Mill: On Utilitarianism

Mill would might respond to Arnold one of 2 ways.  First, he might say that while pain might sometimes be an instrumental good, it is not a good in itself (unlike pleasure).  Therefore, pain cannot be pleasure.  Second, he might respond that Arnold is confused.  He seems to be saying that, for him, growing is […]

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Kantian Ethics: A Summary

Introduction and ContextKant is considered to be one of the most important philosophers ever…EVER!  Therefore, everything he says it true.  The end.  Well, not quite.   Lets avoid appeals to authority and look at the arguments ourselves, shall we? As I mentioned in earlier posts the difference between the 3 main ethical theories (virtue, deontology, consequentialism) […]

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The Moral Problem: Michael Smith

Introduction and ContextSo far it looks like if we’re moral realists (i.e., we believe there are objective moral facts) we are in deep doo-doo.  In Why Be Moral, Glaucon and Adeimantus compellingly argue that it’s better to appear moral than to actually be moral.  The Euthyphro dilemma shows that appealing to God can’t, on its […]

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Intro to Meta-Ethics

IntroductionWelcome to one of my favorite topics:  meta-ethics.  Rather than describe what meta-ethics is, it might be easier understood by listing some of the questions it tries to answer:(a)  What does it mean for something to be morally “good” or what is it that makes something “good” or “bad”?(b)  What does it mean for something […]

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