Preparing for Quiz 13
In this section we think about whether the enterprise of normative ethics is even possible.
Feminists, environmentalists, and relativists have mounted challenges to the
traditional normative systems we looked at last week (utilitarianism and Kant's ethics).
Some of these challenges have been more successful than others.
This is the material for Quiz 13.
Readings for Quiz 13
The reading assignments for this section are:
Ch 8 (all)
The following notes:
Objectives for Quiz 13
should be able to answer the following essay questions:
Explain at least two arguments against cultural relativism.
Must we refrain from making moral judgments about cultural
practices of other societies? Must we refrain from intervening on behalf
of “victims” of those practices, even if we find the practices morally
abhorrent (as Star Trek’s “Prime Directive” commands, for example)? Why or why not?
Explain the distinction between epistemological and ethical
What is the trap of dogmatic relativism?
Critically analyze the following paragraph:
Morality is possible only if there’s a God. That’s
because there’s no objectivity in morality; it’s just a matter of opinion
or feeling. Sure, people can reach consensus about empirical, scientific
matters of fact. But moral matters aren’t matters of fact. People are
bound to disagree with one another when it comes to right and wrong. So
you really have only two options: you can either believe in God and know
the objective truth about morality, or you can abandon belief in God and
allow the world to plummet straight into moral chaos. Do you really want
a world in which morals are totally relative and anything is permissible?
How does the allegedly typical “female” style of moral thinking differ from utilitarianism or Kantianism?
Why do deep ecologists think traditional ethical systems need to be revised?