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LOGIC (Just a sip of it. . )
WORDS — ‘When _I_ use a word, ‘ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less. ‘ — ‘The question is, ‘ said Alice, ‘whether you CAN make words mean so many different things. ‘ — ‘The question is, ‘ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master— that’s all. ‘ Lewis Carroll, Trough the Looking-Glass
Critical Thinking ““ Without trying to fathom the mysteries of the universe, visible and invisible, without seeking an explanation for everything, one can never be what one should be – a human being” Abai, Books of Words , Word Seven
Critical Thinking — What is the factual evidence or reasons of my beliefs? — How did these beliefs originate? — Are these beliefs logical or illogical, rational or irrational? — If I were a member of a different social group, gender, nation, would I still endorse these beliefs? Why?
Critical Thinking — Open Minded : listening carefully to every viewpoint, evaluating each perspective carefully and clearly — Knowledgeable : offering opinions on the basis of facts or evidence — Mentally Active : taking initiative and actively using intelligence to confront problems and meet challenges
Critical Thinking — Curious : exploring situations with probing questions that penetrate beneath the surface of issues — Independent Thinker : not being afraid to disagree with the group opinion — Skilled Discussant : being able to discuss ideas in an organized and intelligent way
Critical Thinking — Insightful : being able to get to the heart of the problem (seeing the ‘forest’ as well as the ‘trees’) — Self-Aware : being aware of your own biases — Creative : breaking out of established patterns of thinking and approaching situations from innovative directions — Passionate : willing to understand and striving to see issues and problems with more clarity
Critical Thinking 1. 1. State your initial point of view 2. 2. Define your point of view more clearly (language, key concepts…) 3. 3. Give an example of your point of view (generalizing and interpreting) 4. 4. Explore the origin of your point of view (history, culture…) 5. 5. Identify your assumptions 6. 6. Offer the reasons, evidence and arguments that support your point of view 7. 7. Consider other points of view (from empathetically thinking, for example with literature, to responses) 8. 8. Arrive at a conclusion, decision, solution or prediction 9. 9. Consider the consequences
Factual Statements VSVS Value Judgments These two kinds of statements are qualitatively different. . For example, capital punishment — Some support capital punishment because they believe it will deter murder in the future (a “ matter of fact ” that needs to be proven )) — Others oppose capital punishment because they consider wrong killing a human being under any circumstances (a “ matter of value ” ” that needs to be rationally or ethically justified ))
Factual Statements A A factual statement is a statement that is true or false (or more or less probable) and can be so determined by empirical means
Value Judgments Value judgments are normative rather than empirical: they make a statement about what should or should not be done, or what is good or bad, right or wrong, praiseworthy or blameworthy, better or worse, obligatory or prohibited. For example, “Rock music is good, classical music is boring”; “Single motherhood is unacceptable”… In the context of philosophy, we try to justify value judgments by appeal to reason. Value judgments relating to particular actions, events, policies, and people can be judged against our accepted ideals, principles and normative standards. Whether or not the standards that we base our value judgments on are acceptable is a matter of rational consideration
The Structure of Arguments Argument : a form of thinking in which certain statements (reasons) are offered in support of another statement (conclusion) truth Valid Argument : An argument in which the reasons support the conclusion so that the conclusion follows from the reasons offered [[ the opposite is an Invalid Argument ]] Sound Argument : An argument that has both true reasons and a valid structure. [ An An unsound argument can be valid in form, but its premises are untrue or unacceptable ]]
The Structure of Arguments In formal argument, then: — truth refers to the veracity of the individual’s statements contained within the syllogism itself; — validity refers to an argument’s form or structure; — and soundness involves a combination of truth and validity.
Deductive Arguments Deductive Argument: An argument form in which one reasons from premises that are known or assumed to be true to a conclusion that follows necessarily from these premises
Deductive Argument: Modus Ponens: ““ affirming the antecedent ”” The ‘ antecedent ’ is the first part of a hypothetical statement (“If I have studied”). The second part of a hypothetical statement is known as the ‘ consequent ’ (“then I will get a good grade”) If A, then B AA So,
Deductive Argument: Modus Ponens Premise : : If A (I have studied), then B (I (I will get a good grade) Premise : : AA (I have studied) Conclusion : : Therefore, B (I will get a good grade)
Deductive Argument: Modus Ponens, an invalid form A possible invalid form results if instead of affirming the antecedent you affirm the consequent If A, then B BB Therefore, A Ex. — If you won the lottery (A), then you would be happy (B)(B) — Since you are happy (B) — Therefore, you must have won the lottery (A) This is possible, but it does not necessarily derive from the premise. It is not necessarily true that you won the lottery. You could be happy without having won the lottery
Deductive Argument: Modus Tollens: ““ denying the consequent ”” The first premise is a hypothetical statement (if/then), the second premise focuses on the consequent (the ‘then’ part of the statement). The conditions of the consequent are denied in the second premise If A, then B Not B Therefore, not
Deductive Argument: Modus Tollens Premise : : If A (If Aigul is a good friend), then B (she will remember my birthday) Premise : : Not B (Aigul did not remember my birthday) Conclusion : : Therefore, not A (Aigul is not a good friend)
Deductive Argument: Modus Tollens, an invalid form A possible invalid form results if instead of denying the consequent you deny the antecedent If A, then B Not A Therefore, not B Ex. — If it rains (A), there are clouds (B) — It is not raining (Not A) — Therefore, there are no clouds (Not B) This is possible, but it does not necessarily derive from the premise. It is not necessarily true that there are no clouds. It is possible that it is not raining, but there are clouds
Deductive Argument: Syllogism: an argument form that consists of two premises and conclusion There are many forms of syllogism, but we will focus only on four of them: — Hypothetical — Disjunctive — Categorical — Practical Reasoning
Deductive Argument: Hypothetical Syllogism Hypothetical syllogism: a series of “if-then” statements in a string containing two ‘conditional’ premises and a conclusion If A, then B If B, then C Therefore if A then
Deductive Argument: Hypothetical Syllogism Example: — If you pass this test (If A), you will successfully complete your last course (then B) — If you successfully complete your last course (If B), you will earn your diploma (then C) — Therefore, if you pass the test (Therefore if A) , you will earn your diploma (then C)
Deductive Argument: Hypothetical Syllogism an invalid form Example — If you go to Disneyland (if A), you will have fun (then B) — If you go to Disneyland (if A), you will drive many hours (then C) — Therefore if you have fun (if B), you will drive many hours (then C)
Deductive Argument: Disjunctive Syllogism: it presents alternatives. The second premise denies one of the alternatives. The conclusion affirms the remaining option. Premise : : Either A (I left my wallet on my bed) or or BB (I must have lost it) Premise : : Not A (The wallet is not on my bed) Conclusion : : Therefore B (I have lost it)
Deductive Argument: Categorical Syllogism: the premises and the conclusion are all categorical statements, that is statements about a category of things Major Premise : : All A are B Minor Premise : : All C are A Conclusion : : Therefore, all C are
Deductive Argument: Categorical Syllogism Example: Premise : All men (all A) are mortal (are B) Premise : Socrates is a man (all C are A) Conclusion : Therefore, Socrates is mortal (Therefore, all C are B)
Deductive Argument: Categorical Syllogism, an invalid form This is an example of an invalid form All A are B All C are B Therefore all C are A — Major Premise: All cows (all A) are mammals (are B) — Minor Premise: All men (all C) are mammals (are B) — Conclusion: All men (all C) are cows (are A)
Deductive Argument: Practical Syllogism is like a categorical syllogism with the difference that in this case the major premise is a normative assertion or some kind of value judgment, that is called value premise. It is not true or false by by sensory observation or scientific study, rather it can be be justified only by rational processes of thought. . The equivalent of the minor premise is the factual premise. This makes some type of empirical claim about the world that in principle can be true or false The Conclusion is also expressed as a value judgment All S is P Q is S Therefore, Q is P
Deductive Argument: Practical Syllogism Example 1: — Value Premise : All acts that harm human health ( all S ) are wrong ( is P )) — Factual Premise : Polluting the rivers ( QQ ) ) is an act that harms human health ( is S )) — Conclusion : Polluting rivers ( QQ ) is wrong (( is P ))
Deductive Argument: Practical Syllogism Example 2: — Value Premise : Criminals ( all S ) should be punished ( is P )) — Factual Premise : Tax evaders ( QQ ) are criminals ( is S )) — Conclusion : Tax evaders ( QQ ) should be punished ( is P ))
Inductive Arguments Inductive Reasoning: is an argument form in which one reasons from premises to a conclusion that is supported by the premises but does not follow necessarily from them. The premises provide evidence that makes it more or less probable , but not certain that the conclusion is true
Inductive Arguments: Causal Reasoning Ex. “The solar system is probably the result of an enormous explosion – a ‘big bang’ – that occurred billions of years ago. An event is claimed to be the result of the occurrence of another event. Inferences from observation: you assume that there is some factor (factors) is responsible for what is occurring, some cause (causes) that results in the effect (effects) you are observing
Inductive Arguments: Empirical Generalization Ex. “On the average a person with a college degree will earn over $1, 340, 000 more in his/her lifetime than a person with just a high school diploma” Empirical Generalization involves reasoning from a limited sample to a general conclusion based on this sample. In order to be valid the sample size needs to be sufficient and the people sampled need to be truly representative of the target population
Evaluating Arguments 1)1) Is the form of the argument valid? Does the conclusion derive from the premises? 2)2) Are the premises true or at least highly likely? 3)3) In practical syllogisms, is the value premise rationally acceptable? 3 a) Is the value premise logically coherent? For example, use the universalizability criterion: “What if everyone accepted and acted upon this principle? ” (ex. Liars) 3 b) What is higher-order principle that support the value premise? (ex. Trespassing and Others’ Rights) 3 c) New Cases test : is the principle acceptable in similar cases?
Informal Fallacies : unsound arguments that are often persuasive because they usually appeal to our emotions and prejudices, and because they often support conclusions that we want to believe are accurate
Fallacies of False Generalization Hasty Generalization: when people try to reach a general conclusion too quickly, lacking a sufficient number of instances in the same population to legitimately justify generalization to the target population Ex. “My boyfriends have never shown any real concern for my feelings. My conclusion is that men are insensitive, selfish and emotionally superficial. ”
Fallacies of False Generalization Sweeping generalization: the failure to take into account exceptions to the rule Ex. “Vigorous exercise contributes to overall good health. Therefore, vigorous exercise should be practiced by recent heart attack victims, people who are out of shape and women who are about to give birth”
Fallacies of False Generalization False Dilemma: either/or or the black/white fallacy. It occurs when we are asked to choose between two extreme alternatives without being able to consider additional options. Ex. “Either we are completely free to make choices or everything we do is determined by factors outside our control and we have no freedom whatsoever. There is nothing in between’
Causal Fallacies Questionable Cause: it occurs when someone presents a causal relationship for which no real evidence exists. For example, superstitious beliefs such as bad luck resulting from breaking mirrors, encountering a black cat…
Causal Fallacies Misidentification of the cause: we are not always certain about what is causing what – what is the cause and what is the effect Ex. 1)1) Drug dependency and emotional difficulties 2)2) Shyness and lack of confidence 3)3) Failure in school and personal problems
Causal Fallacies Post hoc ergo propter hoc: “after it, therefore because of it”. When two things occur close together in time we assume that one caused the other. Ex. If your team wins the game each time you wear your favorite shirt, you might be tempted to conclude that wearing your favorite shirt has some influence on your team victory.
Causal Fallacies Slippery Slope: it asserts that one undesirable action will inevitably lead to a worse action, which will necessarily lead to a worse one still. It may actually happen, but there is no causal guarantee that it will happen. Ex. “If you get behind on one credit card payment, it won’t be long before you will be behind on all of your bills and you will gradually lose control of your finances. In time your telephone and electricity will be turned off, and you will eventually get evicted from your apartment. You will live out the rest of your life as a homeless person, wandering in the streets. ”
Causal Fallacies Circular Reasoning: people use the conclusion they are trying to establish as a starting premise of their argument Ex. A: God exists B: How do you know that God exists? A: Because it says so in the Bible B: How do you know the Bible is telling you the truth? A: Because it’s the inspired work of God
Fallacies of Relevance Appeal to authority/tradition/bandwagon: they appeal to opinions outside of oneself to justify conclusions, rather than basing conclusions on critical analysis. — Because it is endorsed by an ‘authority’, but authorities often conflict one with another — Because it is traditional and it has always been this way, but often traditions are misguided or false — Because everyone believes it, but popularity is no guarantee of accuracy
Fallacies of Relevance Appeal to emotion: it appeals to emotions in order to manipulate others into agreement — Appeal to pity (“If you don’t give me an A, I will lose my scholarship”) — Appeal to fear (“If you don’t support my plan, the enemy will be emboldened”) — Appeal to flattery (“Someone as smart as you can surely see the merits of my argument”)
Fallacies of Relevance Appeal to personal attack, or ‘Ad hominem’ fallacy: ignoring the issue of the argument and focusing instead on the personal qualities of the person making the opposite argument
Fallacies of Relevance Red herring or Smoke Screen: Introducing an irrelevant topic in order to divert attention from the original issue being discussed. Ex. “I really don’t believe that grade inflation is a significant problem in education. Everybody wants to be liked, and teachers are just trying to get students to like them. ”
Fallacies of Relevance Two Wrongs Fallacy: defending a particular wrongdoing by drawing attention to another instance of the same behavior that apparently went unchallenged and was, therefore, accepted by implication. Ex. Justifying corruption by saying that other people before did the same.
INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY Associate Professor Alessandro Frigerio
LESSON I WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY?
ETYMOLOGICAL ORIGINS Hellas (Ancient Greece) VI century B. C. Φιλοσοφία PHILIA: LOVE SOPHIA: WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE PHILO SOPHY: THE LOVE OF KNOWLEDG
Calvinball and Philosophy Wonder and Imagination Activity and Criticism Rationality and Justification
Calvinball and Philosophy — The feeling of wonder is the touchstone of the philosopher, and all philosophy has its origins in wonder. Plato — Philosophy is not a theory but an activity. . Wittgenstein — I do not know how to teach philosophy without becoming a disturber of the peace. Spinoza — Why is this one and not many – rational and animal? Aristotle
WHY PHILOSOPHY? ““ All men by nature desire to know. An An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves ; and above all others the sense of sight. For not only with a view to action, but even when we are not going to do anything, we prefer seeing (one might say) to everything else. The reason is that this, most of all the senses, makes us know and brings to light many differences between things. ”. ” Aristotle, Metaphysics
WHY PHILOSOPHY? » Philosophy is that movement through which a person detaches — with efforts and hesitation, dreams and illusions — from what was acquired as true. Philosophy is the displacement and transformation of frameworks of thought, the changing of received values, the whole work you do to think differently, to become something else from what you are. ” Michel Foucault
HISTORICAL ORIGINS OF PHILOSOPHY: CULTURE — Epics: Homer “The Iliad” (Achilles and Heroism ) and “The Odyssey” (Ulysses and Intelligence ). Anthropomorphic Religion. — Tragedies and the Concept of Justice : Aeschylus (“The Oresteia”), Sophocles (“Antigone”) and Euripides (“Medea”) — Comedies and Social Critique with Irony : Aristophanes (“The Clouds”, “The Knights”) Ύβρις (Hubris) exaggerated pride and The concept of limits : Θάρσος (tharsos) courage versus Θράσος (thrasos) temerity, audacity Aesthetics and Ethics : καλός και ΄αγαθός (kalos kai agathos) (beautiful and good) Individuality and Wonder
HISTORICAL ORIGINS OF PHILOSOPHY: POLITICS — П όλις ( Polis) and Ίσόνομος ( Isonomos): communities of free and equal men involved in public debates for making political decisions — Free and equal? Citizens and slaves — Aristocracy versus democracy — Sparta versus Athens — The importance of public space and the distinction public/private
MAIN BRANCHES OF PHILOSOPHY
Metaphysics : an inquiry about the fundamental nature of reality and being
Epistemology : the study of the nature and grounds of knowledge especially with reference to its limits and validity
Aesthetics : an investigation about the nature of beauty, art, and taste and with the creation and appreciation of beauty
Logics : a science that deals with the principles and criteria of validity of inference and demonstration, or the science of the formal principles of reasoning
Political Philosophy : the study of relations between individuals in public spaces and between individuals and institutions
INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR ALESSANDRO FRIGERIO
FROM PRESOCRATIC PHILOSOPHY TO SOPHISTS
INTRODUCTION TO PRESOCRATIC PHILOSOPHY — Our understanding of the Presocratics is complicated by the incomplete nature of our evidence. No complete work survives. — “ Presocratic” is not quite accurate, for the last of them were contemporaneous with Socrates and even Plato — Fundamental characteristic: the commitment to explain the world of nature in terms of its own inherent principles — World as a kosmos : an ordered natural arrangement that is inherently intelligible and not subject to supra-natural intervention.
THE MILESIANS: THE QUESTION OF Άρχέ (ARKÉ) — Cosmology and Ontology — The spectacle of change : what is that stuff that does not change in a world subject to continuous changes? Substance — The importance of asking such a question — The importance of the direction toward which solutions tend: something fluid that can transform itself in everything without destroying itself.
THE MILESIANS: THE QUESTION OF Άρχέ (ARKÉ) — Thales of Miletus: Water as the basic stuff of the universe (nature as a complete and self-ordering system, and sees no reason to call on divine intervention from outside the natural world to supplement his account) — Anaximander : ΄ άπειρον (ápeiron) the infinite and indefinite stuff from which all the heavens and the worlds in them come to be: transcendence and law of the world at the same time. Hot and cold: the separation of contraries. Infinite worlds in an eternal cycle and a parallel with human condition. The beginning of a natural explanation of the world. — Anaximenes : Air going back to something more defined like Thales water, but with the characters of Anaximander ápeiron (infinity, movement, and transformation). A natural mechanism for change: it is the condensation and rarefaction of air that naturally determine the particular characters of the things produced from the originating stuff.
XENOPHANES — Continuing the Milesian interest in the nature of the world, but also investigating the nature of inquiry itself. — From principles and substances in nature to One Being , , eternal and unchangeable. . Our world is only appearance dominated by senses the truth can be discovered only by logic reason — Critique of anthropomorphic divinity: One eternal God not born (if It was born it would mean that It was not before, but what it was not could neither be born nor generate anything)
THE PYTHAGOREAN TRADITION — Pythagoras and Wonders : Aristotle emphasized his superhuman nature in the following ways: there was a story that Pythagoras had a golden thigh (a sign of divinity); the people of Croton called him the Hyperborean Apollo (one of the god Apollo’s manifestations); the Pythagoreans taught that “of rational beings, one sort is divine, one is human, and another such as Pythagoras” (Iamblichus, VP 31); Pythagoras was seen on the same day at the same time in both Metapontum and Croton; he killed a deadly snake by biting it; as he was crossing a river it spoke to him (all citations are from Aristotle, Fr. 191). — Pythagoras: immortality of the soul and metempsychosis the body as a prison of the soul. Philosophy as a way to free the soul from the body requiring knowledge and purification. — Pythagoras’ way of life: Ipse dixit and religious rituals; emphasis on dietary restrictions (vegetarianism on the basis of his belief in metempsychosis? ); almost every aspect of life, some arbitrary taboos (“one must put the right shoe on first”), but also a moral discipline (silence, secrecy)
THE PYTHAGOREAN TRADITION — Scientific elaboration of mathematics — The number as ark é (numbers as geometric points, and 10 as the perfect number) — Nature as a measurable order — A dualistic conception: pairs (unlimited) and impairs (limited) — 10 fundamental oppositions: 1) limited, unlimited 2) impair, pair 3) unity, multiplicity 4) right, left 5) male, female 6) stillness, movement 7) straight, curve 8) light, dark 9) good, evil 10) square, rectangle opposites are composed by a principle of harmony, and music is the science of harmony — Physics: astronomy. The Hearth as a sphere (perfect solid) moving around a central fire (the Hestia before and the Sun later) and rotating around its axes
HERACLITUS Arké : — the fire (physical principle that constitutes everything) and — The Λόγος ( logos ) (general law governing everything) — “ It is right to know that war is common and justice strife, and that all things come to be through strife and are so ordained” (B 80). The unity of the opposites (there is no good without evil, no health without illness). What appears to be disorder and chaos (the battle of the opposites) is rather rational harmony is strife and opposition — Πάντα ρέιρέι ( Panta rei ): everything flows (like a river whose waters are never the same) The becoming is the form of being because everything is subject to transformation dynamism
HERACLITUS Only he who can understand these truths, elevating himself from the mass of people, can understand the common and objective laws — ““ Nature is accustomed to hide itself” and the evidence must be carefully interpreted Philosophy as truth versus common mentality as error philosophers (awaken) versus non-philosophers (sleepers). Logos (language) is not just the physical evidence around us (“Eyes and ears are bad witnesses to those with barbarian souls” B 107) the sheer accumulation of information is not the same as wisdom — The infinite soul is the source for individual research (and glory): metaphysics versus particular techniques and particular disciplines
PARMENIDES — Explores the nature of philosophical inquiry , concentrating less on knowledge or understanding (although he has views about these) than on what can be understood — ““ Come now, and I will tell you, and you, hearing, preserve the story, the only routes of inquiry there are for thinking; the one that it is and that it cannot not be is the path of Persuasion (for it attends upon truth) the other, that it is not and that it is right that it not be, this I point out to you is a path wholly inscrutable for you could not know what is not (for it is not to be accomplished) nor could you point it out… For the same thing is for thinking and for being” — The way of truth, based on reason, that takes to the True Being versus the way of error, based on senses, that takes to the Apparent Being — What Is is and it cannot not-be, what Is-Not is not and it cannot be One being (not two, otherwise there would be a vacuum or a not-being): — not only ingenerated and imperishable (otherwise, if it could born and die, it would imply the not-being), but also eternal (because it could not be inside time because the time dimension is constituted by a present that is no more past and not yet future) eternity not simply as infinite and indefinite permanence, but rather as a position beyond the time — Unchangeable and Still (because if it changes or moves it would imply the not-being) — Necessary (it could not be different from what it is) — Finished (because this is perfection)
ZENO — A defense of Parmenides and the unity of reality against the multiplicity of reality — Dialectic supposing, as an hypothesis, the truth of the opposite conception in order to find out some consequences that would confute it. — If reality is composed by many things, then its number is at the same time finite and infinite: it is finite because there can not be more than how many there are; it is infinite because between two things there will always be a third
ZENO’S PARADOXES: ACHILLES AND TURTL
ZENO Zeno’s paradoxes — Achilles and the Turtle : a turtle starting ahead of the fast Achilles in a race will never be overtaken by him. Before he can reach the turtle, Achilles should reach the position where previously the turtle was, and in the mean time the turtle has moved on a little bit, and so on
ZENO’S PARADOXES: MOVING BLOCKS
ZENO Zeno’s paradoxes — Moving blocks : a moving point goes at a certain speed and at the same time at the double speed, depending on whether it is compared to a still point or to a point moving at the same speed in the opposite direction (modern example with three trains) anticipating Einstein with the difference that Zeno thinks this is a logic absurdity, while Einstein this is the reality of movement relativity
ZENO Zeno’s paradoxes — The Stadium or The dichotomy : you can not reach the opposite side of the stadium because you have to reach before the half of it and before the half of its half, but you can not pass in a finite amount of time an infinite amount of space. — The arrow : the arrow that appears to be moving is in reality still. In any instant the arrow can occupy only the determined space of its length, and because the time in which the arrow moves is made by infinite instants, in any and every of these instant the arrow will be still.
PLURALIST PHYSICS — A new interest in nature: the synthesis between Heraclites and Parmenides — The becoming together with the eternity of the true Being — From Metaphysics to Physics
DEMOCRITUS — Contemporary of Socrates and Plato — Truth and science : appearance versus reality revisited. Knowledge: a) starts from senses appraisal b) develops through an autonomous intellectual and logical elaboration of data c) reaches a theory that can explain what senses can only show (Not yet modern science because the purely rational movement is far more important than the experimental one, but still a fundamental passage: not ignoring senses, but trying to provide a reason of what sensations tell us) — Full (being) versus void (not-being): substance is composed by atoms (literally “not divisible”) (against Zeno: absolute divisibility exists only in logic, but not in reality, otherwise there would be nothingness, but this could not explain the reality) — Atoms are full, unchangeable, ingenerated and indestructible (eternals), made of the same material. They differ only on the quantitative notes of geometric form and size. Their combination gives way to different substances. They move in the void (because if there is movement there should be vacuum). — Atomic vortex: infinite atoms with infinite combinations infinite worlds
DEMOCRITUS — Materialism : the matter constitutes the only substance and cause — Atheism — Mechanicism (or naturalism ) an explanation based on natural causes without any reference to a a goal (versus teleological explanations). — Causality : a system of causes (but not linked to any end) The two faces of the question “why? ” 1) Teleological : what is the goal of such an event? 2) Causal : what circumstances did cause such an event? — The soul is corporeal and diffused in the body not everything that we attribute to objects belongs to objects as such. Some properties (quantitative and spatial characters, for example numbers or movements) are independent from us; some other properties (qualitative characters, like flavors and odors) exists only in relation with our perceptions. — Ethics: moral rationalism the most important good is happiness realized not through mundane vanity, but by the interiority of the soul. Justice and reason not glory and wealth. Respect of himself measure and proportion. Cosmopolitanism Moral anti-conformism: reason as the only guide to behavior (even, though not necessarily, against the traditions of the polis)
THE SOPHISTS — Σοφιστέσ (sophistés: wise) is a paid teacher (master) acceptable? — V Century B. C. A cultural and historical change: the flourishing of democracy and the passage from the study of nature to the study of Man and the Polis — Hellenic Enlightenment: free ( licentious ? ) use of reason and rationality against traditions (for example, the idea of a political genesis for Gods) — The concept of παιδέια (paideia: culture): the increment and diffusion of knowledge — Traveling and widening the Hellenic mentality: cosmopolitanism — The idea of historical progress : technique and politics — The human genesis of laws. Respect laws because no laws no polis no men (Protagoras). Distinction between (unchangeable) natural law and (changing) human laws (Hyppia). Natural law drives men to concord and equality (Antifon). Justice as a mask hiding the interests of the ones who are in power (Thrasimacus, Critia).
PROTAGORAS — One biographical note: Accused of impiety he was forced to leave Athens — ““ The man is measure of everything, of things that are as they are, and of things that are not as they are not” — Interpretations: 1)1) ““ Man” as a single individual and “things” as perceptions of the senses: things appear to be different to different individuals under different circumstances 2)2) ““ Man” as Humanity or Human Nature and “things” as Reality: Humanity judges on the basis of common parameters typical of the Human Species 3)3) ““ Man” as the Community or Civility a man belongs to and “things” are the ideals and values at its basis: a man evaluates things on the basis of his group mentality
PROTAGORAS The three interpretations are correct if taken altogether: the Man is measure of everything as an individual, as part of a community or civility, as part of the human species (example “Double reasoning” Diels, fragment 90, 1) Humanism : the central function of the Man as meter of evaluation and judgment Relativism : there is not an independent and absolute truth. Truth depends on the standpoint of the observer (Knowledge, Morals, Culture) But if everything is (can be) true what is the criterion of choice ? ? Utility both private and public the good of the individual and the community Amorality or responsibility?
GORGIAS Against Absolute Reality • There is nothing • Even if there is something, it is unknowable by manman • Even if it is knowable, it is incommunicable to others (Sextus Empiricus, Contra Mathematicians , VII, 65) Agnosticism and Metaphysical skepticism There is no more criterion of choice: what is left is the power of language: rhetoric A A tragic conception of reality: life is no more dominated by logos as reason, but by irrationality and mystery
THE HUMAN TORPEDO — Born in Athens on 470 B. C. (his mother was an obstetrician) — A soldier in the Peloponnesian War (Battles of Potidaea, Delium, and Amphipolis) — Breaking the Athenian ideal of kal òs kai agathos (not a beautiful man) — A simple life (with his wife and kids) dedicated entirely to philosophy as a never ending search (lead by a Daemon) — He left no writings (Phedros 275 e): the problem of fonts (Aristophanes, Policrates, Xenophon, Plato, Aristotle)
SOCRATES AND THE SOPHISTS Common issues: 1) Interest for the man not for cosmos 2) The criteria for thinking and acting should be found “inside” every individual 3) Anti-conformism and anti-traditionalism: a rational search driven by an unconventional and critical attitude 4) Inclined to dialectic and paradoxes Differences: 1) Genuine love of truth and the refusal of reducing philosophy to rhetoric 2) The struggle for bypassing relativism in order to reach common truths
PHILOSOPHY AS A DIALOGICAL RESEARCH ON THE QUESTION OF HUMAN BEINGS — The human mind can not understand the ultimate goals of Being and the origins of cosmos — Philosophy is a research where a man is at the same time the problem, the answer, and the answerer The Delphic Oracle motto: γνόθε σαυτόν (gnothe sautón: know yourself) — A man is a man only because he lives with other men: a relational concept of humanity Dialogue as philosophical method
THE SOCRATIC DIALOGUE — Recognizing each own ignorance : Wise is the man who knows that he does not know 1) limits to research: agnosticism on cosmological and ontological questions 2) a motivation for ethical and existential research: he who does not know is encouraged to look for knowledge — Έιρονέια ( Irony ): starting from a theatrical adulation of the knowledge of the person, Socrates moves on questioning his counterpart with numerous and pressing inquiries, and ends up confuting as inconsistent the weak answers of the counterpart. This is a method for showing other men their ignorance, making them uncertain and doubtful, and pressing them to new research — Maieutic : the art of midwives. Socrates (souls’ midwife) does not want to fill others with his own truth, but to help other individuals in giving birth to their genuine standpoint on the question. (Theaetetus, 148) truth as a personal achievement and philosophy as an adventure of the mind a pedagogic statement: education is always self-education (with a little help from the master)
SOCRATES AND DEFINITIONS The Spiral structure of Socratic Dialogues: τί έστι ? (ti ésti? What is it? ) The request of a precise definition: from a catalogue of examples to a complete definition from the negative side for contesting uncritically accepted formulas to the positive side of finding a linguistic agreement on a satisfactory definition Aristotle: inductive reasoning (from particular cases to a universal definition)
SOCRATES MORALITY A new concept of virtue ( αρετέ , areté )? Virtue: the optimal realization of an inner quality (for example, cheetahs’ virtue is speed, lions’ virtue is strength). Traditionally it was something already given by birth or Gods. With the Sophist and Socrates in particular virtue becomes a value and a goal that should be pursued through education. Virtue is devotion to research and knowledge: a critical reflection on existence that leads to the concept of living life as an adventure disciplined by reason
The Death of Socrates
THE DEATH OF SOCRATES 399 BC Trial and Execution Plato’s Apology and Crito Accuse: impiety (not recognizing the traditional Gods and trying to introduce new ones) and corruption of city’s young men. Requested punishment: death Defense: glorification of his educational vocation Judgment: exile or a punishment adequate to the verdict Socrates’ statement: he was disposed to pay a fine, but he suggested that the Polis should recognize his merits providing public money for his livelihood Verdict: Death Possible different end proposed by his friends: To Escape and Live in Exile Socrates’ answer: if he escapes he would be unjust because he would not respect the Laws of the Polis (which can be challenged and changed, but not refused or the life of the Polis would collapse) Death by poison
Socrates Imprisoned — Socrates has been condemned to death by a jury in a ( formally ) regular trial — The sentence will be executed when the ship from Delos will arrive: a religious celebration during which any execution was forbidden
Socrates on Trial • SOCRATES: “ For if you kill me you will not easily find another like me, who, if I may use such a ludicrous figure of speech, am a sort of gadfly , given to the state by the god; and the state is like a great and noble steed who is tardy in his motions owing to his very size, and requires to be stirred into life. I am that gadfly which the god has given the state and all day long and in all places am always fastening upon you, arousing and persuading and reproaching you. And as you will not easily find another like me, I would advise you to spare me. I dare say that you may feel irritated at being suddenly awakened when you are caught napping; and you may think that if you were to strike me dead, as Anytus advises, which you easily might, then you would sleep on for the remainder of your lives, unless the god in his care of you gives you another gadfly. ” Plato, Apology
INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY Assistant Professor Alessandro Frigerio
Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics Alessandro Frigerio
Nicomachean Ethics Three main concepts deriving from Aristotle: 1) Αsτέ ( Aret è): Excellence or Virtue 2) Φρονεσις (Phronesis): Practical Wisdom 3) Έυδαιμονια ( Eudaimonia): Happiness or Flourishing
Nicomachean Ethics Virtue Ethics is about developing a virtuous character We can remark a preliminary (although not completely accurate) difference Deontology (Kant) and Consequentialism (Bentham and Mill) : “What should I do? ” ( act-centered ) Virtue Ethics (Aristotle) : “What sort of person should I be? ” ( agent-centered )
Nicomachean Ethics Man as a ζοον πολιτικον (a political animal ): it is not a citizen by chance (accidentally), but naturally (essentially) A person is happy when he/she can accomplish his/her proper task : for example, the musician when he can play good music Notice: happiness is virtuous activity (not just being in a state or a condition, but doing something) The end of politics is EUDAIMONIA (happiness) Political science is the research of the supreme good
Nicomachean Ethics Methodological limits of political science — Many different definitions of good — Only someone who already knows and understands what is good and how to behave following reason can be a proper audience education since childhood
Nicomachean Ethics A critique of Plato’s ethics: the concept of good (1) — The good as such (a transcendent idea of good) can be not so important for the life of people ethics is not a theoretical discipline: it is important in order to reach what is good in our lives ( εϋδαιμονια : eudaimonia )
Nicomachean Ethics A critique of Plato’s ethics: the concept of good (2) Every thing is done with a goal, which is by definition good and desirable: the end/goal and the good are the same thing. When we act we do something in order to get something else: there is a series of goals/ends we are following Plato : the best type of good is desirable both in itself and for the sake of its results Aristotle : if A is desirable for the sake of B, then B is better than A There should be an end that is desired for itself : the supreme good EUDAIMONI
Nicomachean Ethics The goal of a human being as such is neither simple nutrition ( plants ) nor perception ( animals ), but living through reason , that is, virtuous activity So in order to be happy a man should be virtuous (following virtue), and pleasure is strictly connected with virtue But in some way a good life requires having fortune : lacking friendship, power, wealth and so on someone has less opportunities to for virtuous activity
Nicomachean Ethics Virtue depends on the means a man is using to get what he desires: a free choice Two kind of virtues: 1) Ethical virtues : following reason over passions in determining good mores (for example, temperance, courage…) 2) Intellectual virtues : the exercise of reason (for example, practical wisdom, theoretical wisdom, science…) Further subdivision of intellectual virtues : — Practical thinking — Theoretical reasoning
Nicomachean Ethics Potentially all free males can become ethically virtuous and practically wise through two stages : — Habits developed since their childhood — Φρονέσις ( Phronesis ) or practical wisdom that should be acquired when reason is fully developed
Nicomachean Ethics Three categories of internal disorder : A) Feeling counter-pressure to reason by an appetite for pleasure or anger or other emotions A 1) Enkrates or Continent : they are better able to resist these counter-rational pressures and to do what a virtuous person would do, although they are not virtuous exactly because reason has to struggle against those passions A 2) Akrates or Incontinent : they are less able to resist the counter-pressures because they are dominated either by impetuosity or weakness B) Evil persons who refuse even to try to do what an ethically virtuous agent would do (they are driven by desires for domination and luxury, but in this way their desire for more and more can never be satisfied)
Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics Perfect Virtue is better and different from “ continence ” or strength of will: The fully virtuous does what he should do without a struggle against contrary desires The continent needs to control his desires or temptations Isn’t that counterintuitive? Don’t we admire most those persons who are able to control themselves when it’s hard to do so? If it is hard because of the circumstances , then it is particularly admirable to act contrary to what most people would do (for example, it is remarkable when a very poor person finds a purse full of money and gives it back to the owner) But if it is hard because of an imperfection in his character then it is not admirable
Nicomachean Ethics Ethical Virtues The choice of the JUST MEANS Every ethical virtue is an intermediate condition between two other states, one involving excess, and the other deficiency ( Goldilocks ) The courageous person, for example, judges that some dangers are worth facing and others not, and experiences fear to a degree that is appropriate to the circumstances. He lies between the coward , who flees every danger and experiences excessive fear, and the rash person, who judges every danger worth facing and experiences little or no fear. Circumstances are important (for example, there is no universal mathematical rule about how much food an athlete should eat)
Nicomachean Ethics Logos and practical wisdom deliberation as rational enquiry — General good to be achieved — Where is located that good in present situation — Virtuous action Notice, most of the times a concrete goal is the starting point (for example, helping a friend in need) more than the general goal of attaining happiness by acting virtuously
Nicomachean Ethics Intellectual Virtues Rationality 1) Craft expertise : producing objects 2) Practical Wisdom : the ability of acting in the proper way when relating to other human beings 3) Science : demonstration of what it is necessary 4) Intuitive understanding : the ability of understanding the first principles of every science 5) Theoretical wisdom : both science and intelligence the ability not only to understand first principles, but also to judge about their truth
Nicomachean Ethics Because virtue is happiness the highest happiness and virtue is represented by theoretical wisdom the life of the philosopher The second one is represented by practical wisdom the political leader
Nicomachean Ethics One important reason of the superiority of theoretical life is that it requires less external equipment while the political leader has to struggle every time in the real world the pleasures of exercising the ethical virtues are mixed with pain For example, 1. courage is exercised in war and war remedies an evil, it is not something we should wish for 2. distributing justice the political leader may experience some dissatisfaction with his attempts to give each person his due
Nicomachean Ethics: resuming… Virtue ethics is about character ( agent-centered ) Virtues may be defined as the just means between two values Education and habits are necessary in order to develop a virtuous character, but they should be coupled by experience and reason , that is to say practical wisdom The virtuous person is able to take into account the particular circumstances Eudaimonia (‘happiness’) is not only the major goal of the virtuous person, but also his/her major reward. And eudaimonia is not a state, but an activity
Virtue Ethics Problem 1: what does this doctrine requires to do? Or the “anti-codifiability” problem: virtue ethics doesn’t provide a rule of conduct, that is a procedure for determining what is the right action in any particular case in such a way that anyone could understand apply it A virtuous person should first of all promote virtues and avoid vices (for example, do what is honest and do not do what is dishonest): this idea gives a sort of guidance Exactly because virtue ethics is flexible and situation-sensitive the agent should be responsible for what he does, therefore he provides an example that can be observed by others
Virtue Ethics Problem 2: Does it apply universally? Or the cultural relativity problem For example, in Homeric Greece the ideal virtuous man was the hero or warrior and the virtues were strength and courage. For Aristotle virtue is linked to rationality and the ideal virtuous man is the Athenian citizen. For Thomas Aquinas virtue is related to religion, so virtues are faith, hope, charity and humility and the ideal virtuous man is the saint. For Benjamin Franklin, virtue is related both to earthly and heavenly success, so the virtues were (among others) cleanliness, silence, industry — The problem applies to deontology and consequentialism as well, or even more — Maybe virtues are not relative, but their application in different cultures may differ
Virtue Ethics • Problem 3: is it always possible to apply his doctrine? Or the Conflict Problem : what does virtue ethics requires when we face dilemmas where two different virtues conflict? • For example, what are you going to do if you have two different compelling obligations, like going to a wedding of a friend or studying for the final exam? A virtuous person would be someone who expresses the right degree of concern for all relevant considerations The conflict is only apparent: through practical wisdom it should be possible to understand what is the most important virtue in every case
Virtue Ethics Problem 4: is that doctrine egotistic? Or the self-centered problem: virtue ethics is primarily concerned with the agent’s own character — This objection fails to recognize that virtues are other-regarding as well as self-regarding (for example, kindness requires to respond in a nice way to others)
Nicomachean Ethics Friendship Three reasons for loving someone: 1) he/she is good 2) he/she is useful 3) he/she is pleasant Perfect friendship when they are equally virtuous A genuine friend is someone who loves or likes the other person for the sake of that other person: reciprocal good will Only the first kind is perfect friendship
Art. Art Х αταρσις ( catharsis ) Purification In particular Tragedy is useful for purifying the soul: Tragedy shows to individuals their Ϋβρις (Ubris) their lack of measure when the final catastrophe is represented on the stage the public can feel the greatness and misery of being human and therefore can be purified
PHILOSOPHY Associate Professor Alessandro Frigerio
WEEK III The Birth of Idealism: PLATO
LIFE • Born in Athens 428 B. C. • Disciple of Socrates • Athens is defeated in the Peloponnesian War by Sparta 404 B. C. • Death of Socrates 399 B. C. • Living in Syracuse (Sicily, Italy) trying to influence the local Tyrant with political reforms • Death in Athens 347 B. C. • Founder of the Academy • The concept of Ideology
Myth of the Cave • Imagine human beings living in an underground cave with an opening upward towards the light, which filters into the depths of the cave. Theses human beings have been here since birth , and their legs and necks have been chained so that they cannot move. They can only see what is directly in front of them , since they are prevented by the chains from turning their heads to either side. At a distance above and behind them is a raised path. And if you look closely, you will see a low wall built along the path , like the screen used by marionette players to conceal themselves from the audience while they show their puppets. And do you see men passing behind the wall carrying all sorts of objects , such as figures of animals and humans made of wood, stone, and various materials, which they are holding above the wall? Some of the men carrying these objects are talking, while others are silent. They are similar to us. For, initially, how could they see anything but their own shadows, or the shadows of each other, which the fire projects on the wall of the cave in front of them? And if these prisoners were able to talk to each other, would they not suppose that the words they used referred only to the shadows that they saw on the wall in front of them?
Myth of the Cave • And if one of these prisoners was able at last to free himself, and explore to the upper world , would he understand what he saw? Not immediately. He would have to grow accustomed to the sights of the upper world. First he would be able to see the shadows best, next the reflections of men and other things in the water, and then the things themselves. Afterwards he would be able to gaze upon the light of the moon , the stars, and the spangled heaven. Would it not be easier at first for him to look upon the sky and the stars by night than upon the sun or the light of the sun by day? Last of all he would be able to see the sun , not merely as it is reflected in the water, but in its true nature and in its own proper place. He will then begin to conclude that it is the sun which causes the seasons and the years, which is the guardian of everything in the visible world, and which, in a certain way, is the cause of all the things that he and his fellows have formerly seen. And when he remembered his old habituation, and the wisdom of the cave and of his fellow-prisoners, do you not suppose that he would be happy about his change and pity those who were still prisoners?
Myth of the Cave • And if they were in the habit of honoring those who could most quickly observe the passing shadows and decide which of them went before others, which came after, which occurred simultaneously—being therefore best able to draw conclusions about the future—do you think that he would care for such honors or envy the possessors of them? Would he not say with Homer, «Better to be the poor servant of a poor master, » and to endure anything, rather than think as they do and live after their manner? Indeed, imagine what it would be like for him to come suddenly out of the sun and to return to his old place in the cave. Would he not be certain to have his eyes full of darkness? And while his eyes were filled with darkness and his sight still weak (and the time needed to become re-accustomed to the cave might be very considerable), if there were a contest in which he had to compete in measuring the shadows with the prisoners who had never been out of the cave, would he not be ridiculous? Men would say of him that his ascent and descent had destroyed his eyesight, and thus that it was better not even to think of ascending. And if they caught anyone trying to free another and lead him up to the light, they would put the offender to death.
The Theory of Ideas What is the object of scientific knowledge? Not things of the world, known by senses, because these are continuously changing and not perfect Δοξα doxa (opinion) Ideas : an eternal and unchangeable entity whose existence is independent from our perception ( Hyperuranium , literally beyond the sky: 1) a real place 2) “inside our minds” as a way for understanding reality (neo-Kantian): ideas are models for classification, or mental criteria that enable us to think about objects 3) the world of ideas is an eternal order of ideal forms and values that as such does not exist in any specific place) Things are copies or imitations of ideas
The Theory of Ideas Two levels of knowledge ( gnoseological or epistemological dualism ) and two different beings ( ontological dualism ): 1 st and lower level : opinion (imperfect and subject to change) reflecting things (imperfect and subject to change) 2 nd and higher level : science (perfect and unchangeable) reflecting ideas (perfect and unchangeable) From Heraclitus the concept that our world is the reign of change From Parmenides the concept that True Being is unchangeable
The Theory of Ideas What are ideas? — Value ideas (ethical principles) — Mathematical ideas (arithmetic and geometry) — Natural ideas (Humanity) — Artificial ideas (bed) Hierarchical order (with at the top the idea of Good )
The Theory of Ideas The relationship between ideas and things 1) Ideas are criteria of judgment over things (conditions for being able to think about things) (Example 1: How can we say that two things are similar or even almost the same? Example 2: An elephant is bigger than a mouse but smaller than a mountain: when we think about things we compare them, while ideas are absolute) 2) Ideas are the cause of things (conditions for the existence of things)
The Theory of Ideas Knowledge of ideas An intellectual vision: a sight of the mind Reminiscence : from Pythagoras concept of metempsychosis our soul lived in the world of ideas before joining our body thanks to the experience of things the soul can remember the realm of ideas knowledge is memory
The Theory of Ideas The immortality of the Soul and The metaphysical radicalization of maieutic
The Theory of Ideas The immortality of the Soul ( Phaedo ): 1) Theory of Reminiscence or Recollection. L earning is a matter of recollecting what we already have known because our soul existed before we were born. 2) Argument from Opposites. Everything comes to be from out of its opposite (for example, what is warm from what is cold): death is the opposite of life, and so living things come to be out of dead things and vice versa. Therefore, there is a perpetual cycle of life and death : when we die we do not stay dead, but come back to life after a period of time. 3) Argument from Affinity. There is a distinction between “simple” things that are immaterial, invisible, and immortal, like ideas and “composed” things which are material, visible, and perishable like bodies. Since the soul is similar to ideas it ought to be immortal and survive death. 4) Forms or Ideas as the causes of all things in this world. Since an idea cannot be its own opposite (for example, the idea of warm cannot be at the same time the idea of cold), and since the soul is what gives life to a body, then the soul cannot be at the same time dead. Therefore, the soul is immortal.
The Theory of Ideas The metaphysical radicalization of maieutic Against Protagoras (the man is measure of everything) It is truth that “measures” the man Judgment, knowledge and action should be guided by ideas A political goal? A new objective instrument for measuring things and ordering human life
The myth of the cave: interpretation One possible interpretation (not the only one and not necessarily the correct one) — The cave: our world — The enchained slaves: men — Chains: ignorance and passions — The shadows: imagination and superficial view of things — The statues: belief material world things — The fire: the first principle for explaining the world — The liberation of the slave: the action of philosophy and knowledge
The myth of the cave: interpretation — The world outside the cave: the world of ideas — The images reflected on water: mathematical ideas — The Sun: the idea of good — Contemplation: philosophy at its peak — The slave who wants to remain there: the temptation of the philosopher of living a life apart from the community
The myth of the cave: interpretation — The slave back in the cave: the educational/political duty of the philosopher — The former slave who is unable to recognize the shadows: the philosopher who is considered insane — The honors for those who can recognize the shadows: the reward for false-wise men — The murder of the philosopher: Socrates’ destiny
The Republic «Unless, ” said I, «either philosophers become kings in our states or those whom we now call our kings and rulers take to the pursuit of philosophy seriously and adequately, and there is a conjunction of these two things, political power and philosophic intelligence, while the motley horde of the natures who at present pursue either apart from the other are compulsorily excluded, there can be no cessation of troubles, dear Glaucon , for our states, nor, I fancy, for the human race either. ” Plato, Republic , 473 d
The Republic What is justice? Thrasymachus : “ Justice is nothing but the advantage of the strongest” (It can be both a descriptive and a normative statement) One Possible Immediate Answer: Not even a band of criminals will be able to cooperate if they violate the norms of justice internal to their group Glaucon and Adimantus want more: they want to be shown if justice is worth choosing for its own sake and if the just are happier Ethics and Politics in order to explain the concept that is always better to be just than unjust, Plato (using the character of Socrates) makes an analogy with a good (ideal) city (sometimes called Kallipolis )
The Republic Three parts in the soul (bottom up): 1) Appetite : looking for material desires 2) Spirit : looking for honor 3) Reason : looking for knowledge Three classes in the state and three values (bottom up): 1) Producers ( temperance ) 2) Guardians soldiers ( courage ) 3) Philosophers-Rulers ( wisdom )
The Republic Good and Harmony — Good is the supreme idea (it brings coherence to other ideas) good is valuable for its own sake Epistemic advantage of the philosopher : The philosopher has knowledge and therefore aspires to imitate the harmony of ideas and therefore aspires to what is good Motivational advantage of the philosopher : The philosopher is the best ruler because he would not want to rule, so his motivations in ruling the city are guided by justice
The Republic 1) Happiness is the capacity to do what one wants The philosopher seems to be the most able to do what he/she chooses to do because having knowledge he/she chooses to do what is best self-sufficiency But, given favorable circumstances, also the other classes may be able to do what they choose to do (guardians following honor and producers looking for material desires)
The Republic 2) So the question now is: What is the best object? Or what is the most worth pleasure? Good? Honor? Material desires? To decide such a question we need to understand whose person’s judgment is best being more reasonable, having more experience and argument, the philosopher is the best judge in the choice for knowledge and good (Notice, the philosopher has not the same experience of honor of the guardian, but since it is more difficult to get knowledge than honor, the philosopher has more experience of honor than the guardian of good )
The Republic 3) Is the philosopher pleasure vastly better than the others? — Between pleasure and pain there is a middle ground (that is neither pain nor pleasure): difference between pleasures that fill in a lack replacing pain (not genuine pleasures) and pleasures that do not fill in a lack (genuine pleasures) — Most bodily pleasures and the most intense fill in a lack and therefore are not genuine pleasures — Philosopher’s pleasures are not filling a lack and therefore are genuine pleasures The philosopher, following justice, will be the happiest of men
The Republic Esthetic and education Art is a perverted form of education 1) metaphysical-gnoseological explanation : art is an imitation of an imitation because is three steps away from truth an work of art imitates worldly objects that are an imitation of ideas 2) Pedagogic-political explanation : art in general and plays in particular have a negative, corruptive effect on human souls it represents unworthy passions and promotes the idea of a world dominated by destiny ruling out individual initiative and free activity
The Republic The state is just when each individual performs his proper task. The individual is just when he performs his proper task. The unity of the individual and the state compliance of the individual and the state Different functions for one goal? The individual good and the common good?
The Republic Communism and Feminism? No private property (or sharp limitation) for the rulers “ Marriage, the having of wives, and the procreation of children must be governed as far as possible by the old proverb: friends posses everything in common” (Plato, Republic , 423 e 6 -424 a 2) Women are in common , but if women are in common than also men are in common A woman can be a philosopher ruler as well No private families : Children are taken away from their mothers when they are born and raised altogether. In this way they will develop their attitudes without special privileges only the natural talents of individuals will decide whether they will be producers, guardian soldiers or philosophers
The Republic Totalitarianism? — Political power is entirely in the hands of the philosopher rulers — There is a censored education and a strong propaganda in order to convince citizens of their unequal standings and deep tie to the city
The Republic Totalitarianism? a) The city is an organic unity whose interests are more important than the interests of the citizens b) The good of the city is only and nothing more than the aggregate good of all the citizens c) The good of the city and the good of the individual are independently specifiable the citizens’ own maximal good coincides with the maximal good of the city
The Republic Totalitarianism? Rejecting Kallipolis? — Rejecting the idea of a knowable human good is it really possible for someone to know what is better for everyone? — Rejecting the concentration of extensive political power in the hands of few philosophers is it not too risky to rely on the judgment of a few persons? — Rejecting hetero-determination, censorship and forced education Are values like self-determination and free expression intrinsically valuable?
The Republic Aristocracy : rule of wisest who are governed by rational attitudes Degenerations of the state : — Timocracy : govern based on honor that raises when those on govern take possession of lands the timocratic man is ambitious and loves to be in command gain honors, but disregards the wise men — Oligarchy : govern based on money the oligarchic man is greedy and laborious — Democracy : citizens are free and anyone can do what he pleases the democratic man lapses into unnecessary desires — Tyranny : in order to preserve his power from the anger of citizens, the tyrant needs to have the support of the worst individuals the tyrant is a slave of his passions (because his satisfaction depends upon external circumstances), therefore he is the least able to do what he wants, therefore he is full of disorder and regret, therefore he is poor and unsatisfiable, therefore he is fearful therefore the tyrant is the most unhappy man
CHINESE ETHICS Source SEP
CHINESE ETHICS Central issues: — What is a worthwhile life — Goodness or badness of human nature — How to weigh duties toward the family versus duties toward strangers and duties toward the state — The appropriate conduct when one is in a position of power
CHINESE ETHICS Characteristics: — Practical Focus : necessity of a practical response + reflective respect (humility) for the dilemma + skepticism for highly abstract theories — Multiple Interpretations and Pre-theoretical experience : dialogues and stories + different answers to different practical problems + problematic tensions for stimulating thinking
Confucius: Life Born 551 – Dead 479 BCE Legends about how he was born in poverty, but in miraculous circumstances In his youth he was forced to undertake petty humiliating jobs such as accounting and caring for livestock Middle ages forming a group of disciples At the age of 50 he was appointed Minister of Public Works and Minister of Crime, but then forced to leave office and exiled In 484 he returns to Lu and he spends the remainder of his life teaching In 479 he dies at the age of 72, a “ magical number ” Most important work: Lunyu or Analects
Confucius Determinism : People lives within parameters firmly established by Heaven—both a purposeful Supreme Being as well as ‘ nature ’ and its fixed cycles and patterns BUT ALSO Freedom of Choice : men are responsible for their actions and especially for their treatment of others We can do little or nothing to alter our fated span of existence but we determine what we accomplish and what we are remembered for
Confucius and Education “ He who learns but does not think is lost. He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger. ” Morality as the most important subject Asking questions and waiting for the students to arrive at the right answer Ideals of character JUNZI ( ethical nobility ) The goal is to create a gentleman who carries himself with grace, speaks correctly, and demonstrates integrity in all things (filial piety, respect of rituals, ability to judge the right thing to do in any given situation) Following the DAO : the way human beings ought to live their lives (analogous to the Greek eudaimonia)
Confucius The concept of REN a moral excellence that anyone has the potential to achieve. Three meanings of REN: 1) Moral excellence 2) Good or Goodness 3) Compassion or Loving Others Simple manners, avoiding artful speech and deprecating self-aggrandizement The Golden Rule “ What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to other s ” “ Since yourself desire standing then help others achieve it, since yourself desire success then help others attain it ” Self-Discipline : devotion of parents and other siblings as the most basic form of REN
Confucius Self-Restraint : studying and mastering the LI (the ritual forms and rules of propriety through which one expresses respect for superiors and enacts his role in society in such a way that he himself is worthy of respect and admiration. These ceremonies encompassed: the sacrificial rites performed at ancestral temples to express humility and thankfulness; the ceremonies of toasting, and gift exchange that bound together the aristocracy into a complex web of obligation and indebtedness; and the acts of politeness and decorum — performers as gentlemen. ) — Not suppressing desires , but reconciling them with the interests of family and community — Rituals are not mere forms, but should be practiced with complete devotion and sincerity
Confucius Ren and Li VS individual autonomy : 1) The importance of living according to one ’ s own understanding of what is right and good even if others do not see it the same way Cultivating one ’ s own character is very important, but there is no protection accorded to a subordinate when he speaks up against the ruler when this one is made angry by criticism
Confucius Ren and Li VS individual autonomy : 2) Moral permission to the individual to choose from a wide range (within certain moral boundaries) of ways to live Refused by Confucius : there is one moral way to morality and there can not be significantly different ways, but…
Confucius The ruler should learn self-discipline and govern his subjects by his own example , treating them with love and concern rather than trying to use legal coercion: “ If the people be led by laws, and uniformity among them be sought by punishments, they will try to escape punishment and have no sense of shame. If they are led by virtue, and uniformity sought among them through the practice of ritual propriety, they will possess a sense of shame and come to you of their own accord. ”
Confucius The ruler ’ s example : “ If your desire is for good, the people will be good. The moral character of the ruler is the wind; the moral character of those beneath him is the grass. When the wind blows, the grass bends. ”
Confucius Ren and Li VS individual autonomy : 3) Prioritizing of individual interests over group or collective interests when these conflict Refused by Confucius: not complete subordination of individual interests to group or collective interests, but at the very least mutual dependence between the individual and the group
Confucius Example from Mencius : the sage-king Shun. When Shun wanted to marry, he knew that his father, influenced by his stepmother, would not allow him to marry. In this difficult situation, Shun decided to marry without telling his father, even though he is renowned for his filial piety. Mencius in fact defends the filiality of Shun’s act. He observes that Shun knew that he would not have been allowed to marry if he told his father. This would have resulted in bitterness toward his parents, and that is why he did not tell them. The implication of this version of Shun’s reason is that filiality means preserving an emotionally viable relationship with one’s parents , and in the case at hand Shun judged that it would have been worse for the relationship to have asked permission to marry.
Confucius Filial Piety : Obedience to parents Always? — It is possible to remonstrate with them gently — Or respectfully trying to change their minds What if conflict between loyalty to parents and loyalty to the ruler? Covering up for one ’ s relatives “ Love/Care with distinction ” : though all people are owed moral concern, some are owed more than others, according to the agent ’ s relationship to them
Mozi and Mohist Ethics Critical of Confucianism : — Emphasis on rituals is a waste of resources that could have been spent to meet the basic needs of many — Tradition has no moral authority as such (because there was a time when the practice was new and therefore it had no authority and it can not get more authority simply because is getting older) — Against partiality toward one ’ s own (self, family, nation) as root of destructive conflict — It is not difficult to act on impartial concerns
Mozi and Mohist Ethics A consequentialism that measures rightness in terms of consequences, where each person ’ s welfare is considered equally But differently from Western consequentialism: — No exactness (no specific method) in evaluating consequences for comparison — No psychological dimension as happiness
Mozi and Mohist Ethics VS Confucianism ’ s plurality of sources of duty, Mohism is a monistic theory : promotion of welfare and avoidance of harm Three standards for judging the viability of beliefs and theories: 1) Usefulness (in terms of consequences) 2) Consulting the origin (if they accord to historical record of sage kings) 3) Evidence from eyes and ears of the people (observation and intersubjective consensus)
Yang Zhu Against Confucianism and Mohism : They are asking to people to sacrifice themselves for others — Ethical Egoism
Mencius A defense of Confucianism Four Beginnings ( DUAN: literally, the tip of something): It is in the human nature to have a mind (seat of thinking and feeling) predisposed for goodness • Being sensitive to others (ex. Trying to save a child fallen in a pit not for getting praised or annoyed by the screams of the kid, but because of compassion) develops into Benevolence/Compassion (ren) • Feeling shame in certain situations (ex. Even a beggar would refuse rice if someone trampled upon it) develops into Righteousness (yi) • Feeling courtesy (ex. The younger instinctively respecting the older) develops into Observance of rites (li) • Feeling the sense of right and wrong develops into Wisdom (grasping the spirit of moral rules so that one knows how to be flexible in applying them)
Mencius It is right to treat all people alike only the ways they are alike are the most ethically relevant features of the situation (and the presence or absence of a family relationship is most of the times the most relevant feature). And use of past cases as paradigms or exemplars What if your father kills someone? Sage-emperor Shun: he could not have stopped the judge from apprehending his father because the judge had the legal authority to act. But then Shun would have abdicated and fled with his father at the edge of the sea.
Xunzi The highest standard of conduct is to follow the requirements of morality rather than the wishes of one ’ s father , in particular in following the father ’ s advice will bring disgrace to the family and following morality will bring honor Separation between service to parents and obedience to them
Xunzi Human nature is evil : Human goodness is a process of education, training as conscious activities Although there are natural predispositions , these have no moral content : sage kings invented ritual principles and moral duty
DAOIST ETHICS Texts: — Lao Tzu, Daodejing — Zhuangzi, Zhuangzi Focus shifts from human to to cosmos Natural Processes of the Opposites Harmony Yang : active, aggressive, hard and male Yin : passive, yielding, soft and female Classical Vision: yang is more valuable Daoism: stressing the efficacy of Yin Wu Wei literally “ nonaction ” , but to understand as effortless action Soft style of action is preferable because striving after something often produces the opposite of the intended result
LEGALISM Text: Hanfeizi (3 rd century BC) People must be guided by clear edicts and strong punishments A vast majority of rulers are mediocre, so governments should be structured so that it can run satisfactorily Refusing moral and spiritual transformation for solving China ’ s problems and instead adopting a highly centralized and structured government Good character of rulers is not the explanation for success: it depends also on fortuitous circumstances (for example, the scarcity of goods in relation to the people)
Immanuel Kant 1724 —
KANT: Life • Born in 1724, K önisberg, Western Prussia • Professor in 1770 • 1781 The Critique of Pure Reason (What can I know? ) • 1785 Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals 1788 The Critique of Practical Reason (What ought I to do? ) • 1790 The Critique of Judgment (What may I hope? ) • Dead in 1804, K önisberg, Western Prussia
KANT “ The Starry Sky Above Me and the Moral Law Within Me” “ SAPERE AUDE”
KANT Hume is an important referent for Kant: the problem of causality But Kant was not satisfied by Hume’s solution (Habit) How is it possible to base science on mere habit? How is science possible? The foundation of certainty should be universal and necessary A Priori Foundation to be found in the same faculty of knowledge
KANT: The Critique of Pure Reason WHAT CAN I KNOW? Reason : the thought that tries to know as developed by the knowing subject Pure : reason as such, not related to experience A Priori : what is in our mind before any experience VS A Posteriori: what derives from experience
KANT: The Critique of Pure Reason For example, the concept of causation makes knowledge (of external world) possible: it is a model for coordinating the objects of our experience Transcendental Knowledge
KANT: The Critique of Pure Reason Subject, Verb, Predicate (for ex. , the wall is white) Analytical Judgments : The predicate enlightens something that is already included in the subject (for example, every body occupies space) Synthetic Judgments : The predicate is adding something to the concept of the subject (for example, this body is heavy)
KANT: The Critique of Pure Reason Analytical Judgments are not providing any further knowledge Synthetic Judgments A Posteriori (based on experience) are neither necessary nor universal Only Synthetic Judgments A Priori can be scientific
KANT: The Critique of Pure Reason — Transcendental Esthetic Sensibility by which impressions are received — Transcendental Analytic Intellect by which objects are thought — Transcendental Dialectic Reason that faculty that is looking for totality or what is unconditioned
KANT The Critique of Pure Reason Transcendental Esthetic (aisthesis, perception) Is there anything A Priori in sensibility (or intuition)?
KANT The Critique of Pure Reason Transcendental Esthetic Example a yellow, acid lemon How can we combine yellow and acid (acid is not yellow, and yellow is not acid)? Such a coherence does not derive from senses, rather it derives from the fact that we order our sensations through space and time.
KANT The Critique of Pure Reason Transcendental Esthetic Space and time are the universal and necessary conditions of sensible experience they are A Priori forms of sensibility (or intuition) Space and time are empirical realities and transcendental idealities they are always present in our experience, but they are the conditions of every experience
KANT The Critique of Pure Reason Transcendental Esthetic Phenomena: things as they appear to our sensibility Noumena: things in-themselves, as they are (Notice this is a limit-concept) We know things in our experience only as they appear, not as they are; only as phenomena, never as noumena
KANT The Critique of Pure Reason Transcendental Logic Looking for those forms existing A Priori in the intellect The intellect is an active function: it thinks the objects, or in other words it proposes a synthesis of sensible impressions ordered in space and time
KANT The Critique of Pure Reason Transcendental Logic Table of Categories (derived from Aristotle) • Of Quantity : Unity, Plurality, Totality • Of Quality : Reality, Negation, Limitation • Of Relation : Inherence and Subsistence, Causality and Dependence , Community • Of Modality : P ossibility-Impossibility, Existence-Nonexistence, Necessity-Contingency
KANT The Critique of Pure Reason Transcendental Logic How is it possible to have synthetic (adding knowledge) a priori (universal and necessary) judgments? Because causality , for example, is not something that occurs in extra-mental reality between things but is rather subjective and immanent to human consciousness. Causality does not derive from experience , but is rather a category of our faculty of knowing IF A THEN
KANT The Critique of Pure Reason Transcendental Logic Both sensibility and intellect are fundamental for knowledge: Concepts (categories) without intuitions are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind
KANT The Critique of Pure Reason Transcendental Logic To think about something means to attribute unity to such an object Thinking is constituting something in a unity and at the same time it is constituting the unity of the conscience Transcendental apperception Kantian Copernican Revolution: the mind does not create things, but is structuring nature on the basis of a priori intellectual categories
KANT The Critique of Pure Reason Transcendental Logic Consequence: Science is possible the laws of physics are universal and necessary because (for example) causality is a necessary and universal category a priori, and space and time are transcendental idealities (conditions for our knowledge reality) But Although scientific knowledge is without limits we will have knowledge only of phenomena and never of noumena
KANT The Critique of Pure Reason Transcendental Dialectic Reason : it “works” on intellectual knowledge trying to coordinate such a knowledge through deductive chains The “ideas” of reason: — soul (the unconditioned which lies at the foundation of psychical phenomena) — world or cosmos (the unconditioned that lies at the foundation of physical phenomena) — God (the unconditioned that lies at the foundation of all reality)
KANT The Critique of Pure Reason Transcendental Dialectic — Space and Time make possible the internal and external intuition — Categories make possible objective experience — Soul, World, and God are expression of the necessary will of knowledge and the necessity of unity of conscience
KANT The Critique of Pure Reason Transcendental Dialectic Soul, World, God: each one of them is indicating an unconditioned (a totality) that is never given, but always proposed as a necessary task Transcendental illusions : those inevitable errors generated by the three ideas of reason (they are transcendental because they are a priori and so we will always err and we will always be victims of such errors)
KANT The Critique of Pure Reason Transcendental Dialectic The ideas of reason have only a regulative use (they indicate a point of problematic convergence) and not a constitutive use (they don’t represent objects to us)
KANT The Critique of Pure Reason Transcendental Dialectic SOUL (the unconditioned which lies at the foundation of psychical phenomena) Paralogism: the soul is only an idea, it is an internal active process that we perceive only when we are in the act of knowing external particular objects. But we do not know and we can not know the soul itself
KANT The Critique of Pure Reason Transcendental Dialectic WORLD or KOSMOS (the unconditioned that lies at the foundation of physical phenomena) We never know the world as totality in our experience: we can know only partial phenomena
KANT The Critique of Pure Reason Transcendental Dialectic ANTINOMIES: these are not simple contradictions, but necessary errors that we do when we want to have knowledge of the world as totality Four antinomies: on the basis of experience it is impossible to determine what of two alternative thesis is correct
KANT The Critique of Pure Reason Transcendental Dialectic ANTINOMIES 1) (Quantity) The world is finite VS the world is infinite 2) (Quality) The world is composed by simple elements VS the world is composed of an infinitesimally divisible substance 3) (Relation) The universe is completely determined VS Free actions are possible 4) (Modality) In the universe everything is contingent VS In the universe there is something necessary
KANT The Critique of Pure Reason Transcendental Dialectic In the first two antinomies ( infinite or finite world and simple elements or infinitesimally divisible substance) both thesis and the antithesis are false Both consider the world as totality as a phenomenon (so the object of a possible experience), but since the world can not be a phenomena, but only an idea, it is not possible a correct reasoning on such an object
KANT The Critique of Pure Reason Transcendental Dialectic In the second two antinomies (total determinism or freedom and infinite contingency or necessary being) both thesis and the antithesis are true If we consider the world as a phenomenon, everything we have experience of is determined (because causality is a necessary and universal a priori form). If we consider the world as a noumenon or thing-in-itself, then it would not be subject to causality and therefore free actions are possible (although we would be unable to get an experience of something else than phenomena) In the same way every phenomenon is contingent, but since the world as totality is not a phenomenon, we can not exclude the existence of a necessary being
KANT The Critique of Pure Reason Transcendental Dialectic The idea of God is founded upon three “proofs” (ultimately reducible to the ontological argument ) that are all invalid Rational Theology claims that God is a possible object of knowledge, but because God is not a phenomenon but an idea we can not have knowledge of God We neither can prove the existence of God nor we can prove that God does not exist Because reason and science is only about phenomena, believing in God does not clash with reason believing in God expresses our pretention to the unconditioned
KANT: The Critique of Practical Reason WHAT OUGHT I TO DO? Practical : it concerns action Practical reason decides what is the moral behavior in order to act what is my MORAL DUTY A Priori conditions for a moral action
DEONTOLOGICAL THEORIES Main sources: — Kant’s Moral Philosophy, SEP — Deontological Ethics, SEP — Thiroux and Krasemann, Chapter 3 — Mackinnon, Chapter
DEONTOLOGICAL THEORIES Teleology versus Deontology Teleological Theories : the goodness determines the rightness of an action , or in other words the source or ground of rightness is goodness Act Consequentialism: It asserts that the right action is that action of all the alternatives available to the agent that has the best overall outcome. GOOD OUTCOME Virtue Ethics: a right action in any given circumstance is that action a virtuous person does or would perform in those circumstances. GOOD CHARACTER
DEONTOLOGICAL THEORIES: WHAT IS RIGHT DEFINES WHAT IS GOOD OR THE RIGHT ACTION HAS PRIORITY OVER THE (GOOD) CONSEQUENCES
DEONTOLOGICAL THEORIES MOTIVE ACTS CONSEQUENCES
KANT What is the right motive? ACT OUT OF DUTY (HAVE THE RIGHT MOTIVE) GOOD WILL is the autonomy of the will of a rational agent Right Intention
KANT GOOD WILL (the decision to act according to our moral duties) should not be influenced by: — Circumstances — Self-interest (the relationship with one’s own happiness or welfare)
KANT The example of the shopkeeper. The shopkeeper does the right thing charging the customers a fair price and charging the same to all, but why? 1) Because it is a good business practice: it is in her own self-interest this is not necessarily wrong, but it is not praiseworthy 2) Because she is sympathetic to customers and naturally inclined to do good this is good, but it is not the highest motive: she is simply doing what she feels 3) Because she believes that this is the right thing to do only when an act is concerned for morality, the act has moral worth
KANT Obeying our duty to act morally is the expression of our freedom on the contrary if we do not resist our impulses then we are subjected to the law of the world of phenomena AUTONOMY
KANT What is the right thing to do? Morality is not a product of good consequences ACT ACCORDING TO DUTY (DO WHAT IS RIGHT)
KANT HYPOTHETICAL IMPERATIVE: when empirical data are considered in the process of making a decision. These “ouhgts” are contingent (or dependent) and individualized on what I happen to want. If I want X, then I ought to do Y For example: If I want to improve my knowledge of philosophy of morals, I ought to attend the course of ethics VERSUS CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE : the pure command of moral law Always do X It is demanding, I ought to do it no matter what These “oughts” are unconditional or necessary and universal (they apply to everyone because we are rational beings) these are the genuine moral “oughts”
KANT The Formula of the Universal Law “ act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law. ”
KANT Kant is not saying that behavior can be universalized , but that the maxim of your will can be this expresses the categorical imperative And as a rational being I can only will what is noncontradictory (for example, I cannot say that here and now is both raining and not-raining; or I cannot want both to have the cake for tomorrow and to eat it now) A maxim is a description of the action that I will put to test The example of LIARS: “I can make a lying or a false promise in order to extricate myself from a difficult situation” Kant recognizes that when we actually make a moral decision the hypothetical imperative (empirical conditions) is playing an important role. BUT the morality of a decision is given only by our actualization of a moral maxim
KANT THE HUMANITY FORMULA “ A ct as to treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of any other, in every case as an end in itself , never as means only. ”
KANT Persons are autonomous , that is they are capable of self-rule: although we are influenced by many factors we decide what we want to do of our lives People have intrinsic value (in themselves) not instrumental value (using them for our goals) RESPECT FOR OTHER PERSONS
KANT An example of treating people as mere means: the Nazis medical experiments on persons in concentration camps But notice that the formula is ruling out the idea of treating other persons as MERE MEANS to our ends (because in some way we continuously use other persons as means, but it is morally permissible only if they agree: for example, a taxi driver )
KANT THE AUTONOMY FORMULA “ the Idea of the will of every rational being as a will that legislates universal law. ”
KANT Act so that through your maxims you could be a legislator of universal laws. This sounds very similar to the first formulation. However, in this case we focus on our status as universal law givers rather than universal law followers. In order to be a legislator of universal laws, such contingent motives as self-interest, must be set aside. It displays the source of our dignity and worth, our status as free rational agents who are the source of the authority behind the very moral laws that bind us
KANT THE KINGDOM OF ENDS FORMULA “ act in accordance with the maxims of a member giving universal laws for a merely possible kingdom of ends ”
KANT It combines the others in that (i) it requires that we conform our actions to the maxims of a legislator of laws (ii) that this lawgiver lays down universal laws, binding all rational wills including our own , and (iii) that those laws are of ‘a merely possible kingdom’ each of whose members equally possesses this status as legislator of universal laws, and hence must be treated always as an end in itself. The intuitive idea behind this formulation is that our fundamental moral obligation is to act only on principles which could earn acceptance by a community of fully rational agents each of whom have an equal share in legislating these principles for their community.
KANT “ You must, therefore you can” This formula has been criticized saying that Kant ignores human deficiencies BUT What Kant is saying with this formula is simply that a man does know what his duty is. Even if he does not follow the moral imperative, he knows that he is not acting morally The word DUTY has a meaning only if we are FREE to choose An existential meaning: because you have the idea of duty, you are able to act as a free man/woman
Perfect and Imperfect Duties Perfect duties : Contradiction in Conception Example of liars. It would be contradictory to will a world where everyone lies because if we apply (universalize) this maxim (always lie) we would have a world where no communication (and therefore no satisfaction of the desires of the hypothetical imperative) will be possible. Examples of Perfect duties include: do not lie, do not kill, do not steal Perfect duties are absolutely required by morality: they ought to be done every time.
Perfect and Imperfect Duties Imperfect duties : Contradiction in will Example: do not help others. If we apply (universalize) this maxim (do not help others), then we are in need no one will help us. It is possible to conceive such a world, but it is not desirable for a rational being to will a world where no one helps me when I need someone’s help. Examples of imperfect duties: to help others, to develop yourself Imperfect duties are required by morality, but not every time. Specifically, imperfect duties give way to perfect duties in case of clashes.
Perfect and Imperfect Duties Perfect duty vs Perfect duty No possible conflict (for example, do not kill and do not lie never conflict) Perfect duty vs Imperfect duty Perfect duty prevails (for example, do not lie vs help others you ought not to lie) Imperfect duty vs Imperfect duty possibility of choice with prudence (for example, help other vs develop your talent choice)
KANT The three posits (a principle that can not be demonstrated, but stands at the basis of a system of thought) of Practical Reason: 1) FREEDOM (It is a posit because according to Kant [Critique of Pure Reason] the world of phenomena is entirely dominated by the principle of causality. Hence the necessity of liberty as a noumenon) 2) IMMORTAL SOUL (Kant did not necessarily believe in immanent justice, a justice that can reward moral actions in this world. If we were sure of being rewarded, then we would make moral decisions only in order to be rewarded, but in this way we would lose the sense of pure morality. Obeying our duties is difficult and hard, therefore there is a separation between duty and happiness. Hence the necessity of a noumenon where happiness and duty could converge) 3) GOD (We can not know God, but we need something that will provide us the convergence of values. Hence God is the condition of sense of our moral activity. Notice, however that the explanation of morality by Kant does not appeal to God, but to human rationality. It is not a religious system)
Critiques of Deontology 1) Consistency and conflicts of duties — Suppose that not breaking a promise would result in someone seriously injured or even killed. Which is more important? And where and how should be established the priority?
Critiques of Deontology 2) Disastrous outcomes and No Exceptions — How is it possible to create a rule without exceptions? Do not consequences matter after all?
Critiques of Deontology 3) Determining when we actually use a person — What is the difference between influence and coercion? Is it always possible to understand when we are crossing the threshold?
Consequentialism: Utilitarianism MAIN SOURCES: — “Consequentialism”, SEPSEP — “ “ Consequentialism”, IEPIEP — Thiroux and Krasemann, Ethics , Chapter 2 — Mac. Kinnon, Ethics , Chapter 4 — Lawrence Hinman, Course at San Diego University
CONSEQUENTIALISM MOTIVE ACT CONSEQUENCES Consequentialism is a teleological theory (it stresses the end or goals of actions) focusing on the consequences of those actions (usually asking to maximize the good of those and deriving from those actions) A general formula for consequentialism: The morally right action is the one producing the best (or better) overall consequences Questions: — Consequences for whom? — What kind of good? — What kind of consequences?
UTILITARIANISM Classical formulation by Jeremy Bentham (1748 -1832) “Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation” and John Stuart Mill (1806 -1873) “Utilitarianism” Democratic : work for the good of all persons (not just for the good of the upper class) and promote the interests of the greater number Progressive : change the political status quo in order to promote the usefulness of what is good Empiricist : what is good is determined by the empirical observation of whether a policy is promoting what is good Optimist : human wisdom and science can improve the condition of humanity
UTILITARIANISM Two simplified formulations: — The morally best (or better) alternative is that which produces the greatest (or greater) net utility, where utility is defined in terms of happiness or pleasure — We ought to do that which produces the greatest amount of happiness or pleasure for the greatest number of people
UTILITARIANISM — Consequences for whom? For everyone affected by my action* — What kind of good? Pleasure or Happiness and Satisfying Preferences — What kind of consequences? Best consequences for the greatest number (more pleasure; pleasure minus pain; intensity; duration; likelihood). Consequences that are intentional (or even those we didn’t want to? ) actual (or in the long period? ), expectable (or best reasonably expectable? ) * Bentham and Mill even spoke of every “sentient being” including animals
UTILITARIANISM Hedonism : pleasure or happiness (as psychic states of satisfaction ) is the good that should be promoted Bentham: “Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. ” Pleasure and/or Happiness are intrinsic goods : we look for them as such Other goods (such as fame, education…) are instrumental : they are useful for attaining the goals of pleasure and/or happiness
UTILITARIANISM The Utilitarian Calculus A universalistic theory: the pleasure and/or happiness of all who are affected by an action or practice should be considered In other words we are asked to look not only at our good (egoism) but neither only to other people’s good (altruism): We need to look at the general good. For example, sacrifice is not good in itself, but if and only if it promotes the greatest good for the greatest number. (Mill: “A sacrifice which does not increase or tend to increase the sum of total happiness, [utilitarianism] considers as wasted” )
UTILITARIANISM IMPARTIALITY and EQUALITY Everyone affected by some action is to be counted equally : there is no special privilege for anyone. Example: — Act A makes me happy and two other people happy — Act B makes me unhappy but five other people happy In this example Act B is a better choice than Act
UTILITARIANISM Pleasure minus Pain An act usually produces both pleasure and pain, so in order to evaluate it we need to calculate the netnet happiness or unhappiness (even if we cannot make exact mathematical calculations). For example: — Act A produces twelve units of happiness and six units of unhappiness (12 – 6 = 6 units of happiness) — Act B produces 10 units of happiness and one of unhappiness (10 – 1 = 9 units of happiness) Therefore Act B is preferable because it produces a greater net amount of happiness
UTILITARIANISM Intensity All things, being equal, the more intense the pleasure, the better. We can imagine a scale of 1 to 10 degrees of intensity For example: — Act A gives forty people each mild pleasure (40 X 2 = 80 degrees of pleasure) — Act B gives ten people each intense pleasure (10 X 10 = 100 degrees of pleasure) Therefore Act B is preferable even though Act A gives pleasure to 30 more people ( or not? )
UTILITARIANISM Duration Intensity is not enough, it may well be that the more serene pleasures last longer. So the longer lasting the pleasure, the better. For example: — Act A gives three people each eight days of happiness (3 X 8 = 24 days of happiness) — Act B gives six people each two days of happiness (6 X 2 = 12 days of happiness) Therefore Act A is preferable even though Act B gives pleasure to the double of people ( or not? )
UTILITARIANISM Likelihood If before acting we are attempting to decide between two available alternative actions, we must estimate the likely results of each before we compare their net utility. It may turn out that we ought to choose an act with lesser rather than greater beneficial result if the chances of it happening are better. For example: — Act A has a 90 percent chance of giving eight people each five days of pleasure (40 days X 0. 90 = 36 days of pleasure) — Act B has a 40 percent chance of giving ten people each seven days of pleasure (70 days X 0. 40 = 28 days of pleasure) Therefore Act A is preferable because it gives more pleasure discounted by the possibility of its realization
UTILITARIANISM Bentham VS VS Mill or or Quantity VS VS Quality Bentham : we ought to consider only the quantity of pleasure produced the AMOUNT of pleasure. In his words, “quantity of pleasure being equal, pushpin [a game] is as good as poetry”) Mill : the quality of pleasure counts as well. For example, the quality of reading a good book is superior to the quality of eating. In particular Mill is thinking about the qualitative superiority of those pleasures that are specifically human (for example, aesthetic experiences) The KIND of pleasures. In his words, it is better “to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied”.
ACT AND RULE UTILITARIANISM Act Utilitarianism : consider the consequences of some particular act such as keeping or breaking one’s promise in this situation (and usually considering only consequences at this time) Rule Utilitarianism : consider the consequences of some practice or rule of behavior – for example, the practice of promise keeping or promise breaking
ARGUMENTS FOR UTILITARIANISM 1) Only results remain 2) Considering the importance of other people 3) Reasons for action: produce some sort of good 4) It is wrong to choose the worse over the better 5) The ideal spectator (someone who knows everything and its equally sympathetic with everyone)
UTILITARIANISM: PROBLEMS 1) APPLICATION OF THE PRINCIPLE (A) The theory is too complex : it requires to calculate the number of people involved, whether and how many of them will get pleasure or pain, how much of pleasure they will experience, for how long, what is the likelihood that we estimate will happen No one can really consider all the variables involved It is difficult to determine the consequences for others Reply : although this may be complex, the more we are able to evaluate the variables, the better judgments we will make
UTILITARIANISM: PROBLEMS 2) APPLICATION OF THE PRINCIPLE (B) There are cases where the maximization of happiness conflicts with greatest number of people having beneficial outcomes For example, — Act A produces 200 units of happiness for one person — Act B produces 150 units of happiness for three persons (50 units each) Theoretically following an utilitarian calculus we should choose Act A, but do we think this is the best course of action?
UTILITARIANISM: PROBLEMS 3) Utilitarianism and Personal Integrity There is a problem concerning the requirement that we should always do what maximizes overall happiness This theory does not respect our personal integrity: A) This theory does not give us or those whom we love any special privilege B) This theory is not respecting our personal ways of life or ‘identity-conferring commitments’ (An example by Bernard Williams: Jim in the village) Reply : it is important that a person gives due consideration to his personal integrity because this will have better consequences for both society and him/herself
UTILITARIANISM: PROBLEMS 4) The end justify the means Utilitarianism seems to lead to conclusions that are contrary to common morality (for example, killing some people for the sake of the good of the greatest number, cheating and lying when these actions maximize the actual outcome) Reply : the considerations concerning the harm produced by those kind of actions are counted in the utilitarian calculus and usually they lead to a worst outcome (specially in the long-term). Therefore utilitarianism will not promote such actions ( but this may not be always true )
UTILITARIANISM: PROBLEMS 5) The pleasure machine a specific problem of hedonism: If we are concerned only about pleasure it is possible that we would be totally satisfied ‘living’ in a pleasure machine without doing anything but experiencing a virtual world. This idea was proposed by the philosopher Robert Nozick some years before (in 1974) the movie “ The Matrix ” (Wachowski Brothers, 1999). For example, think about the choice by the character Cypher to get an agreement with the ‘Agents’ in order to go back to his previous life in the pleasure machine
UTILITARIANISM: PROBLEMS 6) Who is included? We said that everyone affected by our action should be included, but where do the effects of our actions end? Is there a predetermined limit? How is it possible to state it?
ACT UTILITARIANISM: PROBLEMS Impracticality of beginning anew Since every single case requires to be judge anew and the calculation is difficult, act utilitarianism is an impractical theory
RULE UTILITARIANISM: PROBLEMS The question of exceptions Is it possible to formulate a rule that will work in any case? If such a rule is generating a highly painful state of affaires is it required to make an exception? But then is it not rule utilitarianism going back to act utilitarianism?
PREFERENCE UTILITARIANISM Some philosopher think that is difficult to measure and compare human feelings of happiness or pleasure. Therefore they developed a new version of utilitarianism based on preferences. Preference utilitarianism : the action that is best is the one that satisfies the most preferences, either in themselves or according to their strength or their order of importance. One method for understanding people’s preferences is looking at what they say they want or prefer (but there is the problem of how much informed people are) An alternative is to derive people’s preferences from their behavior (for example, we can understand if people appreciate natural parks by counting the number of visitors) Problem : any preference seems to count equally with any other, no matter if it is hurting or helping others
COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS Cost-benefit Analysis : one policy is better than the other if it is the least costly compared with the benefits expected. Often the measure is money. Problems : — it is difficult to assign a value in money to things like life, friendship, love (but there are times when we make such dollars assignments explicitly or implicitly, for example insurances) — the power of deciding the variables that should be involved and the assignment of different monetary values becomes the more important issue as a matter of fact — Are things commensurable ? That is, is it really possible to compare even two simple things like a good night’s sleep and a fine dinner?
A FINAL PRAISE FOR UTILITARIANISM As a Decision Procedure oror Guide , that is, as a method that agents consciously apply to acts in advance to help them make choices, Utilitarianism seems to require too much information to the agent As a Criterion oror Standard , that is, as a method for spelling out the necessary and sufficient conditions for an act to be morally right, regardless of whether an agent can tell in advance whether those conditions are met, Utilitarianism seems to be a fruitful theory
PRINCIPLES OF ETHICS INSTRUCTOR Alessandro Frigerio
MORAL CONCEPTS MAIN SOURCE: Jacques P. Thiroux and Keith W. Krasemann, Ethics: Theory and Practice , , Upper Saddle River, Prentice Hall, 2007, 9 thth edition, Chapter
MORAL CONCEPTS Morality: from the Latin word “ “ mores” customs or manners Ethics: from the Greek word “ “ ethos ” ” character Morality is a corpus of norms (values and rules) shared by a group of individuals. Morality is that corpus of norms to which we refer when it is necessary to make a decision involving different courses of actions Ethics is that branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of morality and reflecting on the ideas of good/bad and right/wrong
MORAL CONCEPTS Amoral : this term refers to those few persons who have no moral sense and are not able to distinguish what is right and what is wrong (it is considered a pathological condition) Non-moral: this term refers to those things that are out of the realm of morality. For example, inanimate objects like cars and guns (although the use of those objects by humans may involve morality, for example using guns in order to kill, or even producing guns or selling guns to countries involved in wars) and animals Immoral: such an action or series of actions by a morally responsible person (for example, adults and not kids, humans and not animals ) that violate moral standards
Moral Concepts: Environmental Ethics Environment has important effects on every person Is the environment intrinsically valuable ? Or is it only instrumentally (promoting the good of men) valuable ? May the prima facie value of economic interest be overcome by the value of environment?
Environmental Ethics: Anthropocentrism A human-centered perspective : humans only (or mainly) have intrinsic value Nature or environment has no value in itself: the value of nature is measured by how it affects human beings Notice that it is possible that anthropocentric values may conflict (for example, we cannot both conserve old trees because of their historical or aesthetical value and use them also for lumber)
Environmental Ethics: Ecocentrism : a set of theories promoting the idea that not only humans have intrinsic value According to these theories the anthropocentric relation with the environment can be characterized as a form of domination. We should instead, following from the fact that not only humans have intrinsic value, regard nature with admiration and respect All organisms are self-maintaining systems: although trees and animals are not moral agents, they can be considered as moral patients (things toward which we have direct duties because they are worth in themselves)
Environmental Ethics: Animal Rights Correlativity of rights and duties : if animals have rights, what are our duties? And to what extent we have duties toward animals? Obviously animals cannot claim to have rights (they cannot speak), but also future generations cannot claim they have rights (although we try to consider them as well) not moral actors, but moral patients The idea of rights for animals may be derived from the fact that animals have interests (plus as already said by Bentham they feel pleasure and pain) : not to respect the interests of animals has been defined as “ Speciesism ” by Peter Singer (of course this does not mean that a pig has a right to vote!)
MORAL CONCEPTS Morality and Etiquette: The distinction here rests on the fact that morality is is about good/bad or right/wrong while etiquette is a matter of tastes (although we use the words good/bad and right/wrong also speaking about etiquette) The distinction sometimes may be blurred: take the example of burping after a good lunch As a matter of etiquette , in some countries it would be considered non-respectful, while in others it will express the appreciation for the cook’s ability. As a matter of morality , if you know that a particular action is required in order to respect your host and you deliberately act against your host’s traditions, then this situation may involve a moral judgment. For example, you may think that the traditions of your host are barbarian and you need to civilize his manners. Is it morally acceptable to change the habits of a population, imposing your own “civilized” habits?
MORAL CONCEPTS Morality and Law The legal system and the laws of a state derive (through the mediation of the political system) from the formalization of existing moral values shared by a community into a written and enforced code. But, although the legislation derives from morality, morality is wider than any legislation. The concept of “Unjust Law” a judgment that challenges the morality of a law (for example, a legal system existed both in Nazi Germany and during the Apartheid Regime in South Africa. Racial laws were voted by a legislative, implemented by the executive through its officers and used in courts by the judges. Therefore, legally speaking, they were perfectly working. But do you think that those laws were just? Why? )
MORAL CONCEPTS Morality and Law Usually we can refer to the legal system and the laws of a state as universally applicable in that territory (although it doesn’t necessarily cover everything, for example the federal government in the USA as opposed to the national or local governments; or it doesn’t necessarily rule out exceptions, for example regions with special statutes in Italy and Spain; or it doesn’t rule out exceptions on the basis of citizenship, for example the right to vote or the administrative decisions over expulsion implemented by the United States under the Bush Presidency). Besides, a legal code is supported by formal public sanctions and punishments by the authority of state ( ( the state being that institution which has a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, according to the definition of Max Weber ) ) following a formal system of legislation, implementation and punishment Conversely different moral norms and values can coexist in one state and moral sanctions are not enforced by a common legitimate authority like the state, but by institutions (the Church, for example) groups (local communities, for example) or individuals (parents, for example)
MORAL CONCEPTS Morality and Religion is one of the oldest human institutions and served (serves) as a way for providing a moral code sanctioning people’s immoral behavior. Those sanctions were (are) even more powerful than any human being can possibly administer (for example, going to Hell) Should morality be based on religion?
MORAL CONCEPTS Morality and Religion Problems with basing morality entirely on religion 1) Difficulty of proving Supernatural Existence : if I have to be religious in order to be a moral person then there should be a proof of the existence of God (But this can not be proved, and in fact religion is a matter of FAITH). Besides it should be proved that God has an impact on this world in order to show that morality should be based on religion, and even this cannot be proved.
MORAL CONCEPTS Morality and Religion Problems with basing morality entirely on religion 2) Religious people can be immoral for example, think about those Catholic priests who molested children in the United States and Italy
MORAL CONCEPTS Morality and Religion Problems with basing morality entirely on religion 3) Nonreligious people can be moral religions contain ethical systems, but ethical systems can be based on nonreligious grounds (for example, humanism and existentialism)
MORAL CONCEPTS Morality and Religion Problems with basing morality entirely on religion 4) Which religion? Different religions promote different ethical systems, which is the correct one? For example, is it morally acceptable for a religious guide to marry? Looking only at Christian religion we have two different answers: for Catholics, priests cannot get married; for Protestants, pastors can and do get married
MORAL CONCEPTS Morality and Religion Problems with basing morality entirely on religion 5) How would be possible to solve conflicts between different ethical systems deriving from different religions? Some authors (for example, John Rawls in Political Liberalism ) tried to find a foundation for liberal regimes that is based solely on a political ground (meaning, it does not involve the promotion of any specific system of values). But what about morality? Is it possible to found a moral system that could solve possible conflicts between religion-based moral systems? Isn’t such a wider moral system based on values that are not religious?
MORAL CONCEPTS Morality and Religion Problems with basing morality entirely on religion 6) What about Agnostics and Atheists? If a person doubts that God exists (agnostic) or even thinks that God does not exist (atheist), why should he/she follow the moral values of any religion? Should this person be sanctioned when he/she is acting in such a way that according to a religious moral system is immoral?
MORAL CONCEPTS Morality and Religion If we want to create a moral system that may appeal to everyone, we need to create a system that is not mainly based on religion. . This statement does not rule out religious morality and it does not necessarily involve a moral system based on atheism. But it calls for a wide moral system that can host everyone
MORAL CONCEPTS A strictly religious moral system has a power that apparently is difficult to substitute: a system of rewards and punishments (in this or the other life) established by an uncontestable authority. If we rule out a strictly religious moral system, a question emerges: Why should human beings be moral?
MORAL CONCEPTS Possible answers: 1)1) Enlightened self-interest Doing good rather than bad helps to create a better society. As an individual I will profit from a better a society, therefore it is in my self-interest doing good The major problem is the difficulty to convince someone that it would be in his/her best interest not to take that course of action that presently it would be most beneficial for him/her, but that would make the long-term situation worst for him/her.
MORAL CONCEPTS Possible answers: 2) Tradition and Law Because traditions and laws were established in order to govern human behavior, and because they promote moral attitudes, it may be good to respect such an effort made by humans throughout the time. Usually, we learn our moral norms through education (by parents, at school…) from traditions (cultural, religious) that are considered binding. The major problem of this conception is the suppression of criticism to our traditions, where such a criticism is one of the most important ways we start a moral reasoning. Through criticism we may try to preserve our traditions alive if we deem these traditions worthy of being preserved, or we may try to substitute these traditions whether we judge it necessary.
MORAL CONCEPTS Possible answers: 3) Common Human Needs There are things that generally everybody wants: friendship, love, happiness, freedom, peace, stability. Adhering to moral principles, cooperating with one another, would enable human beings to get those basic things that they desire. The major problem is that this proposal seems only a romantic translation of the self-interest theory
MORAL CONCEPTS Possible answers: 4) Existentialism revisited Since we inhabit this world together with other people we need to find a way to share it. Humanity is not defined by its essence (human nature), but rather as a transient condition. Morality is a question of respect of difference and shared responsibilities.
PRINCPLES OF ETHICS Alessandro Frigerio
— ETHICS —
WHAT IS ETHICS? Ethics , or Moral Philosophy , is that branch of Philosophy dealing with the questions of what is good and bad , , what is right and wrong , trying to assess what moral duty is.
What is Ethics? Examples of Ethical Questions: • What is a morally good outcome? • What is a morally right action? • Are moral values universal or relative? • Where do moral values come from? • What is a just political system? • Would you censor South Park? • Are you responsible for poverty? • Do we have a right to a good death? • Would you invade a country that is practicing ethnic cleansing or genocide?
What is Ethics? A classic simple (? ) example: The Golden Rule Two Forms: — [‘Positive’] Do to others as you would like others do to you — [‘Negative’] Don’t do to others what you wouldn’t like others do to you Try to think about the different implications of the two forms…
What is Ethics?
WHAT IS ETHICS? THREE AREAS : 1) Metaethics : where our ethical principles come from (for example, Social invention? Will of God? ) and what they mean 2) Normative Ethics : propose moral standards that regulate right and wrong conduct (for example, What are our duties? Are consequences important? ) 3) Applied Ethics : examining specific areas (for example, business ethics) and specific controversial issues (for example, abortion, capital punishment)
1) METAETHICS The study of the origin and meaning of ethical concepts Two prominent issues A)A) Metaphysical issues concerning whether morality exists independently of humans B)B) Psychological issues concerning the underlying mental basis of our moral judgments and conduct
1) METAETHICS 1 A) Metaphysical issues: Objectivism and Relativism Eternal Truths VS VS Human Conventions
1) METAETHICS 1 A) Objectivism ““ Other-Worldly” Moral values are objective in the sense that they exist in a spirit-like realm beyond subjective human conventions Moral values are absolute , , eternal , they never change, they apply to all rational creatures around the world and throughout time Examples : : — Plato: Moral values as abstract entities like mathematics (1+1=2) — Medieval Philosophers: eternal law — God’s Will: Divine Commands
1) METAETHICS 1 B) Relativism ““ This-Worldly” Skeptical philosophical tradition : it denies the objective status of moral values. Moral relativism: moral values are strictly human inventions — Individual relativism: individual people create their own moral standards (for example, Nietzsche) — Cultural relativism: morality is grounded in the approval of one’s society (for example, Montaigne)
1) METAETHICS 1 B) PSYCHOLOGICAL ISSUES — EGOISM AND ALTRUISM — EMOTION AND REASON — MALE AND FEMALE MORALITY
1) METAETHICS 1 B) EGOISM AND ALTRUISM Psychological egoism: self-oriented interests ultimately motive all human actions (for example, Hobbes; charity) Subsection: psychological hedonism pleasure is the driving force behind all actions Psychological altruism: at least some of our actions are motivated by instinctive benevolence
1) METAETHICS 1 B) EMOTION AND REASON — HUME: moral assessments involve our emotions — KANT: moral assessments should be made on the basis of reason, free of emotions and desires
1) METAETHICS 1 B) MALE AND FEMALE MORALITY Two presuppositions: — Traditional morality is male-oriented (system of rules required for trade and government were taken as models the agent is a mechanical actor who performs his required duty , but remains distanced from and unaffected by the situation) — There is a unique female perspective (nurturing role, for example raising children and overseeing domestic life, that involves a more spontaneous and creative action care-based approach ))
2) NORMATIVE ETHICS Arriving at moral standards that regulate right or wrong conduct it is a search for an ideal litmus test of proper behavior For example , , The Golden Rule : we should not do to others what we would not want others to do to us. Key assumption in normative ethics: there is only one ultimate criterion of moral conduct, whether it is a single rule or a set of principles. Three Main Strategies : : A)A) VIRTUE THEORIES (Socrates; Plato; Aristotle; Sartre? ) B)B) DEONTOLOGICAL THEORIES (Kant) C)C) CONSEQUENTIALIST THEORIES (Egoism; Utilitarianism)
2) NORMATIVE ETHICS 2 A) VIRTUE THEORIES: Aristotle Virtue Ethics (Aristotle) : “ What sort of person should I be? ” ( agent-centered ) 1) Αρετέ (Aretè): Excellence or Virtue 2) Φρονεσις (Phronesis): Practical Wisdom 3) Έυδαιμονια (Eudaimonia): Happiness or Flourishing 4) Just Means (Every ethical virtue is an intermediate condition between two other states, one involving excess, and the other deficiency)
2) NORMATIVE ETHICS 2 B) DEONTOLOGICAL THEORIES: Kant DEONTOLOGICAL THEORIES: WHAT IS RIGHT DEFINES WHAT IS GOOD OR THE RIGHT ACTION HAS PRIORITY OVER THE (GOOD) CONSEQUENCES MOTIVE ACTS CONSEQUENCES GOOD WILL is the autonomy of the will of a rational agent Right Intention CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE : the pure command of moral law Always do X
2) NORMATIVE ETHICS 2 B) DEONTOLOGICAL THEORIES: Kant The Formula of the Universal Law: “act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law. ” The Humanity Formula: “A ct as to treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of any other, in every case as an end in itself , never as means only. ” The Autonomy Formula: “the Idea of the will of every rational being as a will that legislates universal law. ” The Kingdom of Ends Formula: “act in accordance with the maxims of a member giving universal laws for a merely possible kingdom of ends ” Perfect duties (Contradiction in Conception) VS Imperfect duties (Contradiction in will)
2) NORMATIVE ETHICS 2 C) CONSEQUENTIALIST THEORIES An action is morally right if the consequences of that action are more favorable than unfavorable The correct moral conduct is determined solely by a cost-benefit analysis of an action’s consequences Two examples: — Ethical Egoism : an action is morally right if the consequences of that action are more favorable than unfavorable only to the agent performing the action — Utilitarianism : an action is morally right if the consequences of that action are more favorable than unfavorable to everyone
2) NORMATIVE ETHICS 2 C) CONSEQUENTIALIST THEORIES: Utilitarianism The morally best (or better) alternative is that which produces the greatest (or greater) net utility, where utility is defined in terms of happiness or pleasure Classic Utilitarian Calculus: — Pleasure; — Pleasure minus pain; — Intensity; — Duration; — Likelihood. Act Utilitarianism : consider the consequences of some particular act such as keeping or breaking one ’ s promise in this situation (and usually considering only consequences at this time) Rule Utilitarianism : consider the consequences of some practice or rule of behavior – for example, the practice of promise keeping or promise breaking
3) APPLIED ETHICS Different areas and specific problems: — Business Ethics — Media Ethics — Political Ethics — Legal Ethics — Bioethics — Environmental Ethics — Computer Ethics — Roboethics — War Ethics