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Section 5.3 Much Obliged

Section 5.3 Much Obliged

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Section 5.3 Much Obliged

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  1. Section 5.3Much Obliged Duty Makes Right

  2. Kant on Intrinsic Value Why does he think that whatever is of intrinsic value, it can’t be happiness, pleasure, satisfaction, utility?

  3. Kant on Intrinsic Value • “It is impossible to conceive anything at all in the world, or even out of it, which can be taken as good without qualification, except a good will.” • To have a good will is to make choices in accordance with moral principles.

  4. Kant’s Categorical Imperative • So, what is it to make choices in accordance with moral principles? • Moral principles can be viewed as imperatives that command us to do (or not do) certain things. But. What’s special about them? Hypothetical vs. Categorical Imperatives • Kant’s view is that moral principles are categorical. • So, let’s call the fundamental moral imperative “The Categorical Imperative.”

  5. The First Formulation • First formulation of the categorical imperative: • What makes an action right is that everyone could act on it, and you would be willing to have everyone act on it. Unfortunately, this is already ambiguous. Why? At least two different senses in which I might be willing to have everyone act on it. Universalizable Reversible

  6. Universalizibility and Reversibility • A principle is universalizable if everyone could consistently act on it. (Logical constraint). • Examples: never lying, never stealing, never breaking one’s promise, etc. • A principle is reversible if the person acting on it would be willing to have everyone act on it. (Psychological constraint) • Developing one’s talents and helping the needy.

  7. Perfect and Imperfect Duties • Universality test identifies the perfect duties • A perfect duty is one that must always be performed no matter what. • Reversibility test identifies the imperfect duties • An imperfect duty is one that does not always have to be performed.

  8. Thought Experiment: Ross’s Good Samaritan • Suppose you had promised to meet someone at a certain time. • Suppose further that you could prevent an accident or bring relief to the victims of one by breaking the promise. • Should you break it?

  9. Thought Experiment: Hare’s Nazi Fanatic • Suppose that a Nazi fanatic is considering whether he should act on the principle “Kill all the Jews.” • The principle is universalizable; it is possible for everyone to act on it. • If the fanatic would be willing to die if he were a Jew, the principle would also be reversible.

  10. The Second Formulation • Second formulation: • What makes an action right is that it treats people as ends in themselves and not merely as a means to an end. • People have inherent value: Self-Conscious – Can be aware of principles governing their actions Rational – Can determine if these principles are universalizable and reversible Free – Can choose to act on these principles

  11. Thought Experiments: Broad’s Typhoid Man Ewing’s Prudent Diplomat

  12. Ross’s Prima Facie Duties • One problem with Kant’s account is that it seems to be too rigid. No absolute perfect duties. • An actual duty is one that we are morally obligated to perform in a particular situation. • A prima facie duty is one that we are morally obligated to perform in every situation unless there are extenuating circumstances.

  13. Ross’s Pluralistic Formalism Rank duties hierarchically. An action is right if it falls under the highest ranked prima facie duty in a given situation. This is how we deal with conflict.

  14. Ross’s Pluralistic Formalism • Ross's (incomplete) list of prima facie duties: • Duties stemming from one's own previous actions: 1. fidelity - duty to fulfill (explicit and implicit) promises/agreements. 2. reparation - duty to make up for wrongful acts previously done to others • Duties stemming from the previous actions of others: 3. gratitude - duty to repay others for past favors. • Duties stemming from the (possibility of) a mismatch between persons' pleasure or happiness and their "merit": 4. justice - duty to prevent or correct such a mismatch • Duties stemming from the possibility of improving others’ conditions : 5. beneficence - duty to improve the conditions of others in these respects • Duties stemming from the possibility of improving one's own condition with respect to virtue or intelligence: 6. self-improvement - duty to improve one's own condition in these respects • Special duty to be distinguished from the duty of beneficence: 7. nonmaleficence - duty not to injure others

  15. Rawls’s Contractarianism • What makes an action right is that it is in accord with the principles established by an ideal social contract. • An ideal social contract is one drawn up by ideal social contract makers.

  16. The Original Position and the Veil of Ignorance • Ideal social contract makers would be totally impartial. • Veil of ignorance • Such contract makers are said to be in the original position.

  17. Principles Sanctioned by Rawls’s Contractarianism: • Principle of equal liberty: each person has an equal right to maximum possible liberty. • Principle of fair equality of opportunity: each person has an equal opportunity to be given an office or position. • The Difference Principle: social and economic opportunities are arranged so that they are to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged persons.

  18. Thought Probe:Just Policies • Would those in the original position behind the veil of ignorance agree to the following social policies: • Entitlement programs such as welfare? • An inheritance tax of over 75 percent? • The right to an easy rescue? • Homosexual marriage? • Legalized euthanasia?

  19. Nozick’s Libertarianism • Thought Experiment: Nozick’s Basketball Player: What is this supposed to illustrate? • Rawls’s principles do not adequately protect individual rights. • In fact, a society based on Rawls’s principles would have to constantly violate people’s rights.

  20. Thought Experiment: Nozick’s Basketball Player • Suppose that we start with a just distribution of wealth. • Now suppose that a basketball player becomes so popular that people are willing to pay extra to see him. • The resulting distribution of wealth may violate the difference principle. Is it therefore immoral?

  21. Thought Probe: Legalizing No-Victim Crimes • Gambling, prostitution, and drug use are called no-victim crimes because no one is forced to engage in these activities against their will. • Is it immoral to engage in these activities? What moral theory justifies you position? Should they be legalized? Why or why not?

  22. The Social Contract • One of the central questions in political philosophy is what makes a government legitimate? • Nowadays most people in the West believe that the only legitimate source of governmental power is the consent of the governed. • Social contract theories try to explain how governments can legitimately acquire their power.

  23. Hobbes • Hobbes claimed that there were two things that all rational persons naturally desired: peace and justice. • In order to establish peace and justice, Hobbes believed that rational people would agree to sacrifice some of their freedom and live under the dictates of a supreme ruler, the Leviathan.

  24. Locke • Whereas Hobbes viewed the social contract as one where the subjects give up their rights to the Leviathan, Locke viewed it as one where the subjects entrust their rights to the state for safekeeping. • Locke envisioned a system of checks and balances to keep the state from becoming too powerful. • Much of the philosophy behind the American political system is Locke’s.

  25. Nozick • To protect themselves from those who demand more than their fair share and to extract compensation from those who refuse to give it, Nozick claims that people would voluntarily join private protection agencies. • These protection agencies would function as minimal states and protect its members’ rights to life and property.

  26. Criteria of adequacy for moral decisions • Justice – treat equals equally • Mercy – do not cause unnecessary suffering • Utility (beneficence) - maximize happiness • Rights (autonomy) – do not violate others’ rights • Care – exhibit care for those who have cared for you