TWO WAYS TO CHARACTERIZE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONSEQUENTIALIST AND DEONTOLOGICAL ETHICAL THEORIES

 

A.Nozick's Characterization

††††††††††† End-state vs. side constraint theories

††††††††††† Rationale for side constraints:Inviolability of individuals

 

B.Nagel's Characterization

††††††††††† An External, Objective (agent-neutral) Viewpoint vs. an Internal Subjective (agent-relative) Viewpoint.

††††††††††† For Nagel, both viewpoints have validity.

 

 

LEVELS OF DEONTOLOGICAL THEORY

 

 

1. BASIC-PRINCIPLE DEONTOLOGY

Logical Priority to Basic, Fundamental, or Ultimate Principles

(e.g. Kant)

 

2. GENERAL-PRINCIPLE DEONTOLOGY

 

Logical Priority to General Principles (e.g., Rawls)

 

3. RULE DEONTOLOGY

 

 

Logical Priority to Rules (e.g., Ross)

4. ACT DEONTOLOGY

Logical Priority to Particular Judgments (e.g., Do the Right Thing!)

 

 

ROSS'S RULE DEONTOLOGY

 

A.The 7 kinds of PRIMA FACIE (or Conditional) DUTY:

(a) Based on previous acts of my own:

††††††††††† (1) duties of fidelity

††††††††††† (2) duties of reparation

(b) Based on previous acts or merit of others:

††††††††††† (3) duties of gratitude

††††††††††† (4) duties of justice

(c) Based on potential for self-betterment:

††††††††††† (5) duties of self-improvement

(d) Based on potential for harming and helping others:

††††††††††† (6) duties of non-maleficence

††††††††††† (7) duties of benevolence

 

B.Actual [or Absolute] Duties

 

1.Cases of No Conflict.

 

If (i) I have a PRIMA FACIE DUTY to do A (i.e., Act A is of a kind that I have a PRIMA FACIE DUTY to do) and (ii) I do not have a PRIMA FACIE DUTY to do any act other than A, then:

 

††††††††††† A is my ACTUAL DUTY.

 

2.Cases of Conflict.

 

If (i) I have a PRIMA FACIE DUTY to do A and (ii) I also have a PRIMA FACIE DUTY to do one or more other acts different from A, then I have a conflict of PRIMA FACIE DUTIES.In such a case,

 

A is my ACTUAL DUTY ů [just in case] On balance, the PRIMA FACIE DUTY to do A outweighs the PRIMA FACIE DUTY to do any of the alternatives.

 

C.Act A is right ů Act A is one's ACTUAL DUTY.

 

[Question:Why is Rossís account NON-CONSEQUENTIALIST?]

 

 

HYPOTHETICAL AND CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVES††

 

1.IMPERATIVE IN CONDITIONAL FORM:If you desire X, you ought to do Y [Y is the best means of obtaining X].

 

2.IMPERATIVE IN UNCONDITIONAL FORM:

You ought to do Z.

 

3.A HYPOTHETICAL IMPERATIVE [i.e., an imperative based on a desire] is an imperative in CONDITIONAL FORM or an imperative in UNCONDITIONAL FORM that is DERIVED FROM an imperative in CONDITIONAL FORM.

 

4.A CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE [i.e., an imperative that is not based on any desire] is an imperative in UNCONDITIONAL FORM that is NOT DERIVED from an imperative in CONDITIONAL FORM.

 

 

KANT'S ACCOUNT OF AUTONOMY AND HETERONOMY

 

††††††††††† HETERONOMOUS CHOICE = a choice based on a desire [e.g., based on a hypothetical imperative + desire].

 

††††††††††† AUTONOMOUS CHOICE = a choice not based on any desire [e.g., based on a categorical imperative].

 

††††††††††† A person making a HETERONOMOUS CHOICE is said to have a HETERONOMOUS WILL.

 

††††††††††† A person making an AUTONOMOUS CHOICE is said to have an AUTONOMOUS WILL.

 

 

THE KANTIAN CONCEPTION OF IRRATIONALITY:

 

††††††††††† An act is irrational [in the Kantian sense] [just in case] When the maxim of the act is willed by all rational beings [i.e., when it is universalized], it yields a logical impossibility [i.e., a logical contradiction].

 

A logical contradiction is a statement of the form p&-p.

 

Thus, from the requirement not to be irrational [in the Kantian sense], Kant obtains the first version of the Categorical Imperative:

 

No. 1.[Universalizability Test] Never act in such a way that one could not also will that one's maxim be universal law [i.e., one ought never to act on a maxim if it is not logically possible that the maxim be willed by all rational beings].

 

††††††††††† The first version of Kant's Categorical Imperative is an attempt to provide purely descriptive necessary and sufficient conditions for moral wrongness:

 

Act A is Wrong ę The Maxim for A is not Universalizable [i.e., it is not logically possible that the maxim be willed by all rational beings].

 

 

HOW THE UNIVERSALIZABILITY TEST CAN PRODUCE A LOGICAL CONTRADICTION

 

††††††††††† Suppose there are only 3 rational beings, Bill, John, and Ken.

 

††††††††††† Bill considers the maxim, M:"I kill someone and no one else kills anyone."The Universalizability Test requires that all rational beings be able to will the maxim without contradiction.

 

††††††††††† (1) For Bill to will the maxim M, he must will the result:

††††††††††† (B) Bill kills someone; John and Ken do not kill anyone.

†††††††††††

††††††††††† (2) What is the result if John and Ken will maxim M also?

††††††††††† (a) If John wills maxim M, the result is:

††††††††††† (J) John kills someone; Bill and Ken do not kill anyone.

 

††††††††††† (b) If Ken wills maxim M, the result is:

††††††††††† (K) Ken kills someone; Bill and John do not kill anyone.

 

But (B) and (J) and (K) together imply:

Bill kills someone and does not kill anyone; John kills someone and does not kill anyone; Ken kills someone and does not kill anyone.

CONTRADICTION

 

Therefore, on Kant's account, it cannot be rational to act on the maxim "I kill someone and no one else kills anyone."

 

 

A SERIOUS PROBLEM FOR KANT'S UNIVERSALIZABILITY TEST

 

††††††††††† Suppose, as before, that there are only 3 rational beings, Bill, John, and Ken.

 

††††††††††† Bill considers the maxim, M': "I kill someone, regardless of what anyone else does (i.e., regardless of whether they kill someone or not)."

 

††††††††††† (1) For Bill to will that maxim M', he must will the result:

††††††††††† (B') Bill kills someone, regardless of whether John and Ken do.

†††††††††††

††††††††††† (2) What is the result if John and Ken will maxim M' also?

††††††††††† (a) If John wills maxim M', the result is:

††††††††††† (J') John kills someone, regardless of what Bill and Ken do.

 

††††††††††† (b) If Ken wills maxim M', the result is:

††††††††††† (K') Ken kills someone, regardless of what Bill and John do.

But (B') and (J') and (K') together imply only:Bill kills someone and John kills someone and Ken kills someone.THIS IS NOT A CONTRADICTION.It is simply a very undesirable state of affairs (undesirable to all three of them, if all three of them would be dead).

 

 

THE THREE VERSIONS OF THE CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE

 

No. 1.[Universalizability Test] Never act in such a way that one could not also will that one's maxim be universal law [i.e., one ought never to act on a maxim if it is not logically possible that the maxim be willed by all rational beings].

 

No. 2:Treat every person as an end, and never as a means only.

 

No. 3:Act on maxims that could be legislated as universal law in the Kingdom of Ends.

 

 

RAWLS'S SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY OF JUSTICE AS FAIRNESS

 

A REASONABLE person is willing to cooperate on fair terms of social cooperation.

 

††††††††††† What are the fair terms of social cooperation?They are defined by principles that would be selected in the hypothetical Original Position, behind a Veil of Ignorance, where "those who enage in cooperation choose together, in one joint act, the principles which are to assign basic rights and duties and to determine the division of social benefits."[p. 144]

††††††††††† What is the Veil of Ignorance?

 

 

Problems for Deontological Theories

 

1.Not All Moral Motives Fit the Model of Duties:Example of The Extra Reason Not to Cheat:Even if everyone else cheated, it seems there would be some reason not to cheat.

 

2.The Moral Priority of Caring over Duty.The Example of the Caring Friend vs. the Dutiful Friend:Even if they produce the same actions, from a moral point of view, most people rank the motivation of the caring friend above the merely dutiful friend.