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Lecture

Lecture Notes 2-25: Kant.docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course
CAS PH 150
Professor
Matt Cartmill
Semester
Fall

Description
Act vs. Rule Consequentialism • Rule consequentialism: an action is morally right just because it is required by an optimific social rule • Optimific social rule: a social rule/policy that is justified by the principle of utility • Basic idea: use the principle of utility to justify a general policy rather than to justify specific actions • Change of grade scenario: o Act utilitarian says change the grade even though its not based on merit (case by case basis) o Rule utilitarian says no keep the merit based policy • Basic Objection: what justifies the rules that the Rule Utilitarian comes up with? o Breaking the rule would increase net well being (in case of student—optimific): then why should you not break the rule? It brings utility and goes against utilitarianism  Looks like rule utilitarianism just collapses into act • Shafer Landau: whether it is socially optimific o Carefully describe the rule o Imagine the society following the rule overall o Would the society be better with this rule? • Radically different than universal—this is consequential Kant • Good will • The only thing that is intrinsically morally good is a good will • Moderation, self-control, calm reflection, happiness, courage, perseverance…none of these speak to intrinsic moral worth • “…The coolness of a scoundrel makes him not only far more dangerous but also immediately more abominable in our eyes than we would have taken him to be without it.” The Kantian Perspective • Orienting examples o Not paying taxes and using the money for a vacation o Cheating on an exam and getting away with it o Using the emergency lane to escape a traffic jam • All required by utilitarianism but these would all be immoral according to Kant (using the principle of universalizability)—they don’t agree o Essay question: pick an example that illustrates the difference between these two theories • The Golden Rule o Do unto others as you would have them do unto you o How would you like it if someone did that to you? o Consistency: apply to the same standards to yourself as you would apply to others o However, Kant disagrees with this rule o Problem: golden rule rests on our desires (would you want someone to do x to you?)  Our desires are subjective—this is bad because Kant believe morally should be objective o “I would want you to kiss me, therefore I shall do unto you as I would have you do unto me…” (A creepy man wanting to kiss a young woman) • Principle of Universalizability o (POU)=An act is morally permissible if and only if its maxim is universalizable o Maxim=description of our action and the reason why we are doing it  Robbing a bank in order to get rich vs. robbing a ba
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