Environmentalethics

Environmentalethics - Environmental Ethics Deontology(27-36...

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Environmental Ethics 03/04/2008 13:59:00 Deontology (27-36) From Gr. deos meaning duty The ethical action is the one that fulfils your duty or duties Also known as Kantianism, after moral philosopher Immanuel Kant, who had best articulated its principles. Transcendental method: Reverse engineer the conditions for the possibility of what we know to be true o Kant argues the most morally exemplary actions are those that come at a cost to ourselves and are done out of duty (thus not done out of natural inclination). o So, his moral philosophy is about what else must be true in order for that to be true about moral actions. Categorical Imperative: A rule that always applies. THE categorical imperative (ant therefore morality) is a principle of reason that cannot be derived from contingent factors, such as whether an action makes us happy. Moral duty applies to all rational agents because they are rational agents o What matters is why you choose to do it? If it makes you happy then you’re just doing it to fulfill your natural inclination to be happy not your ethical or moral duty. 1 st Formulation: “Act as if the maxim of they action were to become by thy will a universal law of nature.” o Reworded: Always act in such a way that you would be able to will your maxim to become a universal principle. o Maxim = subjective principle of action; also reason or motive for action. o NOT THE GOLDEN RULE! o This is about why it is done, not what is done. o Example: Why you choose a side in a World War? Kant would say, “What matters is not that you chose to fight in the way, but why you chose to fight in that war.” 2 nd Formulation: “Act that you use humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means.” o Re-worded: Always act in such a way that you treat others as ends in themselves and never as a mere means. o End = inherently valuable, deserving respect
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o Means = valuable only as a way to get something else. o Example: When you kick an ATM machine and kick it when it doesn’t work. Not Kantianism: Kicking the teller for fucking up. o What Kant is saying is that you should treat all people with respect for the rational person the deserve to be treated as. If you don’t behave this way you are being irrational. He probably does not say that someone does not deserve respect. Anything that has an intellect like ours deserve the same level of respect. Applying the categorical imperative o Lying is wrong because: 1. The maxim “I will lie when it benefits me” cannot be universalized because it would undermine the institution of trust. 2. It treats the other person as a mere means to achieve what you want, not as an end in themselves deserving of the truth.
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