Definitions

Here is a handy place to find some (colloquial) definitions for common terms I may use. This page will be updated as need be.

Autonomy: The ability to make decisions for yourself, and choose the life you want to live. Normally considered a right (especially bodily autonomy). Means you can elect to have gummy bears for dinner. You do you.

Deductive Argument: Arguments of this type can be proven valid or invalid through formal logic (truth trees, tables, proofs, etc.)

Deontology/Kantianism: The moral philosophy which in its simplest sense means treating others the way you want to be treated (universalizability). Cares about the intention of actions. Cares about rationality.

Fallacy: A bad argumentative technique, often meaning your whole argument is bad. There are many. You can find more information on them here:

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/fallacies/#CorFal

Feminist Ethics: An umbrella term for ethical theories which consider dimensions previously ignored by other moral theories. These include considerations such as relationships, vulnerability, emotion, and context. These theories are much less likely to be be formulaic in nature and consider groups previously outside the realm of moral philosophy.

Inductive Argument: A collection of premises which, taken together, provide a strong likelihood that their conclusion is true. Inductive arguments can only be strong or weak, not valid or sound.

Instrumental Value: Something which has value because it allows you to do other things. For example, money has instrumental value because it lets you buy things.

Intrinsic Value: Something which has value in and of itself.  For example, spending time with close friends is generally has intrinsic value, unless you are using your friends to some end. You monster.

*Some things may have both instrumental and intrinsic value.

Mind/Body Dualism: The idea that the mind and the body are of two separate substances and that the mind can act and experience things separate from the body.

Moral Agent: A person capable of making moral decisions. Hopefully someone like you.

Moral Dependent: A person who may not be capable of making moral decisions, but who should still be given context and consideration in moral discussions. Babies and animals generally fall into this category.

Pain/Pleasure: Things that can be interpreted very narrowly or very broadly. Use your imagination. Relevant to Utilitarianism.

Slippery Slope: An argument which states that if we allow thing “A” to happen, thing “B” will also eventually happen, and although we can allow “A”, we can’t allow “B”, so “A” must be prohibited. For example: If we allow women to have abortions, no one will ever have children anymore and the species will die out. These arguments often read like a game of “What’s the worst that can happen?”

Soundness: A logical term referring to the veracity of premises in addition to validity. If all your premises are true, AND you argument has a valid form it is sound. Applicable only to deductive arguments.

Utilitarianism/Consequentialism: A moral theory which cares about the ends, or consequences of actions. The originator of all the trolley memes. You know the ones I’m talking about.

Validity: A way to describe deductive arguments. Deductive arguments are valid if and only if (iff)  when all the premises are true, the conclusion must also be true.

Virtue Theory: A moral theory which cares about cultivating good habits as a way to become a virtuous person. Cares about actions only in that the actions you take form you into a particular type of person.

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