, is an example of a distinct idea
clear and distinct ideas
•the view that the value of an act should be judged solely on the basis of that act’s effects on other beings
•this is in contrast to aretaic ethics where the value of an act is determined by the character of an agent or deontological ethics, where the value is determined by the intentions and motives of the agent
•if one drops the maximizing premise (the one that directs us to create the “greatest” good for the “greatest” number) of utilitarianism (the greatest good for the greatest number), one gets the more minimal theory of consequentialism
•claims that determinism and free will can both be true
•in other words, every event may have a cause and I am still free to make my own choices
compatibilism (compatibilist)
•the awareness which conscious beings have that their actions are either morally right or wrong
•the argument that uses facts of the known natural universe (i.e. motion, causation, and contingency) to infer the existence of God as the initial cause of these phenomena
cosmological argument (for the existence of God)
•the ethical theory that moral evaluation is rooted in and cannot be separated from the experience, beliefs, and behaviors of a particular culture, and hence, that what is wrong in one culture may not be so in another
cultural relativism
•a doctrine which affirms the existence of a Divine Being who created the natural universe, but which denies any additional interaction between the deity and its creations
•often in deism, this Being is seen as impersonal, remote, and without human-like qualities
•contrasts with theism
•the belief that each and every event has a cause and that if all necessary and sufficient antecedents for a particular event existed again, it would be impossible for that event not to occur
•this concept is traditionally associated with the problem of free will
•the position known as hard determinism maintains that all behavior is invariably and without exception determined by causal factors beyond the control and responsibility of an individual, so that in effect, free will and moral choice do not exist
•however, soft determinism, a form of compatibilism, maintains that while there is a cause for all action, certain choices can still be made freely as actions that stem from the character or will of the agent, thus preserving the notion of moral responsibility
•a view in ethics or psychology holding that all human behavior is motivated by self-interest
•this theory makes a factual claim about human nature, whereas ethical egoism makes a claim about how humans should act, regardless of the truth of psychological egoism
•the view arises in ethics because, if true, it renders altruistic theories impossible
•hence defenders of altruistic theories see a need to defeat it
psychological egoism or egoism, psychological
•an ethical theory claiming that the pursuit of self-interest is morally correct and rational
•often associated with the Russian-born, American philosopher, Ayn Rand, who claims that ethics would be less hypocritical if everyone acknowledged the truth of its claims
ethical egoism or egoism, ethical
•the ethical theory that denies the existence of universal moral truths and proposes that right and wrong must be defined variously, based on differences in cultural norms and mores
•what is morally right is “relative to” one’s society and time in history, not absolute across time and cultures
ethical relativism
•ancient Greek, “good death or good dying”
•bringing about the death of another with the intention of preventing suffering
•a central principle of existentialism that holds that the essence of any human being is completely determined by the free choices made by that already-existing person
•it denies that God or anything else created a human nature that makes humans a certain way
•for existentialists, what we know as “human nature” is not something we inherit but it merely a generalization we make from millions of ways of acting that people have chosen and hence, could have chosen differently
existence precedes essence
•a term for the branch of modern philosophy that explores an assortment of questions having to do with the individual’s lack of an essential nature, the absolute freedom he or she has to create his or her essence, and the modern problems of meaninglessness, alienation, the absurdity of life, and the absence of a rational meaning in the universe, etc.
•see also “existence precedes essence”
•a classic argument for the existence of God that states that because all events in the natural world must have a cause, God must exist as the first initiator of these events
•it assumes that a regress without end back into time is unacceptable
first cause argument
•a teaching attributed to Siddhartha upon whom the teachings of Buddhism are based:
(1)existence consists of suffering
(2)cravings are the source of suffering and bind us to existence
(3)suffering can be overcome by eliminating cravings
(4)suffering can be overcome by means of an 8-step path, resulting in enlightenment
four noble truths
•the view that some things, including human choice, are not caused or determined
•associated with Jean-Paul Sartre and existentialism
•a central idea of Hindu and Buddhist religions, it holds that our inner self is affected by our actions in this life in future, reincarnated lives
•French, “bad faith,” it is a term associated with Sartre and refers to one’s unwillingness to take responsibility for the self one has created by one’s decisions when faced with crucial choices in life
•instead, one blames uncontrollable circumstances such as genetics, bad luck, and one’s family for what one is
•a person who does this is called “inauthentic”
mauvaise foi
•the branch of philosophy what investigates questions concerning the nature of reality and that moves beyond scientific inquiry to exploring questions about self, God, free will, and the origins of the universe
•named after a book by Aristotle for the study of questions left over after the study of this world, “physica” or nature
metaphysics (metaphysical)
•a perennial issue is philosophy: does the mind truly exist in nature as a separate entity from the body and, if so, as what kind of stuff or thing?
•also, how do mind and body affect each other, if at all?
mind-body problem
•associated with Blaise Pascal who argued that even if all arguments for God’s existence fail, it is still the more prudential bet to belief in God, because if God does not exist we have eternity to gain, and if God does not, we have lost little by believing
Pascal’s wager
•the ability to feel pleasure and pain
•the living but immaterial thing that animates one’s consciousness, maintains (some think even before birth) an identity throughout life, and (some think) survives beyond death
•the belief that a personal God exists who is involved in human affairs
•a theist is one who believes in theism
theism (theist)
•ethical theory founded by Jeremy Bentham, James Mill, and John Stuart Mill in England in the 19th century that holds that’s acts are right which produce the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of beings affected, and second, that the particular act or rule being considered should produce more such good than any other possible act or rule
•act utilitarianism contrasts with rule utilitarianism, in that the rule (rather than the rule) is the subject of what produces the greatest good
•utilitarianism is hence a theory about:
(1)what is right (good consequences, not motives)
(2)maximization (the number of beings affected counts morally)
(3)what creates a good consequence
•hedonic utilitarianism holds that good consequences should be understood in terms of tangible pleasures
•as a plural, the term refers to excellence of character that include (as the cardinal virtues) courage, wisdom, self-control, and justice, as well as other admirable traits such as loyalty, and compassion
•“virtues” refers to excellences of character identified in ancient Greece, whereas “virtue” is broader and also includes virtue ethics
•virtue ethics  the theory of ethics that values virtue, or virtues, rather than duty or the utilitarian greatest good, as the answer to the question, “What makes an act right?”