Idea that moral rules or standards are somehow relative to the attitudes of one\u2019s society or
group. Different ways to interpret this: (1) different societies do, in fact, accept different moral
codes (descriptive relativism); (2) each person ought to do what is dictated by his society\u2019s code
(normative ethical relativism); (3) There is no standard of reasoning about morality that is
independendent of the practices of particular societies (metaethical relativism).
(2) and (3) are grounded in (1). Diversity of behavior doesn\u2019t necessarily show that different
societies do disagree in their deepest moral convictions. Also, even if there is disagreement, it
remains possible that one is right and the other is wrong.
If goodness is property in natural world (e.g, tendency to make people happy), then we can use
empirical methods. If not natural, knowledge must take other form.
M believes goodness is neither a simple nor a composite natural property. Goodness is simple
and elemental, in terms of which other things are defined. \u201cIs pleasure good?\u201d differs from \u201cIs
Ethical utterances are not attempts to state facts, and so are not capable of being either true or
false. Like cheers and boos. When we say this is wrong, we are merely expressing our
disapproval of lying. Verifiability prinicple. Any statement that is neither true by definition nor
verifiable throught the five senses is meaningless. Good and right cannot be defined. Ethical
utterances are meaningless.
We never want or pursue anything except our own happiness or self\u00adinterest. F. says rarely
supported by empirical evidence. That my desires are my own says nothing about what I desire.
Altruism. F finds no good reason to accept Psych Ego.
Nothing irrational about egoism. Reason provides no ends, but is means to end. Being moral
can be means to true happiness. Meaningful life may go beyond momentary pleasures.
Meaning in life may lead us to moral standpoint.
The way people acquire a virtuous disposition. Merely theoretical knowledge makes us like
invalids who listen to doctor but don\u2019t do anything. We learn virtue by practicing it. Mean of
extremes. Weakness of will, whether and how a person who knows what he ought to do can do
Traditional demands of morality grow out of civilization\u2019s need to suppress our more primal impulses. Desire of weak to protect themselves from strong. Especially true of utilitarians. Revaluation of values. Overman.
else is said to be good, it\u2019s only because it works toward pleasure. Questions: Do all pleasant experiences really involve a single kind of feeling? Is capcity to produce that feeling all that matters in friendship, knowledge, etc? Are malice and envy good because they produce the feeling.
Argues against view that pleasure and only pleasure matters to us. If pleasure was it, we\u2019d hook
ourselves up to machine. Refuse because people want to act in certain ways, be certain kind of
person, and be in contact with reality.
Whatever is pleasant, like Bentham, is good. Pleasure of friendship. No power or wealth
necessary, therefore in everyone\u2019s grasp. Happiness bound up with justice. Death is not to be
feared, since dead lack sensation.
Intuitive basis of utlitarianism. Just as individual tries to maximize his satisfactions over time, so
will society look to all its members. Problem: With individual, sacrifice pays off same person
later. With group, sacrifice means losers and gainers are different persons.
Some things intrinsically good: virtue, pleausre, knowledge. Says place with is better than place
without, all other things being equal. Problem: How can pleasures of vicious be bad? Presence
of pleasure creates presumption of goodness. In some cases, presumption is outweighed by
other aspects of the situation. Goodness resembles prima facie rightness.
Tension within our attitudes toward moral responsibility. Good will retains moral worth
whether it works or not. Worse to run red light and kill pedestrian than run red light and not
kill pedestrian. Moral luck. Person has no control over basic character traits and various
opportunitites. Must view ourselves as components of objective world, and subjective initiators
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