Flashcards in Political Philosophy & Ethics Deck (107):
How things ought to be - justifying what is 'good' or 'bad'.
"Other rules" - something is 'good' or 'bad' because someone else says so.
Religious heteronomous ethics
Pointing to a holy book for the answer to what is right.
Secular heteronomous ethics
Pointing to someones elses theories to know what is right.
"Self rules" - reasoning about why something is 'good' or 'bad'.
Calculating the best consequences of an action. determined solely by the welfare of individuals.
J. Bentham utilitarianism.
Pain vs. pleasure - the greatest happiness for the greatest number (doesn't consider minorities).
The hierarchy of pleasures (elitist) - using intellect to decide what comes first.
Preference utilitarianism - pain vs pleasure for individuals. Equal consideration of equal interests. Reducing suffering is more important than increasing happiness.
Kantianism / Deontology
To act in a morally right way, people myst act from duty and adhere to the rules. Not using anyone in an instrumental way.
Kants categorical imperitive / Golden rule
Don't do unto others what you wouldn't want done to you.
Virtues are fundamental (not rules or duties) and ethics are about good character.
Aristotle virtue ethics
If you have good virtue, then you will be good.
One ought to always act in on's own best interests.
A. Rand egoism
The virtue of selfishness - if everyone is selfish, then we would all get along.
Slave mentality - everyone behaving as a slave is what keeps people from fulfilling their potential.
Ubermensch / untermensch (Nietzsin)
Ubermensch are people who are free to express themselves while untermensch are people who are kept down by the ubermensch.
Enlightened egoism - helping others for your own benefit. Giving money to the poor brings you more safety and freedom.
Ethics of care / feminist virtue ethics
Caring for those who are dependent and vulnerable. Maintaining the world to meet the needs of ourselves and others.
Gilligan virtue ethics
Ethics of care are natural in personal rational situations.
Rights protect individuals from harm done by others.
Rights theory - rights are considered to be
1. God given, 2. part of the fabric of the universe, 3. the result of collective deliberation.
Social contract theory
Social deliberation on moral rules by rational human agents.
Moral agents - social contract theory
People who decide upon the rules.
Moral patients - social contract theory
People whose rights are decided upon for them.
United Nations Declaration of Human Rights
The first document in history to state that all humans are equal. Not necessarily implemented - not a treaty.
European Treaty of Human Rights (ETHR)
More powerful since it is a treaty.
Rawls - a theory of justice
Hypothetical version of the social contract theory putting yourself in place of the worst off in society.
Maximising individual liberty without harming others.
Mill - on liberty (1895)
"My liberty ends where yours begins" - no harm principle: everything goes as long as you do not harm others.
Opposite of liberalism - other people tell you what is good for you and what you have to do.
The view that belief, knowledge, truth and morality exist in relation to culture, society and history and are not absolute.
The view that belief, customs and morality exist in relation to a particular culture from which they originate and are not absolute.
The view that knowledge is relative to time, place, society, culture, history and conceptual to personal conviction.
Religion is a universal human quality due to universal principles of most religions.
Some ethics apply universally, regardless of culture, race or perception.
Moral truths exist independently of human knowledge or perception of them.
Stimulating and facilitating capabilities (e.g. education), which lead to human flourishing.
Do as you please, but without harming others, including non human animals and future generations - veganism as an obligation.
Singer view on euthanasia
If you are suffering more in life then death then it is ok. If it reduces overall suffering.
Singer view on abortion
Early abortion is a non-moral issue as the foetus isn't sentient. Handicapped babies - consideration of overall suffering.
Singer view on animal ethics
Animal rights are irrelevant since animals have an interest in avoidance of suffering not in continued existance. In favour of moral inclusion of animals.
Expanding the moral circle 1 - sentientism
2. My friends and family.
3. Everyone in my country.
4. All living humans.
5. Future generations.
6. Non-human animals.
2. Expanding the circle to friends and family
Tribalism - the moral concern is only for the people in your tribe.
3. Expanding the circle to everyone in my country.
Kingdom - no fighting within the country.
4. All living humans
Human Rights Declaration (1971) - abolitionism (no moral hierarchy).
5. Future generations
Sustainable development in order to care for future generations.
6. Non-human animals
Animal liberations - veganism. Human rights are a subcategory of animal rights.
Moral blind spot
Aspects not included within the moral circle which we do not see.
Previous moral blind spots
Racism, sexism, ageism.
Current moral blind spots
Speciesism (not giving non-human animals a moral status) and presentism (discriminating against future generations).
The invisible belief system, or ideology that conditions people to eat certain animals with the justifications.
Veiwing animals as things.
Viewing animals as things.
Viewing animals in categories.
Expansion of the moral circle - Bentham
The driving question should be; can they suffer?
Driving forces of expanding the moral circle
Ability to be rational, project of enlightenment (striving for moral progress), descriptive or normative perspectives.
Expanding the moral circle 2 - going beyond sentientism
Only includes humans.
Including all beings that can suffer.
Including all living things - incl. plants and bacteria. Respecting all nature.
Deep ecology - placing value on ecosystems consisting of biotic and abiotic aspects.
5. Gaia (Earth centrism)
Earth as an organism - metephorically as the Earth is 'sick' and its sickness is humans.
An extreme version of Gaia where the loss of humans would be good for the planet.
How do we know how much an animal can suffer?
Behaviour, neurology and evolution.
How does the animal respond to external stimuli?
Is the nervous system centralised? Are there opioid receptors present in the brain?
Is the capacity to suffer evolutionary advantageous to the animal? Do any of its close relatives have the capacity to suffer?
Short-term ego-istic self interest which denies all problems (e.g. environmental problems). Belief in the endless flow of resources.
Belief tha technology will fix all problems.
Taking care of the Earth for God (instrumental)
Taking care of the planet for future generations (instrumental)
Stewardship beyong anthropocentrism
Believing in the intrinsic value of nature without humans.
Being an equal partner with nature and conserving it - using nature but also recognising its intrinsic value.
Deep ecology- having the lowest possible harmful impact on the planet and preserving nature (allowing it to exist).
Selfless harmony with nature - human needs are less important than that of nature.
Based on the principles of the rationality axiom and no unecessary suffering.
For any statement you make, you have to hold rational arguments to support your claim.
No unecessary suffering includes:
Atheism, scepticism, humanism, liberalism, veganism, sustainable development, feminism and scientific naturalism.
Without this you cannot rationally justify - religion is an institutionalised version of paranormal claims.
Not believing in unscientific claims.
Promoting individual claims
Individualism and the no harm principle.
The 4 ethical relations
1. Humans - God.
2. Humans - humans
3. Humans - non-human animals
4. Humans - nature
Humans - God
Bulk of historical philosophy is preoccupied with metaphysics, theology and the supernatural.
Humans - humans
Anthropocentric focus of most philosophy.
Humans - non-human animals
Expanding the moral circle of philosophical reflection by applying ethics also to non-human animals.
Humans - nature
The latest expansion of the moral circle for applied ethics, focusing on nature, environmental problems and future generations.
Equation of stupid
People x average ecological footprint < carrying capacity.
Carrying capacity of the Earth
Our combined ecological footprint must be smaller than the carrying capacity of the Earth.
You cannot have finite growth in an infinite system. We do not see it, but we know its coming - as humans we only act upon aspects that we can see and feel.
Contaminents in the natural environment that causes instability, disorder and harm to the ecosystem.
Desert areas around the world are expanding due to overgrazing, deforestation, poor agricultural practices and climate change.
Extinctions occurring at rates hundreds of times higher than before.
Depletion of resources
Unsustainable usage of natural resources.
Ultimatley leads to resource depletion. Overfishing of sharks has led to the upset of entire marine ecosystems.
Continuous rapid population growth exceeds the carrying capacity of the planet.
Rising of GHGs leads to global warming and climate change - threatening the life support systems of present and future generations.
Ongoing increase of acidity of the Earth's oceans.CO2 goes into the oceans where it forms carbonic acid posing a threat to food chains.
Destruction of primary forests by clear-cutting, which leads to desertification, soil ersion and biodiversity loss.
Things that decrease our harm impact
Vegaism, simplicity, low carbon living, less children, solar houses, transition towns.
Things that increase our harm impact
Consumerism, animal production and economic growth.
The Open Society and its Enemies - closed and open societies
liberal societies with core values of freedom and expression.
Totalitarian societies which lead to Nazism and communism with no room for individual liberty.
A freedom not to be interferred with (no harm).