If you had to summarize Kant's approach to ethics, how would you do so?
- Kant likes pure reason. Feelings are not relevant and cloud the brain.
- Consequences are not relevant.
- Only reason to do anything is because it is the right thing to do. It is your obligation or your duty to do it because it is the right thing to do.
- Mention Categorical imperative and what it is. Examples to explain are good ideas.
Categorical imperative-you ought to do something because it is the right thing to do. And it is universal because it is the right thing to do for everyone.
- Hypothecial imperative-comandment of reason that only applies conditionally.
- Act only to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal
- Natural law duty.
If you had to summarize rule utilitarianism, how would you do so?
- Rules that tend to do the most good for the most people. IE Don’t kill.
- Consequetialists that believe there should be rules for every action they focus on the most good for the greatest #.
- The greatest # includes anything that feels pleasure and pain.
If you had to summarize the doctrine of the mean, how would you do so?
- There are three types of dispositions involved in every case. You have the vice of excess when you have too much of something and the vice of defect when you have too little. Virtue is also a disposition which you have acquired and that are stable. The virtue lies somewhere in the middle of the vice of excess and vice of defect and the exact location between the vices varies by person and situation. In order to find it you should work away from what comes easiest but do not do the extreme opposite or you will pass your virtue/golden mean.
- EX: Vice of excess is Recklessness, Vice of defect is cowardice, Virtue is courage.
- Not too much, not too little.
If you had to summarize virtue ethics, how would you do so?
- ethics focus around the four cardinal virtues-Prudence (good moral choices),
- Temperance (moderation), Fortitude (courage) and Justice. A life of virtue is a life in accordance to
- When you are speaking of virtues you are speaking about rationalities.
- Seven Capitol Vices:
- Pleggsw-pride, lust, envy,
- gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath
If you had to summarize natural law theory, how would you do so?
- Aquinas. Natural law is a dictative reason (something
- you come up with rationally) that commands a certain behavior and is directed
- to common good communicated by a legitimate authority (whoever has care for
- keeping the common good/reason itself)
Reason based, fundamental principles for practical reasoning. Characteristics must have to be law- must be known by somebody, geared to common good (Big part).
Aquinas-look at the essence of law theory if you need more.
- To will the maxim, to make it universal.
- That it is the common good for everyone.
If you had to summarize Mill's approach to ethics, how would you do so?
- Mills approach is the looking at the greatest happiness for the greatest number. Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness and wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of
- happiness, pain and privation of pleasure.
- Art of life:
- Principle of Utility-moral, duty, the right (sanctions, law, public opinion, conscience)
- Prudence-Policy, the expendient
- Aesthetics-the beautiful, the noble
Atrain is out of control, and in its path there are five people who will be
killed if it continues on that track. You can switch the train onto another
track, but there's a single person who will die if the train is diverted to
- In a Mills Utilitarian view: You would need to pull the switch to change the track
- to kill only the one person instead of the five. This is because saving the 5 people is
- providing more happiness for more people than if you only save the one
We read the story in Plato about Gyges, the shepherd who found the ring that could make him
invisible. The story was being used against Socrates to argue that being moral
is just being afraid of what will happen if you get caught.
- Kant view: You know that it is wrong if you use the ring to get away with the crime
- or wrongful act then it is unmoral to commit the crimes even if you get away
- with them by using the ring.
Choice to be plugged in or not. If you choose to be plugged in you are forfeiting your duty to experience and learn how to perfect all your virtues. You must actually do the duties in order to experience and be able to learn from your actions or duties.
- The theoretical experiment Noziak proposed.
- Basically, creates the virtual reality in which you can experience whatever you want. Raises the question: is it enough to have a happy, full life?
Utilitarianism: It would be wrong to go back and tell the others in the cave what you have seen outside the cave as it would reduce their happiness knowing what they are unable to experience. They will be wishing that they were not tied down in the cave anymore.
- Consequtialisim: Looking at the consequnences that the people in the cave will kill you then you
- should not go back and inform them of your experiences because they will kill you.
You are on a deserted beach with a rifle, an elephant and a baby. This is the last
elephant on earth and it is charging the baby. If you shoot the elephant, the species will be extinct.
- Utilitarianism-You should kill the elephant because it is the last one on earth and so it is
- unable for it to reproduce anyway however the baby can grow and benefit society
- and reproduce so you should save its life.
- Also the elephant may never experience the Art of Life.
You are an inmate in a concentration camp. A sadistic guard is about to hang your
son who tried to escape and wants you to pull the chair from underneath him. He
says that if you don't he will not only kill your son but some other innocent
inmate as well. You don't have any doubt that he means what he says.
Consequentialism- Push the chair as the consequences will end in 2 innocent people dying instead of one if you don’t.
What is Philip Hallie’s argument in “From Crueltto Goodness”?
- Village of Le Chambon—What is opposite of
- cruelty? Kindness Hallie discards. What cancels cruelty out? Hallie says “hospitipal”. Le Chambon was a fundamental hospitipality to the Jew’s that were fleeing the Nazi Germans and helping them cross into switezerland to safety. Despite the danger it put the villagers in and they helped to reverse the cruelty the jews learned from the Nazis.
- The Jews were able to come out of it with a greater hope for humanity which helped them to want to continue thru life.
What conclusions about consequentialism might be drawn from “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” ?
Consequentialism includes the consequences of the actions. Making it okay that they abuse the child because it is for the greatest happiness for the greatest number. Consequtialism isn’t always the best approach for everyone as it is only concerned with the greatest # and some can be left out in that happiness and it still be seen as ok.
What is Kant's categorical imperative? Give an example of how one might apply it.
- You ought to do it. Feelings or inclinations or wants do not matter. Must be about reason itself and reason must be consistent with itself. It must be universal for everyone. IE Do not Kill
- Act like a citizen in a society where everyone is capable of governing themselves as moral beings on basis of reason alone. No laws needed besides reason itself.
Mill distinguishes between higher and lower pleasures. What is this distinction and why does he make it?
Of two pleasures if there be one which all or almost all who have experience of both give a decided preference irrespective of any feeling of moral obligation to prefer it that it the more desireable pleasure.
Raised according to Bentham yet he valued art he decided that the pleasures have different values. I.e. The sort of happiness you get from poetry will be better than that from pushpin.
In what way does Martin Luther King, Jr.'s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” make use of natural law
He points out a lot of catergorical imperatives. We must have respect for anyone, universal. We were not treating the black with the same respect so he was fighting that it was unjust.
What is a cardinal virtue, and what is the traditional list of cardinal virtues (explain what each one is)?
- Virtue ethics focus around the four cardinal virtues-Prudence (good moral choices), Temperance (moderation), Fortitude (courage) and Justice. A life of virtue is a life in accordance to
- When you are speaking of virtues you are speaking about rationalities.
What are the similarities and differences between Aquinas's natural law theory and Kant's deontology?
- it is simply a law in itself. Has to be universal.
- Differences: Conscience-Aquinas values, Kants says fogs brain.
- Aquinas emotions, kant reason.
Are there aspects of Mill's approach to utilitarianism that you think Aristotle might have liked?
- They both agree on the most happiness. Both agree to include emotions. Consquences-doing good
Is there a place for virtue in Mills system?
If Dante were a deontologist rather than a virtue ethicist, do you think he would have approached the story of Francesca and Paolo differently?
In a deontologist view Dante would change his approach because it can not be a universal law to be okay to lie and cheat or kill and so it would always be viewed as wrong with no chance of exception and because emotions fog the brain and all of their actions were out of emotion.
If Mill were writing a story like “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” how would he have
written it differently?
He would say that nobody would walk away because even though the one little boy was unhappy, everyone else in the town was happy due to his unhappiness it would be the greatest happiness for the greatest number.
How would a Kantian and a virtue ethicist differ on the importance, for moral education, of imitating virtuous people or having ethical role models?
Kant says that imitation has no place at all in moral matters however virtue ethicists say that imitating a good role model i.e. Mother Theresa is a good means of moral education.
Maritain’s discussion of declarations of rights was based on natural law theory. How would a consequentialist approach the same topic?
Both of their main goal is to produce the common good for the greatest #.
If you were asked to defend one of the three approaches to ethics that we covered in class, which would it be, and how would you go about arguing for it?
Utilitarianism. With so many people we have to think of everyones happiness as well as other beings that should be considered as well.