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Unformatted text preview: Kantian Ethics Lecture 5 Summer School PHIL 102 1 Rule Utilitarianism: An act is right if it follows a rule which, if almost everyone adopted it, would produce the most utility Kant: Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law Kant and Rule Utilitarianism 2 Kant and Rule Utilitarianism ‘You should tells lies’ Rule UT: The consequences of everyone’s lying would be awful - for me and everyone - so we must not do it Kant: Everyone couldn’t lie whenever they thought they had a good reason. It’s impossible. So we have an absolute perfect (“inFexible”) duty not to do it ‘You should not bother to help others who need help’ Rule UT: The consequences of everyone’s not helping others would be awful - for me and everyone - so we must not do it Kant: I can’t (without contradiction in the will) will my ends (i.e. to be helped when I need it) and will away means to my ends (i.e. will that no one helps anyone). So I have an imperfect (“laxer meritorious”) duty not to act according to this maxim 3 CI #1: Testing Maxims “May I when in distress make a promise with the intention not to keep it?” “His maxim is: ¡rom self-love I adopt it as a principle to shorten my life when its longer duration is likely to bring more evil than satisfaction” “...the maxim of his action would be expressed thus: When I think myself in want of money, I will borrow money and promise to repay it, although I know that I never can do so.” Q: Why are the maxims of this form? • Insight: When we act for reasons we do so for particular ends and in particular circumstances (means-end) • CI #1 is a test of rationality - what it is rational for us to will (as a universal law). We cannot will that which contradicts our will . 4 CI #1: Testing Maxims “You should tell lies” If universalise: everyone tells lies Rule UT: This would lead to worse consequences than if people acted otherwise, so we should not follow this rule Kant: Not concerned with consequences. How is it irrational to follow this maxim? Where is the contradiction?...
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- Spring '09
- Kant, Objection, universal law, conflict problem