Nov 5, 2012
From Kant to Pluralistic Deontology
Ross’s Pluralistic Deontology
Is producing good or better good the factor that makes every morally act to be morally right?
Utilitarianism CANNOT capture all we think about what makes an action right or wrong.
o There is not one single moral principle (utility)
o It is in stark conflict with the way people go about their lives
If you think utility is the only thing that counts, there is trouble
Kant has the same problem: he thinks everything comes from the principle of the categorical
We don’t keep promises to ensure future happiness. We keep promises because we promised.
o Promotes human welfare
o Cheaters of promises make special cases for themselves
So what does count ethically?
o Apparently, not one thing but many (263b-264a)
Apparently, there is a list
Prima facie duties
o Not a single principle alternative like simple fairness, or Kant’s Categorical Imperative
What happens when your principles conflict?
o Utilitarians always have one principle based on reason that they follow.
As do Kantians
o What happens if you’ve promised to meet someone but there is a car accident on the
way and you’re a doctor and you have to stop and help but in doing so you break your
promise to meet up with the individual?
What do we follow? The rule of beneficence or the not-breaking-promises
Ross says . . . do the best you can.