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AHSS*1100 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Universalizability, Categorical Imperative, Rationality

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Ethics + Moral Theory: Utilitarianism, Kant, skepticism is good but not too much Examined Life: D3 29/01/16
- opp to utilitarianism
- cares about justice, rightness, moral autonomy + not
just well being
- intention over consequence
Autonomy (rationality) as self-legislation
- which governs life
- responsible for goals + choices
- not a slave to passions (contra-hume)
- can resist temptation through reason
dignity = humanity + autonomy
Absolute moral duties:
- certain actions are never permitted or never
permissibly broken
1 – you can't lie (may be justified to lie to a crazy
murderer who wants to kill your kids)
2 – you can't kill
Good will is the only thing that's intrinsic
- used to control things or else things potential to get
out of hand easily bc can abuse anything else for evil.
- Consequences aren't what make good will good
- integrity, no cost benefit analysis, moral action
- moral worth is acting from good will
2 ex. if he cheats, everyone would know + he thinks
cheating is wrong so he's committed to morality
Acting freely is acting morally, rationally +
Consistency + Fairness
- Ppl make exceptions for themselves
- Follow certain rules + insist others to follow diff rules
Opposition to Unfairness (nonkantian tests of morality)
- 1) What if everyone did that?
- like lie or be homosexual
- 2) How would you like it if I did that to you?
- problem with treat others the way you'd like
to be treated is what if you were a someone who liked
to be whipped?
Basic Procedure to determine Consistency + Fairness
in order to not make exceptions for ourselves, we must
choose in a way where out reasons are justified for all...
1) Form maxim clearly – say what you want to do +
why you want to do it
2) Imagine world where everyone supports + acts on
your maxim
3) Ask if goal of action can be achieved in such a world
Yes – maxim universalizable
No – maxim not universalizable
- maxim is one where everyone could act upon similar
Self Regarding Duties
- Many feel that suicide, addiction, letting talents going
to waste and etc. are wrong despite no one getting
harmed in the process
- Utilitarians don't have self regarding duties so they
say if it doesn't harm other ppl, you are home free
Principle of Universalizability
- commit to fairness + consistency
- act morally acceptable if maxim is universalizable
(when we act, we intend to do smth; maxim is made of
action + intention)
- sometimes you don't need a maxim to act like
sneezing so Kant would say you're a automata
5 Kantian Concepts for motivation
1) moral law vs self love
- pathological vs intellectual motivations
2) good will (finite rational beings
3) categorical imperative
4) freedom + incorporation thesis
5) autonomy vs radical evil (using free will)
ex. if you intended to walk a old lady across the street
but she got killed, the goodness of the act isn't gone bc
good will motivated it
Kant imagines 3 cases
- shoekeeper than doesn't overcharge child
- sympathetic indv helping other ppl
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