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Value & the Quest for the Good Introduction to Ethics Sarah Flashing, M.A.

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Presentation on theme: "Value & the Quest for the Good Introduction to Ethics Sarah Flashing, M.A."— Presentation transcript:

1 Value & the Quest for the Good Introduction to Ethics Sarah Flashing, M.A.

2 What do you Value? FamilyFriendsLifeWorkPets CarGodTVFoodNature ArtMusicHealthFreedomKnowledge MoneyFairnessFashionBooksSafety WHY?

3 INSTRUMENTAL GOODS Goods that are worthy of desire because they are an effective means of attaining our intrinsic goods.

4 INTRINSIC GOODS Goods that are valued because of their nature.

5 REACT: Are there any entities whose values are not derived from something else? Or are all values relative to desiresthat is, instrumental to goals that are the creation of the choosers? Those who espouse the notion of intrinsic value usually argue that pleasure is an example of an intrinsic value and pain an example of an intrinsic disvalue. Pleasure is just better than pain.

6 Jean-Paul Sartre believes that we invent our values by arbitrary choice. The freedom to create our values and thus to define ourselves is godlike and, at the same time, deeply frightening, for we have no one to blame for our failures but ourselves. We are condemned to freedom…Value is nothing else but the meaning that you choose. One may choose anything so long as it is done from the ground of freedom.

7 What are your core values? Which ones did you deliberate/choose? Which ones were thrust upon you by nature?

8 Hedonism From hedon, Greek for pleasure Hedonists assert that all pleasure is good, that pleasure is the only thing good in itself, and all other goodness is derived from this value. So an experience is good in itself if and only if it provides some pleasure.

9 Hedonism Sensualism – the view that equates all pleasure with sensual enjoyment Satisfactionism – the view that equates all pleasure with satisfaction or enjoyment which may not involve sensuality (like the pleasure of receiving a gift Opposite – physical painOpposite - dissatisfaction

10 Is there Value in Suffering?

11 The Paradox of Masochism How can it be that the masochist takes pleasure in pain which is the opposite of pleasure? because of certain psychological aberrations, the masochist finds satisfaction in sensation (p. 51)

12 Non-Hedonists Monists – believe that there is a single intrinsic value, but it is not pleasure. Pluralists – admit that pleasure or enjoyment is an intrinsic good, but hold there are others such as knowledge, friendship, freedom, love, life…

13 Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) Philosopher (hedonist - utilitarian) although the qualities of love, friendship and knowledge are good, their goodness is derived from the fact that they bring pleasure or satisfaction. What is it for? What does it do?

14 Morality is not intrinsically valuable but is meant to serve human need. Life is not intrinsically good because it is quality that counts. Consciousness is a necessary but not sufficient condition for satisfaction.

15 Whose life is better? Suzy who is severely retarded and physically disabled. (100 hedons) Izzy who is quite intelligent and with physical prowess. (99 hedons)

16 John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) It is better to be a human dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.

17 Values: Objective or Subjective? Do we desire the Good because it is good, or is the Good good because we desire it?

18 Values: Objective or Subjective? Do we desire the Good because it is good, or is the Good good because we desire it? it is good = objective; worthy of desire whether or not anyone desires them; somehow independent of us we desire it = subjective; values are dependent on the desirer.

19 Classic Objectivism Plato (428-348 bc) taught that the Good was the highest form, ineffable, godlike, independent, and knowable only after a protracted education in philosophy. G. E. Moore – What good is such a world if there is no one to enjoy it?

20 Subjectivism vs. Objectivism Subjectivism treats values as merely products of conscious desire. The stronger the desire, the greater the value. Anything one happens to desire is, by definition, a value, a good. Objectivism says that we can separate the Good from what one desires. There is something inherently bad about some things and inherently good about other things.

21 The Relation of Value Theory to Morality The debate is whether moral right and wrong are intrinsic values or whether rightness and wrongness are defined by their ability to further non-moral values such as pleasure, happiness, health, and political harmony. Are moral values objective or subjective?

22 Gods will, pleasure, utility, social contract, the promotion of human flourishing Hierarchies of beliefs, values, and practices; cultures or ways of life. (Worldviews) Objects of desire or objects existing independent of desires Weighing

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