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Unformatted text preview: Util Good ( ) Consquentialism gives each person’s interests equal weight by determining the best principles to follow based on what is the greatest good for the greatest number. Equality is key to respect the moral truth that there are no naturally relevant distinctions between persons. ( ) Deontology is paradoxical because if people’s rights are valuable, then more respect for rights bears a greater moral value. ( ) Consequentialism is necessary to treat people as ends and prioritize moral duties. Cummiskey: Kantian Consequentialism, by David Cummiskey. Ethics 100 (April 1990), University of Chicago. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2381810 Now, according to Kant, the formula of the end-in-itself generates both negatives and positive duties ( GMM , p. 430, MEJ , p. 221; DV , pp. 448-51). In the negative sense we treat persons as ends when we do not interfere with their pursuit of their (legitimate) ends. In the positive sense we treat persons as ends when we endeavor to help them realize their (legitimate) ends. Kant describes the positive interpretation of the second formulation of the categorical imperative as a duty to make others’ ends my own. Since, if one wills an end, on also wills the necessary means ( GMM , p. 417), it follows that the positive interpretation requires that we do those acts which are necessary to further the permissible ends of others. Since Kant also maintains that the “to be happy is necessarily the desire of every rational but finite being” ( CPR , p. 25; GMM , p. 415), we have a positive duty to promote the happiness of others. Thus, in addition to any constraints on action which Kant’s principle might generate, it also provides a rationale for a moral goal that we are obligated to pursue ( GMM , pp. 398, 423, 430, DV, pp. 384-87). Since Kant’s principle generates both positive and negative duties, and since there are many situations which involve, at least, prima facie conflicts of these duties, we need a rationale for giving priority to one duty rather than the other. Of course, according to Kant, there cannot be unresolvable conflicts of duty. The concept of duty involves the objective practical necessity of an action and since two conflicting actions cannot both be necessary, a conflict of duties is conceptually impossible. Kant, however, does grant that “grounds of obligation” can conflict, even if obligations cannot. He is thus left with the priority problem at this level. Kant argues that in cases of conflict “the stronger ground of obligation prevails ” ( MEJ , p. 224). Although such a response is intuitively plausible, without an account of how one ground of obligation can be stronger than another, it does not provide any practical guidance....
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This note was uploaded on 01/09/2011 for the course US 122 taught by Professor Trelawney during the Spring '10 term at Colby-Sawyer.
- Spring '10