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AQA AS Philosophy (Moral Philosophy) - A barrage of notes watch

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    Well, having read over 100 pages I've managed to compress this thing into 15

    Maybe someone'll find this useful then.
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  1. File Type: doc Module 2 - Moral Philosophy.doc (100.0 KB, 323 views)
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    (Original post by coursework.info)
    Need more help? You could get help with this question at Coursework.Info
    Oh shut up you tart.
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    Thank you. I'm hoping to take the AS course for philosophy in September and the module 2 selection for the course is moral philosophy. After looking at these notes I think that will give me a good opportunity to read up on the subject beforehand. Skimmed through and it looks helpful!
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    Argh... moral? We did religion instead Do you have any other notes, because those look really good!
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    (Original post by Sopheh)
    Argh... moral? We did religion instead Do you have any other notes, because those look really good!
    I'm formulating some Theories of Knowledge ones now, might be done by tonight I'm not sure.
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    Oh if you could post those that would make me a very happy bunny! =: D <- (that's a happy bunny)
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    (Original post by Sopheh)
    =: D <- (that's a happy bunny)
    Doubtless.

    See what I did there, eh? eh?
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    Yeah, so I pretty much love you right about now (Y)
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    Oooohhh thanx!
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    Hi HearTheThunder,
    Thank you very much for the notes, they are extremely useful, but I feel that the criticisms of Utilitarianism can all be resolved (I am an act utilitarian, if you can't tell).
    1)Hedonism = True? – Alisdair MacIntyre points out that while he is writing an essay, he could be doing any other activities which could bring him pleasure. He doesn’t enjoy writing the essay, but he does it anyway. Why? Perhaps to bring a meaning or point to his life rather than seeking pleasure as utilitarianism assumes. Preference Utilitarians say that we should act to satisfy preferences. Note that preference is not synonymous with desires, but rather welfare. If it is your preference to drink water to survive, and you see water in front of you and want to drink it, but I stop you because it is in fact acid, I am satisfying your preferences despite you desire to drink it.
    Why does the man want to bring a meaning or point to his life? Surely it is because that would make him more happy/satisfied.
    Also, Why prefer one thing over another? Could it not be that one thing brings you more happiness than another? Moreover the event could be phrased as a desire to survive overcoming the lesser desire to drink water.
    2)Commensurability – Bentham argued that all pleasures could be compared and measured up. Is this true? How can the pleasure of eating be compared to the pleasure of achieving a life goal? Are they not intrinsically different?
    I would argue that they are commensurable. one being much greater than the other.
    3)Knowledge of the consequences – considering Utilitarianism is a consequentialist theory rather than deontological, we must predict the consequences. This seems quite absurd and difficult. How can this theory be taken seriously if it relies on us effectively predicting the future. The standard reply to this is that we have a fairly good idea of what the consequences will be.
    We regularly predict consequences, it is part of everyday life, and through experience we learn to regularly predict correctly, learning to have fruitful expectations. There are some very difficult situations to judge, but these are relatively rare, and with prior thinking and experience, we can become good predictors.
    4)Too demanding – I want a cup of tea. This will make me happy, but I would make more people even more happy if I didn’t have my cup of tea and went about donating and helping solve world poverty. I should therefore abandon this idea of having the cup of tea because Utilitarianism prescribes it. Surely this is too demanding?
    Of course, it is impossible to be completely utilitarian and altruistic, but we should try to be as utilitarian as possible.
    5) Too impartial – Supposing a house is on fire, and inside are your mother and a stranger, who is a brain surgeon. You have time to rescue one of these people. According to Utilitarianism, you should rescue the surgeon because it would produce the greatest amount of happiness overall as she would go on to save more people. This is in conflict with deontological theories that you have a duty to your family.
    The same reply as the above criticism applies. Also perhaps in saving mother you were killing not 1 but 10 others. This being acceptable is partly to do with the human reaction to place immediate consequences way before far off ones.
    6)Obligations – You have promised to meet a friend at 5pm to help them with homework. However, if more happiness is produced overall from you going to the cinema instead, you are free to ignore the promise.
    I see no problem with this, but doubt that the consequences of this action would in fact have a positive utility.
    7)People as means to an end – Utilitarianism treats people as means to the end of an increase of happiness. Imagine a talented pauper who would make thousands happy if only given the chance. He could murder a rich man, take his money and increase overall happiness. He has acceptably (according to Utilitarianism) used this rich man as a means to achieving the end of a production of happiness. Kant says this is wrong; as we live in a kingdom of ends and people should be treated as ends in themselves, not means to an end.
    What he did was perhaps not good, but if there was no other way of producing the happiness it was the best option. Besides the rich man was wrongly acting. He was causing unnecessary suffering, by leaving poor people who he could have made more happy/ less miserable by providing them with necessary provisions, to suffer. It was perhaps rich men like this who, by having a unfair share of wealth, made the pauper poor, thus necessitating his own death.
    8)Conflict with justice – suppose a terrorist has blown up a pub. An innocent man is arrested, and despite there being no evidence against him, tensions are running high and there is a strong desire for ‘justice’, so the police fabricate evidence and convict him. Overall happiness is increase, but justice has not occurred. According to Utilitarianism however, the moral thing has been done!
    It is unclear that this would have produced overall increased happiness: (The vast sense of injustice felt by the prisoner, the guilty consciences of the policemen, and the possibility of further harm caused by the terrorist, the sense felt by the terrorists that they could get away with harm) Vs (slight satisfaction of public and considerable comfort of the murdered families). Also, is this the best possible action? Could not the police keep looking for the terrorist whilst the innocent man is in gaol, freeing him when they catch the suspect?, or better still, Could not the police say that they have detained somebody when they actually had not, whilst still looking for the criminal?
    9)Moral agency - Jim & the Indians – suppose Jim goes to a village in the middle of an execution. Jim is told he can kill one of the Indians himself and the other 19 will be let go or let all 20 die. Utilitarianism says that he should kill one himself, as this would reduce the most amount of pain. However, it ignores Jim as a moral agent – it ignores the damage to his integrity and that it is he who is doing the act. It simply regards consequences. Surely this is a fault?
    Surely the act of letting 20 people die whilst knowing he could have saved 19 would do Jim greater harm. It is just an extremely unfortunate situation.

    I hope that these counter-criticisms will be useful to any students, and indeed philosophers in general.

    In circles
 
 
 
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