PHL 201 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Moral Luck

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Kant’s principle of humanity
Always treat human being, including yourself, as ands, and never as mere means
-Autonomous
-Rational
-Tool
Advantages
1. Gets many cases right.
2. Gives a plausible explanation of why certain actions are right or wrong.
3. Universal human right.
Disadvantages
1. Vague
2. We might not be autonomous (do we have free will)
3. Inconsistent with moral luck
4. Can’t explain why beings that lack rationality or autonomy are worthy of respect.
(Babies, animal)
Moral luck Circumstances outsides of your control affect whether or not you did the right
thing.
Mill’s Utilitarianism Motives, intentions, desires, emotions are all irrelevant to the rightness
of an action
Kant’s Theories Intentions may be relevant to rightness, but emotions and desires aren’t
Aristotle’s Theory Intentions, desires, emotions are all relevant to the rightness of an action.
Virtue Theory An act is morally right just because it is one that a virtuous person, acting in
character, would do in that situation.
-MORAL UNDERSTANDING IS A KIND OF PRACTICAL WISDOM-
Emotions play a number of important roles
1. Right emotion is an aspect of virtue
2. Moral Understanding and action
A. Can help us see what is morally relevant (empathy)
B. Can help us see what is right or wrong without us knowing why
C. Can help motivate us to do the right thing
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