Philosophy 4: Intro to Ethics
Philosophy 4: Intro to Ethics
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Date Created: 04/25/14
Philosophy 4 Intro to Ethics 42514 528 PM 23 April 2014 Libertarianism What do sef identified libertarians typically believe Drugs should be legalized Legalize voluntary euthanasia mercy killing Support reproductive rights and most are pro choice on abortion Favor free markets oppose economic regulations and trade barriers Oppose taxation funded welfare provided by the state Libertarianism left or right Some identify with mainstream libertarian views on social matters but not on economic ones Some others identify with mainstream libertarian views on economic matters but not on social matters Libertarianism as a philosophical view Libertarianism the central claim Each of us has a fundamental right to liberty ie the right to do whatever we want with the things we own provided we respect other people39s rights to do the same Sande pg 60 The Moral basis of libertarianism sef ownership Each of us owns hisher body and mind Each of us owns hisher own labor Each of us owns the fruits of hisher labor Sef ownership and rights What I own What moral rights do I have My body and mind Rights not to be killed injured enslaved or violated without my consent Rights to free speech and freedom of association My labor Right to use or provide or sell my labor as I see fit The fruits of my labor Rights to acquire and do what I wish with my personal property Consequentialist Moral theories Nonconsequentialist moral theories Utilitarianism Kant s Deontological theory Act utiitarianism ie Bentham Mill Virtue ethics Rue utiitarianism Rights based theories ie Libertarianism Scenarios The Fat man on the bridge ActUtilitarianism 0 Push him if it produces the greatest overall net happiness Libertarianism 0 Don39t push him he has a right against being killedinjured without his consent The people at sea captain kills cabin boy so him and the other sailors can survive ActUtilitarianism 0 Kill and eat the cabin boy if it maximizes overall utility Libertarianism 0 You can39t kill or eat him without his consent because you will violate his moral rights Ticking time bomb torturing innocent ActUtilitarianism 0 Get out the pliers and torture the innocent Libertarianism 0 Don39t do it Torture interferes with bodily rights of innocent persons Ticking time bomb torturing terrorists ActUtilitarianism o Torture terrorist Libertarianism 0 Has the terrorist forfeited hisher rights by violating someone else s rights Saving the drowning child passing shallow pond stranger39s child is drowning ActUtilitarianism 0 Save the child Libertarianism o The child has no m that you save him he doesn39t own you or your labor 0 Does this imply that it is morally permissible Lot to save the child Rights and morality the Libertarian view Libertarians hold that if an act violates a right then it is the morally wrong act However most libertarians do NOT claim that morality is ONLY about respecting rights Rights and morality Libertarianism as a political morality Libertarianism s core concern what are the legitimate limits of State power The standard libertarian answer state coercion is illegitimate if it violates its citizens moral rights Hence the libertarian focus on evaluating particular laws Saving drowning child The libertarian view 1 The state cannot legitimately force you to save the child because the child has no moral right that you save him and you have amoral right to do what you wish provided you don39t violate the rights of others 2 Nonetheless it may be that you ought morally to save him Implications of Libertarianism The Libertarian rejects three types of laws that modern societies commonly enact 1 No Paternalismz libertarians oppose laws to protect people from harming themselves a Paternalistic laws are laws that restrict a person39s liberty for hisher own sake Eg Wearing a seatbelt 2 No Morals Legislation libertarians oppose using the coercive force of law to promote notions of virtue or to express the moral convictions of the majority a Eg Against Good Samaritan laws or laws banning prostitution or gay marriage b For libertarians the State cannot legitimately prohibit voluntary euthanasia on the ground that the majority finds it morally objectionable 3 No redistribution of income or wealth typically libertarians oppose laws requiring some people to help others including taxation for redistribution of wealth a For any libertarian the state cannot legitimately tax some persons in order to promote the welfare of others Clarification Notice that libertarianism does Lt claim that these policies are necessarily wrong Rather in each case it suggests that a certain policy cannot be justified by a particular reason Libertarianism left or right Is it inconsistent to be a libertarian on economic issues not bot on social ones 0 Arguments consistent with libertarianism are offered in support of this mixed position Some claim that drug laws are necessary because they cause harm to others besides drug users Some argue that euthanasia should be illegal because the potential for abuse is so great Is it inconsistent to be a libertarian on social issues but not on economic ones 0 Here39s an argument used in support of this mixed position Plausibly we own ourselves But its less clear that we own what is currently in our possession Redistribution might be necessary in order to create a society that is consistent with the libertarian view ofjustice in holdings Who owns what The libertarian opposition to taxation for welfare programs presupposes that those who are being taxed are morally entitled to their assets Is that assumption consistent with libertarianism Justice in Holdings Nozick s Entitlement Theory Robert Nozick Anarchy State and Utopia 1975 1 Justice in Acquisition a How are unowned things justly acquired 2 Justice in Transfer a How are owned things justly transferred A distribution is just when all holdings were acquired and transferred in accordance with these principles 3 Justice in Rectification a How ought past injustices to be rectified Nozick s proposal ideally reallocate holdings to bring about the set of holdings that would exist had past injustices not taken place Most sympathetic readers of Nozick ignore this bit Justice and the real world According to the entitlement theory The current distribution of holdings in the US is just only if all current holdings property land wealth were acquired and transferred by legitimate processes Are they To address this we need to look at the actual history Past violations of justice in transfer What would just rectification require 0 Nozick s proposal wont help eg its impossible to say who would have what if such injustices had not taken place 0 Some argue that justice in rectification requires mass redistribution of wealth and income That provides one possible albeit controversial libertarian justification for welfare programs Objections to libertarianism Kidneys for cash Consensual cannibalism Section Notes 24 April 2014 Office hours Wednesday 46 Thursday 35 Transplant case objection killing someone to get their organs to save 5 others Utilitarianism 9 it is the right thing to do If utilitarianism is true then we should kill innocent person to save the 5 We shouldn39t kill innocent person to save the 5 Therefore utilitarianism if wrong Bum s account of racism 9 antipathy or inferiorization Racist Mere racial ill something Morally okay morally problematic in the broadest sense possible Stereotypes Stereotypes Cultural appropriation Cultural appropriation Cultural appropriation depending on the situation eg teacher example It all seems to depend on the situation Stereotypes If its not wrong in the sense that there is no inferiorization or antipathy what makes it wrong eg blacks are good dancers not bad per se You are overgeneralizing someone Homogenization of someone not treating them as an individual Not morally okay at some point someone will have a problem with it Racial humor Accents 9 if you are imitating the accent and you like it is it bad 0 But if you39re doing it in a mocking way that39s another story If you make fun of everyone and not single people out by not making fun of them 9 eg South Park Cultural appropriation Using something from another culture 9 depends on the intent of the person If a teacher were dressing up to teach a class and use the clothes as an educational material 9 morally ok 25 April 2014 The Ethics of Abortion Part 1 Two Distinct Issues 1 Is abortion ever morally permissible and if so when 2 Would a law prohibiting abortion be legitimate Questions for reflection Some claim that abortion should be legal even in cases where they believe that it is morally wrong Would it ever be consistent to hold that a abortion is always morally permissible yet b it ought to be illegal Different cases Do you think that abortion is morally permissible in the following cases o To save the mothers life where the fetus would die anyway o In cases where pregnancy is due to rape o For a pregnant 12 year old girl o Where the mother cannot afford to feed any more children o Where the child would be born into slavery o For whatever reason up to 3 months Liberal vs Conservative Views What39s the difference Each position includes a spectrum of views Extreme Conservative with no exceptions abortion is seriously morally wrong Extreme Liberal abortion is never morally wrong A Pro Life Argument Premise 1 From conception the fetus is an innocent human being Premise 2 It is seriously morally wrong to kill innocent human beings So Conclusion Abortion is seriously morally wrong One worry Is it always wrong to kill innocent human beings Eg is premise 2 really true Marry Anne Warren39s Critique Warren points out an ambiguity in human being 0 Genetically human having human DNA o Morally human a member of the moral community The Moral Status of the EmbryoFetus At what stage if any is the embryofetus a person ie a member of the moral community Members of the moral community have rights including the right to life Conservatives tend to answer form conception Liberals tend to answer later on A right to life To evaluate this pro life argument it looks like we need to address a distinct issue namely when if ever is an embryofetus a person with a right to life A Pro Choice Argument Premise 1 each woman has a right to decide what happens in or to her own body Premise 2 abortion involves doing something in or to a woman39s body So Conclusion a women has a right to decide whether or not to have an abortion ie conclusion abortion is morally permissible the argument looks okay if we also assume that the embryofetus has no right to life at that time But what if at that time the embryofetus does have a right to life Doesn39t the right to life outweigh the right to decide what happens into your body Does the fetus have a right to life So far it looks like the question of when if ever the embryo has a right to life is the key question in the abortion debate Judith Jarvis Thomson today39s reading A Defense of Abortion For the aske of argument Thomson assumes that the embryofetus has a right to life from the moment of conception She argues that there would be many circumstances where abortion is not morally wrong The Violinist Violinist is an innocent person with right to life Whose right wins This suggests that a fetus right to life doesn39t always trump the women39s right to choose what happens to her body The violinist case suggests that abortion is morally permissible in the case ofrape What about other cases 0 Where mother used contraception 0 Where mother didn39t use contraception 0 Where mother39s life is in danger The Henry Fonda Case The right to life is NOT a right not to be killed It is rather a right not to be killed unjustly Thomson How could someone ever come to have a right to use your body to stay alive Perhaps if you voluntarily grant someone this right Violinist you never granted him a right to use your body to stay alive In case of rape you never granted fetus the right to use her body What about cases not involving rape An opponent of abortion might argue o A woman who voluntarily has intercourse knowing that she might get pregnant grants the fetus a right to use her body Peope Seeds and Abortion The peope seeds case is supposed to show that abortion is morally permissible in cases where the women was using contraception Thomson Recap Even if the fetus has a right to life from contraception 0 Abortion is morally permissible in cases of rape 0 Abortion is permissible where the mother uses contraception 0 But by implication abortion is not permissible where the mother has voluntary intercourse but uses no contraception What about when the mother39s life is in danger The Rapidly Growing Child You are trapped in a tiny house with a rapidly growing child In a few minutes you will be crushed to death In sef defense it is morally permissible to kill the child A caveat Where the mother has not granted the fetus a right to use her body the mother only has a right to detach the fetus There is no right that the fetus be detached and killed So if the fetus is viable the mother cannot insist that the fetus be killed
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