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Lec 15: Are There Absolute Moral Rules?.  Two-tier Utilitarianism.

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Presentation on theme: "Lec 15: Are There Absolute Moral Rules?.  Two-tier Utilitarianism."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lec 15: Are There Absolute Moral Rules?

2  Two-tier Utilitarianism

3  Rule Utilitarianism  Act Utilitarianism

4 How would a rule about lying have affected some of the disturbing scenarios in chapter 8? 1. arrest of the innocent man? 2. the laughing policemen?

5 Is Utilitarianism too demanding?

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9 Are There Absolute Moral Rules?  Yes, according to the Divine Command theorists...  No, according to the Utilitarians...  What do you think?  What does Kant think?

10 9.1 Harry Truman and Elizabeth Anscombe  Truman: the end justifies the means...  Anscombe: there are some things that may not be done, no matter what...

11 9.1 Harry Truman and Elizabeth Anscombe  Which of them is using Utilitarian thinking?

12 Hiroshima and Nagasaki  Hiroshima: 70,000 died immediately. By the end of the year, another 30,000 to 60,000 died from burns and radiation poisoning....  Nagasaki: immediate 40,000 to 70,000 dead - by end of year – another 10,000 or 20,000 dead

13 Hiroshima and Nagasaki  Hiroshima: 70,000 died immediately. By the end of the year, another 30,000 to 60,000 died from burns and radiation poisoning....  Nagasaki: immediate 40,000 to 70,000 dead - end of year - another 10,000 or 20,000

14 Elizabeth Anscombe....  It does not matter if we could accomplish some great good by boiling a baby.....it just must not be done...

15 Elizabeth Anscombe....  It does not matter if we could accomplish some great good by boiling a baby.....it just must not be done...

16 Elizabeth Anscombe....  It does not matter if we could accomplish some great good by boiling a baby.....it just must not be done...

17 Immanuel Kant

18 9.2 The Categorical Imperative  Imperative: a command or order  Categorical: without qualification  Duty-defined morality....  No exceptions....

19 9.2 The Categorical Imperative  According to Kant, we must ignore the consequences because they tempt us away from our duty.  Our Reason tells us what is the right thing to do. We musn’t let our emotions (fear and desire) fudge the line....

20 9.2 The Categorical Imperative  Hypothetical imperative if you want this result, you should do this....  Categorical imperative you should do this (regardless of your wants....)

21 9.2 The Categorical Imperative  Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law. Maxim: a sentence giving a general truth or rule of conduct

22 Note the shift in terminology....  Consequentialist (Utilitarian): good vs. bad (analog)  Deontological (Kantian): right vs. wrong (digital)

23 9.3 Kant’s Arguments on Lying  Inquiring Murderer Case  If he asks you where his intended victim is...

24 Kant and the Inquiring Murderer…  Where is your friend…? I want to kill him.  What to say?  The truth….

25 9.3 Kant’s Arguments on Lying Anscombe asks: What if we write the rule to reflect the circumstances more closely?  It’s wrong to tell a lie except when a life hangs in the balance.  Problems?

26 Kant and the Golden Rule? A maxim for writing maxims...  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

27 9.4 Conflicts between Rules If two rules come into conflict, they can't both be absolute... The case of the Dutch Fishermen...

28 9.5 Kant’s Important Insight  Moral judgments must be backed by consistent (impartially applicable) reasons.

29 9.5 Kant’s Important Insight  Moral judgments must be backed by consistent (impartially applicable) reasons.

30 9.5 Kant’s Insight  Moral judgments must be backed by consistent (impartially applicable) reasons.  This has significant implications....

31 9.5 Kant’s Insight  Moral judgments must be backed by consistent (impartially applicable) reasons.  This has significant implications....

32 9.5 Kant’s Insight  Moral judgments must be backed by consistent (impartially applicable) reasons.  This has significant implications.  Consistency requires absolute rules. Rachels disagrees with that last bit...

33  Is Kant too dismissive of the moral importance of consequences?  There might be a dead body...

34  The only absolutely good thing is a good will…

35 Returning to Truman’s Decision...

36 School of the Americas  Demonstrations calling for the closing of the SOA. 22,000 protesters...

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44 Blueberries vs. Crunchlets...   

45 Blueberry truth…in advertising  _HjvjB4G5s&feature=player_detailpage

46 Our buggy moral code...  Dan Ariely... moral_code.html

47 Moral Roots of liberals and conservatives  he_moral_mind.html


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