Review Exam 3

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What is the difference between Consequentialism and Deontology?

  • Consequentialism: States that before we can decide the difference between actions that are good and bad we must inspect the effects or consequences of the act.
    • Example: Utilitarianism is an example of Consequentialism.
  • Deonotology (Duty-Based Ethics): States certain actions are intrinsically good or bad regardless of the consequences and that we should not consult effects or consequences when trying to decide what to do.
    • Example: A Kantian style list of rules is an example of Deontology.

What, according to Rachels' formulation of Bentham's theory, is Utilitarianism?

  • Choose the alternative that has the best overall consequences for everyone concerned.
    • In other words: The greatest good for the greatest number.

With respect to euthanasia, what according to Rachels, is the difference between traditional and Utilitarian approaches?

  • Traditional Approach: Say the intentional killing of an innocent person is wrong.
  • Utilitarian Approach: Says killing an innocent is acceptable when it will result in greater happiness for all (or at least most) concerned.

What is the opinion concerning animal rights for Utilitarians?

  • Animals have the same rights as humans because they suffer and suffering is against our duty to promote happiness.

What, according to Rachels, is Classical Utilitarianism?

  • Classical Utilitarianism says three (3) things according to Rachels:
    1. Actions are to be judged right or wrong solely by virtue of their consequences.
    2. In assessing consequences, the only thing that matters is the amount of happiness or unhappiness that is created.
    3. Each person's happiness counts the same.

With respect to Utilitarianism's Consequentialist foundation, how, according to Rachels, do Justice and Utility come into conflict?

  • Be prepared to give an example.
  • In cases in which it seems we must preform immoral actions to achieve the greater good.
  • Utility conflicts with justice.
  • Therefore, Utility must be wrong.
    • Example: What if a Utilitarian could save people by testifying a lie to sacrifice one person for the greater good of a bunch of people... According to Utilitarianism this would be okay. But doing this conflicts with the idea of justice.

With respect to Utilitarianism's Consequentialist foundation, how according to Rachels, do Rights and Utility come into conflict?

  • Be prepared to give an example.
  • In cases in which a number of people would become happy because a person's right are infringed upon.
  • Utility states we must infringe upon those rights.
  • Therefore, Utility must be wrong.
    • Example: Someones rights can be violated for the happiness of others. If this happiness outweighs the others misery then this follows the rules of Utilitarianism.
      • Such as in the case of York v. Story.

With respect to Utilitarianism's Consequentialist foundation, what is Rachel's point about backward-looking reasons?

  • Be prepared to give an example.
  • That Utility advises us to ignore our promises in any instance in which a better out come will occur.
  • When we do so Rachel's indicates that Utility inordinately disregards the past in favor of future consequences.
    • Example: Breaking a promise to a friend because you wanted to do something that seemed more important.

Explain Rachael's charges that Utilitarianism is too demanding and undermines personal relationships.

  • Utilitarianism is too demanding in that it requires we treat all people, including our friends, relatives, and ourselves the same.
  • This results in seemly absurd consequences such as that one must not go to the movies or buy a camera because others are starving.
  • In addition, it is our obligation to do these things, so there is no such thing as supererogation or going beyond one's duty.
  • Heroic acts are simply performing one's duty.
  • Also, projects and hobbies of a personal nature become immoral because we must always perform that which produces the greatest good or happiness.
  • If we must treat all people equally, love and affection become immoral.
  • Utility seems to undermine our personal relationships, and this seems wrong.

An argument in defense of Utilitarianism and Rachel's assessment of the defense:

  • The counterexamples offered are unrealistic both in terms of being outside the normal course of events in the world and in the solutions they suggest Utilitarians must accept.
  • Utilitarianism explains why justice is best, rights are important, and promises must be kept -- for our greater happiness.
    • Rachel's Counters:
      • However, that the counterexamples, though sometimes strange, are representative of actual dilemmas that occur.
      • Counterexamples are a reasonable method for questioning a theory such as Utilitarianism and must not be brushed aside as unimportant.

An argument in defense of Utilitarianism and Rachel's assessment of the defense:

  • Utilitarianism should be used to decide specific rules we should follow, not specific actions we should perform.
  • This is called Rule-Utilitarianism.
    • Rachel's Assessment:
      • One criticism would be that this is not true Utilitarianism. It is only a diluted version.
      • If there are ever any exceptions to the list of rules adopted, this would show that Act-Utilitarianism, not Rule-Utilitarianism, is the true standard.

An argument in defense of Utilitarianism:

  • That examples show that Utilitarianism is in conflict with normal moral sensibilities.
  • Only shows that normal moral sensibilities are wrong.

What is the Anscombe-Geach thesis?

  • Deontology
  • There are some rules we must follow regardless of the consequences.

What is a Hypothetical Imperative according to Kant?

  • It is a rule we must follow to achieve certain positive results.
  • If we do such-and-so, then we achieve such-and-such.

What is a Categorical Imperative according to Kant?

  • It is a rule that we must act a certain way regardless of consequences.

What is the Categorical Imperative according to Kant?

  • Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that is should become a universal law.

What does The Categorical Imperative mean and how according to Kant, should it be applied?

  1. First ask yourself what rule you would be following, if you performed a particular act.
  2. Then ask yourself whether you would be willing for that rule to be followed by everyone all the time.

What is the principle argument against absolute moral rules according to Rachels?

  • Be prepared to give an example.
  • The belief that moral rules allow no exceptions can be shown to to wrong, according to Rachels, because moral rules sometimes contradict each other.
  • If we allow no exceptions, not only would we would not be able to decide certain ethical questions, but our opinions would be contradictory.
    • Example:
      • Dutch Fisherman Example - lie or get everyone killed.

Of what value is Kant, according to Rachels?

  • According to Rachels, Kant is worthwhile because he reminds us that a moral judgement must be backed by good reasons and such reasons must be universally applied.
  • If we accept any considerations as reasons in one case, we must also accept them as reasons in other cases.

What are Kant's formulations of the Categorical Imperative?

  1. Act only according to the maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become universal law.
  2. Act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always as an end and never as a means only.

What are the two reasons Kant gives that human beings are above all price?

  1. It is because human beings have self-conscious projects, desires, and goals, objects have value for them. Therefore, since human beings confer value, they are above value.
  2. Human beings have an intrinsic worth or dignity because the are rational agents capable of making their own decisions, setting their own goals, and guiding their conduct by reason. Without reason there is no ethics or morality. Therefore, since human beings confer value, they are above value.

What does Kant mean by using a person as a means? As an end?

  • As a means: Using a person "as a means" means unjustly or inappropriately manipulating that person.
  • As an end: Using a person "as an ends" means not using that person as a means, but rather as an entity intrinsically valuable in that person's own right. That is, treating a person as an end means treating that person as a rational agent.

What is retribution?

  • Retribution: Retribution is the belief that a person who acts badly should be treated badly-normally conceived as a matter of repayment or punishment.

Give two arguments in favor of punishing criminals from the Utilitarian perspective.

  • Note there are four (4).
  1. Deterrence: Punishing criminals helps to prevent crime by providing a reason for people to avoid it.
  2. Rehabilitation: We may rehabilitate wrongdoers.
  3. Removal: Punishing or executing criminals takes them off of the street.
  4. Closure: Provides comfort and gratification to victims and their families.

Why does Kant object to the rehabilitation of criminals?

  • We are using people as a means (calculating how to bend the to our own purposes), and this is incompatible with human dignity.

What, according to Kant, are the principles that should govern punishment?

  1. People should only be punished for committing crimes.
  2. The punishment should be proportional (fit) to the crime committed.

Why does Kant endorse capital punishment (punishment by death) for murder?

  • People would be participants in the murder if they allowed the murderer to get away with less punishment than the crime called for.

What according to Rachels is Kant's "distinctive contribution to the theory of Retributivism"?

  • By punishing a person in proportion to the crime, we are respecting the criminal as a person; that is a a responsible agent.

How, according to Kant, is retribution an adherence to his Categorical Imperative?

  • Since we are treating persons as responsible agents, we are treating them as end-in-themselves rather than a means.
  • Also, we are treating such persons as they have decided to be treated-- as if they were following the Categorical Imperative of making their actions a universal law themselves.

What is the Ethics of Care?

  • The Ethics of Care: The Ethics of Care is the taking care of others in a personal way with sensitivity to the needs of others and attending to voices other than our own.

With respect to traditional ethics, and according to Rachels, what is the problem with family and friends?

  • Caring for a loved one out of a sense of duty is deficient and the loved one will know this (says Rachels). Thus traditional ideas of equality and impartiality are antagonistic to values of love and friendship.

What, according to Rachels, is the primary criticism of the Ethics of care?

  • Intuition and feelings are not reliable guides: to often, for example, these only imitate the morals accepted by a particular population at a specific time or location.