Presentation on theme: "Common Morality Deciding What To Do Bernard Gert, Dartmouth College."— Presentation transcript:
Common Morality Deciding What To Do Bernard Gert, Dartmouth College
Harms (evils) and Benefits (goods) Harms (evils) Benefits (goods) Death Consciousness Pain DisabilityAbility Loss of Freedom Freedom Loss of Pleasure Pleasure
Irrationality It is irrational not to avoid harms (evils) for oneself unless one has an adequate reason not to avoid them. It is irrational to avoid benefits (goods) for oneself unless one has an adequate reason to avoid them.
Reasons and Adequate Reasons A reason for acting is a belief that one’s action will avoid a harm or gain a benefit for anyone. An adequate reason for an action is a belief that the harm avoided or benefit gained is adequate to make that otherwise irrational action rational.
What Morality Is An informal public system applying to all moral agents that has the lessening of harms suffered by those protected by the system as its goal.
Moral Rules 1.Do not kill. 2.Do not cause pain. 3.Do not disable. 4.Don’t deprive of freedom. 5.Don’t deprive of pleasure. 6.Do not deceive. 7.Keep your promises. 8.Do not cheat. 9.Obey the law. 10.Do your duty.
Moral Rules Require Impartiality To be justified in violating a moral ruleone must be willing for everyone toknow that they can break the rule inthe same circumstances.
Moral Ideals 1. Prevent harms. 2. Relieve harms. 3. Discourage breaking the moral rules. 4. Encourage following the moral rules. 5. Encourage following the moral ideals.
Moral Virtues and Vices Moral Virtues Moral Vices Cruel Kind Callous Truthful Deceitful Trustworthy Untrustworthy Fair Unfair Conscientious Irresponsible Law-abiding Indifference to law
Causes of Moral Disagreement Differences concerning:1. the ranking of harms and benefits. 2. the interpretation of the moral rules. 3. who is fully protected by morality. 4. human nature.
Summary Even though there is a common morality, it doesnot provide a unique correct answer to every moralquestion. Thus in addition to a common moralitywe need a procedure that all can accept that candecide the practical issue of how one ought tosettle moral questions about which there is moraldisagreement. This is a political question, andluckily goes beyond what I am scheduled to talkabout.