1100 FA14 - Topic 7 - Ross' Theory of Prima Facie Duties - Philosophy 1100 Ethics Topic 7 Ross Theory of Prima Facie Duties 1 Something all our theories

1100 FA14 - Topic 7 - Ross' Theory of Prima Facie Duties -...

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Philosophy 1100: Ethics Topic 7: Ross’ Theory of Prima Facie Duties 1. Something all our theories have had in common 2. W.D. Ross 3. The Concept of a Prima Facie Duty 4. Ross’ List of Prima Facie Duties 5. Ross’ Theory 6. Ross’ Argument from Promises against Utilitarianism 7. Is Deontology Irrational?
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something all our theories have had in common So far, all of the main theories we have looked at ... Divine Command Theory (DCT) Cultural Relativism (CR) Act Utilitarianism (AU) Kant’s Categorical Imperative (KCI) have been forms of monism in the Normative Ethics of Behavior.
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something all our theories have had in common A theory is a form of monism if, according to it, there is just one basic thing that all right acts have in common. Such as ... being commanded by God, being permitted by the moral code of society, maximizing hedonic utility, having a universalizable maxim.
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W.D. Ross (1877-1971) British philosopher Translator or Aristotle Defends a pluralist theory of morality in his now-classic book The Right and the Good (1930) Big idea: prima facie duties
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Prima Facie Duties Ross, The Right and the Good , pp. 19-20: “I suggest ‘ prima facie duty’ or ‘conditional duty’ as a brief way of referring to the characteristic (quite distinct from that of being a duty proper) which an act has, in virtue of being of a certain kind (e.g. the keeping of a promise), of being an act which would be a duty proper if it were not at the same time of another kind which is morally significant. Whether an act is a duty proper or actual duty depends on all the morally significant kinds it is an instance of.”
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Prima Facie Duties An act is a prima facie duty when there is a moral reason in favor of doing the act, but one that can be outweighed by other moral reasons. Another definition: An act is a prima facie duty when it has at least one right-making feature. Another term that means the same thing is prima facie right’.
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Prima Facie Duties An act is a prima facie wrong when there is a moral reason against doing the act, but one that can be outweighed by other moral reasons. Another definition: An act is a prima facie wrong when it has at least one wrong-making feature. * Don’t confuse prima facie rightness and wrongness with actual rightness and wrongness, or what I will sometimes call all-things-considered rightness and wrongness.
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Prima Facie Duties Example: “If I have promised to meet a friend at a particular time for some trivial purpose, I should certainly think myself justified in breaking my engagement if by doing so I could prevent a serious accident or bring relief to the victims of one.” - Ross (p. 18) Let’s make this more explicit ...
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Prima Facie Duties The Promise/Accident Example: •I promise to meet a friend for lunch.
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