Introduction to Ethics
Introduction to Ethics PHIL 1175
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Ms. Abner Armstrong on Sunday October 11, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to PHIL 1175 at East Carolina University taught by Jay Newhard in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 111 views. For similar materials see /class/221358/phil-1175-east-carolina-university in PHIL-Philosophy at East Carolina University.
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Date Created: 10/11/15
Philosophy 1175 exam 2 study guide Divine command theory doctrine that says an action is morally right or wrong because it is commanded or forbidden by god an action upon which god has not pronounced is morally neutral prescriptive the Euthyphro question Are morally good acts willed by God because they are morally good or are they morally good because they are willed by God the Golden RuleDo unto others as you could have them do unto you deontologism the View that certain features in the act itself have intrinsic value hypothetical imperative the non moral principle that takes the form quotif you want A then do B categorical imperative a moral imperative that is unqualified and does not depend on one s desires act according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it will become a universal law do B acting from duty a good will acts from duty shop keeper charging boy normal prices acting merely in accord with duty doesn t act from good will not performed for sake of duty stopped stealing as much as before acting from inclination person giving to salvation army as a re ex desires Maxim a description ofa particular action Universalizability the rule that moral principles must apply to all people who are in a relevantly similar situation The Respect Rationality Imperative act so that you treat humanity whether in your own person or of another always as an end and never as a means only Don t use people 11 The nature of deontologism You should be able to answer the questions below What is divine command theory Is divine command theory correct Why or why not Reasons for accepting divine comm and theory 1 Religious reasons according to JudeoChristian religions god expects us to live according to his commands 2 The Kanhan argument ethical principles need to be enforced so that ultimately there is justice only god could enforce moral principles If god enforces moral principles they must be principles he approves and commands himself Reasons for rejecting divine command theory 1 Hume s objection the Christian god is an angry god and his commands should not be trusted to prescribe ethical actions 2 The con icting commands objection because god is mysterious there may be sharp disagreements as to what is commanded or forbidden The autonomy objection divine command theory requires an agent to submit her will to the will of god For example to forget her autonomy Therefore an agent is not responsible for her morally right actions E 4 The arbitrariness if divine command theory is correct any sort of action can turn out to be morally right or wrong In other words there is nothing about the action itself which makes it right or wrong 5 The irrelevance objection God s commands are irrelevant to what makes an action morally right or wrong What does the Euthyphro question show An action is morally right because it is love by the gods divine command theory is mistaken how does god see is as morally right or wrong and it is an irrelevant answer What problems are there with the Golden Rule Problems with the golden rule 1 Agent s preferences may not match preferences of person being acted upon In many cases this leads to absurd recommendations thus the golden rule cannot be taken literally If the preferences of the person being acted upon are given priority there will be problems where those preferences are for actions which are not morally permissible EX breaking someone out ofjail Equot What is it to have good intentions according to deontologism to have good intentions it is to have good reasons for acting What role does the faculty of reason have in doing a morally right action according to deontologism The will is the faculty which makes decisions but it needs information to do so It gets this information from the faculty ofreason which is used to formulate the maxim to determine the structure ofthe action and to run the universalizability test The faculty of reason is doing most of the work in moral decisionmaking and is necessary for a will to be a good will even though it is instrumentally good What are the three conclusions Kant draws from the three considerations Consideration 1 distinction between hypothetical imperatives and categorical imperatives Consideration 2 the faculties especially the will and reason The will intrinsically good The reason instrumentally g00d valuable but necessary for the will to make decisions A Ifa person is perfectly rational she will be perfectly moral B The results of an action are no component ofits moral worth Consideration 3 a good will a acts from duty not merely in accord with duty and b does not act from inclination Conclusion 1 moral principlecategorical imperative Conclusion 2 nothing is morally good in itself except a good will Conclusion 3 a good will acts from duty not inclination What are the three propositions of morality Kant derives from these three conclusions The three propositions of morality are 1 To have moral worth an action must be done from duty 2 An action performed from duty does not have its moral worth in the purpose which is to be achieved through it but in the maxim by which it is determined 3 Duty is the necessity of an action executed from respect for law ie a moral law What is the universalizability test and why is it important to deontologism Because if a maxim passes then every rational person must follow it What are the plausibilities of deontologism Plausibility s of Deontologism 1 Because we all need to run the universability test is our faculty of reason A Deontologism is accessible to everyone B Deontologism accounts for our intuition that agents are responsible for determining which actions are right and wrong 2 Deontologism is universal in that it applies to every creature with a faculty of reason developed to extent that it can run the universability test 3 Deontologism implies that every rational person will approve of every moral action 4 It explains the moral value of the life of a creature what has intrinsic moral values is the will and the faculty of reason is necessary for the will to function properly 5 A The universability test ensures that deontologism is objective It applies to every person regardless of any particular feature of that person and it requires the agent to consider every rational perspective B It is an objective moral theory in that it accounts for the moral value of rationality and sentience through the universability test C It is objective in that a community ofpeople who act from universalizable maxims would be a good place to live 6 It identifies the agent s good intentions as the morally significant feature of an action and it captures the idea that to have good intentions is to have good reasons for acting 7 Deontologism gives us a developed nation of what is to be considerate it is to step into someone else s shoes and adopt their rational preferences 8 A It explains why the golden rule is a rule of thumb conformity with the golden rule is a part of the universability test B It is stricter than the golden rule which in many cases is problematic especially where the agent s and other person s preferences match but are not universalizable 9It captures the intuition that it is morally wrong for an agent to make a special exception for herself What if everyone did that 10 It explains normative force It is the force exerted on a rational creature to preform a certain action when it realizes that the maxim describing that action is universalizable 11 Deontologism provides a basis for moral rights What are the objections to deontologism Objections to deontologism 1 It is not always clear what maxim to use A Its not always clear how much detail to use EX I will charge the boy my regular prices B Sometimes the same action can be described in different ways EX I will help my friend feel better about himself and I will pull the lever and send the trolley onto the sidetracks in order to save 5 lives C It s not always clear what quotrider clauses to include EX First aid and ride to bank D The categorical imperative sometimes con icts with the respect rationality imperative EX I will convince my friend to not go sperlunking because it is dangerous 2 Some maxims require the judgment of the agent EX I will show mercy to the person who stole my car letting a car onto traffic unless I have an emergency 3 The universalizability test does not indicated actions are morally neutral in fact it seems that there are no morally neutral actions according to deontologism 4 In some cases it seems that there is no universalizable maxim yet there is a morally right course of action EX con icting promises 5 Intolerance of exceptions deontologism seems to get some cases wrong EX Sally s car accident axe murderer at door an unfortunate promise 6 The universalizability test does not indicate duty unless the agent is working with true benefits EX overzealous Nazi 7 It doesn t account for the significance which results of an action seem to have EX botched fire vs successful fire stop sign no cop vs stop sign kill kid Same moral wrongness 8 How can morally right actions be modeled if they are independent of desires 9 If actions are done from duty then it seems that there are no superogatory action 111 Cases We ve discussed numerous situations for which deontologism prescribes a certain course of action You should be able to determine whether a particular maxim is Universalizable Some more maxims are given below for each determine whether it is Universalizable If it is not think about how it might be changed into a maxim which is Universalizable Also given a particular scenario you should be able to formulate a Universalizable maxim for the morally right action according to deontologism or determine that there in none 1 Iwill vote for the community to build the basketball court instead of the bowling alley 2 I will invite Fat to the party 3 In order to prevent another largescale loss of innocent human life I will assassinate Osama bin Laden 4 I will become an astronaut 5 I will open an art gallery to help promote art which I believe is not receiving the attention which ought to be paid to it 6 I will administer this placebo to this patient 7 Since the best diagnosis of this patient is that her illness is psychosomatic ie the illness is real but has psychological causes I will administer a placebo 8 I will wear a Barack Obama tshirt tomorrow to celebrate his being elected the 44th US President as well as to celebrate the progress of our multicultural society MAXIM as long as it is my preference to do so 9 I will put on a halfwhite amp halfblack glove in the end zone after scoring my next touchdown to celebrate Barack Obama s being elected the 44th US president as well as to celebrate the progress of our multicultural society See wwwyoutubecomwatchv5mVY0693bK8 NOT a universalizable maxim rational to object to it because causes penalty 10 I will swim out into that water with the strong undertow to save that person who is crying out for help