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Define psychological egoism:
The idea that everyone always acts selfishly
Define ethical egoism
Everyone always ought to act selfishly (almost “rational” egoism)
Explain the difference between Psych. Eg. and Eth. Eg. ?
Differ in their “direction of fit” to the world. If someone acts selflessly in psych egoism, then there is something wrong with the theory of psych egoism. If a person acts selflessly in ethical egoism, something is wrong with that person or the world.
Formulation of Psych egoism
- 1) Everyone always does what they most want to do.
- 2) If someone does what they most wants to do, they act selfishly.
- 3) Therefore, (3) everyone always acts selfishly.
Arguments against psych. egoism?
Premise 1 is false - for instance promises that you don't WANT to keep, but you end up keeping.
WAIT WHAT?! You want to keep the promise with that person because you want to make the relationship stronger maybe?! Which is in itself a desire?
Premise 2 is false - The object of a want is what determines selfishness (Mother Theresa and Donald Trump)
What are the questions we asked about Mill on higher and lower pleasures?
- What experience is high and low?
- What tests these pleasures?
- Is this biased?
- How do you do utilitarian calcs?
- Are there higher and lower pains as well as pleasures?
Mills Proof of Utilitarianism?
- 1) Each person desires his or her own happiness.
- 2) If something is desired by someone it is desirable (for him or her)
- 3) Therefore (3) Each person's happiness is desirable (for him or her)
- 4) Therefore (4) The general happiness is desirable (for everyone).
Four objections to Mills proof
- a) Premise 2 is false. Worthy vs. capable?
- b) Premise 3 doesn't go to 4. Can't be assumed.
- c) Happiness is not the only thing desirable.
- d) Does not prove consequentialism.
Utilitarianism consists of?
Consequentialism, hedonism, equality principle
Idea that actions are to be judged by virtue of their consequence.
Assessing consequnces can be done by determining amount of happiness created.
Equality principle in utilitarianism?
Each person's happiness counts the same.
Problems for utilitarianism?
Rejecting hedonism - we don't desire being "programmed" to get happiness, most people would rather have real life situations. Therefore happiness is not all that matters, so we reject hedonism, and therefore utilitarianism.
Direct form of the theory of utilitarianism. Cons, hed, and eq.
Indirect form of the theory - an act is right if it is allowed by a set of rules, conformity to which would maximally promote general happiness.
Formulate Singer's argument for a pro-animal position
- 1) Discrimination between humans is wrong.
- 2) The only principle that explains this is the principle of equal consideration of interests.
- 3) Therefore, the principle of equal consideration of interests should be accepted.
- 4) The principle of equal consideration of interests prohibits discrimination against animals.
- 5) Therefore, we should not discriminate against animals.
Machan's arguments against animal rights?
Animals have no rights, they are not human. Humans are more important than animals.
Arguments against Machan's argument?
- 1. Does not apply to utilitarian viewpoint. Utilitarians don't care about the rights, only about equality.
- 2. There is a problem of marginal cases - how do we measure equality? Do some animals have more rights than others?
- 3. Source of human rights? "We have as our central task to act morally" .. controversial! undefended!
Doing something as a means of getting what you want
Doing something regardless of what you want
principle on which you act. explains what you think you're doing and why you think you're doing it.
Kant's universal law test formulation?
- 1. Identify the maxim
- 2. Universalize the maxim
- 3. Try willing the universalized maxim. If you can will the universalized maxim without your will contradicting itself, the action is okay. If you can't, the action is wrong.
Explain Kant's Universal Law formulation within essay context
"Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."
How can a maxim fail Kant's test?
If, when trying to make that maxim a universal law, your will contradicts itself.
Kant's first example of maxim? Also, does it pass/fail? Why?
Lying promise. "When I am in great need, I will make a promise knowing that I can not keep it." Kant thinks universally it wouldn't work because it contradicts one's own will - if everyone lied like that, nobody would will out money or favors.
To will that something be the case is to commit yourself to trying to bring that about, to the extent that you can do so.
Explain Outline of Universal Law test
- i) Maxim
- ii) Will
- iii) Universal Law
- iv) Contradiction/Failure
Mary will understand c. f. 's
Contradictions to Kant's first example?
If there are few enough lying promises, there is no contradiction - if the majority isn't in need.
Kant's second example? Kant's ideas on contradiction?
Suicide example. Maxim: When my life threatens more evil than satisfaction in the future, I will make it my principle to shorten my life. Contradiction is that the act of ending their life is contradicting self love, hence the contradiction, hence failure.
Critique Kant's argument about suicide
It isn't clear
- 1) Why we should accept that suicide contradicts self-love - why can't the purpose of self-love be to improve life when it can be improved, and end it when it is only to be terrible henceforth?
- 2) Why should Kant's self-love purpose be an individual's purpose?
- 3) The example does not seem to involve universalizing, so it is a poor example
Explain Kant's third example? Kant's argument?
Maxim: When I am comfortable I will not develop my talents. Kant argues that as a rational being, it is impossible to will this.
Critiques to Kant's third argument?
- 1) No justification for the idea that rational beings will that their talents be developed.
- 2) Can't be universalized, again.
- 3) Poor example of Kant's test.
Formulate essay: "Under what circumstances is abortion morally permissible?"
- Intro: Thesis statement. "Abortion should be permissible in all cases."
- 2: Pro-life argument.
- 3: Objections to pro-life argument.
- 4: Thomson example: Mother's life
- 5: Thomson example: Rape
- 6: Thomson example: Contraceptive failure
- 7: Tom's example: Irresponsibility?
- 8: Conclusion: It is morally permissible.
Formulate essay for: "What is the social contract theory of morals? What are the most important attractive features of the social contract theory of morals? What are the most important objections to the theory? Ought we to believe the theory?"
- Intro: We ought not believe the social contract theory of morals, due to the fact that it is
- 2: Define social contract theory: Morality consists in the set of rules, or governing behavior, that rational people will accept on the condition that others accept them as well.
- 3: Attractive features: Sorts out genuine moral rules (if it makes for more harmonious living). Makes morality rational. Makes it permissible to punish law-breakers. Tells us how far we have to go for morality.
- 4: Disadvantages: Based on historical fiction. Also, some individuals can not mutually benefit the population (infants, animals, future generations, oppressed populations)
- Conclusion: Therefore, based on the limited scope of the theory, we ought to reject it.
Formulate essay for: "What is psychological egoism? What is ethical egoism and what is the difference between psychological and ethical egoism? Provide two arguments for psychological egoism. What are the best replies to these arguments? Should we believe in psychological egoism?
- Intro: Thesis: We should not accept the concept of psychological egoism on the grounds that the theory behind it is limited and that some argue that ideas within it are impossible.
- 2: Define psychological egoism.
- 3: Define ethical egoism.
- 4: Explain the difference
- 5: Formulate the first argument.
- 6: Show objections
- 7: Formulate second argument
- 8: Show objections
- 9: Conclude, based on these objections, psychological egoism, in its current state of theory, must be rejected.
Formulate essay for: "Why does Mill make the distinction between higher and lower pleasures? How, according to Mill, can we determine whether a pleasure is higher or lower? What are the most important problems with Mill's distincion? Should a utilitarian make the distinction?"
- Intro: Thesis statement - "Mill's higher and lower pleasures idea shows that there is a distinction between basic animal pleasures and needs and those of higher-level human thought and pleasure. However thought-provoking it may be, there are many various issues with this theory."
- 2: Define higher pleasures
- 3: Define lower pleasures
- 4: Explore the ways in which a situation of pleasure is defined as higher or lower - (seeking intelligence, broadening creativity, higher human-level thinking and feeling)
- 5: Problems - difference in quantities of higher vs. lower?
- 6: Problems - utilitarians should not make the distinction, since their view is clouded mainly by happiness of the whole to a point where sorting out individual pleasures is trivial.
Formulate essay for: "Explain singer's view of the source and extent of our moral obligations to animals. What is the most important problem for Singer's view? Explain Machan's view of the source and extent of our obligations to animals. What is the most important problem for Machan's view? Which view is the more plausible, and why?
- Intro: Thesis - "Machan's view of our treatment of animals is more plausible than Singer's, in that it is a mistake to treat animals as human beings. This does not, however mean that animals ought to be treated poorly just for the sake of doing so."
- 2: Formulate Singer's argument
- 3: Object to Singer's argument
- 4: Formulate Machan's argument
- 5: Objection 1 to Machan's argument (not utilitarian stance - rights vs. equality)
- 6: Objection 2 to Machan's argument (marginal cases)
- 7: Objection 3 to Machan's argument (humans central moral task in life)
- 8: My stance
- 9: Conclusion - Machan's argument is more rational and plausible.
Two examples of maxims in which Kant says fails his test.
- 1. When I am in need and borrow money, I should promise to pay it back despite having full intentions not to. (If this were universal, everyone would be lying to each other. [this depends on how many people are in need])
- 2. When I am well off, I will not pay to charity. (If thi were universal, anytime you wer in need, you would not be able to have been helped.)
What kinds of experiences does Mill think of as higher pleasures, and what of lower pleasures?