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The Age of Stupid Do we know whats going to happen by / in 2055? Can we know? (How does the problem of induction bear on this?) What obligations do we.

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Presentation on theme: "The Age of Stupid Do we know whats going to happen by / in 2055? Can we know? (How does the problem of induction bear on this?) What obligations do we."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Age of Stupid Do we know whats going to happen by / in 2055? Can we know? (How does the problem of induction bear on this?) What obligations do we have to present people in this context? Which present people? How far are these obligations in conflict with those we might have to future people? Do we have genuine obligations to future people?

2 I think Ill give £10 to disaster relief. Please help us, we are dying over here... I think Ill use private transport a bit less. Please keep some of the natural world around for us.

3 What gets us to do things? Our own desires and feelings (what we want to do) Other people By compelling us muggers bullies enemy soldiers.... By having a claim on us parents policemen other team members..... (often what we dont really want to do...?) (against our will)

4 If X has a claim on Y, Y has an obligation to X To whom do we have obligations, and why? parents (they look after you and bring you up) policemen (they have legal authority over you) other team members (you have signed up to co-operate with them as part of the team) people weve made promises to (we owe them whatever we promised) etc.

5 Do we have any obligations to everyone? (are there claims everyone has on us?) Moral obligations : – Tell the truth – Be fair – Help people when you can – Dont hurt people if you can avoid it –.....etc.

6 How does obligation work? (i.e. make you do what you dont really want to do?) I missed the bus so I was obliged to walk. (I didnt want to, but it was the only way to get to school and I didnt want to miss school) I promised to water her aspidistra every day, so I was obliged to go round there daily and do it. (It was a chore, but I didnt want her yelling at me after she got back) She asked me directly, so I was obliged to tell her the truth. (I didnt want a lie on my conscience....)

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8 The voice of conscience Feeling guilty Feeling bad about ourselves Feeling sorry for other people..... We dont want these feelings, so we act morally...? We want to do the right thing more than we want to satisfy our selfish desires. But if the hold obligations have over us depends on what we want, do they really have any hold over us?

9 God: obey My Commandments. Aquinas: obey the natural law of God-given reason. Kant: dont act in any way that you couldnt will as a principle for everyone to act on. Mill: do what will produce the best overall outcome for everyone. The voice of conscience – moral rules

10 Actually, on careful reflection, I found that I wanted the money MORE than I wanted a clear conscience...

11 So how does moral obligation get its grip? We are involved with other people in moral practices or conventions. These license them to – praise us – reward us – etc. when we behave according to the moral rules, and – disapprove of us – condemn us – distrust us – etc. when we dont. This certainly helps to keep us on the straight and narrow... But can it be all there is to it?


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