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Chapter 9

PHIL*1050 - Chapter 9.docx

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University of Guelph
PHIL 1050
Mark Mc Cullagh

Chapter 9 Are There Absolute Moral Rules? 9.1. Harry Truman and Elizabeth Anscombe - Truman was the man who decided to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. - President Roosevelt sent messages to the governments of France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Great Britain denouncing the bombardment of cities calling it “inhuman barbarism” - Winston Churchill “The decision whether or not to use the atomic bomb to compel the surrender of Japan was never seen an issue. There was a unanimous, automatic, unquestioned agreement around our table” - After signing the final order, Truman said he “slept like a baby” - Elizabeth Anscombe believed Britain should not go to war because countries at war inevitably end up fighting by unjust means. - Miss Anscombe: married 59 years, 7 children, and one of the 20 centuries most distinguished philosophers and the greatest woman philosopher In history, - Anscombe – “for men to choose to kill the innocent as a means to their end, is always a murderer” - Anscombe’s point: some things may not be done, no matter what - Treachery: obtaining a mans confidence in a grave matter by promises of trustworthy friendship and then betraying him to his enemies 9.2. The Categorical Imperative - Immanuel Kant argued that lying is wrong under any circumstances. - He did not appeal to theological considerations - “Hypothetical imperatives” they tell us what to do provided that we have relevant desires. - Moral obligations: you should help someone no matter what your desires are - Categorical ought’s: they take the form of “you ought to do such and such period. - Kant= hypothetical ought’s are possible because we have desires, categorical ought’s are possible because we have reason. - Kant + The categorical imperative: act only according to that maximum by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law. 9.3. Kant’s Arguments on Lying - Believes our behaviors should be guided by universal laws, which are moral rules that hold true in all circumstances - Had strong feelings toward the rule against lying - He said lying under any circumstances is “the obliteration of one’s dignity as a human being” - Offered to arguments for an absolute rule against lying: - Argument #1: - We could not will a universal law that allows us to lie; such a law would be self-defeating. - People would stop believing each other, lying would have no point, and in a se
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