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Deontology and Famine Relief.docx

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PHIL 347
Gregory Janzen

Deontology: Immanuel Kant • Kantian Moral Theory (Deontology): The only actions that have any moral worth are those done from the motive of duty • Acting in accordance with duty ◦ When you act in accordance with duty, you do the right thing (i.e. you meet Kant's behavioural condition) • Acting from duty ◦ You act in accordance with duty, from the motive to do the right thing ◦ e.g. You save someone's life, because you think it's the right thing to do (and it is the right thing to do) • There's behavior and intention ◦ In order to have moral worth, it has to satisfy both • Kant's Categorical Imperative: ◦ Describe the action or behavior ◦ Determine a rule the action falls under ◦ Universalize the rule (i.e. you apply the rule to everyone, can you utilize it as a universal law of morality) ◦ Consider a world in which everyone obeys the rule ◦ Ask whether, in such a world, is the behavior in step 1 is possible ◦ Ask whether you could will that all rational beings would follow it ◦ If the answer to 5 or 6 is "no". If so, the action is forbidden. • Problems with Kant's view: ◦ Doesn't allow for exceptions ◦ Doesn't have the resources to consider conflicts of duty ◦ Motive of duty is the ONLY duty and has moral worth, but it's been argued that is can be inappropriate ▪ Michael Stalker (Virtue ethics, we have to look at the virtues, courage and truth, to formulate a good moral theory) Famine Relief: Peter Singer • More children than adults died from chronic malnutrition in 1996 • In 1996, 3.5 million people died from pneumonia • There's enough food in the world to ensure that each human being gets 3000 calories • Problem with food distribution not food production • Possible Causes of Chronic Malnutrition 1. Meat production is extremely wasteful 2. Distribution of resources (¼ of the world's population uses ¾ of the world's resources) • Singer is a utilitarian • Absolute poverty: Lack of sufficient income for basic necessities • Absolute affluence: Having income for necessities with some left over for
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