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Unformatted text preview: EARMY Ethics PHI-2204-ZA1 11/T1 (Garlikov) ANNONCEMENTS Developing General Principles Posted on: Friday, August 19, 2011 Dawn explained that she (and I see others) don't see what I am seeking by asking for general principles, so I gave her the following example. See whether it helps. Suppose the question were: When is it right, if ever, to spank your child? To start with, suppose people name a bunch of individual infractions, say "when he runs in the house after having been told not to, when he tries to go out in the street though you have told him it is dangerous and he needs to wait for you and hold your hand, when he says 'no' in that defiant tone of voice after you tell him to do something, when he throws his food on the floor to tick you off, etc. Then I might ask do any of those have anything in common? You might say "yes, they are all cases of willful disobedience". That would mean you could have a principle of "It is okay to spank a child when s/he is willfully disobedient." But suppose I say what if s/he doesn't want to wear the clothes you want her/him to wear; is that worth spanking the child over? So you might need to modify the principle to "Spank when the child is willfully disobedient about something really important such as safety or about making a lot of unnecessary extra work for me just to be mean" etc. That might be an okay general principle, but now suppose I say, WHY are those cases okay? And what if the child is just being mean whether it makes more work for you or not? That might lead into a principle about why safety and obedience are important or some such and why meanness is never right, etc. till we got to the most general possible principle or principles about when it is okay to spank. E.g., it is okay to spank a child if that is the least harmful way to protect it from danger to itself, and it is also okay to spank a child if they are intentionally mean to someone else or knowingly treat someone in a way that will hurt the other person or hurt the other person's feelings unnecessarily. Those might be even more general principles. The idea is to go up as high as we can in generality, but still be correct and have all the useful principle(s) that would apply and distinguish all cases of justified date-breaking from cases that are not justified. By developing general principles, we don't have to remember a ton of specific cases or rules, and we don't have to worry about loopholes, etc. Rick Posted by: Richard Garlikov Posted to: EARMY Ethics PHI-2204-ZA1 11/T1 (Garlikov) 1. Phase 2 of the date-breaking question Posted on: Thursday, August 18, 2011 Go into phase 2 of the date-breaking questions -- looking for general principles that might group together bunches of the specific circumstances, trying to get the most general principle possible, so you don't have to memorize a list to know when it is right to break a date....
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