Saturday, April 10, 2010

Milestone #1: Material You Need to have Mastered

At this point in the class, you need to be sure you are able to:

define/identify the following concepts:

cultural relativism

ethical egoism (both varieties, objectivist and subjectivist)




the "Is-Ought" Problem

Be able to answer the following: (note that the same question can be phrased in various ways)

1. Rachel Relativists says to you: “What’s right in one culture isn’t right in another. Therefore morality is relative. There are no absolutes.” Give at least three reasons why her position is incoherent.

2. What is cultural relativism? What are some problems with it?

3. What is ethics like for a Behaviorist or sociobiologist? Give your evaluation of it.

4. Discuss in detail and evaluate one of the following ethical theories which grows out of the postmodern period:

cultural relativism
Ayn Rand’s Objectivism (modernist ethical egoism)
Nietzsch's Subjectivism (postmodern Ethical Egoism )

Be sure to explain the theory, and any problems which it has.

5) What is ethical egoism/objectivism, according to Ayn Rand? What are some of its positive insights? What are some problems with it?

6) According to B.F. Skinner, “freedom is an illusion.” Why does he say this, and what impact does this have for ethics?

7) According to behaviorism, what is ethics? (Be sure to discuss the is-ought problem in your answer.)

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