PHIL 104 (STOLZE) Notes on Heather Widdows, Global Ethics: An Introduction, chapter 1 Preliminary Questions • • • • What is philosophy? What are some examples of philosophical questions? What are the main divisions of philosophy? Is everyone capable of doing philosophy? What is Philosophy? This compound word originates from two Greek words: • • philia = “(friendly) love” sophia = “wisdom” Some Important Philosophical Questions • • • • • • • • • • • • Why is there something rather than nothing? Does God exist? Why is there evil in the world? Who am I? What happens after I die? Am I free or determined in my beliefs and actions? What is the relationship between the self and society? What is a just society? When is it morally permissible to break an unjust law? How should political change happen? Is there progress in history? What is the meaning of life? The Four Main Divisions of Philosophy • • • • Metaphysics = the study of reality Epistemology = the study of knowledge Axiology = the study of value Logic = the study of correct reasoning Types of Philosopher Justin Smith has usefully classified philosophers into six ideal types: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. The Curiosus (or Curiosa) = inquirers into the natural world The Sage = seekers of wisdom beyond the realm of ordinary human experience The Gadfly = challengers of social norms in order to correct and improve them The Ascetic = renouncers of conventional social roles who seeks inner self control The Mandarin = members of a social elite who seeks to provide advice to rulers The Courtier = public intellectuals who, unlike gadflies, seek not to change society, but to advance their careers and reputations But we could add a seventh type: 7. The Militant = organizers of collective social transformation An Example: Climate Change • • • • Metaphysical Questions: Is climate change real? Or is it a “hoax”? Epistemological Questions: Is climate change human caused? If so, how can we know? Or is climate change just a matter of natural variations? Axiological Questions: Should we care about climate change? If so, why? If not, why not? What should we (individuals, groups, organizations, states) do, if anything, about climate change? Logical (Conceptual) Questions: Has humanity altered the previous geological epoch, the “Holocene,” and entered into a new one? Should it be called the “Anthropocene”? Or should it be called the “Capitalocene”? Is Everyone Capable of Doing Philosophy? According to the ancient Greek philosophy Aristotle (384 – 322 BCE), there are two conditions that are necessary for the practice of philosophy: 1. a sense of wonder 2. leisure time MLK on the Need to be “Maladjusted” A clip from his 1963 speech at Michigan State University: http://youtu.be/MNxsXlu5DqY The Organization of Widdows’ Book • What is Global Ethics? (chapter 1) • Three Case Studies: Female Genital Cutting, Buying and Selling Body Parts, Torture (chapter 2) • Ethical Theory (Chapters 3-6) • Applied Issues (Chapter 7-11) Why Global Ethics Matters “How we resolve (or fail to resolve) the dilemmas of global ethics will determine the framework of future global governance. This will shape and limit the possible relationships and opportunities of all global actors; moreover, decisions made now will affect future generations” (p. 1). Why Global Ethics Now? “[G]lobalization—the increasing interdependence of global society economically, culturally and politically—has created truly global dilemmas that require global solutions. Global ethics, then, is the response to these new dilemmas” (p. 5). Hans Küng’s Four “Irrevocable Directives” as the Basis for His Own Global Ethic • • • • Commitment to a culture of non-violence and respect for life. Commitment to a culture of solidarity and a just economic order. Commitment to a culture of tolerance and life of truthfulness. Commitment to a culture of equal rights and partnership between men and women. Three Characteristics of Global Ethics • Global in scope • Multidisciplinary • Combines theory and practice The Global Ethics Commitment “[G]lobal ethicists have a commitment to making a difference in terms of affecting policy and also in terms of their individual actions and commitments. The topics that global ethics addresses cannot be dismissed as just theoretical issues; they require us to act” (p. 11).