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Twenty-first Lecture

Twenty-first Lecture - March 9 2009 Philosophy 4...

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Unformatted text preview: March 9, 2009 Philosophy 4: Twenty-first Lecture Deontology Kant (1724-1804) • The Central Question: - Wh a t is t h e m o r ally c orr e c t t hin g t o d o? (w h a t’s t h e m o r ally rig h t a c tio n ?) o Accordin g t o t utilitarian, it’s whatever produces the best state of he affairs – which for Mill turned out to be pleasure o Bur for Kant, this cannot be correct • Non-Consequentialism: - Utilit ari a nis m is a c o n s e q u e n ti alis t m o r al t h e o ry - Kant d e ni e s t h a t t h e c o n s e q u e n c e s of a n a c tio n a r e w h a t m a k e it rig h t or w ro n g o Kant is a n o n-c o n s e q u e n ti alis t • Deontology: - Kant is a d e o n t olo gis t ( a v a ri e ty of n o n-c o n s e q u e n ti alis t) - A d e o n t olo gis t b eli ev e s t h a t c e r t ain a c tio n s a r e inh er e n tly rig h t, s o m e a r e n eit h e r rig h t n or wro n g, a n d o t h e r s a r e inh er e n tly wro n g o Ass u m e t h a t all a c tio n s c a n b e p u t int o t hr e e c a t e g o ri e s: t h o s e t h a t a r e m o r ally r e q uir e d t o d o, n o t m o r ally r e q uir e d t o d o or n o t t o d o, or m o r ally r e q uir e d n o t t o d o Wh a t d e t e r mi n e s w hic h gr o u p e a c h a c tio n g e t s p u t int o is s o m e p ro p e r ty of t h e a c tio n its elf • Kant’s Method: - Kant a p pr o a c h e s e t hic s t hro u g h a p p e als t o t h e or din a ry u n d e r s t a n din g of w h a t m a k e s a n a c tio n m o r ally c orr e c t - H e b ei n g s t h e gr o u n d w ork b y a s kin g t hr e e q u e s tio n s: o Wh a t m a k e s a p e r s o n m o r ally g o o d ? We a c t for a g o al Mor al a s s e s s m e n t, h o w e v e r, d o e s n o t d e p e n d o n a c hi e vin g t h a t g o al So, m o r al a s s e s s m e n t d e p e n d intentione not on the s on th , consequences o What kind of intention makes one morally good? Two kinds of motives: • A desire for happiness • Duty Ordinary people distinguish between being good and being happy So duty is the correct intention o What does it mean to act from duty? It is to resolve to do the law out of respect for that law • We resolve to do something when we are willing to frustrate our desires against it • The Right Action: - Kant c alls a c tio n s d o n e o u t of r e s p e c t for t h e law (d o n e fro m t h e int e n tio n o f a d u t y) t h e “ g o o d will: - Th e g o o d will p e rfor m s a c tio n s b e c a u s e it r e c o g niz e s a d u t y ( d e o n t olo g y) t o d o t h e rig h t t hin g • The Shopkeepers: - Let’s a s s u m e t h a t t h er e is a s h o pk e e p e r w h o ow n s a c a n d y s t o r y, a n d in w alks a b o y n a m e d Ch a rlie w h o w a n t s a Wonk a b a r o S h o pk e e p e r 1 d o e s t h e wro n g t hin g: h e s ells Ch arlie t h e Wonk a b a r for m or e t h a n it’s r e ally w or t h o S h o pk e e p e r 2 (politici a n s h o pk e e p e r) k n ow s t h a t h e c o uld c h e a t C h arlie a n d c h ar g e hi m t h e wro n g pric e a n d g e t a w a y wit h it, b u t h e d o e s n’t b e c a u s e h e d o e s n’t w a n t it t o g e t a r o u n d t h a t h e d o e s t h e w ro n g t hin g (h e d o e s t h e rig h t t hin g, b u t t h e int e n tio n is t o pr e s e r v e a n h o n e s t r e p u t a tio n for hi m s elf) o S h o pk e e p e r 3 (Mich a el Jacks o n s h o pk e e p e r) kn ow s t h a t h e c o uld s ell C h arlie t h e c h o c ol a t e b a r a t t h e wro n g p ric e, b u t h e d o e s n’t b e c a u s e h e l ov e s c hildr e n s o m u c h t h a t h e c a n’t im a gin e c h e a tin g Ch arlie (t ak e s p l e a s ur e in b ein g nic e) o S h o pk e e p e r 4 (Scroo g e s h o pk e e p e r) h a t e s p e o pl e, d o e s n’t lik e c hildr e n, a n d c a n’t s t a n d Ch a rlie, b u t h e s ells Ch arlie t h e c h o c ol a t e b a r a t t h e rig h t p ric e b e c a u s e h e k n ow s t h a t it’s t h e rig h t t hin g t o d o ( mis a n t hro p e w h o d o e s t h e rig h t t hin g o nly b e c a u s e it is t h e rig h t t hin g t o d o) Actin g in a c c or d a n c e wit h d u t y (S 2 a n d S 3) Actin g fro m d u t y (S 4) • So t h e m o r ally c orr e c t a c tio n will b e d o n e for t h e rig h t r e a s o n s , o u t of r e s p e c t for t h e m o r al law. But t h a t’s n o t t h e e n d of t h e s t ory: w e n e e d t o s a y m o r e a b o u t w h a t t h e n a t ur e of t h e m o r al l aw is ...
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