Online_Lecture_26

Online_Lecture_26 - PHIL 4: Introduction to Ethics Out of...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–7. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
PHIL 4: Introduction to Ethics “Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made.” —Immanuel Kant 1 Kant (V)
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
From Last Time Hypothetical imperatives vs. categorical imperatives Rules of skill vs. counsels of prudence The Categorical Imperative The Principle of Universality and the Principle of Humanity Maxims of action (i) act-description (ii) situation-description (iii) purpose Test Case: the loan application. To lie or not to lie?
Background image of page 2
The Loan Application In the test case of the loan application we asked, “Is it morally permissible to lie in order to get a loan you would otherwise not receive?” First, we formulated our maxim : ““When I need cash, I should lie in order to get a loan I would otherwise not receive .” Second, we universalized the maxim:“When anyone needs cash, that person should lie in order to get a loan that he or she would otherwise not receive.” Then we asked, “Is there a contradiction here?”
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Would I be content for my maxim (of getting out of a difficulty through a false promise) to hold as a universal law , for myself as well as for others? That is tantamount to asking: Could I say to myself that anyone may make a false promise when he is in a difficulty that he can’t get out of in any other way? Immediately I realize that I could will the lie but not a universal law to lie; for such a law would result in there being no promises at all, because it would be futile to offer stories about my future conduct to people who wouldn’t believe me. ..Thus my maxim would necessarily destroy itself as a soon as it was made a universal law.
Background image of page 4
Avoiding Confusion Kant’s answer: there is a contradiction here. If everyone made false promises, then promises would never be believed. Your purpose (getting the loan) would therefore be defeated . People often misunderstand Kant to be saying, roughly: “How would you like it if everyone acted this way?” But this is not Kant’s point Kant is entirely uninterested in the good or bad consequences of your universalized maxim. He is interested in consequences only in this limited sense: in a hypothetical world in which your maxim is a universal law, would it be a consequence that the purpose of your action is defeated ? So Kant wants to know whether (i) hypothetical consequences (ii) defeat your purpose whereas utilitarians want to know whether (i) the actual consequences of your action (ii) are good or bad
Background image of page 5

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Can you will that your maxim become a universal law? If not, it must be rejected, not because of any harm it might bring to anyone , but because there
Background image of page 6
Image of page 7
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 06/09/2011 for the course PHIL 4 taught by Professor Chandler during the Fall '08 term at UCSB.

Page1 / 18

Online_Lecture_26 - PHIL 4: Introduction to Ethics Out of...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 7. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online