Freedom of the Will
and the Concept of a Person
Frankfurts starting point: It is obviously
important for philosophy to be able to
describe what constitutes a person.
(Among other reasons, in order to assign
moral responsibility; after all,
One of the most difficult and persistent
questions in moral philosophy is:
Why should I be moral?
An answer often given to this question:
But in what way?
Always, or only some times?
And why should I beh
A Brief Introduction to Kantian Ethics
Vellemans general project:
reconstruct Kants moral theory
explain its motivations and appeal
make some corrections where he thinks
they are necessary (while preserving Kants
intuitions to the extent
A. J. Ayer
Freedom and Necessity
Ayers starting observation:
The problem of freedom of the will arises
when we are confronted with a
The fact that we think our will is free does
not mean we are right.
Of course, science (psycholog
Sir Peter Frederick Strawson
Freedom and Resentment
Strawsons starting point: two main
camps in the discussion of determinism and
The optimists and the pessimists
The optimists claim that there is place for
moral responsibility, moral prai
John Stuart Mill
The project that Mill has in mind: ethics can
be/should be a scientific enterprise.
It establishes principles, which gain their validity
form observation of peoples practices.
Contrary, perhaps, to the natural sciences, th
Ancient and Modern Conceptions of
Ancient (Aristotelian) view of
happiness: Happiness is not a
momentary and fleeting pleasant
sensation (being happy is not feeling
Rather, it is a continuous sense of
A Theory of Justice
Rawls, as he mentions, belongs to the tradition
of Social Contract theorists.
So, for Rawls moral rules/laws are the product
of an implicit agreement among all members of
the society, which was created (in
A common ground between the Utilitarian
and Kantian theory of morality:
They attach moral goodness or badness to
the action rather than the person.
What kind of person one is
(compassionate or vindictive, unfri
Moral Subjectivisms main question:
Can there be any objective truth about
ethics and human action?
Previous attempts to address this question:
Comparison between ethics and the natural
sciences, reply to the challenge of Cultural
pros and cons
Some advantages of
1) It provides a simple theory about what
makes an action morally praiseworthy or
Look at the amount of common utility
gained or lost.
If utility was gained the actio
and Moral Responsibility
Frankfurts starting point:
The free will problem is founded on a
misunderstanding, or, rather, a false
The free will problem has traditionally
been based on the Principle
Kantian Approaches to
Some Famine Problems
Peter Singer had approached the problem of
famine from a Utilitarian perspective.
His conclusion was that we have a moral
obligation to do everything (for as long as
the sacrifice has
Nagel begins with a puzzle about moral
According to Nagel, Prior to reflection it is
intuitively plausible that people cannot be
morally assessed for what is not their
fault, or for what is due to factors beyond
Harmans starting question:
Can moral principles be tested and
confirmed in the way scientific principles
Harman examines a proposed moral
principles (benefitting more people is
better), and disconfirms it.
Ancient virtue ethics:
Morality and our obligation to be moral are
derived from eudaimonism, the idea that
happiness is the overarching goal of our
lives and that virtuous behavior is the best
(and only) way to achieve ha
Groundwork for the
Metaphysics of Morals
Kants main goal:
Try to find the source of moral obligation in
what uniquely marks human beings,
After all, rational beings are the only ones
that have a sense of morality, a sense of
Assignment 1 - Answers
1. There are two potential answers.
As it contains:
- A conclusion (main point: silencing free expression is wrong).
With supporting premises.
As it contains:
- Explanandum (main point)
P acceptability/unacceptability ex
Manitoba is not a landlokced province.
Acceptable by testimony, observation
David j. is the canada's head of state
Unacceptable by testimony, observation
Succeful military camapign
Acceptable by authroitve te
Reformulation of the objection from numbers and authors reply.
Objection to singers paragraph 10 reply.
Reply to the para 11 objection
Conclusion to the objections and replies (negative argument )
-those objections don't hav
-state the issue/topic
-outline or structure of the essay
-situate the issue in the context
-grab the readers attention with an anecdote/ story introduces what being discussed
-a term or prase has no clearly ascertainable meaning in the context
-a statement has more than one clearly ascertainable meaning in the context
- The ambiguity arises b/c there is a term or phrase that has more tha
Conclusion; conclusion indicator; thus
Telishment; intentionally punishing the innocent ppl
What justifies pnushing someone?
Virtue of what the person has done wrong thing
The punishment must fit the crime. No more or no less
-internal relevance; concerns the relevance of a premise to the conclusion i.e. Internal to the
-external (contextual) relevance
-> the relevance of an argument to the context in which it appears
- As is relevant to
Singers argument for his thesis
1st premise in argument
-suffering and death from lack of food, shelter, and medical care are bad.
Paragraph 6; define of 2nd premise
Introduction to the next section of the paper examining objection
- The relevance of premises to the conclusion
- The relevance of the argument to its context
- Conclusion claim that is disputable in the context
-error in reasoning
red hearing fallacy;
- The arguer distracts
P unacceptability conditions
1. Unacceptable by observation
2. Unacceptable by testimony
3. Unacceptable by a prior
4. If sub conclusion is unacceptable not defined in a strong sub argument
5. Unacceptable; problems in language
Specify eg. Vagueness, amb
- arguer substitutes a term with neutral content for one with more emotional impact
-ex) passed away for died
-problematic when it is used to distort the audiences appreciation of the facts
emotionally distortion use of language
-opponent; mr Blunkett (arguer)
-representation; instead of ~speaking many. It would be beneficial for them to speak English
theres no suggestion that they should speak English. 55
issue of internal relevance
- Argument patterns that oft