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4 Types of Naturalism - Flashcards

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Class:PHIL 303 - Ethics
Subject:Philosophy
University:William and Mary
Term:Fall 2009
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R.B. Perry's General Definition of Good & Bad X is good (bad), means that someone has a positive (negative) interest in X
Objection to R.B. Perry's General Definition of Good & Bad, Part 1 1. If Perry's views were true, then good and bad are not contrary properties 2. BUT, good and bad are contrary properties 3. Therefore, Perry's view is false
Objection to R.B. Perry's General Definition of Good & Bad, Part 2 1. If Perry's theory were true, then thermonuclear war is good, if one person has a positive interest in it. 2. BUT, thermonuclear war is bad. 3. Therefore, Perry's theory is wrong.
Roderick Firth's Ideal Observer Theory 1. he is omniscient with respect to none ethical facts 2. he is omnipercipient (see, hears, smells all) 3. he is disinterest (i.e. unbiased- doesn't give too much weight to any one interest) 4. he is dispassionate (he is not inappropriately happy/angry) 5. He is consistent 6. He is normal in other respects X is good (bad)= If there were an ideal observer, he would have a positive (negative) interest in X.
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Objections to Firth's Ideal Observer Theory 1. "he is disinterested", "he is dispassionate" are traits of the ideal observer, but these traits are not defined only in terms of naturalistic properties ("too much" and "inappropriately" are not naturalistic terms), therefore, this may not be a naturalist theory. 2. Suppose that ideal observers disagree? A) Then good and bad are not contrary characteristics. B) BUT, good and bad are contrary. C) Therefore the ideal observer theory is false
Westermarck's Subjective Naturalism (WSN) For any person S, if S says "X is good (bad)", then S means what S would mean if S were to say, "I have a tendency to feel disinterested friendly (hostile) retributive emotion towards objects similar to X"
Exampe of WSN A) I have a tendency to feel disinterested hostile retributive emotions toward this act of premarital sex. B) This act of premarital sexual intercourse is bad. In WSN A) and B) are the same statement.
The No Conflict Objection to WSN Suppose Jones says [A]"this act is good", while Smith says [C]"this act is bad", it seems that [A] cannot be true if [B] is true- there is a logical conflict. According to WSN, Smith means [D]"I have a tendency to feel hostile emotions toward this act" and Jones means [B]"I have a tendency to feel friendly emotions toward this act." There is no logical conflict between [B] and [D]. But, according to WSN, [A]=[B] and [C]=[D], but [A] and [C] conflict, while [B] and [D] don't conflict. THEREFORE, [A] does
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Different Proofs Objection to WSN It seems that we would go about proving "I have a tendency to feel disinterested hostile/friendly retributive emotions towards this act" and "This act is good" with different methods.
Hedonistic Naturalism X is intrinsically good (bad), means X is a state that involves more pleasure (pain) than pain (pleasure)
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 R.B. Perry's General Definition of Good & BadX is good (bad), means that someone has a positive (negative) interest in X
 Objection to R.B. Perry's General Definition of Good & Bad, Part 11. If Perry's views were true, then good and bad are not contrary properties
2. BUT, good and bad are contrary properties
3. Therefore, Perry's view is false
 Objection to R.B. Perry's General Definition of Good & Bad, Part 21. If Perry's theory were true, then thermonuclear war is good, if one person has a positive interest in it.
2. BUT, thermonuclear war is bad.
3. Therefore, Perry's theory is wrong.
 Roderick Firth's Ideal Observer Theory1. he is omniscient with respect to none ethical facts
2. he is omnipercipient (see, hears, smells all)
3. he is disinterest (i.e. unbiased- doesn't give too much weight to any one interest)
4. he is dispassionate (he is not inappropriately happy/angry)
5. He is consistent
6. He is normal in other respects
X is good (bad)= If there were an ideal observer, he would have a positive (negative) interest in X.
 Objections to Firth's Ideal Observer Theory1. "he is disinterested", "he is dispassionate" are traits of the ideal observer, but these traits are not defined only in terms of naturalistic properties ("too much" and "inappropriately" are not naturalistic terms), therefore, this may not be a naturalist theory.
2. Suppose that ideal observers disagree?
A) Then good and bad are not contrary characteristics.
B) BUT, good and bad are contrary.
C) Therefore the ideal observer theory is false
 Westermarck's Subjective Naturalism (WSN)For any person S, if S says "X is good (bad)", then S means what S would mean if S were to say, "I have a tendency to feel disinterested friendly (hostile) retributive emotion towards objects similar to X"
 Exampe of WSNA) I have a tendency to feel disinterested hostile retributive emotions toward this act of premarital sex.
B) This act of premarital sexual intercourse is bad.

In WSN A) and B) are the same statement.
 The No Conflict Objection to WSNSuppose Jones says [A]"this act is good", while Smith says [C]"this act is bad", it seems that [A] cannot be true if [B] is true- there is a logical conflict. According to WSN, Smith means [D]"I have a tendency to feel hostile emotions toward this act" and Jones means [B]"I have a tendency to feel friendly emotions toward this act." There is no logical conflict between [B] and [D]. But, according to WSN, [A]=[B] and [C]=[D], but [A] and [C] conflict, while [B] and [D] don't conflict. THEREFORE, [A] does
 Different Proofs Objection to WSNIt seems that we would go about proving "I have a tendency to feel disinterested hostile/friendly retributive emotions towards this act" and "This act is good" with different methods.
 Hedonistic NaturalismX is intrinsically good (bad), means X is a state that involves more pleasure (pain) than pain (pleasure)
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