moraltheory

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Transcript moraltheory

SUMMARY:
• Characteristics that a moral theory needs to
“work”
– Needs to help resolve moral issues in manner
acceptable to society at large.
• The functions of a moral theory
–
–
–
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To keep society from falling apart
To diminish human suffering
To promote human flourishing
To resolve conflicts of interest in just & orderly
ways
– To assign praise & blame: responsibility
CHARACTERISTICS of Moral Theories
Moral Theories should provide for
1. STABILITY: constant, consistent
–
decisions not made on whim or caprice.
2. UNIVERSALITY: Principles or practices applied
fairly/equally [same playing field ]
–
not different rules for different people in the same
situation.
3. IMPARTIALITY: avoid inclinations/each person
counts for one
– showing favoritism for a friend or yourself.
4. OBJECTIVITY: Make decisions on a verifiable
basis, apart from inclinations/emotions
–
decisions made on non-verifiable basis, or
according to personal preference.
5. [Compassion?]
How do our philosophers provide for
STABILITY
1. Hobbes: contract irrevocable/absolute
ruler.
2. Mill: decide on the basic of publicly
verifiable consequences – may lack
stability because nothing is absolutely
wrong
3. Kant: based in human reason, with all
inclination and personal preference
removed.
4. Aristotle: moral actions flow from people
of good moral character.
How do our philosophers provide for
UNIVERSALITY
1. Hobbes: all men agree to the covenant
made.
2. Mill: be sure to consider the consequences
for all those affected by an action
3. Kant: the moral law consists of
universalizable principles. [1st Cat. Imp.]
4. Aristotle: assumes all persons seek the
good.
How do our philosophers provide for
IMPARTIALITY
1. Hobbes: the covenant covers everyone in
society -- no “opt-outs”
2. Mill: consider the consequences for all
affected by an action, your interests count
for only one in that calculation
3. Kant: acting from reverence for the law –
acting from principles, not from
inclinations or emotions. “mere means”
4. Aristotle: the role of practical reason.
How do our philosophers provide for
OBJECTIVITY
1. Hobbes: individual morality is relative to our
desires & aversions, thus we need the covenant
and the absolute ruler to override that.
2. Mill: consequences are publicly verifiable.
3. Kant: no inclinations and no material
considerations. Both formulations of the
categorical imperative
4. Aristotle: the form of the good as encountered
in the world.
How do our philosophers provide for
COMPASSION
1. Hobbes: nope!
2. Mill: believes that we have sympathy for
others and that our happiness depends on
the well-being of others.
• Kant: not morally valuable.
• Aristotle: “fine” [able to make small
distinctions] emotions part of identifying
& resolving moral dilemmas.
RAWLS
Being in the original position behind a veil of
ignorance would lead us to pick rules that
are fair to everyone. If we resolve moral
dilemmas using those rules the
characteristics will be fulfilled.
STABILITY -- UNIVERSALITY
IMPARTIALITY -- OBJECTIVITY
QUESTION:
Can you get the RESULTS of Compassion
without engaging the emotions?