Chapter 12 Modern Political Philosophy
Chapter 12 • G.E. Moore • W.D. Ross • John Rawls • Robert Nozick • Alasdair MacIntyre • Herbert Marcuse • Ayn Rand
G.E. Moore • The “Naturalistic Fallacy”. • Moore claims that the majority of moral philosophers have assumed that goodness is a natural property of objects. He claims that it is not. • He claims that the concept of good is non-complex and non-natural. • The Good is indefinable.
Normative Ethics vs. Meta-ethics • Normative Ethics deals with what is right or wrong. • Meta-Ethics deals with value concepts such as good, right, duty, obligation and value. • Many of these concepts are discussed by various moral philosophers.
Intuitionist • W.D. Ross
Prima Facie Duty • Prima Facie duty vs. absolute duty • A prima facie duty is a conditional duty. It may be overridden by a duty of greater importance. Prima Facie duties are not static. This means that one may out weight another in one situation and the same two duties might switch positions given other circumstances. We know which one takes precedent by intuition- we just know.
Not Quite Utilitarianism • Example: • Keeping a promise • Utilitarian, act utilitarian, keep the promise if it produces beneficial consequences • Keep the promise, because you have a moral duty to keep them promise, unless a greater duty comes into conflict with keeping your promise.
Emotivism • Emotivism claim that there are no ethical facts. There is no right or wrong. • When I say, Abortion is wrong, I am stating my preference, my opinion, how it makes me feel. But there is no right answer to this, or any other moral issue. • C.L. Stevenson was an emotivist.
John Rawls • Defined Justice as fairness. • Discussed the Original Position.
2 basic principals of Equality • Each person has an equal right to the most extensive scheme of equal basic liberties compatible with a similar scheme of liberties for all • Social and economic inequalities are to meet two conditions: they must be a) to the greatest expected benefit to the least advantaged b) attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity.
Egalitarianism • What Rawls wants is everyone to have the same basic liberties, and social and economic inequality to benefit the poor instead of the rich. Inequality, say in taxes, ought to be at the expense of the rich in order to benefit the poor.
Original Position • Rawls argues that we would arrive at these principles if we in the Original Position. • A hypothetical situation where there is no government.
Veil of Ignorance • The veil of ignorance is a hypothetical thought experiment where one is to imagine oneself as a representative of the populous as a whole. Under the veil you will be looking for guiding principles of justice and begin to stipulate laws and regulations for your government. The point is that you are ignorant of your social status and position. You don’t know your race or your economic class.
Maximin • Rawls thinks that a reasonable person in such a situation would adapt his strategy of maximin.
Princess or Pauper • Make life the best you can for the people at the bottom. He thinks that rationality entails that you will do this.
Crime and Punishment • Theories of Punishment • Retributive Theories • Deterrence Theories • Forfeiture Theory • Reform/ Rehabilitation Theory
Theories of Punishment • Punishment is the deliberate limitation or revocation of rights and liberties by the government, as such, it must be justified. • There are 4 contemporary theories for the justification of punishment by the state.
RETRIBUTIVE THEORY- Lex Talionis (an eye for an eye) • Direct Retributivism- says that a person committing a crime ought to be punished for the crime by having the same crime inflicted upon them; literally, an eye for an eye.
State sanctioned what? • Yet this is not practical. If a murder kills your father, are we to kill his father. • It simply is not practical to employ this type of Retributivism.
Proportional Retributivism • Claims that a person should be punished in a way proportional to the crime they committed. We are going to inflict pain and suffering to an equal degree upon them. The rapist is not going to be raped, but he is going to suffer in a equal degree.
FORFEITURE THEORY • This theory states that although we have certain positive rights within society, when we violate laws and violate the rights of others, then we forfeit our own rights. • As such we must be punished for these violations, and the state has the right, obligation and duty to see that we are punished.
DETERRENCE THEORY • This theory claims that punishing criminals deters others from committing the same crimes. • Punishment is justified only if it has a deterrent effect. If punishment did not deter future crimes then there would be no reason to punish people.
REFORM THEORY • This theory claims that the goal of punishment is to reform criminals. • If the punishment does not have such an effect then it is not justified.
MIXED THEORIES • It is possible to mix elements of the different theories and claim that together they justify punishment.