Presentation on theme: "March 27, 2012 Kantian Deontology. Act Utilitarianism An action is morally wrong if and only if there is an alternative action that produces a greater."— Presentation transcript:
March 27, 2012 Kantian Deontology
Act Utilitarianism An action is morally wrong if and only if there is an alternative action that produces a greater balance of well- being over ill-being.
Objections Measurement problem Associative duties Promise to a dying friend Organ harvesting Miscarriage of justice Dirty hands The Repugnant Conclusion
Immanuel Kant (German, )
Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals Everything in nature works according to laws. Only a rational being has a willwhich is the ability to act according to the thought of laws, i.e. to act on principle.
Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals When the thought of an objective principle constrains a will, it is called a command (of reason), and its verbal expression is called an imperative.
Imperatives Hypothetical Categorical
Maxim The maxim contains the practical rule that reason comes up with in conformity with the state the person (the subject) is in, including his preferences, his ignorances, and so on; so it is the principle according to which the subject acts. Form: Do __X__ when __Y__ for the sake of __Z__.
The Categorical Imperative [W]hen I have the thought categorical imperative, I know right away what it will contain. For all the imperative contains is the law, and the necessity that the maxim conform to the law; and the law doesnt contain any condition limiting it (comparable with the condition that is always part of a hypothetical imperative). So there is nothing left for the maxim to conform to except the universality of a law as such, and what the imperative represents as necessary is just precisely that conformity of maxim to law.
The Categorical Imperative So there is only one categorical imperative, and this is it: Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.
CI Test Maxim: Do __X__ when __Y__ for the sake of __Z__. Law of Nature: Everyone __Xs__ when __Y__ for the sake of __Z__.
CI Test Maxim: Do __X__ when __Y__ for the sake of __Z__. Law of Nature: Everyone __Xs__ when __Y__ for the sake of __Z__. Test 1: Can there be such a world?
CI Test Maxim: Do __X__ when __Y__ for the sake of __Z__. Law of Nature: Everyone __Xs__ when __Y__ for the sake of __Z__. Test 1: Can there be such a world? Test 2: Can you rationally will that the world be that way?
Counterexamples Dinner at 6 The Large Withdrawal No Trespassing
Other Objections Maxim Specificity Content of Rationality
CI – Second Formulation But suppose there were something whose existence in itself had absolute value, something which as an end in itself could support determinate laws. That would be a basisindeed the only basisfor a possible categorical imperative, i.e. of a practical law.
CI – Second Formulation There is such a thing! It is a human being! I maintain that manand in general every rational beingexists as an end in himself and not merely as a means to be used by this or that will at its discretion.
CI – Second Formulation So here is the practical imperative: Act in such a way as to treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of anyone else, always as an end and never merely as a means.
Questions/Objections What does it mean to treat persons as ends? Consequences dont matter?