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Department
Philosophy
Course
PHI2183
Professor
Teva Vidal
Semester
Winter

Description
1 Rawls Critique of Intuitionism March 6, 2014 Read Kymlicka Chapters 2-3 (and 1) • About blindness, indifference to distribution of utility Rawls’critique of utilitarianism • Utilitarianism leads to counter intuitive results (slavery, torture, etc. might be permissible if aggregate good could be maximized by doing so), because it doesn’t take individuals seriously • Utilitarianism imagines a social spectator (Sidgwick) as if good is being maximised for a single amorphous agent, whereas actually some individuals’welfare is being sacrificed for the sake of others (Kymlicka) Refining theories by testing them with situations • Intuitions are not necessarily the last word • Rawls: the goal is to achieve harmony between theory and intuitions, which creates a satisfactory equilibrium • Intuition will always play some role Rawls’critique of intuitionism (a normative theory) • Makes a general assumption from a lower level intuition- makes a higher principle that involves lower ones; for example, “don’t hit someone’s face” and “don’t kick someone’s leg” could be grouped together into “don’t harm others” • Utilitarianism, consequentialism can put these higher principles under even higher ones: maximise happiness • By trying to group these together, you’ll get to a plurality of highest order principles; attempts to go further are wrong like utilitarianism, become too trivial and uninformative, ex: do the right thing • Plurality of values echoed byAristotle and the prof • principles could be whole sentences How to adjudicate between highest order principles conflicts with intuitionism; intuitionists would use intuition to see which takes precedence. Rawls thinks one can go beyond intuition. Intuition allows for a plurality of principles of maximum generality. But priority problem: how do you decide in conflicts of principles Intuitionists can only rely on intuition: there is no way to adjudicate conflicts between highest order principles except by further intuitions; Rawls: “we can do better” • if a method works, and it is intuitively acceptable, reflected equilibrium is reached. The method has been tested, it’s useful, and it’s informative 2 Different theorists or citizens will have different rankings between values (ex: between equality and utility, which can each be represented by distinct indifference curves (graph demonstrating equally preferable combinations between two values), and intuitionism cannot offer any reason for a higher order preferences of one of these indifference curves over another. An example of an indifference curve was given contrasting equality on the y axis with general utility (welfare) on the x axis What trade off would be equally preferable?Anything northeast of the curve because both principles are increasing • some curves are flatter, some less so • flat means equality (y) over general utility (x) • non-flat means general utility (x) over equality (y) Constructive procedure, later constructivism • borrows from Hobbes, Locke- idea of hypothetical contract Design contract that would capture our intuition of fairness, showing we can rely on this method Original position- when/before they made contract While painting an intuitively acceptable theory, adopt a theory for arguing for fair principles Principles are then seen as fair because they were chosen under these conditions that are not influenced by social or natural advantages like poverty, intelligence that would affect the bargaining procedure Central condition- people are behind veil of ignorance- they don’t know what their real identity is (race, religion, natural endowment, etc.) or even their own conceptions of the good If using rational choice in the bargaining process, the outcome will reflect fairness Constructivist procedure uses rational choice (chooses self-interest) people think it assumes people are selfish- this moral objection follows tradition of proceduralism • ex: the golden rule is a procedure- do unto others what you would like them to do to you • couldn’t produce remotely intuitive results if people worth interest • masequist- do unto others would make them sadistic • Rawls says put yourself in everyone’s shoes- don’t know what you are, so you have to put yourself in all shoes and ask what’s in your self-interest Combining veil of ignorance with rational sentiment • Utilitarianism trying to produce some good with its idea of maximising utility- what rights people have is derivative of the good; Bentham thinks rights are artificial 3 People have rights that take priority; if rights are prioritized over a good, it’s assumed it’s a thin good • We don’t assume any substantive view, but thin, minimal goods- anyone would want prior to their conception Maximising the general welfare is teleological Veil of ignorance- further assumption that people selfish- rational principles govern distribution of goods for all people No matter what one’s conception of the good is, they would want as many primary goods as possible Rawls says the priority problem can be solved by organizing the plurality of principles into a lexical order (1.8) Claims that once it’s all set up, the result has to be fair therefore they come up with two principles: 1. Liberty principle: each person has a right to maximum equal liberty 2. Difference principle: a. Goods should be distributed equally except when an inequality renders someone worse off b. Each person should have equal opportunity, such as for political office Rawls lexically orders these principles so liberty comes first, then equal opportunity, followed by equal distribution, or 1→2b→2a After these 2.5 principles are met, then you can start worrying about maximising utility (Rawls) Rawls’Egalitarian Theory and Nozick’s Libertarian Critique March 11, 2014 Recap- Rawls’critique of intuitionism Intuitionism allows for a plurality of principles of maximum generality, but the priority problem; you can’t adjudicate conflicts between principles and different people have different indifference curves Can’t rule out intuitionism a priori but if a constructivist procedure can do better, the proof will be in the pudding; does it generate a better outcome (single highest principle or related plurality of principles, which capture our intuitions and thus achieve reflective equilibrium 4 Mill and Rawls both attack intuitionism. Rawls believes principles should be ordered lexically, and both hold that morality should be deduced from principle Every intuitionist/pluralist thinks maximising utility is one good thing but there are others; fairness, promises made, etc. (see Kymlicka and lending money) Mill chapter 5 talks of happiness as going beyond pleasure-pain Bentham- utility=happiness= pleasure – pain; hedonic=pleasure based. Mill more accommodating; Bentham human happiness different than pig’s happiness. Bentham says one will not substitute higher pleasures for lower ones. Mill wants to be conciliatory and at the same time wants to be loyal to Bentham and this father, James Mill. Mill suggests he is a hedonic utilitarian, and wants to be a one value philosopher Some utilitarians accepted general welfare, well-being, preference satisfaction- like consequentialism Intuitionists believe there are principles to apply to different situations; they try to make them one principle- there should be a determinate order of principles among them Rawls on intuitionism: he believes it’s possible to go beyond intuitions, but there is no way to get beyond a plurality of principles. Intuition is important, but should be reduced when possible. Justice as fairness principles of justice chosen under original position- we can put principles in serial or lexical order-need to understand first principle before second and so on; either by a single principle or a plurality in a lexical order Mill and Rawls agree on a lexical order of principles Rawls’constructivist procedure: hypothetical contract; not like state of nature because there is not claim it’s real, and the parties themselves are not fully real; this idea of a contract is borrowed from Hobbes and Locke Artificial state of nature- stipulated (agreed) original position –unlike state of nature • No claim to be real or historical • Parties not fully real • Real society- Canada or US in 20 -21 centuries- is assumed to exist along with its production of primary goods and its Basic Structure Read Kymlicka on Rawls’contract The real society- it exists- the production of primary goods exist- its primary structure exists If one accepts free market out-produces some collectively owned means of production Constructive procedure limits reliance on intuition by employing rational choice under specified controlled conditions 5 Fairness: principles would be chosen by people under certain conditions that made the choice fair, so principles would reflect this fairness. Thus principles can be seen as fair because they would be chosen under these conditions Before- liberty, equality, utility are important Since it’s set up in a way that parties would choose what is fair 2 principles of justice Alegislature of rational beings could make it a law Rawls wants to set up an experiment to capture equality unlike utilitarianism, by putting knowledge of ourselves behind the veil of ignorance- they choose therefore they are free, as opposed to taking people as they are with different abilities, prejudices. Certain liberties are constitutionalized so legislatures can’t easily take them away Each person is to have equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with similar liberty for others (liberty principle) –maximum equal liberty possible with everyone else’s liberty Rawls says maxi-min maximum minimum position you might be in- rational choice theory. One of the ways to minimise reliance on intuition is by using rational choice theory, a science of choosing rationally • Whatever your conception of the good is, you want maximum liberty to realize that conception (ex: Buddhists would want a society where Buddhism is legal) Hart: the first important thing is liberty entrenched; it’s just basic liberties and not the maximum version of (most extensive) basic liberties Difference between concept and conception: you can have a concept like justice, but different theorists have different conceptions of justice. This doesn’t mean they can’t have useful dialogue between them Social, economic inequalities are to be arranged so they are both: a) reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage, especially to those worse off b) attached to positions and offices open to all Social, economic goods should be distributed equally when an inequality favours the worse off For example, of (10 14 13), (8 23 43), and (11 14 17), the second option is unjust in Rawls’view, the third is the most just.Atransition from the first to the third would be just 6 Prioritarianism: view that one should always give priority to the worst off Egalitarianism: view that favours equality for its own sake (they would choose the first option in the above example) Some people like Margaret Thatcher say socialists are making everyone worse off by making them equal while making no one better off. Recap of Rawls and intro to Nozick’s Libertarian Critique March 18, 2014 Rawls’two principles of justice: 1. Liberty principle: humans are deserving of basic human rights; they have fundamental inviolable rights 2. Difference principle: a) maximum standard of equal rights should be strived for- goods should be distributed equally unless an inequality renders someone worse off b) equal opportunity for political office, etc. Advantage of Bentham and Mill’s greatest happiness principle- moral rules no longer mysterious, but are subordinate to promoting human happiness and welfare Prof: “Let justice be done and so punish the world” Golden rule- has to presuppose self-interest; doesn’t take into account the individual preferences of people, for example can’t just have jazz Universalization test- Kant’s categorical imperative- logical contradiction, contradiction of will. Rawls chapters 27-28 what if parties in original position choose utilitarianism? Depends on how risk averse they are • Rawls says they will want maxi-min • Supposed to be better than intuition (Rawls’theory) Procedural approach seems to have problems Difference principle is immune to levelling down objection- if one is blind, take the eyes of everyone else- Margaret Thatcher’s argument Temkin: no change in distribution is justified which does not benefit someone Walzer’s spheres of justice- different goods have different distributions, ex: medicine distributed according to need, and different spheres shouldn’t invade each other Cohen’s objection- his book “Rescuing Justice and Equality” in which he tries to rescue justice from John Rawls • Attacks difference principle- if minimum is increased, inequality could be tolerated 7 • It’s possible to have an equal aggregate if people weren’t so selfish Robert Nozick’s libertarian critique Entitlement theory- goods can’t be coercively redistributed, for there is an initial acquisition of property and transfers are consensual (non-coercive) Patterned Theory- first pick your favourite kind of justice theory, then imagine Wilt Chamberlain. Everyone gives Wilt money to see him play basketball, making him richer than everyone else. Should the government take away Wilt’s money? Therefore Nozick argues that justice is unpatterned. Liberty upsets patterns, as some save, squander, or invest their money Libertarian Critique of Rawls’Egalitarianism March 20, 2014 Robert Nozick follows Locke on self-ownership Cohen noticed Marxists have problems with property ownership. Individuals have inviolable rights Kant’s injunction (second formulation of the categorical imperative): treat people as ends and never as means Rights as side constraints on action- can be done as long as they don’t violate others’rights that constrain those of the actor Dworkin- rights as trumps- rights can override, constrain other motivations to act. (Trump is a suit in playing cards that can beat any other suit). Nozick shares this view Even rights-consequentialism is ruled out (action is right if it maximises respect for rights overall, and minimises violation of rights, known as the utilitarianism of rights) because it treats some as mere means rather than ends The difference of rights consequentialism with deontological rights is that as opposed to having some rights fairly fixed, but with possible exceptions, deontological rights have no exceptions An example of rights consequentialism is income tax brackets Self-ownership: people own themselves (following Locke), but Nozick does critique Locke with his tomato juice example 8 Thus: entitlement theory has these elements: • Principle of initial acquisition • Principle of just transfer- if I transfer something to you by consent, it’s yours- there is no coercion • Principle of rectificatory justice- returning stolen stuff to rightful owner who abided by the principle of just transfer If initial acquisition is just, and transfers are non-coercive, transfers are just. No one has the right to take away what one has to give it to someone else. Coerced redistribution goes back to the Kantian injunction, as the people getting money taken from them would be used as a means to achieve equality Therefore whatever pattern emerges from a free market (and new ones constantly emerge) is just. A pattern in this sense means a guiding philosophy Wilt Chamberlain example- justice is unpatterned- liberty upsets patterns Page 168- patterned principles of distributive justice necessitate redistributive activities; likelihood is small that any actual freely-arrived at set of holdings fits a given pattern; likelihood is zero that it will continue to fit a pattern as people exchange things. From a point of view of a different theory, redistribution is a serious matter indeed, involving the violation of people’s rights Taxation=coercing Neither Rawls nor Nozick think there are grounds for merit here Marxist- a BAgraduate gets a poor job- not a just transfer Nozickian- just transfers are complicated, but the basic principle is good Page 169- taxation of earnings from labour is on par with forced labour (if you’re working for someone else) Marriage example- an island of 26 males and 26 females, all heterosexual. Miss and Mr.Aare the most attractive, B people are second best, and so on The twoA’s marry, the two B’s marry, and so on. The Z people have no choice- have Y’s left as enough and as good (Lockean Proviso) for the Z’s? No, for there is now choice of who to marry. Lockean proviso and zip back argument-A’s didn’t have right to take it either therefor no one has the right to acquire anything if A’s have no choice but to marry the opposite sex. Page 178-182 leaving someone worse off- what does it mean? 9 Nozick 182- “I believe that the free operation of a market system will not actually run afoul of the Lockean proviso” He compares it to the free market Ex: minimal night watchman state- protects security, some public goods- basic Hobbesian No matter what principle of initial acquisition, just transfers upset patterns This theory, entitlement theory of holdings- historical pattern changes every day- pattern would have to be reinforced daily Objections: What are basic rights or side constraints? Do equal rights not require equal freedom and thus equality of opportunity? Can you have equality of opportunity without some equality of outcome (requiring redistribution)? Are markets really free? If corporations are legal fictions invented and propped up by artifice (non-natural) then why can’t “artificial” redistribution be justified? Corporations designed to make more money Recap- libertarian-egalitarian debate, and communitarianism March 25, 2014 Incommensurability (incomparable) - hard to always know what produces more happiness. There are different values that can be measured on a single scale, but not in practice- no way to compare them Objections to Nozick’s libertarianism People are supposed to have funda
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