Philosophy 4: Intro to Ethics
Philosophy 4: Intro to Ethics
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This 5 page Reader was uploaded by Hannah DuVivier on Friday April 11, 2014. The Reader belongs to a course at University of California Santa Barbara taught by a professor in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 131 views.
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Date Created: 04/11/14
9 April 2014 Why think about career choice We39ll spend 80000 hours of our lives working 0 Career choice is one of the most important decisions we39ll ever make Will MacAski wanted to make the most of those hours He didn39t care whether it is morally obligatory or optional to pursue an altruistic career He just wanted to know how to do what39s best But remarkably little has been written on this aspect of the ethics of career choice So he started with the standard public discourse of ethica careers The Standard View Make a difference How can you make the most difference How much good could you do if you really tried With my money 0 MacAski found that you can save a life for 300 With my career 0 Perhaps if I were to pursue a different career I could do even more good The standard view of ethical career choice direct benefitting careers are best MacAski suggests that through highimpact ethical careers you can make an even bigger difference Making the most difference He gives 4 arguments why you can do more good through professional philanthropy than through a direct benefitting career Charity Work Suppose I became a developing world doctor If so then I would save lives on a regular basis But could I do more How much could I earn What ifI became an altruistic banker pursuing a lucrative career in order to donate my earnings Even ifI eveed out low in the ranks of investment banking my lifetime earnings would be roughly 10 million dollars Professional Philanthropy Using this money I could pay for several deveoping word doctors That means I d save several times as many lives And MacAski argues that there are further reasons in favor of this route 2 Doing something different Making a difference requires doing something that wouldn39t have happened anyway IfI don39t become a doctor someone else would do the same work instead of me 0 Person 1 saves 10 people 0 Replacement saves 8 people 0 Person 1 makes a different of 2 people Similarly ifI turned down professional philanthropy another banker would take my place But they would donate very little The result would be fewer doctors so almost everyone saved by my donations would have died 3 Flexibility Also money can be used to further almost any cause This means that I could fund only those causes I believe to be the very best In contrast as a charity worker I d be much more restricted in where I could work Some causes are thousands of times more effective with their resources than others so this is a big deal 4 Uncertainty Moreover we should be uncertain about which activities do the most good with the resources we give them We might discover new evidence or opportunities which mean we should change our mind As a charity worker its difficult to shift the field in which you work But a professional philanthropist can switch causes very easily Professional Philanthropy So should we all go into lucrative careers and become professional philanthropists Or could we do even more good again Research Some researchers have done huge amounts of good Norman Borlaug in developing disease resistant wheat directly saved 250 million people Even taking into account replaceability his impact is likely in the tens of millions Influencing others And maybe we can influence others to do good in their lives Some people have certainly had a huge impact in this way So consider now the canny persuader She encourages others to pursue a high impact ethical career Over her lifetime she persuades 100 people to become professional philanthropists If you become an altruistic banker by donating 50 o to Against Malaria Foundation you could save about 10000 live Objections Causing harm 0 Don39t many lucrative profit making careers cause harm 0 Many lucrative careers are really pretty innocuous harmless 0 And even for those careers which are harmful No one might be worse off Jim and the Indians Jim backpacker in South America wanders through country having a Civil War He comes across a captain and the captain is going to shoot 50 rebellious people Jim is the honorable guest captain says that if Jim shoots one of them he will spare the other 49 You39d likely do less harm than whoever would have done the job instead of you Does the harm outweigh the tens of thousands of lives you1save 0 Real life example Oskar Schindler ran Nazi munitions factories and used his earning to buy 1200 Jewish lives The system Are you supporting an unjust system But remember that you can fund any cause 0 If the most important cause is ending capitalism you could fund anti capitaist campaigning Engels became a partner at a factory a job which he hated in order to fund Marx39s research and printing Integrity What about my integrity George and the chemical weapons MacAski grants this is an important consideration But of all the lucrative careers he reckons you should be able to find out that doesn39t violate your integrity And for those that do violate integrity he asks o Can you change the projects you have o Is your loss of integrity sufficient to outweigh the thousands of lives you can save Getting corrupted Won t you burn out or get corrupted if you pursue a lucrative career and then end up donating nothing Section Notes 10 April 2014 Evaluating actions rightwrong deontic vs Evaluating persons gocclbadl evaluative Morally required to not X Not morally required to not X morally impermissible Liam in the broad sensefpermissible Morally required to X Not morally required t X ght in narrow sense opjigual suaezenogamgx morally neutral Excuses vs Justification Excuse X has an excuse for doing A action A is impermissible but X is not blameworthy for having done A Duress Justification X has a justification for doing A action A is pro tanto wrong there could be cases when something can be overridden ie You kill someone in self defense 9 killing is pro tanto wrong but in this specific case it was justified or overridden by strong moral reasons such as saving your life but is overridden by stronger moral reasons Career choices 11 April 2014 The Ethics of Torture The Ticking Time Bomb Scenario What is torture Intentional infliction of extreme physical or psychological suffering Targets autonomy itself Tries to overwhelm the tortured person39s rational control over his own decision Tries to break them down The Kantian Argument Against Torture We simply do not torture people Deontology we should never act in ways that treat people as merely means towards our ends or goals Why not 0 Torture treats human beings in undignified ways Negative effects of torture Leads to a variety of psychological and social problems often including drug and alcohol abuse Torturers relationships suffer They are often viewed with contempt and as having been defied Torture changes the torturer it dehumanizes them Torture doesn39t work 0 People want to please the torturer 0 People will say anything to get someone to stop hurting them Opening the door to torture could lead to wider more systematic use with greater frequency Closing argument against torture Goes against presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial Goes against human dignity as inherent and applicable to all humans Undermines the belief that everyone has basic rights included not to be treated in cruel inhumane and degrading ways The Utilitarian Argument for Torture Focus is on results ie consequences The greatest happiness for the greatest number Something is ethically justified if it leads to good outcomes for lots of people the greatest good for the greatest number in the long run More formally 0 An act is morally right if and only if that act maximizes the good that is if and only if the total amount of good for all minus the total amount of bad for all is greater than this net amount for any incompatible act available to the agent on that occasion Psychological state of torturer Why do we care about the psychological state of the torturer If they can t do the work find someone else What makes this different than a sniper or assassin In those cases they are actually killing someone Torture doesn39t work When we are looking at the destruction of NYC and LA shall we not give it a shot Even a 5 o chance of success ought to justify torture The slippery slope and torture warrants Torture of a suspect would be permitted with pre approva from a judge From a procedural standpoint isn t it better to have approval for torture on the books in a transparent matter that lends itself to accountability Torture Warrants what would the process look like For a warrant judges would need compelling evidence Rights of suspect would be strengthened by such oversight Prisoner granted immunity told he was now compelled to testify and asked to give the information Only after refusing to talk at this point when he could not even incriminate himself would be he threatened with torture If he still remained silent he would be subjected to judicially monitored physical measures designed to cause him excruciating pain without leaving any lasting damage
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