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ETHICS
FINAL EXAM STUDY REVIEW
Exam date: 5/6/03

 

I) CONTENT

A. New Course Material (20 points)
What is Value?
Definition: etymology, narrow definition, general definition
Intrinsic value: definition, types
Instrumental value: definition, types
Axiology continuum: definition, examples (sphere, positive/negative values)

B. Prior Course Material (80 points)

1. The Sophists
Sophistēs: professor, teacher, wise man
Professionalization and commercialization of education
Itinerant or inter-city status
Teaching methods

Common interests and orientation:
Rhetoric: (oriented toward success or pragmatic expediency, agonistic, power)
Epistemology (theory of knowledge): skepticism, relativism, convention (nomos) versus nature (physis) equipollence of opposite arguments (making the weak argument appear stronger), etc.

Ethical philosophy:
Philosophical interest in human affairs: reflective turn
The nomos-physis antithesis: general usage, questions framed in terms of the antithesis
Glaucon and Gyges’ ring: psychological egoism, moral motivation, self-interest/selfishness
Thrasymachus: “justice is the advantage of the stronger”

2. Socrates
Divine mission
Development of the anthropological, ethical, reflective turn in philosophy initiated by the Sophists; confusion with, and difference from, the Sophists
Search for rational foundation of moral truth, universal definition (“what is X?” where X= any moral concept)
Aristophanes’ The Clouds: Socrates depicted as a composite of a Presocratic nature philosopher and Sophist

3. Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics
Agent-based ethics: stresses personal character over individual actions (action-based ethics)
Cardinal rule of the golden mean and moderation (sôphrosúnę
)
Character, acquired predisposition (ethos), habit (hexis)
Naturalistic and essentialist: human nature or essence (natural desire for eudaimonia) as the basis of ethics
Soul (psychę): general nature, levels, components, and internal relations (rational/irrational, voluntary/involuntary)
Functional excellence, proper or peculiar function of a thing or person, virtue (aretę)
Aristotle’s function argument
Candidates for the good life: pleasure (hędonę), honor, and rational contemplation (theôria)
Highest good (value)
Instrumental good (value): a means to an end (e.g., money, car, tool)
Intrinsic good (value): an end in itself (e.g., happiness, pleasure, wisdom)
Means-end relationship, subordinate/final goals
Potentiality: dynamis and actuality:
energeia
Perfectionism: human well being (eudaimonia) consists in excelling at things intrinsically worth doing
Practical wisdom or prudence (phrónęsis
)
Self-interest: pursuit of personal advantage, benefit, or profit
Teleology: process oriented toward a final goal or purpose (e.g., moral perfection, wisdom)
Theoretical wisdom (sophia)
Virtue (aretę): general nature, distinction between intellectual and moral virtues
Virtue/vice: proportional mean (virtue) and disproportional excess or deficiency (vice)
Criticisms of Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics (also called eudaimonistic and/or teleological ethics):

  • Incomplete, impractical
  • Hierarchical essentialism
  • Assumption of distinctive human function
  • Morality is not a means but an end
  • Ethnocentric list of virtues


II) FORMAT
1. 10 T/F questions (15 points)
2. 30 Multiple choice questions (45 points)
3. 7 Short answer questions (28 points)
4. 2 Essay questions (12 points)
5. Extra credit?


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