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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 everyones lying would be awful - for me and everyone - so we must not do it Kant: Everyone couldnt lie whenever they thought they had a good reason. Its 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 everyones not helping others would be awful - for me and everyone - so we must not do it Kant: I cant (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