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Ethics and Religion

Ethics and Religion

The fifth in a series of slideshows for an ethics course.

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GeorgeMatthews

June 11, 2016
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Transcript

  1. Ethics and Religion divine commands & natural law George Matthews

    CC 2016 Creative Commons, attribution. BY: C Diego Delso via Wikimedia Commons
  2. The Story So Far

  3. The Story So Far Relativism may seem appealing at first

    but . . .
  4. The Story So Far Relativism may seem appealing at first

    but . . . ! it has bad consequences,
  5. The Story So Far Relativism may seem appealing at first

    but . . . ! it has bad consequences, ! it isn’t supported by the evidence,
  6. The Story So Far Relativism may seem appealing at first

    but . . . ! it has bad consequences, ! it isn’t supported by the evidence, ! it can’t account for common core values.
  7. The Story So Far Relativism may seem appealing at first

    but . . . ! it has bad consequences, ! it isn’t supported by the evidence, ! it can’t account for common core values. Where might common core values come from?
  8. The Story So Far Relativism may seem appealing at first

    but . . . ! it has bad consequences, ! it isn’t supported by the evidence, ! it can’t account for common core values. Where might common core values come from? " God – Divine Command Theory
  9. The Story So Far Relativism may seem appealing at first

    but . . . ! it has bad consequences, ! it isn’t supported by the evidence, ! it can’t account for common core values. Where might common core values come from? " God – Divine Command Theory " Nature – Natural Law Theory
  10. The Story So Far Relativism may seem appealing at first

    but . . . ! it has bad consequences, ! it isn’t supported by the evidence, ! it can’t account for common core values. Where might common core values come from? " God – Divine Command Theory " Nature – Natural Law Theory " Rational reflection – various philosophical approaches to ethics
  11. Is secular ethics ultimately based on divine commands?

  12. Real moral rules would be. . .

  13. Real moral rules would be. . .

  14. Real moral rules would be. . . ! Prescriptive: they

    tell us what we should do, not what we actually do.
  15. Real moral rules would be. . . ! Prescriptive: they

    tell us what we should do, not what we actually do. ! Binding: they are mandatory, not optional.
  16. Real moral rules would be. . . ! Prescriptive: they

    tell us what we should do, not what we actually do. ! Binding: they are mandatory, not optional. ! Enforceable: if they are meaningful there has to be a penalty for violating them.
  17. Real moral rules would be. . . ! Prescriptive: they

    tell us what we should do, not what we actually do. ! Binding: they are mandatory, not optional. ! Enforceable: if they are meaningful there has to be a penalty for violating them. Divine Command Theory attempts to account for these features of moral rules.
  18. Claims of Divine Command Theory

  19. Claims of Divine Command Theory

  20. Claims of Divine Command Theory ! Binding, overriding and enforceable

    rules must be absolute.
  21. Claims of Divine Command Theory ! Binding, overriding and enforceable

    rules must be absolute. ! Such rules can only be grounded in an absolute authority – God.
  22. Claims of Divine Command Theory ! Binding, overriding and enforceable

    rules must be absolute. ! Such rules can only be grounded in an absolute authority – God. ! Understanding and following moral rules is only possible within the framework of religion.
  23. Claims of Divine Command Theory ! Binding, overriding and enforceable

    rules must be absolute. ! Such rules can only be grounded in an absolute authority – God. ! Understanding and following moral rules is only possible within the framework of religion. Thus, “Murder is wrong,” means “God commands us not to murder.”
  24. Claims of Divine Command Theory ! Binding, overriding and enforceable

    rules must be absolute. ! Such rules can only be grounded in an absolute authority – God. ! Understanding and following moral rules is only possible within the framework of religion. Thus, “Murder is wrong,” means “God commands us not to murder.” “Helping strangers in need is right,” means “God commands us to do so.”
  25. If moral rules are God’s commands . . .

  26. If moral rules are God’s commands . . .

  27. If moral rules are God’s commands . . . 1.

    There would be moral absolutes.
  28. If moral rules are God’s commands . . . 1.

    There would be moral absolutes. 2. It wouldn’t be up to us to decide what is right and what is wrong.
  29. If moral rules are God’s commands . . . 1.

    There would be moral absolutes. 2. It wouldn’t be up to us to decide what is right and what is wrong. 3. We really should follow the rules.
  30. If moral rules are God’s commands . . . 1.

    There would be moral absolutes. 2. It wouldn’t be up to us to decide what is right and what is wrong. 3. We really should follow the rules. But . . .
  31. If moral rules are God’s commands . . . 1.

    There would be moral absolutes. 2. It wouldn’t be up to us to decide what is right and what is wrong. 3. We really should follow the rules. But . . . 4. Atheists couldn’t have morality.
  32. If moral rules are God’s commands . . . 1.

    There would be moral absolutes. 2. It wouldn’t be up to us to decide what is right and what is wrong. 3. We really should follow the rules. But . . . 4. Atheists couldn’t have morality. 5. We’d have to figure out what God really commands.
  33. The Argument

  34. The Argument the moral authority argument

  35. The Argument the moral authority argument p1 If there were

    no absolute moral authority, then nothing would be just plain wrong.
  36. The Argument the moral authority argument p1 If there were

    no absolute moral authority, then nothing would be just plain wrong. p2 But some things are just plain wrong.
  37. The Argument the moral authority argument p1 If there were

    no absolute moral authority, then nothing would be just plain wrong. p2 But some things are just plain wrong. c So there has to be an absolute moral authority, and the only being capable of playing this role is God.
  38. The Argument the moral authority argument p1 If there were

    no absolute moral authority, then nothing would be just plain wrong. p2 But some things are just plain wrong. c So there has to be an absolute moral authority, and the only being capable of playing this role is God. Isn’t this what Divine Command Theory needs to prove – that morality requires an absolute authority? That begs the question!
  39. “Thou shalt not kill!”

  40. “Thou shalt not kill!” Why not?

  41. “Thou shalt not kill!” Why not? 1. Is murder wrong

    because God says so?
  42. “Thou shalt not kill!” Why not? 1. Is murder wrong

    because God says so? 2. Or does God say so because murder really is wrong?
  43. “Thou shalt not kill!” Why not? 1. Is murder wrong

    because God says so? 2. Or does God say so because murder really is wrong? If 1., why couldn’t God have said “Thou shalt kill?”
  44. “Thou shalt not kill!” Why not? 1. Is murder wrong

    because God says so? 2. Or does God say so because murder really is wrong? If 1., why couldn’t God have said “Thou shalt kill?”  There is no reason behind God’s command, only authority.
  45. “Thou shalt not kill!” Why not? 1. Is murder wrong

    because God says so? 2. Or does God say so because murder really is wrong? If 1., why couldn’t God have said “Thou shalt kill?”  There is no reason behind God’s command, only authority. If 2., then God’s will doesn’t make murder wrong.
  46. “Thou shalt not kill!” Why not? 1. Is murder wrong

    because God says so? 2. Or does God say so because murder really is wrong? If 1., why couldn’t God have said “Thou shalt kill?”  There is no reason behind God’s command, only authority. If 2., then God’s will doesn’t make murder wrong.  There is a reason behind the command, but it’s independent of God.
  47. “Thou shalt not kill!” Why not? 1. Is murder wrong

    because God says so? 2. Or does God say so because murder really is wrong? If 1., why couldn’t God have said “Thou shalt kill?”  There is no reason behind God’s command, only authority. If 2., then God’s will doesn’t make murder wrong.  There is a reason behind the command, but it’s independent of God. This is a crippling dilemma for Divine Command Theory!
  48. Summary: Divine Command Theory

  49. Summary: Divine Command Theory claims ! Morality can and should

    be based on God’s will.
  50. Summary: Divine Command Theory claims ! Morality can and should

    be based on God’s will. consequences " There are moral absolutes. " Morality is independent of human choices. " No God = no morality.
  51. Summary: Divine Command Theory claims ! Morality can and should

    be based on God’s will. consequences " There are moral absolutes. " Morality is independent of human choices. " No God = no morality. argument O The argument for moral authority.
  52. Summary: Divine Command Theory claims ! Morality can and should

    be based on God’s will. consequences " There are moral absolutes. " Morality is independent of human choices. " No God = no morality. argument O The argument for moral authority. evaluation  Argument begs the question.  Appeal to authority leads to dilemma.
  53. From God to Nature

  54. From God to Nature ! The search for a basis

    for ethics is a search for a source of social order.
  55. From God to Nature ! The search for a basis

    for ethics is a search for a source of social order. ! If culture and authority fail to provide one where might we look?
  56. From God to Nature ! The search for a basis

    for ethics is a search for a source of social order. ! If culture and authority fail to provide one where might we look? ! What if human nature could be a guide for ethics?
  57. From God to Nature ! The search for a basis

    for ethics is a search for a source of social order. ! If culture and authority fail to provide one where might we look? ! What if human nature could be a guide for ethics? ! Isn’t what is natural is better than what is not natural?
  58. Claims of Natural Law Theory

  59. Claims of Natural Law Theory 1. Human beings have a

    definite nature.
  60. Claims of Natural Law Theory 1. Human beings have a

    definite nature. 2. Following our natures is better than not following our natures.
  61. Claims of Natural Law Theory 1. Human beings have a

    definite nature. 2. Following our natures is better than not following our natures. 3. Only by following our natures we can attain true happiness and fulfillment.
  62. Claims of Natural Law Theory 1. Human beings have a

    definite nature. 2. Following our natures is better than not following our natures. 3. Only by following our natures we can attain true happiness and fulfillment. 4. If God created us, then God would be the indirect source of moral value.
  63. Claims of Natural Law Theory 1. Human beings have a

    definite nature. 2. Following our natures is better than not following our natures. 3. Only by following our natures we can attain true happiness and fulfillment. 4. If God created us, then God would be the indirect source of moral value. 5. If we are products of nature, ethical rules would have a biological basis.
  64. Aristotle’s “Four Causes” – the nature of things

  65. Aristotle’s “Four Causes” – the nature of things formal cause

    ! What kind of thing is it?
  66. Aristotle’s “Four Causes” – the nature of things formal cause

    ! What kind of thing is it? material cause ! What is it made of?
  67. Aristotle’s “Four Causes” – the nature of things formal cause

    ! What kind of thing is it? material cause ! What is it made of? efficient cause ! How did it get here?
  68. Aristotle’s “Four Causes” – the nature of things formal cause

    ! What kind of thing is it? material cause ! What is it made of? efficient cause ! How did it get here? final cause ! What is it for, what is its function?
  69. Human Nature

  70. Human Nature formal cause " Aristotle: a rational animal "

    Aquinas: a being made in God’s image " biology: homo sapiens
  71. Human Nature formal cause " Aristotle: a rational animal "

    Aquinas: a being made in God’s image " biology: homo sapiens material cause " Aristotle & Aquinas: body and soul " biology: bag of complex organic molecules
  72. Human Nature formal cause " Aristotle: a rational animal "

    Aquinas: a being made in God’s image " biology: homo sapiens material cause " Aristotle & Aquinas: body and soul " biology: bag of complex organic molecules efficient cause " I was born. " We evolved or were specially created.
  73. Human Nature formal cause " Aristotle: a rational animal "

    Aquinas: a being made in God’s image " biology: homo sapiens material cause " Aristotle & Aquinas: body and soul " biology: bag of complex organic molecules efficient cause " I was born. " We evolved or were specially created. final cause " Aristotle & Aquinas: Living well according to one’s nature. " biology: ?
  74. If moral rules come from human nature . . .

  75. If moral rules come from human nature . . .

  76. If moral rules come from human nature . . .

    1. They would be objective and not subject to human choices.
  77. If moral rules come from human nature . . .

    1. They would be objective and not subject to human choices. 2. We should try to live according to out nature.
  78. If moral rules come from human nature . . .

    1. They would be objective and not subject to human choices. 2. We should try to live according to out nature. 3. Doing this will lead to fulfillment as a human being.
  79. If moral rules come from human nature . . .

    1. They would be objective and not subject to human choices. 2. We should try to live according to out nature. 3. Doing this will lead to fulfillment as a human being. 4. There is an objective measure of the health of societies – if our society helps us to fulfill our nature it is good, otherwise not.
  80. An Argument for Natural Law Theory

  81. An Argument for Natural Law Theory the excellence argument

  82. An Argument for Natural Law Theory the excellence argument p1

    Human beings have a definite nature.
  83. An Argument for Natural Law Theory the excellence argument p1

    Human beings have a definite nature. p2 It is best when something follows its nature as much as it can.
  84. An Argument for Natural Law Theory the excellence argument p1

    Human beings have a definite nature. p2 It is best when something follows its nature as much as it can. c So ethical behavior is behavior that focuses on us being all we can be, striving for excellence according to our nature.
  85. An Argument for Natural Law Theory the excellence argument p1

    Human beings have a definite nature. p2 It is best when something follows its nature as much as it can. c So ethical behavior is behavior that focuses on us being all we can be, striving for excellence according to our nature. Is there a fallacy here?
  86. A Difficult Case

  87. A Difficult Case Alf the super-slacker Alf inherits a lot

    of money and decides to quit his job, leave his girlfriend and become a slacker. So he buys a cabin in the woods, stocks up on beer, weed, and frozen pizza, and spends the rest of his days watching bad TV and getting wasted.
  88. A Difficult Case Alf the super-slacker Alf inherits a lot

    of money and decides to quit his job, leave his girlfriend and become a slacker. So he buys a cabin in the woods, stocks up on beer, weed, and frozen pizza, and spends the rest of his days watching bad TV and getting wasted. We may disapprove of Alf’s choices, but is it morally wrong for him to live like this?
  89. The natural and the unnatural

  90. The natural and the unnatural

  91. The natural and the unnatural 1. That which follows the

    laws of nature.
  92. The natural and the unnatural 1. That which follows the

    laws of nature. 2. That which is statistically ordinary.
  93. The natural and the unnatural 1. That which follows the

    laws of nature. 2. That which is statistically ordinary. 3. That which is not artificial.
  94. The natural and the unnatural 1. That which follows the

    laws of nature. 2. That which is statistically ordinary. 3. That which is not artificial. 4. That which follows something’s natural function.
  95. The natural and the unnatural 1. That which follows the

    laws of nature. 2. That which is statistically ordinary. 3. That which is not artificial. 4. That which follows something’s natural function. “I know that UFO is from another dimension because it did something unnatural in the sky.”
  96. The natural and the unnatural 1. That which follows the

    laws of nature. 2. That which is statistically ordinary. 3. That which is not artificial. 4. That which follows something’s natural function. “I know that UFO is from another dimension because it did something unnatural in the sky.” “She has an unnatural talent for playing the guitar.”
  97. The natural and the unnatural 1. That which follows the

    laws of nature. 2. That which is statistically ordinary. 3. That which is not artificial. 4. That which follows something’s natural function. “I know that UFO is from another dimension because it did something unnatural in the sky.” “She has an unnatural talent for playing the guitar.” “Silicone buttock enhancements are unnatural.”
  98. The natural and the unnatural 1. That which follows the

    laws of nature. 2. That which is statistically ordinary. 3. That which is not artificial. 4. That which follows something’s natural function. “I know that UFO is from another dimension because it did something unnatural in the sky.” “She has an unnatural talent for playing the guitar.” “Silicone buttock enhancements are unnatural.” “Having sex without intending to reproduce is unnatural.”
  99. The Good, the Bad and the Unnatural

  100. The Good, the Bad and the Unnatural True or False?

  101. The Good, the Bad and the Unnatural True or False?

    1. What violates the laws of nature is wrong.
  102. The Good, the Bad and the Unnatural True or False?

    1. What violates the laws of nature is wrong. false These laws are descriptive so we can’t violate them.
  103. The Good, the Bad and the Unnatural True or False?

    1. What violates the laws of nature is wrong. false These laws are descriptive so we can’t violate them. 2. What is statistically uncommon is wrong.
  104. The Good, the Bad and the Unnatural True or False?

    1. What violates the laws of nature is wrong. false These laws are descriptive so we can’t violate them. 2. What is statistically uncommon is wrong. false Some uncommon things are good.
  105. The Good, the Bad and the Unnatural True or False?

    1. What violates the laws of nature is wrong. false These laws are descriptive so we can’t violate them. 2. What is statistically uncommon is wrong. false Some uncommon things are good. 3. What is artificial is wrong.
  106. The Good, the Bad and the Unnatural True or False?

    1. What violates the laws of nature is wrong. false These laws are descriptive so we can’t violate them. 2. What is statistically uncommon is wrong. false Some uncommon things are good. 3. What is artificial is wrong. false Many artificial things are useful.
  107. The Good, the Bad and the Unnatural True or False?

    1. What violates the laws of nature is wrong. false These laws are descriptive so we can’t violate them. 2. What is statistically uncommon is wrong. false Some uncommon things are good. 3. What is artificial is wrong. false Many artificial things are useful. 4. What goes against natural functions is wrong.
  108. The Good, the Bad and the Unnatural True or False?

    1. What violates the laws of nature is wrong. false These laws are descriptive so we can’t violate them. 2. What is statistically uncommon is wrong. false Some uncommon things are good. 3. What is artificial is wrong. false Many artificial things are useful. 4. What goes against natural functions is wrong. false What are natural functions anyway? Isn’t it up to us to decide?
  109. The Naturalistic Fallacy

  110. The Naturalistic Fallacy Arguing from the naturalness of something to

    its value is a fallacy!
  111. The Naturalistic Fallacy Arguing from the naturalness of something to

    its value is a fallacy! Likewise, because something is “unnatural” does not therefore make it bad.
  112. The Naturalistic Fallacy Arguing from the naturalness of something to

    its value is a fallacy! Likewise, because something is “unnatural” does not therefore make it bad. Evaluations are not built in to nature, they are up to us to work out – we’ll see how soon . . .
  113. Summary: Natural Law Theory

  114. Summary: Natural Law Theory claims ! Moral values are inherent

    in human nature.
  115. Summary: Natural Law Theory claims ! Moral values are inherent

    in human nature. consequences " There are moral absolutes. " We can define good and bad societies.
  116. Summary: Natural Law Theory claims ! Moral values are inherent

    in human nature. consequences " There are moral absolutes. " We can define good and bad societies. argument O The excellence argument.
  117. Summary: Natural Law Theory claims ! Moral values are inherent

    in human nature. consequences " There are moral absolutes. " We can define good and bad societies. argument O The excellence argument. evaluation  It commits the naturalistic fallacy.  It fails to give free choice its due.