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Ross's Pluralistic Deontology 11.5.2012.docx

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Joseph Boyle

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Notes Nov 5, 2012 PHL275 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? NO. (p.261-262)  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 imperative  We don’t keep promises to ensure future happiness. We keep promises because we promised. o Promotes human welfare  Social contracts? 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 thing?  Ross says . . . do the best you can.
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