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COMPLETE NOTES: Great Philosophers (4.0ed this final exam)

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CAS PH 110
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• Kantian Approaches to Famine Problems o O’Neill’s Focus  What implications does the Humanity Formula have for famine relief?  If we are to act on maxims that do not use others as mere means, will this requirement impact our actions and policies regarding famine?  What maxims guide our actions related to famine relief?  Maxim: Try to reduce the risk or severity of poverty related problems • Does not include a ‘why’ to her maxim; can easily be added with the simple because poverty related problems are bad • can be reflected in a variety of different actions: a gift of money, political lobbying for aid, political lobbying against aid (indiscriminate food aid damages as area’s agricultural economy and do not lead to self-sustaining development) • Case Study o Grain dealer in a Third World village threatens to refuse an indispensible loan unless he is sold the current crop at a pitifully low price o The farmer is used as a mere means because he cannot genuinely consent to and “offer he can’t refuse” o Treating Others as Ends  To treat someone as an end requires actions that promote another’s capacities for autonomous action • We are finite rational beings and we depend on each other • To help others is a way to help them exercise their autonomy  We have a duty to help and support others in achieving their aims  Hunger, poverty, and powerlessness undercut the possibility of autonomous action  We have a duty to foster and secure others’ capacities for autonomous action  Therefore, we should do what we can to avert, reduce, and remedy hunger, poverty, and powerlessness o Perfect Duties: duties that people must constantly be doing throughout their daily lives; not to kill oneself or others; these always apply o Imperfect Duties: not required of people at all times, but still duties; can choose how to fulfill them; contributing to charity; these sometimes apply • Thomson Presentation o Many would say killing is worse than letting die  Alfred poisons wife versus Bert not giving his wife an antidote after she poisoned herself  Alfred is worse o Mrs. Foot  Positive duties are things such as saving a life  Negative duties are things such as refraining from killing  Example: • Frank is a passenger in the trolley and the driver passed out • Frank is faced with killing one person or letting five die • Frank cannot flip the switch o Thomson also considers who has more claim on life  Say five people on tracks were workers and knew of the dangers of the job while the one person was guaranteed safety on the tracks  The one person has more claim on life o Changing outcomes  You can manipulate things to change outcomes, but not people  Makes it okay to flip the switch of the trolley but not push a fat man off a bridge to stop it in its tracks  Differs from utilitarianism because it takes into account claim and circumstance of a situation, not just what creates the most happiness overall o Concerns  Grey area about what constitutes the values/validity of a claim▯ very subject to judgment  Only difference between driver and Frank is title • Driver is in a position of killing or killing; and therefore should chose the lesser of two evils by flipping the switch • Frank is in a position of killing or let die and therefore lets 5 people die; why is his circumstance difference just because of his title? • Responsibility is an issue here • Killing, Letting Die, and the Trolley Problem o Is killing worse than letting die?  Intuition: yes  Charles • Transplant surgeon who wants to kill a healthy specimen to transplant the heart in a sick person  David • Transplant surgeon who wants to kill one healthy person to save five other patients needed a transplant  Principle: Killing is worse than letting die; applications in abortion, euthanasia, distribution of scarce medical resources  Counterexample • Alfred hates his wife and deliberately poisons her • Bert hates his wife and when she inadvertently poisons herself he does not provide the antidote despite having it • Intuition: What Bert does is as bad as whatAlfred does • Conclusion: Killing is not worse than letting die • BadArgument o Alfreda knows that if she cuts offAlfred’s head, he will die o Bertha knows that if she punches Bert in the nose, he will die o Alfreda wantsAlfred to die, so she cuts off his head o Bertha wants Bert to dies, so she punches his nose o What Bertha did is as bad as whatAlfreda did o Therefore, cutting off someone’s head isn’t worse than punching someone’s nose o The Fallacy  Draws too general a conclusion from a specific instance  Makes a claim about every pair of acts of a specific type; all nose punchings and all decapitations  However, the argument only established the equivalence in a specific case  Edward and the Trolle
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