PHILOS 2YY3 Lecture Notes - Shelly Kagan, Egotism, Deontological Ethics

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October 30
Frankena: Reconciling Ethical Theories & Common Sense Morality
- Moral Categories:
- Extremist View:
o Shelly Kagan, The Limits of Morality
Talk about why common sense of morality struggles to justify itself
o Performing the act with the best consequence in any given situation is considered to
be required
o May accept some constraints sometimes there are constraints on what you are
allowed to do, even if it would bring about the greatest consequences.
But there is no acceptance of options,
o Criticisms: demanding, alienating, violates autonomy of the action-doer.
Minimalist View:
- Egoism, nihilism, extreme libertarianism
- Most acts in permitted category; accepts some constraints
- Criticisms: permits too much, no positive duties to others
Common Sense Morality:
- Tries to limit the damands of morality adn sacrifice
- Permitted to favour personal interests
- Forbidden to perform certain acts even if they maximize the good
- “morality is made for man, not man for morality”
- Mixed deontological theory
- 2 principles: beneficence and justice
o Prima facie duties we have reasons as to why we want to act in the interest of one
or the other.
o Specific rules and judgements derived
- Connection between morally right and making someone’s life good.
- Principle of Beneficence:
o Prima facie obligation to do good and prevent harm
a. Ought not to inflict evil/harm
b. Ought to prevent evil/harm
c. Out to remove evil
d. Ought to do or promote good (but is only required sometimes)
o PROBLEM: doesn’t tell us how to distribute goods and evil
o SOLUTION: adopt a principle of justice
- Principle of Justice
o Distributive justice a matter of comparative treatment of individuals
Unjust to treat similar individuals in similar circumstances differently unless
you can show relevant difference
o How to distribute:
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