Personal Morality, Unit 1
Personal Morality, Unit 1 Phil 150B
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This 5 page Study Guide was uploaded by Mia on Wednesday February 17, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to Phil 150B at University of Arizona taught by Carolina Ana Sartorio in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 125 views. For similar materials see Personal Morality in PHIL-Philosophy at University of Arizona.
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Date Created: 02/17/16
Philosophy Notes 1 Pre-Chapter 1: What Is Philosophy? “A connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition” • Argument: a series of claims, one of which (conclusion) is supported by the others (premises) • Premises can be explicit or implicit • Example: 1. Animals are not self-conscious. (Premises) 2. We have direct moral duties toward self-conscious beings. (Premises) 3. We do not have direct moral duties toward animals. (Conclusion) Properties of Arguments • Validity/Logical o An argument is valid when the conclusion logically follows from its premises o If the premises are true, then the conclusion has to be true o Connection between premises and conclusions makes the argument valid, not necessarily true. o A sign an argument is invalid: if it has true premises and a false conclusion § Also, if there are arguments with the same logical form that have true premises and a false conclusion. o General Form 1. The X’s lack property P. 2. Only things that have P have Q. 3. Therefore, the X’s lack property Q. • Soundness o An argument is sound when it’s valid and its premises are true o Note: the conclusion of a sound argument, unlike the conclusion of a merely valid argument, is always true. Goals of Philosophical Arguments • Give Sound arguments in order to: o Argue in favor of one’s position about a certain subject matter o Argue against rival positions Unit 1: The Moral Status of Animals “Why does your dog get a tummy ache” Kant • Germany, 1724-1804 Moral Duties • Direct: We have direct duty to X when we have that duty simply by virtue of what X itself is like. o Example: Other human beings • Indirect: We have an indirect duty to X when we have a duty to X that is not direct o Example: your car, your cup, things you own, etc. Moral Standing • Being with moral standing are beings that matter morally just in virtue of what they are. • Those are the only beings toward whom we have direct moral duties. • Humans, i.e. rational beings Self-consciousness Philosophy Notes 2 • Conscious-beings: beings who are capable of having conscious experiences (to feel, to have a mental life) o Rocks are not conscious o Dogs are conscious, but not self-conscious • Self-conscious beings: Beings who, in addition, can be aware of themselves as conscious beings and as having experiences. • Self-conscious beings are the only beings who can reflect about their experiences, their lives, and think rationally about their goals o According to Kant, the only beings of that kind are human beings • You do not have to be self-conscious to be able to experience pain Kant’s Argument • CF: bullet point #3 Clarify Kant’s conclusion • We have indirect duties toward all animals because of out direct duties to humans • Being kind to animals helps cultivate kindness to humans Assessing Kant’s argument • It is valid • But is it sound? o Are the premises true? • Assessing the premises o P1 seems pretty plausible (At least with most animals) o P2 is much less plausible § P2 says that we don’t have any direct duties toward non-self-conscious beings § Seems true of some duties (obligations?) o Objections to P2 § Arguing that a premise is implausible by showing that it has intuitively counterintuitive consequences § This cats doubt on the soundness of the argument o A good argument is an argument that relies on premises that are initially plausible premises o The premises should be plausible to all or most people. o Not just those who already believe in your conclusion Arguing against a premise • The premises entails consequences C • Consequences C seems clearly false • Therefore, we have good reason to believe the premise is not true A consequence of Kant’s premise • Kant’s premise 2 entails that there would be nothing wrong with torturing animals for the sake of it, if this didn’t result in out being cruel to humans too. • Kant’s P2 entails that it wouldn’t be wrong to torture animals in that case • This is clearly false • Therefore, we have good reason to believe that Kant’s premise in not true The Robinson Crusoe objection: stranded on an island by himself. Not surrounded by humans ever again. Reproduce this objection using Kant’s argument Philosophy Notes 3 Singer’s Argument 1. If it’s wrong to prematurely kill, eat, and experiment upon severely brain damaged human orphans, then the same goes for animals 2. It is (almost always) wrong to do those things to severely brain damaged human orphans Therefore, the same goes for animals The basic principles of equality Any suffering of the same intensity and duration is equally bad, regardless of who suffers it Objections to Singer’s view Counterintuitive consequences of Singer’s principles • Compare a dog with a mentally disabled human being o If the dog has a stronger headache than the human, other things being equal the medicine should be given to the dog. • Speciesism o A prejudice or bias in favor of members of one’s own species and against members of another species. o Compare: sexism, racism, etc. • Speciesist tendencies are natural and biologically driven • But not morally justified • Singer would attribute our attitude toward the suffering of the dog to speciesism • On that basis, he would say that our attitude is not justified • There is no morally relevant difference between the dog and the disabled human that can justify our preferential treatment of the human. • Compare: Alien species • Again (Recall his “Master Argument”) o What goes for human with certain subnormal capacities also goes for animals with similar capacities o This applies to our practices about needs • In particular, it applies to our attitude toward the “right of life” and practices like euthanasia and abortion • If those practices are not permissible for any humans, they’re not permissible for animals either. • On the other hand, if they are permissible for animals, they are also permissible for some humans. More questions to think about: • Is there a way of distinguishing between animals and brain-damaged humans that is not speciesism? • Should we change our attitude toward animals? • Should we change our attitude toward brain-damaged humans? Unit 1: The Debate over Abortion “Should I buy the book?” • Tooley’s View (Highly Liberal) o Tooley’s 2 main lines of arguments § Argument for liberal view on abortion § Argument against conservative view • Tooley on persons and the right to life Philosophy Notes 4 o A person = someone with a right to life o A right to continue to exist • Self-consciousness requirement o Someone is a person (has a right to life) only if it regards itself as an entity persisting through time (a self that is a continuing subject of experiences). • A necessary condition for having a right to life is the possession of the concept of a self (a subject of experiences that persists through time). o In other words: being self-conscious • Comparison with Kant o Tooley’s view and Kant’s view on animals are similar with respect to the RIGHT TO LIFE. § But only with respect to that. • Account of rights o A has a right to X=A can desire X and, if he so desires, then others have a “prima facie obligation” to allow him to have X. • The conservative view rests on the relevance of certain potentialities • The potentiality principle: if adult humans have a right to life in virtue of certain properties, then the zygote has a right to life in virtue of its potentiality to have those properties. • There is nothing seriously wrong to painlessly kill a newborn kitten instead of injecting it with a chemical o If so, it’s also not wrong to do that if the kitten was just injected with a chemical o Then it’s not wrong to kill a newborn • Objections: o Self-conscious requirement o Human infants don’t have a right to life o Severely mentally disabled humans don’t have a right to life. • Bite the bullet • The wonder prize objection o Imagine I win a prize, something I’ve never heard of before § I don’t have a concept of it, but I still have a right to it Discussion: • A has a right to X: o A can desire X, and if A so desires, then others have a prima facie obligation to let him have X. § Not in terms of something biological § X could be sandwich toppings, cont. existing INFO ABOUT TEST I. Arguments a. Concept of arguments b. Concepts of premises and conclusions c. Distinction between explicit and implicit premises d. Validity e. Soundness f. Biting the bullet as an argumentative strategy II. Animals Philosophy Notes 5 a. Kant’s View i. Distinction between direct and indirect duties ii. Distinction between conscious and self-conscious beings iii. Argument that we don’t have direct duties towards animals iv. Argument that we have indirect duties towards animals v. Objections to Kant’s arguments about direct duties 1. Counterintuitive consequences about Robinson Crusoe, non-self- conscious humans, etc. b. Singer’s View i. The Basic Principle of Equality ii. The distinction between equal consideration and equal treatment iii. The concept of sentience iv. The concept of speciesism v. Argument that sentient beings have interests (The basic more principle) vi. Argument that other ways to assign moral significance are arbitrary vii. Practical consequences of Singer’s view 1. Master Argument viii. Objections 1. Counterintuitive consequences of the basic principle of equality a. Biting the bullet; appeal to speciesism III. Abortion a. Tooley’s View i. Concept of a person: the distinction between persons and humans ii. General account of rights iii. Application to the right to life iv. Tooley’s view on the right to life and abortion: the self-consciousness requirement v. An alternate view: the conservative view, and the potentiality principle vi. Argument for the self-conscious requirement vii. Argument against the potentiality principle: the kitten argument viii. Objections: 1. Objections to self-consciousness requirement: counterintuitive consequences 2. Reply: biting the bullet b. Marquis’ View 1. Conservative view on abortion 2. The concept of a future like ours (FLO) 3. Argument for the FLO account of the wrongness of killing: a. Distinction between ordinary harms and harms of deprivation b. Explanatory power of the account 4. Argument for the conservative view on abortion 5. Objections based on intelligent kitten
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