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Week 3 Lecture Notes

by: Edward Avakian

Week 3 Lecture Notes Crm/Law C163

Edward Avakian
GPA 3.62

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These notes covered what was lectured in week 3
Ethics and Politics of Justice
Geoff Ward
Class Notes
Crim, Law, criminology, ethics, Justice
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This 10 page Class Notes was uploaded by Edward Avakian on Wednesday April 13, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Crm/Law C163 at University of California - Irvine taught by Geoff Ward in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see Ethics and Politics of Justice in Criminology and Criminal Justice at University of California - Irvine.

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Date Created: 04/13/16
Crim C163 Lecture 5 Week 3 04/11/2016 ▯ Ethics & Politics of Justice, Monday Week 3 ▯ ▯ <Utility and Deontology, Key normative theories> ▯ ▯ Dudley v Stephens  Is utilitarianism a defense for murder?  Claimed necessity as a defense  Murder was murder; case went to trial ▯ ▯ The Queen v Dudley & Stephens  What should the crew have done?  Why was the killing “just” or unjust, how so?  Is “necessity” a viable defense for murder, ethically, how about legally?  What would make this a just solution? ▯ ▯ What did the court decide?  *Necessity is not a moral or legal defense for murder  “To preserve one’s life is generally speaking a duty, but it may be the plainest and the highest duty to sacrifice it. War is full of instances in which it is a man’s duty not to live, but to die. The duty, in case of shipwreck, of a captain to his crew, of the crew to the passengers, of soldiers to women and children; These duties impose on men the moral necessity, not of the preservation, but of the sacrifice of their lives for others, from which in no country, least of all, it is to be hoped, in England, will men every shrink, as indeed, they have not shrunk.” ▯ ▯ <Life Examined – Or not!, Problems of ethical egocentrism and fading> ▯ ▯ Not simply about bad people… Impediments to ethical choices and behavior  There are several quite common, often subtle forms of unethical decision making and behavior that undermine organizational/societal well-being: o Implicit prejudice o In-group favoritism o Over-claiming credit  There are several subtle mechanisms of ethical disengagement o Egocentric ethics o Ethical fading ▯ ▯ The problem of ethical egocentrism  Egocentric bias and the lack of reflection o People are automatically inclined to interpret their own actions egocentrically o People automatically evaluate those interpretations as good/bad o Moral judgments about fairness/ unfairness are based upon these automatic evaluative responses  Automatic egocentrism – produced by automatic and unconscious psychological mechanisms – occurs because personal experience is more efficient than inference, people automatically interpret objects/events egocentrically, rather than reflect o Positive automatic evaluations – the perception that an ethical event is moral o Negative automatic evaluations – the perception that an ethical event is immoral  Conscious reasoning is shaped by unconscious behaviors and judgments – it occurs after impressions have already been made o Biased by unconscious process of ideas ▯ ▯ The problem of ethical fading  A related mechanism of retreating from moral reflection is described as “ethical fading”  Ethical fading – the process by which the moral colors of an ethical decision fade into bleached hues that are void of moral implications. Self-deception is at the root of this  Enablers of self-deception: o Language euphemisms – disguised stories we tell ourselves about unethical actions o Slippery slope of decision-making – self-reproof is diminished through repeated exposures and induction mechanism (if past practices were considered ethical then similar, current practices are as well), without additional reflection o Errors in perceptual causation – inaccurate assignment of blame  Example) sexual assault o Constraints inducted by representations of the self—no real understanding of an objective truth  Ethical decisions involve a trade-off between self-interest and moral principles. We aren’t very good at choosing the later ▯ ▯ <Normative ethics, what should we do? Who should we be?> ▯ ▯ Three frameworks to normative ethics  Consequentialism: doctrine that the morality of an action is to be judged solely by its consequences  Deontology: the study of moral obligation; ethical theory concerned with duties and rights  Virtue ethics: doctrine that focuses on who we should BE, rather than what we should DO ▯ ▯ Consequentialism - Three ways  Ethical egoism o Utilitarian argument: what’s in your own interests  Contractualism  Utilitarianism Social contract theory  Claims that what matters morally are self-interests, however, we have a stake in collective good  The social contract provides a basis for moral consciousness and action (i.e., consideration of others), because of its utility  Explain the supposed utility of contractualism o Contract has utility in that it provides a general basis of trust and cooperation that we need to exist as self-interested individuals Whose social contract?  The North Miami Beach PD was caught last year using pictures of black Americans for sniper practice at a firing range  Sgt. Valerie Deant recognized one of the photos riddled with bullet holes as her brother’s mugshot, taken when we was arrested 15 years ago at age 18 ▯ ▯ What justice for those unjustly killed by police?  US police killed at least 5,600 people between 2000 and 2014 ▯ ▯ <Utilitarianism, righteous consequences of right acts>  Trolley car experiment ▯ ▯ ***Bentham’s principle of utility  Utility defined: “The property in any object whereby it tends to produce benefit, advantage, pleasure, good or happiness…or…to prevent…mischief, pain, evil or unhappiness.”  Ethical principle of utility: “whenever we have a choice between alternative actions or social policies, we must choose the one which has the best overall consequences for everyone concerned.” ▯ ▯ Classical utilitarianism  The doctrine that an action is right insofar as it promotes happiness, and that the greatest happiness of the greatest number should be the guiding principle of conduct.  Key principles o Always concerned with the actual effects of our choices o Want to make the world a better place for all and increase the extent of well-being in the world o Individual interests are sacrificed to the interests of all. ▯ ▯ Consequentialist claims  Consequentialists distinguish three aspects of theory/project: o 1- Their thesis about what makes acts morally wrong o 2- Their thesis about the procedure agents should use to make their moral decisions, and o 3- Their thesis about the conditions under which moral sanctions such as blame, guilt, and praise are appropriate ▯ ▯ Determining right action  Consequentialists suggest “right” action can be identified by: o Act consequentialism: asking ourselves in relation to each act, whether or not it promotes the greatest good o Rule consequentialism: keeping to certain rules may produce better consequences than trying to determine what consequences follow from every individual action ▯ ▯ Rule consequentialism—key claims  1. an act is morally wrong if and only if forbidden by rules justified by their consequences,  2. agents should do their moral decision-making in terms of rules justified by their consequences.  3. the conditions under which moral sanctions should be applied are determined by these rules justified by their (expected) consequences. ▯ ▯ Problems with Utilitarianism  The problem of prediction: Can we really know the consequences of our actions? Is it reasonable to entrust “intended” consequences (vs. real and expected consequences)?  Only happiness?: are there not aspects of morality (i.e., values) we should seek to maximize, such as truth, dignity, and fairness  Only consequences?: what about the means to these ends— questions of justice, for example?  What amount of minority pain for majority gain? ▯ ▯ Crim C163 Lecture 6 Week 3 04/13/2016 ▯ <Deontology: a focus on ethical imperatives> ▯ ▯ Ethical dilemma = situation where there is a question of right and wrong and what you should do; how you should act, the choice you should make ▯ ▯ Law is not a reliable basis on moral reasoning ▯ ▯ Three takes on deontological perspective  Kantian ethics  Prima facie duties  Rights-based ethics ▯ ▯ We have an obligation to do what is right; it is our duty to adhere to moral rules = deontology ▯ ▯ Kant’s notion of ethical imperative  According to Immanuel Kant, a deontological moral philosopher and moral absolutist, morality depends on following absolute rules  The following tenets characterize his deontological perspective: o We should focus on the morality of the act, not outcomes of our choices o The only motive that provides moral worth is duty; the central question is “what ought I do?”  Duty = what we are obligated to do o The challenge is to impose a moral law on ourselves, and to have the will and courage to obey it ▯ ▯ Utilitarianism = depends on consequence and greatest utility; lying in some situations might have great utility and be morally justified; in other situations not; no absolute rule about dishonesty ▯ ▯ Change a failing grade?  The Ethicist, by Randy Cohen  Deontological argument = violation of integrity, fundamentally wrong  Utilitarian argument = it is not in the student’s greatest interest and others in the class  Utility = greatest interest for greatest number is not served; if you can negotiate your grades individually, what does a grade point average really mean, and are you devaluing other people’s work and grades ▯ ▯ What are these imperatives?  Deontology argues there are some moral obligations/imperatives that we can identify as duties that are sort of imposed upon us  Kantian ethics (deontology) proposes that there are moral obligations (i.e., duties) which can also be referred to as “imperatives”  We can distinguish between two types of imperatives: o Hypothetical imperatives: commands we ought to follow if we have a certain desire we wish to achieve or realize o Categorical imperatives: absolute commands we ought follow under all circumstances  Hypothetical imperatives have more relevance to consequentialism than deontology, as they are “if-then” propositions  For deontology, hypothetical imperatives have no moral authority, since one can easily escape the imperative by renouncing the outcome they claim to offer ▯ ▯ Moral obligations are categorical imperatives  Kantian ethics suggests we should ONLY act according to categorical imperatives. We do so by, o Evaluating the maxim of the act when resolving an ethical dilemma, which means, asking ourselves:  “What is the moral rule or reasoning I am following by making this choice?” o The maxim should be consistent with a categorical imperative, such as demonstrating respect for all persons. If we are not willing to make this maxim a universal law, we should not follow its rule or reasoning ▯ ▯ Determining categorical imperatives  For Kant, moral duties are derived from categorical (absolute and universal) imperatives, and these define our moral duties. But what are these imperatives?  They are duties derived from a procedure of assessing choices in light of this rule: o “Act only according to the maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law”  Acts which do not satisfy this rule are not categorical imperatives, and thus, are not based on a maxim with a sound moral basis  Examples of maxims which do pass this rule, and are categorical imperatives (according to Kant), include: o Respect for all persons: Act so as to treat humanity, whether in your own person or that of any other, as an end and never a means only o Honesty: since we would not want deception to be a universal law, we should accept our duty to be honest. Even in the case of the “inquiring murder”? ▯ ▯ <Prima Facie Duties: resolving the conflict between duties>  Problems of utilitarianism = can’t predict future; not very practical because we’re not sitting around doing the math all the time  PF duties = response to challenges faced by deontology  Deontology for some constitutes “blinders” (not being mindful of the complexity of the situation around them) ▯ ▯ Conflicting categorical imperatives  In cases where we face two seemingly equal categorical imperatives (i.e., the inquiring murderer), and our choice will violate one or the other, how should we choose?  Classic Kantian ethics provides little assistance here. As such, other deontologists have tried to reconcile the issue by introducing the concept of Prima Facie Duties  Prima Facie Duties are conditional, and while they all should be followed in most cases, one or more can be overridden by others that are more imperative ▯ ▯ So how do we know what is most imperative? By making considered decisions about priority  Categories of prima-facie duty, and some examples: o Duties of fidelity: keep promises, honor contracts, tell the truth o Duties of reparation: rests on previous acts; duty to right wrongs o Duties of gratitude: rests on previous acts of others; appreciation o Duties of beneficence: forward looking; duty to create good will o Duties of nonmaleficence: forward looking; duty to do no harm o Duties of justice: duty to promote fairness and equity o Duties of self-improvement: duty to develop and nurture oneself ▯ ▯ What remains distinct is that this deontological perspective is saying that we have an array but not an indefinite array of categorical imperatives that coexist and have conflict with each other; we can move these around, but how many can I satisfy with the choices I make ▯ ▯ <Rights-Based ethics: another (complimentary) view of morality as a system of obligations>  practical effort to interpret and apply the notions of deontology  rights essential define duties and obligations that we are obligated to recognize Kinds of rights: natural rights  Natural rights: rooted in a notion of moral universalism, these are rights all enjoy by virtue of their membership in the human family, regardless of their societal status  Example) U.N. Declaration of Human Rights o All humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights o No one shall be subject to slavery or servitude o No one shall be subject to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment o Everyone is equal before the law ▯ ▯ Moral vs. Legal rights  Moral rights: define basic rights humans (should) enjoy in the moral universe, and exist prior to and independent of legal rights. Moral rights are derived from notions of natural rights  Legal rights: protections and procedures defined by government, which specify the recognized and enforced by government  Whereas legal rights may not in form or practice recognize moral rights, from an ethical perspective, NATURAL and MORAL rights are more binding ▯ ▯ Positive vs Negative rights, and the correlativity of rights and duties  Positive rights: define opportunities, or that which we are entitled to experience o EX) right to vote, bear arms  Negative rights: define limitations, or that which we are entitled to avoid o EX) anti-discrimination law  Correlativity of rights & duties: a recognition of the dependency of our possessing rights and others acknowledging their duties defined or implied by these rights o Rights are only so good as others’ recognition of their related obligations o Rights and duties are deeply intertwined ▯ ▯


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