Moral ReasoningUsing arguments to validate the strength of moral views
Opinions, Beliefs, and PropositionsBeliefs are propositional – they are claims that are eithertrue or falseOpinions are beliefs and therefore are also propositional• I believe It is immoral to eat other animals=• In my opinion it is immoral to eat other animals=• I’m claiming that it is immoral to eat other animals
P1. The decision of whether to live or die primarily involves the patient’s valuesArguments about death and the meaning of life. P2. Doctors are trained to respond to physical suffering, not questions of existential value.An argument consists of two C. Doctors are therefore lack the expertise toparts: one part (the premise or make such decisions (or validate thepremises) of which is intended decisions of their patients)to provide a reason foraccepting the other part (the P1. Abortion is the intentional killing ofconclusion) innocent persons. P2. Intentional killing of innocent persons violates their right to life C1. Abortion violates the right to life ofA good argument is one in innocent persons.which the premises are P4. Violating the right to life is morally(1) true; and wrong & should be prohibited.(2) relevant to the conclusion C2. Abortion is morally wrong & should be prohibited
Is this an argument?① People who are stupid here because I want todeserve any⑤ Why am I here? I’m enough to smoke, don’t learn to healthbetter. think care services. Let them die!① I’ve been going in God or condemn yourself to a life of⑤ Either believe to McDonald’s for Big Macs for 30 years. I’m meaninglessness! happy with my purchase almost every time. Therefore, I will probably be happy with my next McDonald’s purchase.⑥ Our immigration policy is the result of a long history of① George Washington never is not lie and neither should you prejudice. Therefore, it told a just senseless, but downright racist!① We need a president that understands the economy, and so,⑤ we should electcommercials extensive business experience I never watch Romney. His and neither should you. makes him want to be to be presidentto believe that you You don’t well-suited brainwashed at a time when nothing matters more than thereally don’t. And according need something, which you economy. His success leadingNew York Times, that’s into success leading our to the a business will translate exactly what commercials nation.do. try to
Deductive & Inductive arguments Deductive Proofs• Aims to prove a conclusion P1. Voluntary Active Euthanasia• Successful if the argument is reduces the pain and suffering sound in the world• Sound = the premises are true and the argument is P2. Whatever reduces pain and valid suffering in the world ought to• An argument is valid if it’s be permitted. impossible for its premises to be true and its conclusion to C. Voluntary Active Euthanasia be false. ought to be permitted
Deductive & Inductive arguments Inductive SupportP1. We surveyed 10000Californians about their views on • Supports, rather than proves,gay marriage. a conclusion • The degree of support itP2. 64% of those surveyed were offers depends on how likelyin support of legalizing gaymarriage, 25% were against gay the premises make themarriage, and 11% were conclusionundecided. • An argument’s strengthP3. State ballot measures require depends on how mucha majority vote to pass support it offers for the conclusion. (more support =C. A ballot measure legalizing gay stronger argument)marriage will probably pass now
What are they arguing about? • Diana: Abortion is immoral because it is medically and psychologically harmful to the mother. • Maria: I disagree. It’s not having an abortion when you need one that is medically and psychologically harmful to the mother.
What are they arguing about? • Victor: I can’t believe they wont let us fish here anymore! Our family has been fishing here for generations. That gives us a right to our livelihood! • Jacob: If the state allows everyone to keep fishing here – at least for now – the fish population will be devastated and the whole ecosystem around them will be affected. We have a moral obligation to protect that ecosystem.
What are they arguing about?• Sergei: If we make abortion illegal, more children will be born whose parents are not able to adequately provide for them.• Wendy: Even if a child’s life is not a particularly good one, it’s better than no life at all!
What are they arguing about? • Jessica: Abortion is wrong because it is the killing of an innocent person. • Hector: It isn’t. A fetus is not a person! It’s just a clump of cells. We have no good reason to consider it a person.
What are they arguing about?• Charlie: Restricting marriage to heterosexuals is unjust discrimination.• Briana: Marriage should only be allowed between one man and one woman
ARE ANY OF THESE MORALLY WRONG?GO AHEAD AND CONVINCE ME WITH A GOOD ARGUMENT!
Creating effective arguments – before you start Step 1: Make sure you understand the question/issue that the argument should address. Step 2: Determine a preliminary answer to that question/issue. This will be your conclusion. Step 3: Write out what you see as the reasons/evidence, first for, then against your conclusion
Creating effective arguments – standard formStep 1: State your conclusion – what are youtrying to show?Step 2: List your premises/evidence one by one(P1, P2, P3, etc.) above the conclusionStep 3: Examine your premises to see if they aresufficient to support the conclusion. Look for holes in your argument: missing premises, unwarranted assumptions, biased language, fallacious reasoning, etc.Step 4: Make changes where helpful and returnto step 3 until your evidence provides strongsupport for your conclusion