Mill -Utilitarianism

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Mill -Utilitarianism

Kant Review

  • Ancient Greek Philosophy divided into 3 branches:
  • Natural science
  • Ethics
  • Logic
  • Only improvement needed is supplying principle on which it is based.
  • Would let us be sure that the classification does cover all ground
  • Enable us to define the necessary subdivisions
  • Kant calls the trio “physic, ethic, and logic”.
  • Our “physics” is too narrow for physic
  • Natural science is preferred here
  • Two kinds of rational knowledge:
  • Material knowledge
  • Concerns some object
  • Formal knowledge
  • Pays no attention to differences between objects
  • Concerned only with the form of understanding and of reason, and with the universal rules of thinking
  • Formal philo is called logic
  • Material philo
  • Having to do with definite objects and the laws that govern them
  • Divided into 2 parts (depending on whether the laws in question are):
  • Laws of nature (theory of n)
  • Knowledge of this is called natural science
  • Laws of freedom (theory of m)
  • Knowledge of this is called ethics
  • The two are called “theory of nature” and “theory of morals”.
  • Logic cannot have anything empirical about it
  • Can’t have a part in which universal and necessary laws of thinking are derived from experience.
  • If it did, it wouldn’t be logic.
  • Logic:
  •  a set of rules for the understanding or for reason
  • Rules that are valid for all thinking and must be rigorously proved.
  • Natural and moral branches of knowledge CAN have an empirical part.
  • They must, ‘cause each must discover the laws for its domain
  • Natural branches:
  • Laws of nature considered as something known through experiences
  • *laws laws according to which everything DOES happen
  • Moral branches:
  • Laws of the human will so far as it is affected by nature.
  • *laws according to which everything OUGHT TO happen.
  • The two are very diff. (See *)
  • They allow for conditions under which what ought to happen doesn’t happen.
  • Empirical philo is philo based on exp
  • Pure philo is philo that presents its doctrines solely on the basis of a priori prinicples
  • Push philo can be divided into 2
  • When it is entirely formal – LOGIC
  • When it is confined to definite objects of the understanding – METAPHYSICS
  • Idea of two-fold metaphysic
  • Metaphysic of nature
  • Metaphysic of morals
  • Physics has
  • Empirical part
  • Rational part
  • Ethics, likewise has
  • Empirical part (called “practical anthropology”
  • Rational part (called “morals”)
  • To separate empirical from rational, we need
  • A metaphysic of nature before real (empirical) natural science, and
  • A metaphysic of morals before practical anthropology

SPARKNOTES SWAG

Preface

  • Ancient greek philosophy is divided into 3 fields:
  • Logic
  • Physics (Natural philosophy)
  • Ethics (Moral Philosphy)
  • Logic:
  • Study of pure thought
  • Independent of any objects
  • Physics:
  • Study of how things happen in the world of material objects
  • Ethics:
  • Study of how things ought to happen in the world of human beings.
  • Philosophy can be divided by:
  • What is pure
  • What is empirical
  • Pure philosophy:
  • Deals with a priori concepts
  • Concepts that occur to us independent of any experience or perception.
  • Empirical philosophy:
  • Deals with objects we experience in the world around us.
  • Logic is pure philosophy
  • It relates to the formal procedures of thinking.
  • METAPHYSICS
  • Pure philosophy
  • Because it applies to our efforts to understand the world.
  • Physics AND ethics have both empirical and metaphysical branches.
  • Task of this book is
  • to develop a “pure” moral philosophy.
  • A metaphysics of morals that relies on the a priori concepts of reason
  • Not on empirical observations.
  • That such philo is possible
  • Apparent from the fact that moral obligations not just binding to particular people in particular circumstances, but for all rational beings in all places at all times.
  • People must apply moral laws to many diff situations and circumstances.
  • Developing a clear understanding of moral principles can help people keep track of their moral obligations.
  • A clear understanding of morals can also help people to ensure that their motivations are pure.
  • Actions are not truly moral if:
  • They only appear to conform to moral law but lack moral motivation.
  • Goal of this book:
  • Establish the “supreme principle of morality”.

Chapter 1

  • The one thing that is unambiguously good:
  • Good will
  • Qualities of character (wit, int, courage, etc) or qualities of good fortunes (wealth, status, good health) may be used for good or bad purposes.
  • Good will is intrinsically good.
  • Even if its efforts fail to bring about positive results
  • Highest purpose of each indiv is presumably self-preservation and the attainment of happiness.
  • Reason does not appear to be as well suited as instinct for these purposes
  • People with refined capacity for reason are often less happy than the masses.
  • As a result, refined people envy the masses.
  • Common people view reason with contempt.
  • Reason serves purposes that are higher than individual survival and private happiness.
  • Its function is to bring about a will that is good in itself
  • As opposed to good for some particular purpose (like the attainment of happiness)
  • Duties:
  • The specific obligation of a good will.
  • 3 general propositions:
  • 1. Actions are genuinely good when done for the sake of duty alone.
  • People may act in conformity with duty out of some interest or compulsion other than duty.
  • Grocer example (give fair price for cust, but also to keep up with comp.)
  • All people have a duty to help others in distress, yet many help outside a sense of duty (‘cause it gives personal pleasure to spread happiness)
  • A genuine example: Someone who feels no inclination to help, but does it because they recognize it as their duty.
  • 2. Actions are judged not according to the purpose they were meant to bring about, but rather by the “MAXIM” or PRINCIPLE that served as their motivation.
  • Principle:
  • When someone does an action with no other motivation than a sense of duty, because they have recognized a moral principle that is valid.
  • A priori
  • By contrast, if they do an action in order to bring about a particular result, then they have a motivation beyond duty.
  • 3. Duties should be done out of REVERENCE for THE LAW.
  • Any organism can act out of instinct. Chance events can bring about positive results.
  • But only a rational being can recognize a general moral law and act out of respect for it.
  • The REVERENCE for law that such a being exhibits is not an emotional feeling of respect for the greatness of the law.
  • Rather, it is the moral motivation of a person who recognizes that the law is an imperative reason.
  • The law transcends all other concerns and interests.
  • Moral law must be applicable in all situations.
  • The law of morality is that we should act in such a way that we could want our MAXIM (motivating principle) of our action to become a universal law.
  • Giving a false promise violates moral law.
  • Some might do it to avoid difficulties.
  • Some might be honest to avoid further problems.
  • Both cases, the motivating consideration is a fear of consequences.
  • Not pure respect for duty.
  • Applying the moral law shows that lying can never be a universal law.
  • If everyone made false promises, there would be no such thing as a promise.
  • Most people are not aware of the moral law in any conscious sense
  • Yet even untrained minds show a remarkable ability to abide by it in practice.
  • People’s intuitive sense for theoretical matters is generally poor.
  • By contrast, their intuitions in the field of practical reason (their intuitions about morality) are generally correct.
  • People recognize that moral concerns should not include physical (sensuous) motivations.
  • A philosophical understanding of morals is important
  • Because untrained minds may be deceived and distracted by non-moral needs, concerns, and desires.

Chapter 2 – Part 1

  • Actions are not truly moral if they are performed in conformity with duty but not for the sake of duty alone.
  • Almost impossible to find examples of actions performed exclusively out of a sense of duty.
  • Nearly every action we see can be attributed to some motive other than pure duty.
  • However, rational beings may recognize that reason imposes clear moral demands.
  • We should recognize that it would be impossible for us to derive universal moral laws from specific events and experiences
  • Since all events are contingent upon specific circumstances, none of our exp can be a source of moral principles that apply in all cases and all circumstances.
  • Even God is not based on experience.
  • But rather on our a priori idea of moral perfection.
  • Developing an understanding of a priori moral concepts would help reinforce our moral sense against distractions of competing interests and motivations.
  • Rational beings may align their WILL
  • either with objective laws of reason and morality
  • or subjective needs and interests.
  • Imperatives:
  • The demands of reason.
  • HYPOTHETICAL IMPERATIVES:
  • Command that a particular action is necessary as a means to some purpose
  • Such as the attainment of personal happiness.
  • CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVES
  • Command that some action is necessary in and of itself.
  • Hypo Imps are regular and obvious occurrences.
  • Anytime someone settles upon some purpose or objective, reason may make clear to them what course of action to take.
  • This is complicated in the case of indeterminate objectives (like happiness)
  • Because it’s hard to tell what you have to do to achieve it.
  • Nevertheless, we have no prob understanding that people act how they do because of a hypothetical imperative.
  • We cannot find evidence for categorical imperatives in the decisions and actions we observe.
  • People may appear to act in a certain way because of a pure demand for reason, but no way to know for sure.
  • Cannot tell if their motive is purely of categorical imperative.
  • Categorical imperatives must therefore be derived
  • A priori
  • The only possible categorical imperative is that ACTIONS MUST CONFORM TO A REQUIREMENT OF UNIVERSAL VALIDITY.
  • Categorical imperative must be formulated as such:
  • Act only in such a way that you could want the MAXIM (motivating principle) of your action to become a universal law.
  • Act as if your action would establish its maxim as a universal law of nature.
  • 4 examples how common notions of duty conform to the CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE:
  • 1. People don’t commit suicide.
  • Clearly not a law of nature for people to kill themselves
  • If everyone died, nature would cease to exist.
  • 2. People who borrow money intend to pay it back.
  • If nobody paid, nobody would lend.
  • 3. People have a duty to cultivate their talents
  • If everyone was idle, nobody would benefit from human capacities.
  • 4. People have a duty to assist others in need
  • If nobody helped, then nobody could find help in times of need.
  • In each of these cases in all cases where people neglect their duties, individuals are involved in a contradiction:
  • They accept the objective validity of the law, and yet they want an exception to be made for them.

Chapter 2 – Part 2

  • Duties must be based on a categorical rather than hypothetical imperative
  • And have established the content of the one and only categorical imperative
  • Yet to establish conclusively that the categorical imperative is a binding law for any rational being possessing a free will.
  • If there is some necessary law that compels rational beings to follow the CI, that law must be based on the concept of the WILL of a rational being.
  • The WILL:
  • The faculty that enables rational beings to choose what course of action to follow.
  • Rational beings may pursue certain ENDS using appropriate MEANS.
  • Ends that are based on physical needs or wants will ALWAYS provide merely  HYPOYHETICAL IMPERATIVES.
  • The Categorical Imperative, however, may be based only on something that is an “end in itself”
  • An end that is a means only to itself and not some other need, desire, or purpose.
  • Rational beings are ends in themselves.
  • In pursuing objectives, rational must always view themselves not only as means to some purpose
  • But also as ends in themselves.
  • They must also recognize that other rational beings are ends in themselves as well.
  • Categorical imperative in terms of the will of a rational being:
  • ACT IN SUCH A WAY THAT YOU ALWAYS TREAT OTHER PEOPLE NOT MERELY AS MEANTS TO SOME END, BUT ALSO AS ENDS IN THEMSELVES
  • 4 earlier examples work with this law.
  • 1. Suicide, people treat their own life as a means for escaping a situation.
  • 2. False promise, they treat people as a means to their own financial gain.
  • 3. A view of humanity as an end in itself requires use to pursue the maximum fulfillment of humanity’s potential
  • Which means we must cultivate our talents.
  • 4. A view of humanity as an end requires us to work towards maximum happiness for humanity
  • Which means that we must take care of the welfare of others.
  • The principle that every rational being is an end in itself is UNIVERSAL and applies to ALL RATIONAL BEINGS.
  • It comes from reason, not from experience.
  • Will of a rational being must be thought of as the maker of universal law
  • Since rational beings are ends in themselves, and not meant to some other end.
  • Otherwise their actions would be governed by some interest and they would function as mere means to some purpose.
  • When rational beings will for something for the sake of duty alone, they must renounce all interests and motivations other than duty.
  • Thus their obedience to the law cannot be based on any specific interest.