Introduction to Philosophy (Fall '09) - class#20

Introduction to Philosophy (Fall '09) - class#20 -...

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Unformatted text preview: Organizational Information The second assignment will be posted on the The class website later tonight. class It will be due in Discussion Section on Friday Dec. It 4th 4th Reading for next time: “Famine, Affluence, Reading and Morality” by Peter Singer and at 8:00. at The final exam has been scheduled for 12/17 The No class this Thursday and no discussion No section this Friday. section Review From Last Time Free Will Incompatibilism (FWI) is the thesis that if determinism is true, then no one can do otherwise than she in fact does. true, Free Will Compatibilism (FWC) iis the thesis that it is not the case that s if determinism is true, then no one can do otherwise than she in fact does. does. But why do we care either whether free will is compatible with But determinism or whether we have free will? determinism Because, many people think, free will is necessary for moral responsibility. X iis morally responsible for doing something =def. X is either morally s morally blameworthy or morally praiseworthy for doing it. blameworthy If FWI is true and free will is necessary for moral responsibility, then If FWI determinism and moral responsibility are incompatible. determinism Responsibility Incompatibilism (RI) iis the thesis that if determinism is s true, then no one is morally responsible for anything. true, The Problem of Free Will In addition to modus ponens and In modus tollens, there is another form of argument that is valid. argument Transitivity 1. If p, then q. If then 2. If q, then r. If then 3. Therefore, if p, then r. Therefore, then 1,2T The Problem of Free Will Master Argument for RI Master RI If determinism is true, then no one can If do otherwise than she in fact does. do 2. If no one can do otherwise than she in If fact does, then no one is morally responsible for anything. responsible 3. Therefore, if determinism is true, then Therefore, no one is morally responsible for anything. anything. 1,2T 1. The Problem of Free Will Justification for premise 1: Premise 1 is just FWI. Premise FWI “If determinism is true, then our acts are the If consequences of the laws of nature and events in the remote past. But it is not up to us what went on before we were born, and neither is it up to us what the laws of nature are. Therefore, the consequences of these things (including our present acts) are not up to us.” (including Justification for premise 2: People accept the second premise because they People endorse: endorse: The Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP): A Principle ): person, S, iis morally responsible for doing something s only if S could have done otherwise than do it. The Problem of Free Will In “Alternate Possibilities and Moral In Responsibility” Harry Frankfurt offered an ingenious argument for the claim that PAP is false. false. Frankfurt offers a counterexample to PAP. A counterexample to a principle is a possible counterexample hypothetical scenario which demonstrates the falsity of that principle. The Problem of Free Will Frankfurt’s Story (part 1) “Suppose someone -- Black, let us say -- wants Jones Suppose to perform a certain action. Black is prepared to go to considerable lengths to get his way, but he prefers to avoid showing his hand unnecessarily. So he waits until Jones is about to make up his mind what to do, and he does nothing unless it is clear to him (Black is an excellent judge of such things) that Jones is going to do something other than what he wants him to do. other If it does become clear that Jones is going to decide to do something else, Black takes effective steps to ensure that Jones decides to do, and that he does do, what he wants him to do. Whatever Jones’s initial preferences and inclinations, then, Black will have his way.” way.” The Problem of Free Will Frankfurt’s Story (part 2) “What steps will Black take, if he believes he must take What steps, in order to ensure that Jones decides and acts as he wishes?… Let Black pronounce a terrible threat, and in this way both force Jones to perform the desired action and prevent him from performing a forbidden one. Let Black give Jones a potion, or put him under hypnosis, and in some such way as these generate in Jones an irresistible inner compulsion to perform the act Black wants performed and to avoid others. Or let Black manipulate processes of Jones’s brain and nervous system in some more direct way, so that causal forces running in and out of his synapses and along the poor man’s nerves determine that he chooses to act and that he does act in one way and not in any other. Given any conditions under which it will be maintained that Jones cannot do otherwise, in other words, let Black bring it about that those conditions prevail.” about The Problem of Free Will Frankfurt’s Story (part 3) “Now suppose that Black never has to show his hand Now because Jones, for reasons of his own, decides to perform and does perform the very action Black wants him to perform. In that case, it seems clear, Jones will bear precisely the same moral responsibility for what he does as would have borne if Black had not been ready to take steps to ensure that he do it. It would be quite unreasonable to excuse Jones for his action, or to withhold the praise to which it would normally entitle him, on the basis of the fact that he could not have done otherwise. This fact played no role at all in leading him to act as he did. He would have acted the same even if it had not been a fact. Indeed, everything happened just as it would have happened without Black’s presence in the situation and without his readiness to intrude.” situation The Problem of Free Will Frankfurt’s Argument Against PAP 1. If PAP is true, then Jones is not morally If responsible for his action in Frankfurt’s story. story. 2. It is not the case that Jones is not morally It responsible for his action in Frankfurt’s story. story. 3. Therefore, it is not the case that PAP is Therefore, true. true. 1,2MT The Problem of Free Will Justification for premise 1: According to PAP, if you can’t do otherwise than According you in fact do, then you are not morally responsible for what you do. responsible But, in Frankfurt’s story, because of Black’s But, presence in the background and his readiness to make Jones do what he wants him to do if he shows any inclination not to, Jones can’t do otherwise than he ends up doing. otherwise So, if PAP is true, it must be the case that Jones is So, not morally responsible for what he does in Frankfurt’s story. Frankfurt’s The Problem of Free Will Justification for premise 2: It seems intuitive that Jones is morally responsible It for what he does in Frankfurt’s story. for After all, in the story Black didn’t influence Jones After at all. at Jones does what he does in the story for his own Jones reasons, and, it seems, “his moral responsibility for doing it is not affected by the fact that Black was lurking in the background with sinister intent, since this intent never comes into play”. since Ethics Heretofore we have been asking questions about Heretofore what we ought to believe about the world. what Ought we to believe that there is an external world? Ought we to believe that there is an omniscient, omnipotent, Ought and omnibenevolent God? and Ought we to believe that the mind is distinct from the body? Ought we to believe that if determinism is true we can do Ought otherwise than we in fact do and are morally responsible for what we do? what Ethics is not an inquiry into what we ought to Ethics believe about the world, but, rather, an inquiry into what we ought to do. do Ethics There are two major branches within ethics There proper: proper: Normative Ethics Practical Ethics (or Applied Ethics) In normative ethics we strive to come up with In normative general principles that dictate for all possible scenarios what we morally ought to do in those scenarios. scenarios. In practical ethics (or applied ethics) we examine In practical applied we particular ethical issues and try to figure out what we morally ought to do with respect to them. morally Ethics We are not going to be doing any normative We not ethics. ethics. ethics. ethics. Rather, we are going to do some practical Rather, Specifically, we are going to look at three Specifically, particular practical ethical issues: particular our moral obligations to those in desperate need our moral obligations to non-human animals the morality of warfare Some Crucial Moral Concepts An action, x, is morally permissible if An morally and only if it is morally OK (or morally allowed, or morally “all right”, etc.) to perform x. perform notion in terms of which a number of other moral concepts can be defined. other The concept of moral permissibility is a The More Moral Concepts An action, x, is morally impermissible =def. it would not An morally be morally permissible to perform x. be An action, x, is morally wrong =def. it would not be An morally morally permissible to perform x. morally An action, x, is morally wrong if and only if x is An morally impermissible. morally Even More Moral Concepts An action, x, is morally obligatory =def. An morally it would not be morally permissible to fail to perform x. not it would not n ot be morally permissible to fail to perform x. x is morally required. is An action, x, is morally required =def. An morally An action, x, is morally obligatory if and only if An ...
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