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Chapter 3

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  • 1. Chapter Three: Moral Objectivism The position of moral objectivism: There are objective moral principles, valid for all people and all social environments Several versions of this view will be examined but ultimately moderate objectivisim will be accepted
  • 2. Moral Absolutism
    • The view that there are nonoverrideable moral principles that one ought never violate. Moral principles are exceptionless
    • Moral objectivism shares notion that principles have universal, objective validity
    • Objectivism however denys moral norms are necessarily exceptionless
  • 3. Aquinas's Objectivism and Absolutism Aquinas follows an objectivist approach called natural law theory Aquinas was a moral absolutist, and he developed the doctrine of double effect
  • 4. Natural Law Theory Natural Law Theory is the view that there exists an eternal moral law that can be discovered through reason by looking at the nature of humanity and society.
  • 5. Natural Law Theory
    • First appeared among the Stoics
    • in first century BCE
    • Stoics believed humans have
    • a divine spark, logos spermatikos, enabling discovery of eternal laws
    • The universe is governed by rational
    • laws which all creation obeys
    • Humans, however, have power of
    • choice
  • 6. Natural Law Theory Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Aquinas combined cosmic law with Aristotle’s concept that humans, like every natural object, have a specific nature, purpose, and function. For Aquinas, reason's deliberative processes discover the natural laws
  • 7. Doctrine of Double Effect
    • Provides a tidy method for solving all moral disputes in which an act will have two effects, one good and the other bad
    • Four Conditions that must be satisfied for moral permissibility:
      • The nature-of-the-act condition
      • The means-end condition
      • The right-intention condition
      • The proportionality condition
  • 8. Problems with the Doctrine of Double Effect
    • Some prescriptions seem counterintuitive
    • Not always clear how closely an effect must be connected with the act to be counted as the intended act
    • Problem of how to describe an act
    • Tied closely to a teleological view of human nature
    • Alternatives: Prima facie duties
  • 9. Moderate Objectivism
    • If we can establish or show that it is reasonable to believe that there is at least one objective moral principle that is binding on all people then we will have shown that relativism is probably false and that a limited objectivism is true
  • 10. Core Morality Principles necessary for the good life within a flourishing human community They are not arbitrary and we can give reasons that explain why they are constitutive elements of a successful society, necessary for social cohesion and personal well-being.
  • 11. Principles that are examples of the Core Morality
    • Do not kill innocent people.
    • Do not lie or deceive.
    • Do not steal or cheat.
    • Keep your promises and honor your
    • contracts.
  • 12. Our Common Human Nature
    • An objectivist bases his or her moral system on a common human nature with common needs and desires.
    • There is more that unites all humanity than divides us.
  • 13. Ethical Situationalism
    • Objective moral principles are to be
    • applied differently in different
    • contexts.
    • Different from ethical relativism which denies universal ethical principles altogether.