Posted: September 18th, 2022

Read the lecture 1-2 and 1-3 first and complete the in-class activities

BUSINESSETHICSIN-CLASSACTIVITY1 x1-31.pptx1-23.pptx

 Read the lecture 1-2 and 1-3 first and complete the in-class activities 

Lecture 1-2

1. Assessing Arguments

 

: Look at the arguments below. Are they valid? Are they sound?

 

A.

P1. All dogs go to heaven.

P2. Charlie is a dog.

C.

Charlie will go to heaven.

 

B.

P1. If the moon is made of green cheese, then cows jump over it.

P2. The moon is made of green cheese.

C. Cows jump over the moon.

 

C.

P1. If it’s raining, then the streets are wet.

P2. The streets are wet.

C. It’s raining.

 

D.

P1. All apples are fruits.

P2. Some fruits are red.

C. Some apples are red.

 

E.

P1. Thanksgiving is in November.

C. Thanksgiving is in November.

 2. Reconstructing arguments

 : Put these informal arguments in premise/conclusion form. Are they valid? Sound?

 

A. “You shouldn’t feed chocolate to the dog. Chocolate makes dogs sick.”

 
 

B. “Anyone who goes to Yale is a total jerk. I know because I met my roommate’s brother, who goes to Yale, and he is a total jerk.”

Lecture 1-3

We have seen one argument for Cultural Relativism, and four objections against Cultural Relativism. 

Q1. What is your opinion about Cultural Relativism at this point? Do you still find it plausible or not?  200 words

Q2. If you find Cultural Relativism plausible, how would you respond to the objections? Pick one objection against cultural relativism and respond. (either question 2 or 3) 250 words

Q3. If you find Cultural Relativism not plausible, what is one objection against Cultural Relativism that feels the strongest for you? Why?

Business Ethics
Summer 2022 (1)
Week 1, Lecture 3

Chaeyoung Paek

In today’s class…
We’ll learn one of three moral theories we’ll look at, Cultural Relativism.

There will be an in-class activity at the end of the lecture; respond to the “1-3 in-class activity” on the course Blackboard page.

James Rachels,
“The challenge of cultural relativism”

Moral Evaluation
Sometimes, we can make a moral evaluation of a certain action.
(ex1) Chaeyoung skipping the line at Target
Morally wrong / impermissible / blameworthy
(ex2) Sam helping a lost kid at Target
Morally right / permissible/ praiseworthy
(ex3) 10-month old baby crying at Target
Not the object of moral evaluation

Moral Evaluation
Some actions seem obviously morally wrong.
(ex) Killing an innocent person
And some actions seem obviously morally right.
(ex) Saving a drowning kid
But for some actions, we need to engage in thoughtful considerations or debates before we make a good moral evaluation.
(ex) Having an abortion before 6 weeks

Moral Theories
Moral theories offer a systematic way in which we can morally evaluate a given action.
A moral theory provides moral principles based on which we can make moral evaluation.
(ex) Egoism:
Having a particular moral theory at hand can prevent you from morally evaluating a given action based on a whim or making inconsistent moral evaluations.

Moral Theories
Throughout Week 1-2, we’ll look at 3 different moral theories:
Cultural Relativism
Utilitarianism
Kantian ethics.

Let’s begin with the one that’s most popular, Cultural Relativism.

Cultural Relativism
It seems plainly true that different cultures have different ways of life.
(ex) 27-year-old man living with his parents in the US vs. 27-year-old man living with his parents in South Korea
And it also seems true that we should not judge the social conventions of other cultures.
(ex) Eating pork
But different cultures may have different moral codes!
(ex) Early Innuits + Infanticide
Does it mean that we should also withhold our judgment when it comes to moral codes of different cultures?

Cultural Relativism
Cultural Relativism: You should X if and only if you are in a society that approves of X.
Cultural relativists often believe that…
There is no universal truth in ethics; there are no moral truths that hold for all people at all times.
The moral code of our society is not special; it is just one among many.
It is mere arrogance for us to try to judge the conduct of people from different societies.

Cultural Relativism
You might think that all of these points sound plausible; in fact, you might wholeheartedly agree with all claims from Cultural Relativism!
Here’s one argument for Cultural Relativism:
The cultural differences argument
P1. Early Innuits thought infanticide was morally permissible.
P2. We do not think infanticide is morally permissible.
C. Therefore, there is no universal moral truth on whether infanticide is permissible or not; it depends on what society you are in.

Cultural Relativism
The cultural differences argument
P1. Early Innuits thought infanticide was morally permissible.
P2. We do not think infanticide is morally permissible.
C. Therefore, there is no universal moral truth on whether infanticide is permissible or not; it depends on what society you are in.
Q. Is this argument valid? Sound?

Cultural Relativism
The cultural differences argument
Not valid; the conclusion does not follow from the premises!
Not sound; an invalid argument cannot be sound.
Why is it not valid?
Suppose that the opposite from the conclusion is true; then there is a universal moral truth re: infanticide—infanticide is not permissible.
But even if that’s the case, (P1) and (P2) are still true; so (P1) and (P2) do not entail the conclusion.

Objections to Cultural Relativism
But cultural relativists may point out that it’s not enough to criticize their argument; what we need to provide is some objections.
Objection #1. Implausible consequences
Cultural Relativism entails that societies are morally infallible.
But societies are morally fallible!
(ex) Nazis + an approval from society
(ex) Martin Luther King + a disapproval from society

Objections to Cultural Relativism
Objection #2. Inconsistent with moral progress
We believe that our society can make moral progress as we make scientific/social progresses.
But if Cultural Relativism is true, then moral progress does not even make sense!
(ex) Late 19th century US society approved eugenics
Can we, as members of 2022 US society, morally evaluate their approval of eugenics?
If we cannot, how can we say that American society has made moral progress with respect to eugenics?

Objections to Cultural Relativism
Objection #3. Illusory benefits
Some people believe that Cultural Relativism is worth defending because it would prescribe cultural tolerance.
But Cultural Relativism is compatible with extreme cultural intolerance!
(ex) Xenophobic society

Objections to Cultural Relativism
Objection #4. Ill-defined without non-arbitrary fix
Cultural Relativism says that you should X if and only if the society you are in approves of X.
But what it means for one to be “in” a society?
(ex) Flying over Peru
What counts as a “society”?
(ex) You & Your significant other
And what counts as an “approval”?

Moral Truths
Cultural Relativism is quite popular among people, but it is extremely unpopular among philosophers.
We’ve seen some reasons why that’s the case.
Perhaps cultural relativism is popular among people because they mistake Cultural Relativism as the proposal of cultural tolerance—which seems true!
But as Objection #3 shows, Cultural Relativism does not always promote cultural tolerance.

Moral Truths
In this class, at least, we’ll assume that there are universal moral truths.
Some of them may require a lot of philosophical investigations and debates; we may disagree on which is morally true or not.
But that does not mean that there are no universal moral truth; it just means that moral truths are hard to find, just like scientific truths are.

Exercise: Cultural Relativism
Go to the course Blackboard page and click “1-3 In-class Activity” in “Materials for 1-3” folder.

Answer the questions and click “Submit”!

Business Ethics
Summer 2022 (1)
Week 1, Lecture 2

Chaeyoung Paek

In today’s class…
We’ll learn…
What arguments are
How to evaluate them in terms of validity and soundness
How to reconstruct an informal argument

There will be two in-class activities; I’ll ask you to complete “1-2 in-class activity (1)” and “1-2 in-class activity (2)” during the lecture.
Both are on the course Blackboard page, in “Materials for 1-2”.

James Rachels,
Some Basic Points about Arguments

What is an argument?
An argument is a series of statements, made of premises and conclusion.

A statement is a sentence which could be true or false.

(Q) Are all these sentences statements? Why or why not?

“All trees are plants.”/“Are all trees plants?”/”Look at those trees!”

What is an argument?
(Q) Is this following sequence of statements an argument?

All dogs are mammals.
Charlie is a dog.
Therefore, Charlie is a mammal.

Yes!

What is an argument?
Q. Is this following sequence of statements an argument?

All dogs are plants;
Charlie is a dog;
Therefore, all trees are plants.

Yes!

What is an argument?

As long as there are premise(s) and the conclusion, any series of propositions can be arguments.

But not all arguments are naturally good arguments; some are good, some are bad.

…But what is a “good” argument?

What is a “good” argument?
The goodness or badness of an argument is not about the actual truth or falsity of the premises and the conclusion, it is about a relationship between the premises and the conclusion.

What is a “good” argument?
Compare two arguments below.

(P1) All human beings die.
(P2) Socrates is a human being.
C. Socrates will die.
(P1*) All human beings die.
(P2*) UMass Amherst is in Massachusetts.
C*. Chaeyoung is a human being.

What is a “good” argument?
Compare two arguments below.

Both arguments consist of true statements; but while it seems like the first one is a ”good” argument, the second one… is not so good.

So exactly how do we evaluate an argument?
: In terms of validity and soundness!

(P1) All human beings die.
(P2) Socrates is a human being.
C. Socrates will die.
(P1*) All human beings die.
(P2*) UMass Amherst is in Massachusetts.
C*. Chaeyoung is a human being.

Evaluating an argument: Validity
Validity is a property of an argument.

An argument is valid if and only if it is impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false.
In other words, an argument is valid if and only if the conclusion follows from the premises.
Or: an argument is valid if and only if the premises entail the conclusion.

Evaluating an argument: Validity
(P1) UMass is in Massachusetts.
(P2) Massachusetts is in France.
C. UMass is in France.

Q. Is this argument valid?
A. Yes! It is impossible for the conclusion to be false if (P1) and (P2) are true; in other words, the conclusion follows from the premises.

Evaluating an argument: Validity
When you assess the validity of an argument, it doesn’t matter whether the premises or the conclusion are actually true.
(ex) ”Keeble jumbles; what jumbles rumbles; therefore, Keeble rumbles.”
This series of statements consist of pure gibberish, but it is a valid argument!
Why? Because the premises entail the conclusion!

Evaluating an argument: Soundness
Soundness is a property of an argument.

An argument is sound if and only if…
it is valid; and
the premises are true.

Evaluating an argument: Soundness
(P1) UMass is in Massachusetts.
(P2) Massachusetts is in France.
C. UMass is in France.

Q. Is this argument sound?
No!
It is a valid argument, but not all premises are true; (P2) is false.

Exercise: Assessing arguments
PAUSE the lecture video. Go to the course Blackboard page, click “1-2 In-class Activity (1)”. Fill in your answers and click Submit at the end.

This should take 10 minutes for you to complete; after answering the questions, come back to the lecture. We’ll look at them together.
We’ll do the second activity later; just work on the first one for now.

Exercise: Assessing arguments

Valid?:
Yes!
Sound?
No
– Why?: (P1) is not true.

A.
(P1) All dogs go to heaven.
(P2) Charlie is a dog.
C. Charlie will go to heaven.

Exercise: Assessing arguments

Valid?:
Yes!
Sound?
No
– (P2) is not true!

B.
(P1) If the moon is made of green cheese, then cows jump over it.
(P2) The moon is made of green cheese.
C. Cows jump over the moon.

Exercise: Assessing arguments

Valid?
No
– It is possible that the conclusion is false even when all premises are true.
Sound?
No
– The argument is invalid.

C.
(P1) If it’s raining, then the streets are wet.
(P2) The streets are wet.
C. It’s raining.

Exercise: Assessing arguments

Valid?
No
– The conclusion can be false even when all premises are true.
Sound?
No
– The argument is invalid.

D.
(P1) All apples are fruits.
(P2) Some fruits are red.
C. Some apples are red.

Exercise: Assessing arguments

Valid?
Yes!
Sound?
Yes!

E.
(P1) Thanksgiving is in November.
C. Thanksgiving is in November.

Reconstructing arguments
In many cases, we present an argument in an informal form; that is, some arguments may not be in premise(s)/conclusion form.

(ex) “All EDM songs suck. Your playlist is full of EDM songs. So, your playlist sucks too.”

Reconstructing arguments
Sometimes an informal argument contains a hidden premise(s); a proper reconstruction should contain that hidden premise(s)!

(ex) “That is an innocent, helpless puppy! We should save him!”
A hidden premise: ”We should save any innocent, helpless puppies.”

Reconstructing arguments
We will read a lot of philosophy papers and reconstruct philosophers’ informal arguments into formal arguments together.

It is a writer’s job to present a good (informal) argument, but it is a reader’s job to do their best to reconstruct the best version of the writer’s argument.

Think of it in this way; if you reconstructed an argument out of an informal one, and you find that argument wildly invalid, then maybe you were not charitable enough.

Exercise: Reconstructing arguments
PAUSE the lecture. Go to the course Blackboard page, click “1-2 In-class Activity (2)”. Fill in your answers and click Submit at the end.

This should take 5 minutes for you to complete; after answering the questions, come back to the lecture. We’ll look at them together.

Exercise: Reconstructing arguments
“You shouldn’t feed chocolate to the dog. Chocolate makes dogs sick.”

The conclusion?:
The premise(s)?:

Exercise: Reconstructing arguments
“You shouldn’t feed chocolate to the dog. Chocolate makes dogs sick.”

(P1) Chocolate makes dogs sick.
C. You shouldn’t feed chocolate to the dog.

Q. Does the conclusion follow from the premise? Is it possible that the conclusion is false while the premise is true?
Nope; so there must be at least one hidden premise!

Exercise: Reconstructing arguments
“You shouldn’t feed chocolate to the dog. Chocolate makes dogs sick.”

(P1) Chocolate makes dogs sick.
(P2) You shouldn’t do what may make dogs sick.
C. You shouldn’t feed chocolate to the dog.

Q. Is this argument valid? Sound?
: Valid; (unfortunately) not sound.

Exercise: Reconstructing arguments
B. “Anyone who goes to Yale is a total jerk. I know because I met my roommate’s brother, who goes to Yale, and he is a total jerk.”

The conclusion?:
The premise(s)?:

Exercise: Reconstructing arguments
B. “Anyone who goes to Yale is a total jerk. I know because I met my roommate’s brother, who goes to Yale, and he is a total jerk.”

(P1) I met my roommate’s brother who goes to Yale.
(P2) My roommate’s brother is a jerk.
C. Anyone who goes to Yale is a total jerk.

Q. Does the conclusion follow from the premise? Is it possible that the conclusion is false while the premise is true?
A. Nope; there must be at least one hidden premise!

Exercise: Reconstructing arguments
B. “Anyone who goes to Yale is a total jerk. I know because I met my roommate’s brother, who goes to Yale, and he is a total jerk.”

(P1) I met my roommate’s brother who goes to Yale.
(P2) My roommate’s brother is a jerk.
(P3) Anyone who goes to Yale shares the same personality.
C. Anyone who goes to Yale is a total jerk.

For the next class..
Read Rachels, “The Challenge of Cultural Relativism.”

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