Download e-book for iPad: A Primer on Ethics by Tibor R. Machan

By Tibor R. Machan

ISBN-10: 0585194416

ISBN-13: 9780585194417

ISBN-10: 0806129468

ISBN-13: 9780806129464

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Sample text

Advocates hold that utilitarianism succeeds in comparison with other theories. It makes sense and can be used to conduct one's life, whereas other theories fail on both counts. Act and rule utilitarianism. Ethical discussions usually consider two forms of utilitarianism. Act utilitarianism is the position that on each separate occasion when we decide to do WHAT Is MORALLY GOOD AND RIGHT? IfJ1 47 something, we must first determine what will contribute most to the greatest happiness of the greatest number and then act accordingly.

This view of ethics reflects the more basic idea that human life-indeed all life-has inherently values. A living creature, in other words, inevitably grapples with conditions that either promote or impede its well-being. Once life has emerged in the world, values become part of the world's facts. Many philosophers, and others, deny that ethics concerns itself with any kind offacts except incidentally. ) These thinkers accept what is usually called the fact/value dichotomy or the is/ought gap, by which they mean that facts (or what is the case) represent a fundamentally different area of concern from values (or what ought to be the case).

No matter what you believe, in short, you had to believe it. Whether or not we turn out to be determinists, we cannot appraise the issue objectively, because our view on the matter, one way or the other, ad infinitum, is predetermined. In the absence of any objective assessment, we cannot solve the problem and end the debate. The very idea that we can attain philosophical, scientific, 18 _ A PRIMER ON ETHICS or judicial objectivity, or that we can ever know anything, has to do with freedom. Without objectivity, nothing can be verified.

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A Primer on Ethics by Tibor R. Machan

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