Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Is Philosophy a science?

The study of Morality and Ethics: Philosophy or Social Science?

"Areas" of Philosophical Inquiry:

Cultural/Historical “origins” of “morality” in Western Civilization

1 Judaism

2 Greek and Hellenistic Civilization
- Eudemonia
- Socrates (469-399 BCE)
- Plato (427-347 BCE)
- Aristotle (384-322 BCE)
- Early Christianity

3 Roman and Medieval Civilization
-    Stoicism (& other Hellenistic philosophies: Epicureanism, Skepticism, Cynicism)
-    Platonic Catholicism
-    Aristotelian Catholicism (Scholasticism)

4 Renaissance and Reformation  ( 13th-17th centuries; 1517-1648(?) )
A) Rise of Middle Class
B) Northern Europe: Luther and Calvin
C) English Reformation:
-    Henry VIII/Anglicanism (1491-1509)
-    Later: Congregationalism, Calvinism, various sectaries.
-    Civil Wars (1640s)
-    Locke & Glorious Revolution   (1632-1704; 1688)
-    English Common Law

5 Modern Period

Philosophers and Ethics:
Jefferson, 2, "He wanted to be remembered not for his presidency, but for the roles he played in the creation of the Declaration of Independence, the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom and the University of Virginia."
"The Good Old Cause"
Puritan Origins
From Thiroux & Krasemann:

On analytic philosophy: "...these philosophers feel that they might as well do what other specialists have done and concentrate on language and logic rather than attempt to arrive at ethical systems that will help human beings live together more meaningfully and ethcially" (6).

Kaplan:  Is it not possible that concentrating on logic and language can help us to live together more meaningfully and ethically?

Course syllabus:

COURSE NUMBER:              PHL 2130-001, 005, 006 
COURSE NAME:                   Ethics
CREDIT HOURS:                  3                                             
CONTACT HOURS:              3 
INSTRUCTOR:                       Dr. Carter Kaplan 
OFFICE HOURS:                    MW 11:30-12:00, 1:30-2:00; TR 3:00-4:30;
                                                    and by appointment. 
MAILBOX:                            28

PHONE EXTENSION:          x1152 (preferred method of contact)            

EMAIL ADDRESS:               ckaplan@belmontcollege.edu (last resort)

  I.        COURSE DESCRIPTION:  Discussion of classic and modern philosophical views of human values, ideals, and morality.

 II.       PREREQUISITE:  Placement.

III.       COURSE OBJECTIVES:  This course presents an overview of classical and modern human values, ideals, and morality through exposure to the views and approaches to specific issues in Ethics as presented in the writings of several figures/texts from both classical and contemporary histories of Philosophy.  Within the context of the three major areas with which Ethics is concerned : (1) The search for universal moral principles and absolutes, (2) ethical confusion, and (3) the search for the good and meaningful life, students will be exposed to basic ethical concepts and ethical theories such as absolutism, descriptivism, relativism, naturalism, intuitionism, utilitarianism, Kantianism, and virtue ethics, and will be asked to demonstrate increased awareness and understanding of complex issues related to these concepts and theories as presented in philosophic texts.  Students will be asked to demonstrate an understanding of the examination of issues from a diverse perspective, recognize arguments addressing traditional and contemporary ethical and moral issues, comprehend, analyze, and evaluate diverse ethical and philosophical arguments within the contexts and traditions where they are cast, and represent complex philosophical ideas, theories, and perspectives fairly, objectively, and critically.  Throughout the course students will be engaged in oral and written reflective response.

 IV.      LEARNING OUTCOMES:  The central focus of this course is for students to learn enough about Ethics as a part of Philosophy, to be able to critically examine their personal system of values, ideals, decision-making, and definition and pursuit of the good and meaningful life for themselves, moving toward making themselves wiser, more self-reflective and therefore more whole men and women. This central focus is to be achieved through the accomplishment of the following learning outcomes:
  1. Demonstrate exposure to and knowledge of the views and approaches to specific issues in ethics as presented in the writings of several figures/texts from the history of philosophy.
  2. Demonstrate exposure to and knowledge of the views and approaches to specific moral problems or ethical issues as presented in the writings of several figures/texts from contemporary philosophy.
  3. Recognize basic ethical concepts and ethical theories, such as absolutism, descriptivism, relativism, absolutism, naturalism, intuitionism, utilitarianism, Kantianism, and virtue ethics.
  4. Demonstrate increased awareness and understanding of complex issues and complex ethical issues as presented in philosophic texts.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of how to examine questions and issues from diverse perspectives.
  6. Demonstrate exposure to and recognition of philosophical arguments addressing traditional and contemporary ethical and moral issues within the contexts and traditions that inform them.
  7. Comprehend, analyze, and evaluate diverse philosophical arguments regarding ethical matters within the contexts and traditions where those matters are cast.
  8. Develop the ability to (re)present complex philosophical ideas, theories, and perspectives fairly, objectively, and critically.
  9. Engage in the development of written reflection and response.
  V.      BELMONT COLLEGE CORE LEARNING OUTCOMES PHILOSOPHY:  The following general education core learning outcomes are cultivated in all students seeking the Associate Degree and/or Certificate and are imbedded in all of the learning outcomes of this course:

            1.         Communicate Effectively (Written, Oral, Reading)
            2.         Think Critically and Creatively
            3.         Learn Actively
4.         Accept Accountability
5.         Build Global/Multicultural Diversity Awareness

            While the core learning outcomes are not specifically quantitatively measured in this class, they are implied and are subjective criteria for success in measurement and evaluation of all nine learning outcomes.


            Jacques P. Thiroux and Keith W. Krasemann, Ethics:  Theory and Practice, Eleventh Edition. 
                        Upper Saddle River, New Jersey:  Prentice-Hall, 2009.
            USB thumb drive

 VII.    SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIALS:  The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) http://plato.stanford.edu/  is the primary on-line resource for students to review course concepts and terms. Students should examine related Stanford articles as they pursue the assigned readings in the textbook. Extensive supplementary materials related to Ethics are available in the Learning Commons. Recommended sources for term papers are the 60-volume set of The Great Books of the Western World, The Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, plus numerous individual works either by or about many of the authors listed in the course calendar.  Additional lists or journals, periodicals, and videos related to Ethics are available in the Learning Commons and through the Instructor.  Students are encouraged to use these resources in completing term papers. Supplemental Notes:  www.kaplanethics.blogspot.com

VIII.    INSTRUCTIONAL METHODS:  The primary instructional methods in this class are lecture and discussion reflecting upon readings from the textbook, handouts and the internet.   Video is used occasionally to amplify certain issues and topics.

  IX.     COURSE REQUIREMENTS/POLICIES:  Expectations for student behavior that may contribute to successfully completing the course are listed below.  There are no special class requirements other than consistency, responsibility, accountability, and a dedication to learning with an open mind.  The absence policy is listed below.  Make-up and late assignment policies are included in course evaluation methods.  Acceptable and unacceptable behavior in the classroom and online are described in the Code of Conduct and Code of Academic Conduct.  (See XII)

            Absences, Attendance and Other Suggestions

Students must come to class, read the textbook, and take good notes in class.  Exam questions are taken from the lecture, textbook, handouts, videotapes, and other materials distributed in class, with a considerable emphasis on the class lectures. There are many perspectives in Ethics and Ethics as part of Philosophy, and students are required to pay particular attention to all materials—lectures, handouts, videotapes, and any other materials. Since there is considerable variance in these perspectives, students should not expect lecture materials to necessarily be the same as that in the textbook, but are responsible for all perspectives presented in any medium. Students are responsible on examinations for all assigned reading material, whether it is covered in class or not.

Absence Policy:  Attendance and participation are important components of this course.  Attendance records will be kept.  Sections 001 and 005: Students who miss five classes can expect to have their final grades lowered by one letter. Six or more absences will result in failure. Section 006: Students who miss three classes can expect to have their final grades lowered by one letter. Four or more absences will result in failure. Students must contact the instructor in advance if they plan to miss class. Leaving class meetings early will be counted as an absence.  Coming to class unprepared will be counted as an absence. Excessive tardiness can also lower the final grade. Two incidents of tardiness will be counted as an absence. Students should be aware that the Department of Education has certain attendance requirements concerning student eligibility for student aid.

Otherwise, if a student attends class regularly, takes good notes in class, reads the textbook and handouts, pays attention to the videos when they are shown, makes a concerted and scholarly effort toward writing the Term Paper, and behaves as a serious and committed student who wants to learn, he/she should have no problem doing well in the class.



There will be two examinations. The Mid-term Examination will cover from the first class to the last class before the Mid-term Exam.

The Final Examination is comprehensive, and will consist of five questions that will ask students to incorporate all of the information they have learned from the entire course into a practical, integrated understanding of Ethical principles and issues applied to an examination and evaluation of self.

            The Mid-term Examination is worth 30 percent of the student’s final grade for the course.  The Final Examination is worth 40 percent of the student’s final grade for the course.

If a student makes less than a “C” on the mid-term examination, he/she may schedule an appointment with the Instructor to evaluate and consider what might have been done differently to have better achieved the objectives of the course at mid-term, and to consider what he/she may do to improve toward the final examination. Students are also encouraged to do the optional book reviews in areas of their weaknesses as reflected by the mid-term examination. If a student makes less than a “C” for the course, he/she may schedule an appointment with the Instructor in the following semester to evaluate and consider what he/she might have done differently to achieve the objectives of the course, and will still be given the opportunity to meet those objectives. Otherwise, unless requested, final examinations are not returned to the students, and if the student makes at least a “C” or above for the course, final examinations will not be returned at all.

            Make-up Examinations

No make-up exams will be given on the mid-term exam.  If a student misses the mid-term examination, 80 percent of the student’s final grade for the course will rest on the final examination.  No make-up examinations will be given on the final examination during the last week of the semester.  If a student fails to take the final exam, for any reason, he/she must, as quickly as possible, make arrangements with the Instructor to take an Incomplete and arrange to complete work necessary for eradicating the Incomplete as soon as possible after the following semester starts, within the allotted time frame of three weeks, as designated by college policy.


Several times during the semester, the instructor will collect notebooks to insure that students are keeping up with lectures and discussion. These collections will be unannounced. Incomplete, illegible, or neglected notebooks will lower the grade for class participation. The standard grading scale will be applied.
             Term Paper

The course requires the submission of a term paper. Students should write a term paper based on subject matter described in Objectives 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 on Page 2. Technical details for writing term papers will be given in class. The term paper comprises 20 percent of the student’s final grade for the course.  Further details regarding term papers appear under XIII (Writing Across the Curriculum Assignment).

            Evaluation Method

The grade scale for this course is as follows:

93 - 100 = A
73 - 76.9 = C
90 - 92.9 = A-
70 - 72.9 = C-
87 - 89.9 = B+
67 - 69.9 = D+
83 - 86.9 = B
60 - 66.9 = D
80 - 82.9 = B-
0 - 59.9 = F
77 - 79.9 = C+

On a four-point system, there is no A+ and no D-.

            Participation and Notes                        5%
            Mid-Term                                            25%
            Term Paper                                          20%
            Brief Oral Presentation of Term Paper       5%
            Final Examination                                35%

            Total:                                                  100%              
Term Papers are due on the dates indicated on the schedule. Term Papers turned in late for any reason will be penalized one letter grade.  This rule will be strictly enforced. There will be no exceptions. No term paper will be accepted before its due date, and no exam may be taken early.

  XI.     STUDENT CONCERNS:  Any student having any concerns about class is encouraged to bring these concerns directly to the Instructor. Students should not drop or withdraw from the class without first discussing it with the Instructor. The Instructor and Belmont College want all students to complete the course. If the student is having personal, family, and/or academic difficulties, the Instructor will do everything that is rationally and reasonably possible to assist the student.


Americans with Disabilities Act:  It is the policy of Belmont College to provide reasonable accommodation to persons with disabilities. If you have a physical, mental or learning disability and wish to request such accommodation, you must contact the Access Advisor or Student Services on the main campus, or the Student Advisor at the Harrison County Center and Monroe County Center.

Academic Misconduct: The responsibility for academic honesty rests with the student. The College expects the student to submit papers, projects, and reports resulting from the student’s own efforts. Work submitted in any form should reflect the exclusive effort of the student. It is assumed that mature learners do not practice cheating on quizzes, tests, or examinations. Plagiarism will not be tolerated at any time. Submitting another’s work as one’s own, in part or in whole, is a dishonest practice. A student may not appropriate another person’s ideas, whether published or not. Consequences for proven cases of dishonest practices may include:
a.       Zero percent being given for the test, examination, report, quiz, paper, project, or any other course requirement on which the cheating has occurred; or
b.      Failure for the course in which the offense occurred; or
c.       Dismissal from the College.

Waiting Policy: If an instructor is detained from a class longer than fifteen minutes for any reason, one student should report the absence to the reception desk. Remaining students will wait in the classroom until the reporting student returns.

Code of Conduct: Belmont College expects students to respect the rights and privileges of others, and to be responsible for self-conduct. The full policy is available in the college catalog at the Belmont College Website.

Writing Across the Curriculum:  The Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) philosophy is that writing can be used as a tool for learning. Through writing, the student discovers meaning and makes connections between new concepts and those already known. It is a unique mode of learning in the sense that it is multimodal, involving the eye, the hand, and the whole brain. Belmont requires at least one writing assignment in every course. By graduation, students should be able to demonstrate, in writing, knowledge of their discipline. The instructor will provide details about the specific assignment for this class.

Other College Policies: See the other policies enumerated in the current college catalog at the Belmont College website.

Cellphones:  While class is in session in this class, students are required to turn their cell phones off or, if the cell phone has this feature, put it on pulse instead of ring. However, ring or pulse, cell phones may not be answered in class. The exception to this rule is that if a student has a child in day care who is sick or who for any reason may become involved in an emergency, he/she may leave the phone on pulse mode. However, the instructor must be notified in advance that the student is in this situation.

            Writing Across the Curriculum: All writing assignments in the course qualify as writing across the curriculum.

            Term Paper

            This course requires the completion and submission of a term paper on a topic related to classical or contemporary ethics.  The Instructor will discuss potential topics for term papers, as well as further instructions for completing and submitting term papers in class.  Term papers should be a minimum of eight pages in length, with a minimum of eight sources, those sources ideally being a nearly equal mix of books, periodicals and journals, encyclopedias and dictionary sources, and with not more than two sources from the Internet.  If a student uses more than eight sources, he/she may have more than two from the Internet, not to exceed thirty percent of the total sources.  The term paper constitutes 20 percent of the student’s total grade for the course.


            Tips for Success

            Students need to attend class, take good notes, and read the textbook.  They must not procrastinate or wait until the last minute to complete assignments or study for exams.  If they are struggling or need help, they should by all means talk to the Instructor or consult one of the resources listed below.

            Support Services

            Belmont College has a variety of support services for students including the Tutoring, and Advising Staff, the Learning Commons, the Charles W. Kocher Student Success Center.

XV.      CELL PHONE/LEAVING CLASS POLICY:  While class is in session in this class, students are required to turn their cell phones off or, if the cell phone has this feature, put it on pulse instead of ring. However, ring or pulse, cell phones may not be answered in class. The exception to this rule is that if a student has a child in day care who is sick or who for any reason may become involved in an emergency, he/she may leave the phone on pulse mode. However, the Instructor must be notified in advance that the student is in this situation.

Students may not just get up and walk out of class at will and then return at will. Once the roll has been called and lecture has begun students are expected to remain in class. If a student has a physical or medical condition that requires him/her to leave the class, he/she must see Ms. Becky Hunkler, the ADA Advisor and ask for the appropriate accommodation.


The study calendar appears on the following pages.

The instructor reserves the right to revise the syllabus and study schedule to accommodate the needs of the class, and any exigencies.  Any changes will be announced in class. 

COURSE NUMBER:       PHL 2130                                                  COURSE NAME:  Ethics                                                                              





Ch. 1
Introduction – Study of Philosophy, Morality and Ethics – What is Philosophy? (Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Mill, Locke, Wittgenstein as examples)

Ch. 1, 2
Morality and Ethics – Relationship of Philosophy to Ethics (Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Bentham, Locke, Jefferson as examples)

Ch. 2
Consequentialist (Teleological) Theories of Morality (Psychological Egoism; Ayn Rand’s Rational Ethical Egoism)

Ch. 2
Consequentialist (Teleological) Theories of Morality (John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Bentham, William James)

Practice Test – Extra Credit

Ch. 3, Marlin handout
Nonconsequentialist (Deontological) Theories of Morality (Immanuel Kant’s Duty Ethics; Sir William David Ross’ Prima Facie Duties, Ethical Intuitionism)

Ch. 3, 4
Ethics in the Professions: John Marlin, “Cynicism and Careerism: Threats to Army Ethics.”
Introduction to Virtue Ethics

Ch. 4
Virtue Ethics (Aristotle’s Ethics, Confucian Moral Self-Cultivation).
Review for Midterm

4,5,6  9
1 Ch. -4
Midterm Examination

4,5,6,  9
Ch. 5, Anscombe handout
Midterm discussion
Term paper discussion

Absolutism (Kant, Ron), Relativism (Isiah Berlin, Joseph Margolis) Naturalism (Simon Blackburn, G.E. Moore), Intuitionism (Michael Huemer), Descriptivism (Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, David Chatham)

Ch. 5
Absolutism  vs. Relativism, continued
Term paper discussion

Ch. 6
Freedom vs. Determinism (Calvin, Newton, Darwin, Marx, Freud, Skinner, Hospers, Sartre, Frankl, Freud);

1 through 9
Ch. 6, 7
Reward and Punishment.
Political Philosophy and Human Rights
Term Paper Subject Due

Ch. 7
Term Paper Workshop

Ch. 7, 8
Political Philosophy and Human Rights
Setting Up a Moral System:  Basic Assumptions and Basic Principles

Ch. 1-8
Term paper due, with brief oral presentation
 Review for Final


Ch. 1-8
Comprehensive Final Examination

1 through 9

Consequentialist (Teleological) Theories of Morality

The term "consequentialism" was first used by G.E.M Anscombe in her 1958 paper "Modern Moral Philosophy." In regard to the anthropology of knowledge and the genealogy of academic fields, it is interesting to note that an Oxford Don publishes a paper, then the paper doesn't get much attention for a long time; then the paper is rediscovered 27 years later and is written about, leading more people to write about "consequentialism," so that textbook authors are subsequently calling "consequentialism" one of the main divisions of Ethical thought. Is there an observation to be made here?

High and Low Context Cultures, 2
From Thiroux & Krasemann:
Consequentialism: "Ethical Theories that are concerned with the consequences of actions or rules. The traditional philosophical name for this is teleology, (from the Greek telos, meaning end or purpose. Examples of consequentialist theories are all forms of ethical egoism and utilitarianism" (284).

Kaplan: 1) If teleology was first used by German philosopher Christian Wolff in 1728, just how traditional is it? And who's tradition? 2) Use of the word theories: Are all consequentialist propositions necessarily attended by theories? Do all consequentialist propositions lead to theories? And as to such theories, what are they used for? How are they used? And who uses them?

Teleological: "See Consequentialism."

Nonconsequentalism: "Ethical theories based not upon consequences but upon some other moral standard (usually considered 'higher' by the nonconsequentialist): referred to in traditional philosophy as deontology (from the Greek, loosely meaning 'ought'). Examples of such theories are Kant's Duty Ethics and the Divine Command Theory" (286).

Kaplan: 1) The language here simply refers to people who believe rules are to be obeyed. Is this belief a theory? 2) Are the commands of God, and/or the belief such commands are to be obeyed theory? 3) If antinomians believe laws and rules are not to be obeyed, is this a belief or a theory? If an antinomian (or simply somebody who does what he wants to do) breaks a law, are they ding so because of a belief, a theory, or something else entirely?

Deontological: "See Nonconsequentialism."

Egoism: "That theory which is concerned with self interest. Psychological egoism exemplifies the scientific, or descriptive approach to morality, describing how human beings are thought to behave. Strong psychological egoism states that human beings always act in their own self-interest. Weak psychological egoism states that human beings often act in their own self-interest. Psychological egoism differs from ethical egoism in that the latter exemplifies the psychological-normative approach to ethics. Individual ethical egoism says, 'Everyone ought to act in my self interest.' Personal ethical egoism says, 'I ought to act in my own self interest but I make no claim concerning what others should do.' Universal ethical egoism says, 'Everyone ought to act in his or her own self-interest'" (284).

Kaplan: The language here is interesting. 1) Can a theory, strictly speaking, be concerned with anything? People can have concerns, but not theories. Nor am I nit-picking here or playing semantic games. As in so much of their thought, the authors' reification of "theory" is rooted in a disregard and misuse (and an ignorance) of language that leads to conceptual confusion and philosophical credulousness. They are hypnotized by abstract nouns much in the same way that mystics are obsessed with visions, mediums are possessed by spirits, houses are haunted by ghosts, and psychotics are tormented by hallucinations. Philosophical credulousness characterizes much of their thought. Unfortunately, this is characteristic also of the social sciences whenever its practitioners remove themselves from empirical matters and indulge in theory and theorizing. 2) Passim. 3) What were we talking about? 4) The individual ethical egoist sounds like a psychopath. The personal ethical egoist sounds like an awkward thinker who lacks the intelligence or imagination to wonder about the implications of how others act, and who has failed to consider that people might act to hurt the personal egoist. The personal ethical egoist might sound to some like a person who isn't quite "with it". The universal ethical egoist has not taken into consideration that it does not matter what he or she thinks other people should do. Ergo, he or she is either an egomaniac, or an over-bearing adolescent who has read Ayn Rand and is young and naive enough to believe that in Ayn Rand he or she has "discovered" a "new" and "profound" thinker.

Consider other grammatical possibility for different kinds "theories" of ethical egoism.

Psychological Egoism: "See Egoism." Scientific or descriptive approach to morality.

Ethical Egoism: "See Egoism." Psychological-normative approach to ethics. Three species of ethical egoism:
1) Individual.
2) Personal.
3) Universal.

Utilitarianism: "A normative ethical theory originally established by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill that advocates bringing about good consequences or happiness to all concerned--sometimes stated as "the greatest good for the greatest number." Act utilitarianism states that one should perform that act which will bring about the greatest amount of good for all concerned. Rule utilitarianism states that one should always establish and/or follow that rule or those rules which will bring about the greatest amount of good for all concerned" (288-289).

Kaplan: In their definition for "Normative, or Prescriptive ethics" the word normative as used by Thiroux & Krasemann refers to what they call "the first type of ethics under the philosophical approach." Ethical systems characterized as "normative" are prescriptive--they prescribe how humans ought to behave. All ethical systems--Ethical egoism, Utilitarianism, Virtue Ethics and Kant's Duty Ethics are normative. But what about antinomian ethics? Is it normative, anti-prescriptive, philosophical--all three, and none, at once?

In their definition of egoism, however, they describe the normative-psychological approach as what people actually think? Perhaps antinomianism belongs here?

Two species of utilitarianism:
1) Act.
2) Rule.


I. Basic ideas:

a) Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness. Actions are wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.

b) Happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain. Unhappiness is

pain and the privation of pleasure.

II. Jeremy Bentham 1748-1832): lawyer, democratic, populist. Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789)

a) External standard of goodness: happiness could be measured quantitatively.
b) Law should be based on science. Law and morality should be decided "scientifically."
1 - definition of human nature
2 - Human beings are under the governanace of pain and pleasure."
3 - "felicific calculus"
4 - Seek to spread pleasure as widely as possible to produce the "general good" or "the greatest happiness to the greatest number."

III. John Stewart Mill (1806-1873): philosopher, political economist, politician.
a) Internal measure of goodness: happiness was subjective, and tied to altruism, which is as important as self-interest. Happiness is qualitative.

b) Obligation can be compatible with self-interest if it leads to the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

c) System of Logic (1843), outlines the limits and nature of meaningful discussion.

d) On Liberty (1859), relates individual liberties to those of he state, and argues that civil restrictions on individual liberties are only permissible if they are only absolutely necessary to prevent harm to others.
1 - Seek happiness rather than pleasure.
2 - Mill was pluralist--individuals should be protected from majority opinion and rules.
3 - Public good.
4 - Help the poor for the public good.

Can morality be made "scientific"?


I. William James (1843-1910

a) Popularizer of pragmatism, called his system "radical empiricism."

b) Spent two years in Germany, returned to Harvard for his medical degree in 1869, and was appointed to an instructorship at Harvard Medical College in 1872. His subject field as an instructor was "physiological psychology."

b) Principles of Psychology (1890)

1. Mind is an activity, not a mental state.

2. There are no fragments labeled "sensations" or "ideas" or "mental states." Mind is a dynamic and continuous process in which an organism and the environment are integrated. It is a process of adjustment, and adjustment is intelligent and conscious.

3. Overturned the psychology of "mental states" that was the basis of empirical philosophy since Locke.

c) James' pragmatism is practicalism. An idea is useful because it is true, or it is true because it is useful.

d) Thoughts are just tools with which to do things, and the truth is what's pragmatically useful.

II. John Dewey (1859-1952)

a) Instrumentalism: Thoughts are instrumental in working out problems.

b) Thinking is a process of adjustment between man and his environment.

c) Truth is relative, and is worked out through experience and life.

d) Dewey influenced American education: experimental problem-solving, and non-dogmatic teaching.
1. Since everything is relative, nothing can be decided philosophically. 
2. Pragmatism's stress on relativity fits in with the efficiency of industrial capitalism, etc.
3.  Pragmatism's stress on relativity fits in with the administrative mandates of socialism, technocracy and oligarchical control.

 Can morality be made "scientific"?