Ethics Exam: Divine Command Theory, Objectivism, Diversity and Dependency Theses

1.

Explain what is meant by saying that a value is intrinsic? How are instrumental values related to intrinsic values? A value is said to be intrinsic if an object has the value for its own sake or because of its nature. A value is said to be instrumental if it aids in achieving or acquiring something with intrinsic value. For example, one’s job could have instrumental value in that it acquires money. Furthermore, money could have instrumental value in that it can provide objects from which one derives happiness or pleasure, something with intrinsic value.

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Objects or activities with instrumental value typically aid in acquiring things with intrinsic value. 2. According to the Divine Command Theory (DCT), does God command what he commands because it is intrinsically good; or is what God commands “good” because it is God who commands it? The Divine Command Theory suggests that what God commands is “good” because He commands it, but this view is not necessarily valid. According to the DCT, “goodness” is equated with “God-willed,” suggesting that the commands of God are “good” because they are His commands.A statement such as “God is good” becomes redundant and illogical if “good” is equated with “God-willed. ” It would be more logical to think that God’s commands have intrinsic goodness since atheists and other nonbelievers can identify with some moral foundation.

An atheist might choose to believe that God was correct in saying that “killing is wrong” not because he believes in God’s word but rather he believes that the rule is intrinsically good. 3. According to the Divine Command Theory why should we obey the moral law?According to the Divine Command Theory, we should obey the moral law because it is the word of God.

The DCT suggests that “morally right” means “willed by God,” so acting in compliance with moral law is essentially synonymous with acting in compliance with the word of God. Since God determines the moral law, no other reason is required for us to obey. 4.

Explain why the DCT logically makes morality arbitrary. Why is arbitrariness a problem for morality? The Divine Command Theory suggests that morally “right” simply means willed by God.If something is morally “right” based solely on what God determines, an unsettling arbitrariness arises out of His commands. It would seem that God could just as easily make seemingly “immoral” acts “moral” (i. e. rape, genocide).

The problem with arbitrariness is that it makes the development of a deeper, more appreciative morality absolutely impossible. An example can be made out of the story of Joshua and the battle at Jericho. If we are to believe that God determines what is morally “right” and “wrong,” then we believe that Joshua was just in slaughtering the men, women, and children because it was God’s command.In this scenario, this belief prevents the development of a moral understanding that murder is wrong, a severe problem for morality. 5. Define and explain Ethical Relativism, Ethical Absolutism, and Ethical Objectivism.

Ethical relativism is the idea that moral “right” and “wrong” are defined within a society/culture or by an individual. The difference between society (conventional ethical relativism) and an individual (subjective ethical relativism) defining morality is very clear. Subjectivists hold that individuals are allowed to define what is “right” or “wrong,” but this would suggest that criminals (i. . murderers, cannibals, rapists) are correct and morally “right” when they engage in their crimes, since no one can ever be wrong. Conventionalists would hold that a society or culture is left to define moral “right” and “wrong.

” However, it would allow for any group to declare their ideals “right” or “just,” suggesting that groups with “immoral” ideals (i. e. congregations of rapists, murderers, etc. ) would be just as morally “right” as pro-life activists. Ethical absolutism holds that fundamental, absolute moral “right” and “wrong” exist and must not be defied by anyone, regardless of context.However, the ethical objectivist believes that there exists a universal morality relevant to all people and cultures, but with context taken into consideration.

For example, the ethical absolutist would believe that a mother stealing medicine to help her sick child is wrong because the bottom line is that stealing is wrong. However, the ethical objectivist would hold that the mother’s reasoning was sound and that her moral obligation to help her child overrides her moral duty to the law. 6.Explain how the “Diversity Thesis” together with the “Dependency Thesis” logically imply the conclusion that Ethical Relativism is true. Then, give at least two arguments against ethical relativism. Are there reasons to believe that there are some objective values that apply in any society? The Diversity Thesis is an anthropological fact stating that moral “right” and “wrong” vary amongst different societies, so there are no fundamental or universal morals held by all societies.

The Dependency Thesis states that what is morally “right” and “wrong” is dependent upon what the society defines as right and wrong.If both of these hold true, and conventional ethical relativism is described by a society in which moral “right” and “wrong” are defined within the society, then the connection is clear. The Diversity Thesis coupled with the Dependency Thesis entail the conclusion outlined in conventional ethical relativism.

There are a number of arguments to be made against the idea of conventional ethical relativism. For example, some cultures view their women as inferior to men, withholding basic rights (and in some cases, inflicting genital mutilation).While this may be seen by a majority of the society as acceptable, it is often argued that the disregard for human rights is immoral. The ethical relativist would argue that the society is right in doing whatever it collectively thinks is right.

In this case, and in many more, it is clear that the society is not always correct in defining moral “right” and “wrong” by its own standards. Additionally, the ethical relativist might argue that the pro-slavery movement in early America was morally sound because the society thought that what they were doing was morally “right. The notion that slavery is wrong is now more widely accepted, but a glimpse not too far into our country’s past would prove otherwise. This is an obvious example of why ethical relativism is incorrect and can inadvertently allow immorality to be permissible. It is sound to think that the value of human life is an objective value relevant to all societies.

While it may be recognized to varying degrees in different parts of the world, it is safe to acknowledge human life as something to be universally valued by all societies.