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PHILOS 2TT3 Lecture Notes - Supererogation, Egotism

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V Igneski

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October 2
Common Sense Morality
- Our intuitions guide in our morality
- It’s a moderate view, rather than an extreme
- Moral Categories: common sense morality places something in each of the categories
o Required
o Permitted
o Forbidden
- Extremist View:
o Shelley Kagan, The Limits of Morality
o Perform act with the best consequences (required)
o May accept some constraints (forbidden)
but do not except options.
o Criticisms:
Demanding; views of supererogatory actions may be required.
Alienating; asked to deny what is important individually.
Violates autonomy; ability to choose actions, no egoism at all.
- Minimalist View:
o Egoism, (will not require any actions not based on self interest), nihilism (no moral
obligations), extreme libertarianism (some negative duties to others, not to murder
or steal, but does not interest itself in any actions which will aid others).
o Most acts are classified in the permitted category; acceptance of some constraints
o Criticisms:
Permits too much (lack of requirements in the positive can be disturbing)
No positive duties to others
- Common Sense Morality:
o Limits demands of morality and sacrifice
o Permitted to favour my interests; unlimited partiality, allows us to sometimes
favour our own interests that are not necessarily optimal.
Recognizes special obligations (to persons).
o Morally forbidden to perform certain acts even if they maximize good; flexible
thresholds of constraints.
o Doing harm is worse than allowing it (killing is worse than letting someone die)
Intending harm is worse than foreseeing it as a side effect.
- Intuitions and Moral Theory
o What is the proper role of intuitions in moral decision making?
o Is it possible to systemize these intuitions?
o Where does that leave moral theory and theorizing?
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