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.Normative Ethical Theories:

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week 3

1.In ethical thinking, not only consideration of rules conflict with consideration of consequences, but also different rules can conflict with each other.

2.Normative Ethical Theories:

i.Consequential view: view in which morality is forward-looking, whether something is right or wrong depends on something it produces.

Non-consequential view: backward-looking or look at the present. e.g. This is right because I made a promise which is the past/ This is fair, this is looking at the present.It looks at the right, duties, fairness, etc

ii.Egoism: a view in which what makes an action right or wrong depends on its impact on oneself

iii.Nationalism: it is morally right if it benefits the nation

iv.Epistemism: it is right if it advances knowledge

v.Utiliarianism: a view in which an action is right if it produces utility such as happiness, pleasure and welfare

3.philosophihcal ethics moral theory: most stuff written has been about utilitarianism, either why we should acept it or we should accept it but what does it mean.

4.Immanuel Kant: ethics is not about consequences.

The only good thing that is good without qualification is a good will- i.e. a good will which wills well. The good lies in the willing, not in the particular thing which was willed.

The essense if that you need to have a principle, or a strong will.

Otherwise, rightness and wrongness are matters of fortuitousness or simply a person's natural characteristics(like height, weight), rather than necessary characteristics, and behaviour that we can exercise control over. And that is simply not how we think about morality.

5.Autonomy of will: we make principles according to which we will.

Willing well is a matter of consistency and univeralisability:

The test--

Could what you are willing become a universal law? That is "wht would things be like if everyone did it?"

It's not a matter of whether or not you would like it; but whether it could even be possible for there to be such a world.

6.We have a principle that could be accepted universally, and we are able to make ourselves will according to it, but the morality comes not in what the principles might be, but there is a principle we are strong enough to will according to.

7.perfect duty: that is, it allows no lattitude for inlination. In the case of making a promise, the duty is to keep it, full stop; no exceptions.

the duty to develop one's talents(self-development) is an imperfect duty: it allows leeway, lattitude for inclination.

8.an imperative that is categorical: allows no exceptions; no "if's", "and's", r "but's"; no allowance for say what you'd like to do

maxism is a general principle. Whenever person does something, there is a maxim involved.

9.Every action to be understandable has to be seen as the agent willing something according to some principle

10.5 formulations of categorical imperative:

i.act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."

i.a. a test: "law of nature": act as though the maxim of your action were by your will to become a universal law of nature" - not a matter of choice, but more like gravity.

ii.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 - a requirement to repect people's personhood

iii.so act that your will can regard it self at the same time as making universal law through its maxim - as though you're making the law for everyone.

iv. so act as if your were through your maxims a law-making of a realm of ends - you are determining the acceptable ends that peopple can have.

v. never choose except in such a way that the maxims of the choice are comprehended in the same voliton as a universal law. -you recognse that you are determining this autonomously


i.duty as the basic moral feature

ii.good will-> not in terms of effects

iii.good will->duty

agent autonomy

morality not a matter of luck or accident

iv.avoidance of hypocrisy

v.not character



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