Paul Nervy Notes
“Jokes, poems, stories, and a lot of philosophy, psychology, and sociology.”

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Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  ."Methods of ethical thinking" is a more accurate title for this section.  ---  11/15/2001

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  .This section is about analysis of ethics problems, or methods of ethics.  ---  1/24/2006

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  .This section is about methods of analyzing ethical situations, actors, actions, attitudes, etc.  Ethics having to do with how we reason things good or bad.  ---  12/30/2003

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  (1) Analyze the situation.  (2) Decide what to do.  (3) Act on it.  (4) Mistakes can be made at any of the above three steps.  ---  12/30/1995

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  (1) Ask the right questions.  Find the right answers.  Enact the right answers.  (2) Never forget the big problems and the big decisions we make on them.  ---  08/15/1994

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  (1) Creation of an ethical view.  (2) Creation of standards for it.  (3) Achievement in action of it.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  (1) Did do good = good.  (2) Did not do good = bad.  (3) Did do bad = bad.  (4) Did not do bad = good.  ---  04/29/1994

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  (1) Ethical analysis of ethical situations.  (2) Ethical decisions about ethical situations.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  (1) Ethical situations.  (2) Ethical problems or dilemmas.  (3) Ethical decisions: ethical solutions vs. ethical mistakes.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  (1) Ethics by goals.  What to do?  (2) Ethics by values.  What is important?  ---  1/27/2007

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  (1) Evaluating a person.  Evaluating a person as the sum of their acts.  (2) Evaluating an act.  Evaluating an act by a person.  Was the act by the person right or wrong?  (3) Evaluating a situation.  Is the situation good or bad?  (4) The usual criteria of evaluation include: health, truth, justice.  ---  6/8/2004

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  (1) Every situation has an ethical aspect to it.  The ethical aspect of every situation needs to be analyzed.  (2) Every action has an ethical aspect to it.  The ethical aspect of every action needs to be analyzed.  The reasons for actions as well as actions themselves must be considered.   PART TWO.  Methods of ethical analysis.  Some people use game theory to analyze ethical situations.  Some people use decision theory to analyze ethical situations.  Some people use economic theory to analyze ethical situations (but it is a mistake to analyze solely based on money).  ---  6/8/2004

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  (1) Every situation inhabited by a sentient being requires an ethical analysis of the situation by the sentient being.  Every action by every sentient being requires an ethical analysis of the action by the sentient being.  Ethics is an unavoidable aspect of the lives of sentient beings.  (2) The first step in an ethical analysis of a situation is to find out what are the facts of the situation.  Finding out the facts of the situation requires observation, inquiry, reasoning, critical thinking.  Therefore, epistemology has close connections with ethics.  One can argue that epistemology is inseparable from ethics.  ---  2/10/2007

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  (1) Short-term consequences vs. long-term consequences.  (2) Costs in terms of resources used.  (3) Benefits of a course of action.  (4) Negative effects of a course of action (not the same as costs)  (5) Side effects and unintended or unimagined consequences.  ---  11/15/2001

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  (1) Simple events: single good or bad effect results.  (2) Complex mixed events and situations.  Good and bad effects of same types result.  Good and bad effects of many different types of results.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  (1) SITUATION (world).  (2) ETHICAL ACTORS, their ABILITIES (psychological and physical), and RESOURCES (time, money, energy, materials).  The PROBLEMS (injustices) in the situation.  The ALTERNATIVES courses of actions available to ethical actors.  The OPPORTUNITIES, and WASTE of opportunities.  ---  7/14/1998

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  (1) Situation yields (2) wants (needs or luxuries) or goals, which yields. (3) utility of objects or actions, which yields (4) importance of same, which yields (5) priorities of getting them, which yields (6) values, ideals, and heroes.  (7) Keeping in sight other factors like trade-offs, balance, abilities, effort, obstacles, and results.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  (1) Two aspect of ethics: (A) Deciding what to do.  (B) Judging or evaluating others actions.  (2) Two aspects of ethical reasoning.  (A) Reasons to do x action vs. not do x action.  (B) Reasons to judge an action good vs. judge an action bad.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  (1) What I want to do.  (2) What I am driven or drawn to do.  (3) What I am forced to do by society.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  A great part of our ethical actions have effects on other people's minds and thus are tough to notice or evaluate.  Ex. To discourage someone vs. to encourage someone.  To bring someone down vs. to give someone hope.  These are important, big, yet subtle actions.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  A methodology for decision making in the area of ethics.  (1) Use thinking, logic, reason.  Also, make use of emotion.  People who act without thinking and feeling are more likely to produce suboptimal actions.  (2) When thinking, first gather all the facts.  Then debate the pros and cons of all possible courses of actions.  (3) Consider the rights of all parties involved.  (4) Formulate some ethical principles.  ---  7/19/2006

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  An action, in an interaction, in a situation (context).  What can you say about the action objectively?  What was in their heads (subjectively)?  What caused their behavior?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  An individual, and a society, assigns values to each thing in the situation, and then prioritizes or orders the values of the things.  Things are weighed, balanced and compared to each other.  ---  7/15/2006

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Analysis of real or hypothetical situations in all subject areas.  (1) What is going on?  (2) What are our choices?  (3) Which should we choose, and why?  ---  11/27/1993

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Another way investigate the realm of ethics is to analyze the reasoning given by judges in court cases.  ---  11/13/2005

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Any action is the sum of its sub-actions.  Total effect (total consequences) is the sum of its sub-effects.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Any ethical act.  Good points: number and types.  Bad points: number and types.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Case analysis.  Present a bunch of cases and analyze and evaluate each case.  Argue the pros and cons of various courses of action in each case.  ---  7/15/2006

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Causes vs. effects (benefits and costs).  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Choice.  All the choices you got.  Arguments pro and contra each choice.  Then rank the choices.  What are the trade-offs?  Choosing.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Choices, alternatives, options.  Choices yield a decision.  Ethical decisions vs. aesthetic decisions.  ---  4/28/2001

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Ethical analysis must be done  (1) For what is.  (2) For what could be.  What the possibilities are.  What the probabilities are.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Ethical analysis.  One element is determining degree good and bad.  Another element is determining how important.  Both elements are equally important, but the second element is often overlooked.  People tend to know what is good, but they don't know what is important.  Traditional ethics focuses on what is good and bad, but it does not focus on what is important.  ---  12/10/1999

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Ethical analysis.  Person 1: Alternative 1: gains, loses.  Alternative 2: gains, loses.  Person 2: same.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Ethical analysis.  Total thinking and emotion considered.  Total action taken, and sub-actions.  (3) Total causes, and sub-causes.  (4) Total effects, and sub-effects.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Ethical criticism: analysis and judgment of an ethical situation, per someone's ethical system.  Someone's ethical system itself as a whole vs. a single ethical statement from an ethical system.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Ethical status of anything that exists (see metaphysics).  (1) Inanimate object (ex. atomic bomb).  (2) Plant or animal (ex. poisonous plant or animal).  (3) Individual, or society.  (4) For a specific incident, or over time.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Ethics decision making steps.  (1) Record the "choice set", which is the set of all the alternatives you can do.  Make a list of all available choices.  (2) Figure out the results of each choice.  (3) Compare choices one by one in a sorting algorithm.  (4) Mistakes are possible at each step in the process.  Mistakes of not recognizing a possible choice.  Mistake of not recognizing outcomes of choice.  Mistakes in comparing choices.  ---  3/18/2006

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Ethics depends on (1) Situation you are in.  (2) Choices available.  (3) Individuals affected by choices.  (4) How you prioritize choices (reasons).  (5) Who gets what, and not, and why.  ---  06/30/1993

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Ethics is not just about people.  For any event that occurs and any action you take, how will it affect all people, animals, robots and the environment?  In terms of values such as emotion, money, freedom, health, etc.  ---  6/3/2001

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Ethics of an individual or society: values, standards, and priorities.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Ethics reasoning process.  (1) Analyze the situation.  (2) Apply ethical rules.  Personal ethical rules.  Societal ethical rules.  (3) Emotion testing: see if the solution feels right.  Reason testing: see if the solution makes sense.  (4) Repeat the above steps as necessary.  ---  5/14/2006

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Evaluate actions and reasons.  Evaluate the actions done by people.  Evaluate the reasons the person gave for doing the actions.  ---  7/15/2006

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Factors in ethical situations.  (1) Actors: rational and free acting.  (2) Internal freedom: knowledge, intelligence, no hang-ups or bad habits.  (3) External freedom: money, strength, power.  (4) Environment: natural, manmade.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Factors.  Environment yields values, which yields goals, which yields actions.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Figure out and act against all injustices immediately and completely.  Injustices committed by self, others, and nature.  Injustices committed toward self, others, and nature.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  For any action, what are the gains and losses for all parties involved?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  For any ethical act.  (1) Good points: number, types, and weights.  (2) Bad points: number, types, and weights.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  For anyone, anywhere.  (1) The ethical evaluation of the situation ((A) The world, and (B) My world).  (2) The ethical evaluation of me.  (3) The ethical evaluation of me in the situation ((A) Me in the world, (B) Me in my world).  ---  10/30/1997

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Four possibilities of an ethical action.  (1) Easy yet garbage.  (2) Easy yet excellent.  (3) Tough yet garbage.  (4) Tough yet excellent.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Four stages.  (1) What can we do?  (2) What will it cost in resources to do x?  (3) If we do x, what will happen? (tough to predict exactly).  (4) Should we do x rather than y?  ---  09/14/1993

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  How good a person is depends on how well they develop themselves in all areas (creating tools).  How free they were, not forced.  How well they applied what they developed (using tools to get goals).  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  How important x factor is in a situation vs. how much you know about x, and how important you realize x is.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  How should we act towards x?  How much resources should we devote to x?  What's our attitude on x to be?  Why?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  How unethical is an act, individual, or group?  How unethical have they been?  How unethical would they be given any situation, need, or opportunity?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Judging a person based on (1) Where they started, and where they ended.  (2) What they had to work with.  Resources (ex. brains).  (3) How much effort they put in (thought and action).  (4) How much help or hindrance they had on the way.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Major questions.  (1) What should I do?  (2) What can I do?  What are my abilities and what are the possibilities?  (3) What needs to be done?  (4) What do I enjoy doing?  (5) What should I do in life as a whole?  What should I do in any specific subject area?  What should I do in any specific situation?  ---  4/1/2005

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Methods of ethical thinking.  (1) Consider the extremes.  (Ex. X to the Nth degree.).  (2) Consider future generations and consider the endgame scenario.  (Ex. "Where will this lead us ultimately?").  (3) Consider its absence.  (Ex. "What if there was no X?").  (4) Ask questions like "Who benefits from this course of action?", "Who suffers from this?" and "Who pays for this?"  (5) Ask, "What is the environmental impact?", because its not just about humans.  ---  11/15/2001

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Methods.  (1) Analysis.  (2) Hypothetical cases.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Methods.  (1) Existence implies ethics.  (2) Ethics requires epistemological rigor.  (3) Epistemological rigor requires making decisions based on having all the facts.  (4) Having all the facts means knowing everything in the world.  Which is a lot to know.  ---  11/10/1997

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Methods.  Comparative method.  Instead of asking "Should I do x?", It is more helpful to ask "Should I do x or y?  X or z?  Etc."  ---  9/10/1998

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Methods.  Hypothetical cases is the best way to deal with ethics.  Start with the simple cases: few actors, few choices, few unknowns, few effects of each action.  Then work to the complex.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Methods.  Naturalized ethics.  Can ethics be placed under the human sciences?  ---  10/15/1993

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Methods.  Two ways to do ethical analysis.  (1) Extremes of space: What if everyone did this action everywhere?  What if the whole world did this action?  (2) Extremes of time: Where will this action get me in 50 years?  Where will this action get society in 500 years?  ---  7/18/2000

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Methods.  Two ways to investigate ethics is to look at ethical reasoning and the emotions of both children and criminals.  ---  04/30/1993

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  One way to research methods of ethical analysis is to interview a lot of people.  Ask each person for examples of ethical situations that required that they make a decision regarding ethics.  Ask them to put into words their decision making process, step by step.  Then begin to group similar types of ethical problems and similar types of decision strategies.  ---  11/13/2005

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Problems.  (1) People don't realize something is bad, or they don't realize how bad it is, i.e. they don't see full the effects of x.  (2) People don't care that it is bad.  They don't think it affects them.  They are too lazy to change it.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Problems.  Ignoring, not searching.  If something is wrong and you don't search for it, think it out, and act on it, you are doing wrong.  Thus we have a responsibility to search out and know all that's going on.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Problems.  Thinking something is better than it is.  Thinking something is worse than it is.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Problems.  When you can't see, but others can see, what you are fu*king up, and what good you could be doing.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Step one: Get all the facts of the situation, which is the world.  Step two: Formulate the highest ethical ideals.  Step three: Apply ethical ideals to the facts of the world.  ---  7/15/2006

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  The "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda" method of ethical analysis.  What did the person do?  What could the person have done?  What should the person have done?  Also, what would the person have done if things were different?  ---  7/15/2006

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  There are many different issues.  For each issue, there are many different views.  For each view, there are many different arguments or reasons.  If you talk to people about issues you will hear many views and even more reasons.  Sort it all out.  ---  7/16/2006

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  To help yourself evaluate your own ethical behavior, which can be difficult, (1) Imagine what you would think if you saw someone else doing what you are doing.  (2) Imagine if you were doing the action in public, or if everyone knew what you were doing.  (3) These are not fool proof evaluative methods.  The public doesn't always know what is right, for example.  ---  12/30/1996

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Total damage = degree damage x frequency x no# people damaged.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  Two methods.  (1) How would you live if you only had one year left to live?  (2) How would you want other people to treat you?  ---  11/20/2001

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  We judge people by their (1) Abilities and potential, both mental and physical.  (2) Situational opportunities.  (3) Values, ideals and standards.  (4) Effort.  (5) Achievements (which equals effort minus bad luck?).  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  What can you do with a life (ex. Edison vs. Hitler)?  How good can one be?  How bad can one be?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  What do: goals.  How do: means.  How much do: effort.  Why do: reasons.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  What is total effect of an individual having lived?  (1) Helped: made new contribution.  Kept society going.  (2) No effect:  Did nothing.  Or goods balanced bad.  (3) Harmed things.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, methods.  ---  What to do, and reasons why, given your level of development, and the limits of your current abilities.  Current situation: natural state, and social aspects.  Limits placed by situation on you.  ---  12/30/1992

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Paul Nervy Notes. Copyright 1988-2007 by Paul Nervy.