Study Guide for Exam 2
Study Guide for Exam 2 PHI2630
Popular in Ethical Issues/ Life Choices
verified elite notetaker
Popular in PHIL-Philosophy
This 11 page Study Guide was uploaded by Beatriz Arteaga on Sunday November 8, 2015. The Study Guide belongs to PHI2630 at Florida State University taught by Stephen Kearns in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 422 views. For similar materials see Ethical Issues/ Life Choices in PHIL-Philosophy at Florida State University.
Reviews for Study Guide for Exam 2
Report this Material
What is Karma?
Karma is the currency of StudySoup.
You can buy or earn more Karma at anytime and redeem it for class notes, study guides, flashcards, and more!
Date Created: 11/08/15
Study Guide, Test 2, PHI2630 Dershowitz- Should the Ticking Bomb Terrorist Be Tortured? The Utilitarian Justification of Ticking Bomb Torture: (1) The relevant scenarios are cases in which torturing the terrorist will save many innocent lives at the cost of non-lethal suffering to one individual. Torturing the terrorist would thus produce the most happiness/well-being. (2) One ought to do what produces the most happiness/well-being (3) Therefore, one ought to torture terrorist in such scenarios Problems with this argument: A. The Utilitarian Case Against Ticking Bomb Torture. (1) Torturing even just in ticking bomb scenarios, legitimizes torture. Legitimizing torture brings about suboptimal consequences. (2) One ought not to do what brings about suboptimal consequences. (3) Therefore, one ought not to torture even in such cases. B. The argument proves too much It seems to suggest there are cases in which we should torture the families of terrorists, or kill them, etc. Another Justification of Ticking Bomb Torture: (1) It is morally permissible to kill and cause pain various other scenarios (such as self-defense, stopping the escape, death penalty, etc.) (2) If such behavior is permissible, so is torturing (convicted) terrorists in ticking bomb scenarios. (3) So it is permissible to torture (convicted) terrorists in such cases. Three Important Values Safety and Security Civil Liberties and Human Rights Open Accountability and Visibility Safety and Security suggests that ticking bomb torture is justifiable, while Civil Liberties and Human Rights suggests that it is not. A possible solution: ticking bomb torture is used but not officially sanctioned by the government. This solution conflicts with Open Accountability and Visibility Dershowitz' Suggestion: We should legalize torture but only in very extreme cases, and require a warrant for the torture to take place… - This will ensure safety and security for the general populace. - It will also be open and visible. - It will also better respect people's civil liberties and rights. This is because requiring a warrant for torture would reduce the occasions on which it is used Worries for Dershowitz: How realistic is a ticking bomb scenario? How reliable would the torture be? How can a warrant be gained so quickly? Death Penalty Main Questions: Is the death penalty ever a morally permissible form of punishment? If so, what best explains its permissibility? Facts about the death penalty: - 141 countries have abolished the death penalty either in law or in practice - 1925 death sentences in 2013 (57 countries) - Belarus is the only country in Europe and Central Asia with the death penalty - The death penalty is legal in 31 US states (in 2013, 41% of all executions in Texas) - China executes the most people per year overall (top 5% includes Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and USA) Abolitionist’s vs Retentionists Legal punishment - punishment that is administered by legal body/authority Questions about the morality of punishment: What, if anything, morally justifies the practice of punishment? How much and what kinds of punishment are morally justified for various offenses? Retributive theory of punishment R1. What morally justifies punishment is that those who break the law (and are properly judged to have done so) deserve to be punished. (Fairness, justice) R2. The punishment for a particular offense against the law should fit that crime. R1 neutral with regards to the death penalty. Interpretations of R2 in favor of the death penalty: law of retribution (compare "eye for an eye"); principle of proportionality Consequentialist Theory of Punishment C1. Punishment as a response to crime is morally justified if and only if this practice, compared to any other response to crime, will likely produce as much overall intrinsic value as would any other response. C2. A specific punishment for a certain crime is morally justified if and only if it would likely produce at least as much overall intrinsic value as would any other alternative punishment. Arguments for the Death Penalty - Retribution Argument Counter Arguments to Retribution: (i) capital punishment as vengeance; (ii) the anticipatory of the criminal - Deterrence Argument Counter Arguments to Deterrence: (i) the statistical evidence doesn't confirm that deterrence works (but it doesn't show that deterrence doesn't work either); (ii) some of those executed may not have been capable of being deterred because of mental illness; (iii) some capital crimes are committed in such an emotional state that the perpetrator did not think about the possible consequences; (iv) no-one knows whether the death penalty deters more than life imprisonment - Prevention of Reoffending - Closure and Vindication Arguments against the Death Penalty - Value of Human Life/Right to Life - Applied unfairly (racial divide, jurors, lawyers) - Capital punishment is not operated retributively - Execution of the Innocent - Retribution is morally flawed - Brutalizing Society - Expense - Cruel, inhumane, degrading - Unnecessary Ernest van den Haag: A Defense of the Death Penalty Distribution "Improper distribution cannot affect the quality of what is distributed, be it punishments or rewards. Discriminatory or capricious distribution thus could not justify the abolition of the death penalty… The only relevant question is: does the person to be executed deserve the punishment? Whether or not others who deserved the same punishment, whatever their economic or racial group, have avoided execution is irrelevant." Retributive justice: giving back what people deserve Distributive justice: delivering out fairly, be it death penalty or other *Retributive is morally flawed, says it's okay to punish horribly Stephen Nathanson: An eye for an eye Lex Talionis (law of retribution) "eye for an eye": We ought to treat people as they have treated others. What people deserve as recipients of rewards or punishments in determining by what they do as agents. The punishment should be identical to the crime. Immanuel Kant in support of the above (directly linked to death penalty) "What kind and what degree of punishment does legal justice adopt as its principle and standard? None other than the principle of equality… The principle of not treating one side more favorably than the other. Accordingly, any undeserved evil that you inflict on someone else among the people is one that you do to yourself." "Only the law of retribution… can determine exactly the kind and degree of punishment" Points in Favor 1. Accords with common sense is related to what he does 2. Provides a measure of appropriate punishment that gives guide to creating laws Nathanson's Position: Neither equality retributivism nor proportional retributivism can justify death penalty Equality Retributivism: repay criminals with punishments equal to their crimes Problems with Law of Retributivism 1. Does not provide adequate measure of levels of punishment - recommends unacceptable punishments 2. Does not provide a measure of moral desert as sometimes it says nothing about how to punish people Proportional Retributivism: punishment needs to be proportional to crime. Andrew con Hirsch: Severity of punishment should be commensurate with the seriousness of the wrong. Only grace wrongs merit severe penalties are undeserved--severe sanctions for minor wrongs and vice versa. This principle has variously been called a principle of "proportionality" or "just deserts"; we call it commensurate deserts. Proportional retributivism does not support the death penalty either due to its flexibility (it allows for a range of different punishments for murder). It does not yield any specific recommendations regarding punishments. All that proportional retributivism requires is that if the murder is the most serious crime, then murder should be punished by the most extreme punishment on the scale (it does not tell us what this punishment should be though). The Symbolism of Abolishing the Death Penalty - Respect for the dignity of human beings: human dignity must be respected in every person. Question of rights: perpetrators do not forfeit all their rights: "it does not follow from the vileness of their actions that we can do anything whatsoever to them. This is part of the moral meaning of the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment." Personal desert (based on one's merit and achievements) vs human desert (one that belongs to people by virtue of their humanity itself and does not depend on individual efforts or achievements) - Setting example of proper behavior: communication of the importance of minimizing the killing and other acts of violence, reinforcing the idea that violence is morally legitimate only as a defensive measure and should be curbed whenever possible. World Hunger and Poverty • The Question: What ought the affluent do in the face of widespread famine, disease, and other kinds of suffering? • Some facts about wealth and poverty: UNICEF 2012: around 6.9 million children under 5 years old from avoidable poverty related causes annually (lack of food, lack of safe drinking water, otherwise preventable and curable diseases etc.) Extreme poverty - not enough income to meet the most basic human needs for adequate food, water, shelter, clothing, sanitation, health care and education. Poverty line: $1.25 a day. 1.4 billion people live below the poverty line. (Already adjusted to purchasing power) Nearly 1/2 of the world's population (over 3 billion people) live on less than $2.50 a day. 80% of the world population lives on less than $10 a day. Extreme poverty kills: life expectancy in rich nations averages 78 years, in the poorest nations it is below 50. Death of children under 5: rich countries/less than 1 in 100; poor countries/1 in 5 Affluence today: life expectancy; on average Americans spend 6% of their income on food. Peter Singer, The Life You Can Save - Drowning Child Thought Experiment - The Car Thought Experiment - The Hiker Thought Experiment The Basic Argument (1) Suffering and death from lack of food, shelter, and medical care are bad. (2) If it is in your power to prevent something bad from happening, without sacrificing anything nearly as important, it is wrong not to do so. (3) By donating to aid agencies, you can prevent suffering and death from lack of food, shelter, and medical care, without sacrificing anything nearly as important. C. Therefore, if you do not donate to aid agencies, you are doing something wrong. Premise 2 "without sacrificing anything nearly as important" = "without causing anything else comparably bad to happen, or doing something that is wrong in itself, or failing to promote some moral good, comparable in significance to the bad thing we can prevent." This premise could be weakened to "If it is in our power to prevent something very bad from happening... Etc." Two Implications Premise 2 makes no mention of proximity of distance: it doesn’t matter where in the world the (very) bad thing we can prevent is, we ought to prevent. Premise 2 makes no mention of whether others can also prevent the (very) bad thing, we ought to prevent it to no matter how many others can also. Defending premise 2 What grounds could there be for discriminating based on geographic location? Possible ignorance of what is going on far away from oneself and difficulty helping those far away - but this is no longer true given the advent of mass media and modern transportation. Further, arguably the fact that other people have the same obligations we do has no bearing on what obligations we have. The fact that other people are present who could save the drowning child implies nothing about my obligation to save them (especially if it might be that no one else saves them) Relatedly, our obligations do not disappear because other people fail theirs. Possible Objection Each of us is only obliged to contribute the amount that, if everyone contributed that same amount, would - in combination with everyone else's contribution - solve the problem. That amount is small. Therefore, each of us is obliged to only make a small contribution. Not everyone will give this amount. This obliges us to give more than the small amount. These things also happen over extended periods of time, so we can see how much others have given and how much more is needed to judge how much we ought to give. Consequences The everyday distinction between duty and charities is unjustified. It isn't merely good to donate money to famine relief, it's obligatory. Not donating is in the same moral category as not saving the drowning child. Homosexuality John Corvino: Why Shouldn't Tommy and Jim Have Sex? A Defense of Homosexuality Two objections to homosexual behavior: it is "unnatural", it is harmful. Corvino rejects both. Unnaturality Objection What does unnatural mean? What is unusual or abnormal is unnatural. Response: departing from the norm is not indicative of moral status. What is not practiced by other animals is unnatural. Response 1: non-human animals form homosexual bonds Response 2: something is not made immoral by the fact that other animals might not practice this very thing (e.g. cooking, driving, etc.) What does not proceed from innate desires is unnatural. Response: it is wrong to make a connection between the origin of homosexual orientation and the moral value of homosexual activity. What violates an organ's principle purpose is unnatural. Response: many of our organs, including sexual ones, have multiple purposes. Just because people can use their sexual organs to procreate, it does not mean that they should not use them for other purposes. What is disgusting or offensive is unnatural. Response: Aesthetic judgements do not and ought not to correlate with moral judgements (compare inter-racial relationships). Harmfulness Objection The Ramsey Colloquium: "homosexuality leads to the breakdown of the family, and, ultimately, of human society, and it points to the 'alarming rates of sexual promiscuity, depression, and suicide and the ominous presence of AIDS within the homosexual subculture.'" Does homosexuality harm those who engage in it? Risky behaviors (promiscuity, attempts at or suicide). Response: these phenomena may well be in part result of how society treats homosexuals. AIDS-related concerns: homosexual sex statistically more risky than heterosexual sex Response: given the argumentation above, women should steer clear in engaging in heterosexual sex There is nothing inherently risky about sex between persons of the same gender. Perhaps Tommy and Jim are failing to achieve the higher level of fulfillment possible in a heterosexual relationship. Response: this ignores the facts about why people enter homosexual relationships Does homosexuality harm other parties? Some possible concerns: Homosexuality threatens children (i) child molestation (ii) children are more likely to become homosexual Response to (i): we can't generalize to a whole group from a number of instances; debatable whether many men convicted of molesting young boys can be referred to as "homosexual" or even "bisexual". Response to (ii): this is erroneous circular reasoning; no evidence that exposure would lead to homosexuality Homosexuality threatens society - continuation of society requires procreation Response: the above does not require that everyone procreates. Also, if such an obligation did exist, it would only preclude exclusive homosexuality Gun Control (Hugh LaFollette) Abolition (concerns which guns should be available): Absolute: No guns should be allowed to be owned Moderate: Certain classes of gun should not be allowed to be owned No Abolition: All guns should be available to own Restriction (concerns which citizens should be allowed to own any guns): Absolute: No citizens should be allowed to own any guns Moderate: There should be restrictions on who can own the guns it is legal to own, and how these citizens are allowed to store and carry them No Restriction: There should be no restrictions on who can own the guns it is legal to own, or how these citizens are allowed to store and carry them People who believe in "a serious right to bear arms" are opposed to most abolition/restriction The constitution guarantees a legal right to bear arms, but not a moral right. Is gun ownership a fundamental (moral) right? Fundamental rights protect fundamental interests. Fundamental interests are common to everyone and concern our living good lives. Owning a gun is not a fundamental interest. It is not a constitutive element of our flourishing. Thus owning a gun is not a fundamental right. (LaFollette also considers the following argument: fundamental rights do not harm society. Allowing gun ownership harms society. Thus gun ownership is not a fundamental right.) Is gun ownership a derivative right? Derivative rights are rights we have that derive from fundamental rights. Example: we have a fundamental right to non-interference: I am free to do what I want as long as I do not pose a harm to others. My drinking alcohol does not pose harm to others. Therefore, I have a derivative right to drink alcohol. Such a night to drink may still be restricted (drink-driving laws, for example). LaFollette thinks this argument seems to apply to gun ownership. Is restricting or abolishing guns bad policy? It is bad policy to establish and enforce a law that most people will not voluntarily comply with, that is enforced via methods that are excessively intrusive, and that does not prevent serious enough harm. Is the cost of enacting gun control too high, relative to what it may achieve? First Conclusion: Given that people have a prime facie derivative right to own guns, and many people deem it important to do so, and there are costs to enforcing laws to control guns, we should not restrict gun ownership without good reason. Are there such reasons? Guns are inherently dangerous They are designed to harm. They are improved by making them better at harming. They are used to harm. Guns increase risk of harm The more serious the harm that general gun ownership causes, then the more reason there is to restrict it. Evidence concerning the harms and benefits of allowing gun ownership Armchair argument that guns harm: (1) Guns are easy to use to kill and harm. (2) People act differently when angry, and are more likely to use guns inappropriately on those occasions. (3) When people are depressed and have access to a gun, they are more likely to kill themselves. (4) Handling guns increases the probability of accidental death/injury. Armchair argument that guns do good: People are less likely to commit serious crimes if they think there is a chance they will be killed or injured while trying to do so. If gun ownership is widespread, people will know there is such a chance. So, crime will decrease. Some data: The more widely available guns are, the more murders there are (there is an even higher correlation with handguns). Correlation is not causation, but there is some evidence that gun-ownership is causally related to higher murder rates:
Are you sure you want to buy this material for
You're already Subscribed!
Looks like you've already subscribed to StudySoup, you won't need to purchase another subscription to get this material. To access this material simply click 'View Full Document'