Jan 3, 2007

ethics and LD: a great resource for beginners


I highly recommend Daniel Holbrook's Adventures in Ethics as a free introduction to the subject. The document, 28 pages long, includes a list of logical fallacies, a taxonomy of eight basic ethical theories, and snappy descriptions of each. I've taken the liberty of reproducing the map of the basic theories above. (Holbrook is an associate professor of philosophy at Washington State University.)

All you need to read it is a brain, an internet-ready computer, and Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you've come this far, you've already met the first two prerequisites.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think that this site of yours is absolutely great for beginners and other people who need a boost! Thanks for having it!- H. Gruber

Ricerca said...

I agree as well :) Your articles are very helpful. I am very thankful because I have never competed in LD before, yet have come across a good guide =]

Matt said...

It's great, except for the nonsense about philosophers being in search of "truth". We've now realized it's impossible, and given up on those types of moral fanciful quests.

Jim Anderson said...

Have we, matt? Or are you perhaps lying? :)

Matt said...

Most modern (and by 'modern' I mean postmodern, existential, pragmatist, nihilist and poststructualist)philosophers have generally denied that we can maintain any objective sense of truth, morals, right or wrong, and so on.

It seems ridiculous that morals are floating around in the objective world, waiting for us to discover them.

Jim Anderson said...

I'm just trying to figure out, if you're right, why I should agree with you--or, to put it another way, whether I have any grounds for agreeing with you.

Matt said...

Why do you call subjectivism a fallacy? It is really annoying to argue against, especially when you're talking about morals, but I don't really see it as a fallacy. When used in the example you were talking about, it's mostly arrogance. They assume what I have to say has no relevance to them, because they're "unique".

With the example you used about the earth being a sphere, how do you know the earth is a sphere? Have you gone in a spaceship and seen it for yourself? You can't say Mark is objectively right or wrong, because, the "sphere" is a human abstraction used to explain things which do not exist (i.e. you never have seen a real, perfectly curved sphere; 'sphere' is, to the contrary, a word which you use to describe things that are relatively 'orange' shaped.

Yes, you can't say that Mark's values are 'wrong'. But you can say that they make no sense, and have no practical value. Sure, Mark can say that there is no objective meaning to life and no objective reason why we should get up out of bed every morning, but he still does. So there's definately an arguement (largely in debt to pragmatism) to be made against him.

Matt said...

"I'm just trying to figure out, if you're right, why I should agree with you--or, to put it another way, whether I have any grounds for agreeing with you."

I understand. I'm writing what my impressions of the writings are of the most recent philosophical schools I've come into contact with. True, I could be completely making this up. But why would I do that? Yes, you have no grounds for agreeing me based on that I am no authoritative source on the goals of contemporary philosophy.

But it wouldn't take much research to realize that what I said about the schools of philosophy I mentioned is basically true. A little more research, and you'd see that most contemporary philosophies seem to agree. Not all, but most. It's something that's very different from, say, a couple centuries ago.

Jim Anderson said...

I actually agree that philosophers have largely given up on the quest for capital-T Truth, and raised my objection out of a sense of irony and humor that apparently isn't translating.

My question about grounds meant to point out the seeming confidence with which you had dispensed the philosophical quest for Truth. It's an inverse of Epimenides' paradox: "There is no Truth" is at best a provisional statement.

(I should point out that in one of your above comments, you make it sound as if I wrote the guide, referring to "you" instead of Daniel Holbrook, who is not affiliated with this site.)

Matt said...

Right, I realized you weren't the author after I published the comment.

Haha, I was wondering how much irony to read in to your comment. Yes, the statement is always provisional. I was oversimplifying. I think it's correct to say that we've mostly given up on the quest for objective truth. But as far as the quest for which ideas we should generally take to be correct, the quest for truth in that sense is very relevant.

Matt said...

However, the writer of the paper did seem to have an obvious dislike of subjectivists.

Jim Anderson said...

I liken the philosophical quest for Truth to the scientific quest to tackle consciousness. We all know it's there, but defining and agreeing on exactly what it is damned difficult.

Sloane said...

I'm in charge of teaching the new LD debaters on my school's team and I've found your blog to be invaluable. Your insights and the links to additional resources are extremely helpful. Thank you very much for your indirect help!

MTGAP said...

The link is broken.

Jim Anderson said...

MTGAP, thanks. Should be fixed now.

Xengie said...

Sorry to say, but the link is still broken...and even his webpage on the WSU site is down!
Can anyone upload a link to the pdf? Or please e-mail me at xengieD@yahoo.com ; I really want to use it with my novices this year.
Thank you!

Jim Anderson said...

Xengie, it should be fixed, now, thanks to the power of the Internet Archive. I also have a digital copy if the link doesn't work.