Phil 3100 (honors) - What We Did Each Day


Week 1

M 1/11: First day stuff (syllabus, roll).

W 1/13: The three main areas of philosophy. The three main areas of ethics. The three main areas normative ethics. The three main kinds of question in metaethics. The objective/subjective distinction. Poll: is morality objective or subjective?; results: even split.

F 1/15: A Taxonomy of Metaethics. Realism v. Anti-Realism. The three kinds of Anti-Realism: Subjectivism, Non-Cognitivism, Nihilism.


Week 2

M 1/18: No class -- MLK Day.

W 1/20: The two kinds of Realism: (Objective) Naturalism, Intuitionism/Non-Naturalism. Took initial poll on these views. Results:

Nihilism - 2
Non-Cognitivism - 3
Subjectivism: 5
Intuitionism: 1
Naturalism: 2

Stated Cognitivism; discussed propositions, moral/evaluative statements, and asserting. Stated Non-Cognitivism. Introduced Empiricism. Began to explain Analytic/Synthetic distinction.

F 1/22: Defined analyticity and syntheticity. Stated and explained Ayer's empiricism. Explained a priori knowledge. Explained why Ayer thinks that moral knowledge is a problem for empiricism, and how this supports Non-Cognitivism.


Week 3

M 1/25: In-Class Exercise: What is the difference between Subjectivism and Non-Cognitivism? Discussed the Embedding Problem for Non-Cognitivism and the Frege-Geach Problem for Non-Cognitivism.

W 1/27: In-Class Exercise: Giving Rationales for the Premises of the Frege-Geach Argument. Introduced Subjectivism. Distinguished Humean Subjectivism from "Shakespearean" Subjectivism. Explained why the Shakespearean formulation is a defective formulation of the subjectivist idea. Discussed short papers, which are due Monday. ADDITOINAL READING FOR NEXT TIME: Moore (reading #3 on readings page).

F 1/29: Discussed Short Papers (due Monday). Individual Subjectivism (non-indexical version). Individual Subjectivism (indexical version). The Argument from Motivation Internalism for Subjectivism. The Argument from Disagreement for Subjectivism. Why the indexical version of Individual Subjectivism seems better.


Week 4

M 2/1: Collected first short paper. Moore's No-Disagreement Argument against Individual Subjectivism (indexical version). Divine Command Theory (DCT). DCT and Moore's No-Disagreement Argument. DCT and Atheism. Start of Plato's Euthyphro problem for DCT.

W 2/3: Plato's Euthyphro problem for DCT. Horn 1 of Socrates' Dilemma. What it means for God's commands to be "arbitrary." Why this is supposed to follow from Horn 1. Why this is bad. Horn 2 of Socrates' Dilemma. Why this is not an option for the Divine Command Theorist. Plato's Argument in line-by-line format.

F 2/5: Returned first short papers. The way Metaethical Realists can hold that value depends upon minds. Ethical Reductionism. Reductionism in other areas. Some Possible Advantages of Reductionism.


Week 5

M 2/8: Analytic vs. Synthetic Reductionism. The epistemology of Analytic Reductionism. Analytic Utilitarianism. Ayer's Open-Question Argument as against Analytic Utilitarianism.

W 2/10: Review of the dialectic so far. Intuitionism stated. Nihilism stated. What Intuitionism and Nihilism agree about, and why they disagree about. Is Skeptical Non-Reductive Moral Realism a defensible view?

F 2/12: Ross' view of moral knowledge. The notion of epistemic justification. Three possible ways to justify a moral belief. Hume's Law. Non-Inferential Justification. Possible examples of Non-Inferential Justification. Justification by Reason or Rational Intuition. Self-Evidence. Possible examples of self-evident moral propositions. Whether an analytic reductionist can accept these as self-evident. Mackie's objection that intuitionists have to posit a special faculty of moral intuition.


Week 6

M 2/15: Potential Problems for Intuitionism Raised by Mackie: Queer Supervenience, Queer Magnetism, Queer Knowing, the Argument from Relativity (or the Argument from Disagreement). The Explaining Disagreement Argument. Rationales for each premise. Replies to each premise.

W 2/17: Return to the Map of Ethics. Normative Ethics. The Normative Ethics of Behavior, Axiology, and Virtue/Vice Theory, the objects of evaluation for each, and the terms of evaluation for each. The Fundamental Project of the Normative Ethics of Behavior. Criteria of Rightness/Fully General Moral Principles/Moral Theories. The Importance of Moral Principles. Examples of Criteria of Rightness: 10C, GR, PR.

F 2/19: Studied Mill's statement of utilitarianism. Reviewed various defective formulations of it. State AU. Defined 'hedonic utility' and 'maximizes'. Discussed the epistemic objection to utilitarianism, an objection based on distant consequences, and the lack of time objection.


Week 7

M 2/22: The Lack-of-Time Objection to Utilitarianism. The Case of the Innocent Fat Man. Some reasons for thinking it wrong to blow up the innocent fat man: that it is always wrong to kill an innocent person; that killing is worse than letting die; that the ("negative") right not to be interfered with by others is stronger than the ("positive") right to save yourself.

W 2/24: Kant quotation: "Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means to an end," what this principles implies about the case of the fat man, and whether utilitarianism violates Kant's principle. Ross' Argument from Promises against AU.

F 2/26: Axiology. Different uses of 'good' and 'bad'. Two Kinds of Goodness: for the world and for a subject (i.e., welfare). Another Distinction in Value: Intrinsic (and "in itself") and Instrumental (or "as a means"). Hedonism (about welfare). The Paradox of Hedonism.


Week 8

M 3/1: Hedonism about welfare stated. Comparison to Mill's view about quality of pleasure. The Argument from Psychological Hedonism.

W 3/3: Nozick's Experience Machine Objection to Hedonism. Four versions of the argument.



Week 9:


W 3/10: Returned and reviewed midterm. Some statistics:

Total possible: 30
Mean: 26.8
Median: 27
High: 30
Low: 22
8 A's, 5 B's, 1 C

F 3/12: Kant's Categorical Imperative. Maxims. Universal Law. Willing. Inconsistent Willing (two ways to do it). Universalizability. KCI. Tax Cheat example (illustrates first way of willing inconsistently). Anthrax Tax example (illustrates second way of willing inconsistently).


Week 10:

M 3/15: Exercise: come up with a decision procedure for Kant's Categorical Imperative (Formula of Universal Law). Vegetarianism example for KCI and how it illustrates the subjective element in Kant's theory.

W 3/17: Problem's for Kant's Categorical Imperative: (1) subjectivism; (2) the problem of innocent maxims; (3) theory can be short-circuited with very specific maxims.

F 3/19: Pre-spring break fun day: Taboo.




Week 11:

M 3/29: McNaughton and Rawling's characterization of deontology, and some quibbles with it. The importance of the term 'fundamental' in it. Deontological constraints. Examples. The notion of a prima facie duty. All-things-considered duty. Absolute vs. moderate constraints. Absolute vs. moderate deontology.

Some important administrative announcements:

W 3/31: Duties of special relationship. Whether partial or impartial maxims are more likely to be universalizable.

F 4/2: Options. The demandingness objection to utilitarianism. Options compared with constraints. Ross' theory of prima facie duties. The duty to keep promises, and potential problems for it. Ross' seven basic duties. Ross theory. The difference, for Ross, between our knowledge of the basic prima facie duties and our knowledge of all-things-considered rightness.


Week 12

M 4/5: The Intend/Foresee Distinction. The Doctrine of Double Effect. Three cases to illustrate the DDE.

W 4/7: Hart's objection to Foot (illustrated with the Craniotomy vs. Hysterectomy pair of cases). Foot's reply: closeness. A way of understanding closeness using the notion of "kind of event," and a problem with this. Why the DDE would be almost useless if Hart is right about intending. Foot's ultimate solution to why it's ok to kill the 1 in Runaway Tram but not in Magistrate, and why it's ok to save the 5 in Drug but not in Organ Harvest. The negative duty not to harm vs. the positive duty to help, and their relative stringency, according to Foot.

F 4/9: Class canceled due to illness.  :*(


Week 13

M 4/12: Thomson. Thomson's objection to Foot's view: Bystander, or Bystander 2. Whether the driver in Runaway Tram would kill the 5 if he ran them over. Why is it ok to flip the switch in Bystander 2 but not ok to push the man in Bridge? Thomson's view: can't do something to someone as a means to attaining the best outcome. Problem for this: Loop.

W 4/14: Guidance on presentations. Experimental Philosophy. The Is/Ought Gap. Apparent experimental results concerning Bystander 2 and Bridge. How this might be relevant to ethics.

F 4/16: Presentations by Carolyn, Christopher, and Brett.


Week 14

M 4/19: Presentations by Meaghan, Matt Hoo., Davis.

W 4/21: Presentations by Matt Hol., Mary, Ilana.

F 4/23: Presentations by Kyle, Joshua, Ryan.


Week 15

M 4/26: Presentations by Jeff, Michael.

W 4/28: Term Paper due, FCQ's, begin review for final.

F 4/30: Review for Final

Sa 5/1: FINAL EXAM, 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM, HLMS 177.