48 terms

Philosophy Final


Terms in this set (...)

-Quantitative Hedonism
-"Prejudice apart, the game of push-pin is of equal value with the arts and sciences of music and poetry. If the game of push-pin furnished more pleasure, it is more valuable than either. Everybody can play push-pin: poetry and music are relished only by a few."
Intellectual and creative pleasures may nonetheless have greater fecundity.
Mill's Competent Judges Test
-If I am asked what I mean by difference of quality in pleasures, or what makes one pleasure more valuable than another, merely as a pleasure, except its being greater in amount, there is but one possible answer. If one of the two is, by those who are competently acquainted with both, placed so far above the other that they prefer it, even though knowing it to be attended with a greater amount of discontent, and would not resign it for any quantity of the other pleasure which their nature is capable of, we are justified in ascribing to the preferred enjoyment a superiority in quality so far outweighing quantity as to render it, in comparison, of small account. (II 5)
Qualitative Hedonism
higher pleasures are - intrinsically more valuable than lower ones
Higher pleasures are
- discontinuously better
Henry Sidgwick's Objection
Hedonism is committed to the idea that one pleasure is better than another because it is more pleasurable.
But this sounds like a quantitative relation. Aren't higher pleasures better than lower pleasures because they involve a greater quantity of pleasure?
Sidgwick's Dilemma
Either Mill can remain a hedonist, in which cases all differences of quality must be resolved into those of quantity, since a higher pleasure must be more valuable because, and only because, it is more pleasurable.
Or he can say, as indeed he does, that a higher pleasure is more valuable in so far as it is more noble. But this is to abandon hedonism in favor of a view which allows for ideal, non-hedonistic goods - in this case, nobility.
Thomas Nagel "War and Massacre"
-Hostility or aggression should be directed toward its proper object, at the person who provokes it, and what is provocative about him.
-Whatever is done to a person "must be aimed at him as a subject, with the intention that he receive it as a subject". It should manifest an attitude to him rather than just to the situation, and he should be able to recognize it and identify himself as its object.
- A paradoxical position "it can require that one refrain from choosing the lesser of two evils when that is the only choice on has."
Problem for Utilitarianism
Cases of utility maximizing actions that still seem wrong.
Two Hypotheses about Divergent judgments
(1) Morally irrelevant emotion that driving the judgment in the bridge case. It's a distracter.
(2) Your emotion of moral outrage is telling your something (perhaps there are wrong-making features of actions that have nothing to do with the consequences of the action).
Rachels Chapter 9
-Anscombe and Geach were the 20th century's foremost philosophical champions of the doctrine that moral rules are absolute.
- We could not will a universal law that allows us to lie, Kant said, because such a law would be self-defeating.
-We should do only those actions that conform to rules that we could will to be adopted universally.
-Note that a moral judgment must be backed by good reasons—if it is true that you ought (or ought not) to do suchand-such, then there must be a reason why you should (or should not) do it.
Rachels Chapter 12
-Instead of asking What traits of character make someone a good person? they asked What is the right thing to do?
-To this, it may be answered that certain virtues will be needed by all people in all times.
-To summarize, then, it may be true that in different societies the virtues are given different interpretations, and different actions may be counted as satisfying them; and it may be true that the value of a character trait will vary from person to person and from society to society.
Rachels Chapter 10
-First, because people have desires, things that satisfy those desires can have value for people.
-Thus, for Kant, to treat people as ends is to treat them "as beings who [can] contain in themselves the end of the very same action."
-Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) said that "all punishment is mischief: all punishment in itself is evil."
-Fourth, a well-designed system of punishment might help to rehabilitate wrongdoers.
-Kant's two principles describe a general theory of punishment: Wrongdoers must be punished, and the punishment must fit the crime.
Scher Chapter 29
-I immediately see that I could will the lie but not a universal law to lie.
-The categorical imperative, which declares the action to be of itself objectively necessary without making any reference to a purpose, i.e., without having any other end, holds as an apodictical (practical) principle.
-For one thought of him subject only to a law (whatever it may be), this necessarily implied some interest as a stimulus or compulsion to obedience because the law did not arise from his will.
Scher Chapter 32
-We can't expect frankness of people, since everyone fears that to reveal himself completely would be to make himself despised by others.
-For the value of life, insofar as it consists of the enjoyment we get from people, is vastly overrated.
-The moral life is the empty, vegatating life, where one sees at a glance what the moral law requires and simply does it unhampered by the competing attraction of sin.
Scher Chapter 42
-One would hope they would be figures who are morally good- and by this I mean more than just not morally bad- but one would hope, too, that they are not just morally good, but talented or accomplished or attractive in nonmoral ways as well.
-The way in which morality, unlike other possible goals, is apt to dominate is particularly disturbing, for it seems to require either the lack or the denial of the existence of an identifiable, personal self.
Problem for the Principle of Generalization
-Implicit theory: If disastrous results would occur if
everyone did X, then X is immoral.
What about homosexuality? If it works for homosexuality, then it works for lifelong celibacy. But sure that's not immoral?
Problem: Whether or not a specific act passes the test depends on how it is described. If homosexual activity is described as "consensual, enjoyable, sex," then it passes the test.
Golden Rule
Treat others as you would like to be treated.
Gets people to imaginatively switch places with their victim.
Problem with the Golden Rule
Central Problem (Kant's problem): The golden rule makes morality depend on people's desires. But morality should be categorical (not depending on contingent desires).
Categorical Imperative
Act only according to a maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.
Immanuel Kant
-1724-1804 Königsberg, Prussia (Kalingrad, Russia)
-Father was a harness maker
-Fourth of nine children; a solid, but unspectacular student.
-Critique of Pure Reason (1781)
-Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals (1785)
-Observations on the Nature of the Beautiful and the Sublime (1764)
-Reason is the source of morality
-You dictate your own maxims. Maxims are the rules you live by.
-Kant thought that every action has a maxim. Maxims articulate underlying intentions and reasons. When you explain to someone why you did what you did, you give them your maxim.
-Kant thought that an action's rightness depends on its maxim. Rightness has nothing to do with its consequences.
-Note: Two people may do the same thing, but for different reasons. With different maxims.
Moral Worth
-For the utilitarian, if the consequences are the same, then the acts are morally on par. Not for the Kantian.
-The morality of an action depend on its maxim
-The morality of our actions depends entirely on what is within our control.
-The results of our actions are not within our control. Neither are our desires. They are irrelevant to morality.
-Only actions that have genuine moral worth are those done from the motive of duty
Categorical Imperative Test
Three part test:
(1) Formulate your maxim clearly - what you intend to do, and why.
(2) Imagine a world in which everyone supports and acts on your maxim.
(3) Then ask: can the goal of my action be achieved in such a world?
The Good Will
The will = the faculty of acting according to a conception of the moral law
The good will is a steadfast commitment to do what is right just because it is right.
The good will is the only unconditional good.
Only actions that have genuine moral worth are those done from the motive of duty (vs. in accordance with duty)

Duty vs inclination and selfish purposes
Kant on Lying
-Lying is never permissible
-Fails categorical imperative test
-To lie to someone is to treat them as a mere means.
Formula of Humanity
-"Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means." (Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, 429).
-Humanity is NOT meant as "species" but instead, as rational and self-determining.
1. What is wrong with the fanatic 2. Why slavery and rape are always wrong. 3. The wrongness of paternalism. Making decisions for other people, even if they are for their own good. 4. Never losing hope in people 5. Our practice of holding people accountable
Treating someone as an end
Treating them with respect, recognizing that they have and pursue their own ends.

Treating people in this way requires us to acknowledge and respect their rational capacities for self-determination (autonomy).
Treating someone as a means
-Using another person to pursue your own ends.
-To treat someone merely as a means to your end(s) is to violate/disrespect autonomy
-Treating someone as a mere means is to treat them as an object, to deny their capacities for choosing and pursuing their own ends.
-We can ask people for help, as long as we can persuade them to adopt our ends as their own.
-Being manipulative, bullying, or coercive is not consistent with treating someone as an end.
-You cannot even use someone as a means to their own self-improvement. (Paternalism)
Langston's Analysis
"Should she lie? Perhaps. If her cicumstances are evil, she is permitted to have friendship as her goal, to be sought and preserved, rather than a law to be lived by. So she is permitted to lie. ... She has a duty of self esteem: she must repect her own person and demand such respect of others, abjuring the vice of servility." (385)
Bentham on Punishment
"If punishment ought at all to be admitted, it ought to be admitted in as far as it promises to exclude some greater evil."
Kant on Punishment
-"When someone who delights in annoying and vexing peace-loving folk receives at last a right good beating, it is certainly an ill, but everyone approves of it and considers it as good in itself even if nothing further results from it."
-The only reason to punish a person is because he committed a crime.
-Punishment is fitting, whether or not it leads to good consequences. Fiat justitia, pereat mundus.
-Punishment must be proportionate to the seriousness of crime.
Utilitarians Justification for Punishment
Gratification of the victim.
Protection of society through sequestration.
Protection of society through deterrence.
Rehabilitation of criminals.
Kant's Objection to Utilitarian Punishment Justifications
(1) Incompatible with the Formula of Humanity (we calculate how to use people as means to our ends).
(2) Rehabilitation is an attempt to forcibly mold people into the way that we want them to be.
Kant's Paradoxical Position
Punishing someone can be a way of respecting him and treating him with dignity.
Utilitarian Reason for the Plea System
Less money spent on investigations
More convictions
More sequestration and protection of the public.
Overall, more time spent in prison by criminals?
The Virtue Question
Not "What should I do?" but "What sort of person should I be?"
The focus of ethical reflection is character not action.
List of Virtues
loyalty, fairness, kindness, justice, courage. They allow us to pursue the distinctly human goals of love and friendship (not just survival and reproduction)
They allow us to pursue the distinctly human goals of love and friendship (not just survival and reproduction)
They allow us to flourish as human beings (eudaimonia)
The V-Rules
For each virtue, act according to the virtue.
For each vice, avoid that vice.
Honesty, loyalty, courage, justice, wisdom, temperance, gluttony
Infidelity, timidly, laziness, stinginess, carelessness, hostility, prejudice.
"flourishing" - more than happiness or moral goodness
What does "flourishing" mean?
Consider: Someone is happy, they are not doing anything immoral, but we would hesitate to say that they are flourishing.
Virtuous Character
A stable disposition.
You can be counted on, even when the going is tough.
Role of Emotion
In moral perception: e.g. guilt can reveal moral faults; compassion helps you see that someone needs help.
In moral discernment: e.g. - the feeling of righteous indignation is a reliable indicator that someone has done wrong.
In moral motivation: you take pleasure in doing what is right (compare with Kant's unhappy philanthropist).
Full Virtue
action for the right reasons, with the right emotion
Translated as "practical wisdom"
Morality does not require superior IQ, but rather moral education, and experience.
This can only be learned with experience, and moral education.
Allows you to make the correct trade-offs among virtues
There are not prodigies of phronesis. (It's not like mathematics).
ethics of duty. Principles are explanatorily basic in morality.
ethics of virtue. Character traits are explanatorily basic in morality.
Problem: What are the virtues?
Can't these be virtues?
Benevolence, civility, compassion, conscientiousness, cooperativeness, courage, courteousness, dependability, fairness, friendliness, generosity, honesty, industriousness, justice, loyalty, moderation, patience, prudence, reasonableness, self-discipline, self-reliance, tactfulness, thoughtfulness, tolerance.
Cardinal Virtues
Other virtues can hinge onto some others. With X comes X.
Plato and Aristotle's Cardinal Virtues
Wisdom, Justice, Courage, Temperance.