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Theories of Justice:
๎€Moral theory: pragmatic justification is โ€œif you want x to be the case, then set up the
necessary and sufficient conditions to maximize the probability that x will be the
case
๎€Rational self interest argument: adopting the rule (to not kill innocent people) makes
the world a safer place for you and those you love, so you should adopt the rule
Utilitarianism
๎€Frequently referred to as a kind of consequentialist theory
๎€Evaluate what actions they should take or what rules they should follow based upon
the best information/estimate of what consequences will follow from adopting
particular actions/rules.
๎€Founded by the leader of the โ€œPhilosophical Radicalsโ€, Jeremy Bentham and James
Mill in early nineteenth century.
๎€Grounded in the belief that an action was right if and only if such action, on balance
brought more good over bad than any other actions that was possible
๎€Good, not in a self interested way, but as a good for the good of all
๎€2 kinds
๎€act utilitarian (committed to analyzing each particular act or action and determining
its rightness based on maximizing the good over the bad of performing that action
over all other possible actions).
๎€Rule utilitarian (evaluates the consequences of following a rule more generally,
actions are only evaluated to assess their concordance with the general rules that
themselves are evaluated in terms of good consequences over bad. Willing to accept
that individual actions can cause more harm than good, but if following the rule on
balance produces more good, then the individual harm is justified)
๎€Criticisms:
๎€Defining โ€œGoodโ€ - What is good for one person is not necessarily good for another. It
is dependent upon ability, education, intelligence and talents
๎€Harming some for the good of the whole (means to ends justification) โ€“
compromising some individuals happiness for the greater balance of happiness for
all (scapegoating)
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๎€ Paradox of the harms of act and rule utilitarianism โ€“ if one looks at each particular
act and evaluates it in isolations, then one may never see that the cumulative impact
of these isolated acts is harmful
๎€Problem of impartiality and disinterested benevolence (goodwill) โ€“ there is a clear
limitation to always assuming that impartiality (neutrality) and disinterest leads to
the greater good
Deontology
๎€An action is moral, independent of its consequences and based solely on purely
rational ethical belief, derived through the reason that is available to all matures,
intelligent, reasoning human beings.
๎€Action that is done from duty gets its moral value, not from the object which it is
intended to secure, but from the maxim by which it is determined
๎€Morality of an action is determined solely by the general principle to which the
action conforms (through the principleโ€™s formal properties and universality that is
gains legitimacy) โ€œKANTโ€
๎€Criticisms:
๎€Universalizability as an implicit appeal to consequences โ€“ what Kant is doing is
positing a type of rule utilitarianism in which one evaluates the value of a rule based
upon the long term consequences of following the rule
๎€Faith in reason โ€“ Kantโ€™s naive faith in pure reason as the unproblematic grounds for
ethics
๎€Counterintuitive aspect โ€“ ex: lifeboat case (10 ppl in boat that only holds 9, one
person must go overboard and drown or all 10 lives will be lost) deontologist argues
that no human life can be used as a means to an end. But all human lives are ends
in themselves, consequence is that all lives must be lost.
Contractarianism
๎€Aka social contract theory
๎€Developed in 17th and 18th centuries (Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, John Rawls,
Rousseau, Hume)
๎€Make a distinction between the state of nature and the state of society, with the state
of nature being conceived of as pre-political
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๎€Emphasis on importance of the rights of the individual in the collectivity that is the
state
๎€Associated with libertarianism, democracy, and republicanism
๎€Individual freedom is neither a necessary nor sufficient o=condition of the social
contract
๎€Rawls identified 2 principles of justice that he believed would be adopted by rational
and mutually self interested persons with similar needs and wants: principle of
EQUALITY OF LIBERTY, principle of DIFFERENCE
๎€Rawls belives that the strengths of his principles rests in the fundamental
assumption of fairness as having primacy in any notion of justice
๎€Criticisms: assumption that rational self interest is the foundation for the contract.
This assumptions diminishes the moral sense of humankind and reduces it to merely
expedient amoral self interest.
๎€Assumption of reason as the foundation for social contract and of the rough equality
of persons in the original position is biased and begins with a skewed definition of
the moral considerability of those in the original position
Feminist ethics
๎€Ethics of care (carol Gilligan) โ€“ 2 perspectives on morality, justice and rights
perspective, and the care perspective
๎€Woman and men reason differently about moral choices as a conswquence of their
different social roles in society.
๎€Womenโ€™s roles in reproduction and child and family care
๎€The care perspective is neither biologically determined nor unique to women.
Distributive Justice
๎€How the goods/benefits within a society are to be rewarded or shared
๎€Rawls argues that inequality is justified if it is advantageous to everyone
๎€Principles of distribution:
๎€To each an equal share โ€“ strict equalitarianism โ€œfree rider problemโ€
๎€To each according to need โ€“ equalitarianism, justified on humanitarian grounds
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Document Summary

moral theory: pragmatic justification is if you want x to be the case, then set up the necessary and sufficient conditions to maximize the probability that x will be the case. rational self interest argument: adopting the rule (to not kill innocent people) makes the world a safer place for you and those you love, so you should adopt the rule. Frequently referred to as a kind of consequentialist theory. evaluate what actions they should take or what rules they should follow based upon the best information/estimate of what consequences will follow from adopting particular actions/rules. Founded by the leader of the philosophical radicals , jeremy bentham and james. grounded in the belief that an action was right if and only if such action, on balance brought more good over bad than any other actions that was possible. good, not in a self interested way, but as a good for the good of all.

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