WHAT KIND OF REASON/JUSTIFICATION IS THERE FOR ME TO BE MORAL?

 

A. Internal Reasons/Justifications

Example: Moral Tradition Justifications.

 

B. External Reasons/Justifications:

Example: Pragmatic Vindication

 

Two Potential Problems with Pragmatic Approach:

(1) For any goal, there seem to be moral and immoral ways of achieving it.

(2) For any goal, I can ask: Why should I adopt it as my goal?

Question: Could there be a PROOF from non-moral premises that I ought to be moral (e.g., that I ought not to murder)?

 

 

LEVELS OF MORAL DISAGREEMENT

(From previous edition of Beauchamp)

 

1. Basic, Fundamental, or Ultimate Principles (e.g., Utilitarian Principle: Maximize Total Happiness)

+ Very General Facts

 

2. General Principles (e.g., Respect Life)

+ General Facts

 

3. Rules/Maxims (e.g., Do not kill.)

+ Facts of Particular Situations

 

4. Particular Judgments (e.g., Even in a situation in which they have requested it, one ought not to kill one's parents.)

 

 

THE SEARCH FOR THE MISSING LINK BETWEEN (NON-SUPERNATURAL) PURELY DESCRIPTIVE PREMISES AND NORMATIVE CONCLUSIONS

 

Naturalistic Terms = Purely Descriptive Terms that are not Supernaturalistic.

 

1. First (Flawed) Statement of the "Naturalistic Fallacy": It is a fallacy to think you can derive an "ought" from an "is", because you can't.

 

 

TRIVIAL DERIVATION OF A MORAL "OUGHT" FROM AN "IS"

 

 

1. It is one's duty to tell the truth in most situations.

 

2. [If doing X is ones duty, then one [morally] ought to do X.]

________________________________

 

3. Therefore, one [morally] ought to tell the truth in most situations.

 

 

2. Second (Flawed) Statement of the "Naturalistic Fallacy": It is a fallacy to think that moral terms can be defined using only (non-supernatural) purely descriptive terms, because moral terms cannot be defined using only (non-supernatural) purely descriptive terms--that is, there is no true definition of the form:

Act A is moral [I ought to do A] =df A is X [where X is stated in (non-supernatural) purely descriptive terms].

 

a. G.E. Moore's "Open Question" Argument shows that this claim is true, but no naturalist need deny it.

 

MOORE'S OPEN QUESTION ARGUMENT HAS TWO PARTS

 

(1) The 'Open Question' Test for the Adequacy of a Definition:

(a) Consider the question: Is an A an A? Even without any investigation there could be no reasonable doubt by anyone who knew the meaning of the words that the answer to this question is "Yes", so the question itself is CLOSED, not OPEN.

(b) Suppose someone proposes the following definition of a term A:

A =df B

(c) If it is a true definition, it should mean the same as A = A. So the following question should be a CLOSED, not OPEN question: Is a B an A?

If this question is a CLOSED question, we will say that the definition B PASSES the Open Question Test and is an adequate definition of A. If this question is an OPEN question, we will say that B fails the Open Question Test and is not an adequate definition of A.

 

(2) The 'Open Question Argument' is Moore's argument that for the evaluative term "good" or the moral terms "right" and "wrong", ANY attempt to define them in purely naturalistic terms (i.e., in non-supernatural, purely descriptive terms) will always fail the Open Question Test for the Adequacy of a Definition.

 

Example: Suppose someone offers the following definition of "good strawberry":

Good strawberry =df sweet, juicy, firm, red, and large strawberry. Does this definition pass the Open Question Test?

Consider the question: Is a sweet, juicy, firm, red, and large strawberry a good strawberry? Could there be any reasonable doubt by anyone who knew the meaning of the words about the answer to that question. The answer is "Yes". Because the question is an Open Question, the definition FAILS the Open Question Test. Therefore, it is not an adequate definition.

 

 

3. Third (Best) Statement of the "Naturalistic Fallacy": It is a fallacy to think that there is a (non-supernatural) purely descriptive sufficient condition for moral rightness [or moral wrongness], because there is no (non-supernatural) purely descriptive sufficient condition for moral rightness [or moral wrongness]--that is, no (non-supernatural) purely descriptive condition X such that:

Act A is X Act A is right [wrong].

 

 

IS IT A FALLACY?

 

Attempts to formulate PURELY DESCRIPTIVE sufficient conditions (or necessary and sufficient conditions) for moral rightness [or wrongness] that we have discussed:

(a) Divine Command Theory

(b) Golden Rule #1: Love your neighbor as yourself.

(c) Utilitarianism (18 different varieties)

(d) Golden Rule #2: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

(e) Kant's First Version of the Categorical Imperative.

(What about the 2nd and 3rd versions?)

(f) Rawls's Principle of Reasonableness?

(g) Talbott's Universalizability Principle: In a CAP, one ought not to freeride.

(h) Aristotle's Formula for the Golden Mean?

(i) The intentional, premeditated act of permanently destroying all life is wrong.

(j) Engaging in sexual intercourse with a live human being against their will and not aimed at the survival of human kind is wrong.

 

FINAL PROBLEM: Could any of these statements be used to persuade someone who rejects all moral claims that they ought to be moral?

Even if they are true, they are substantive moral claims, and thus cannot be expected to persuade someone who rejects all moral claims.

 

 

 

MORALITY:

INVENTION OR DISCOVERY

MACKIE'S Anti-Realism vs. McNAUGHTON'S Realism

 

I. MACKIE'S ANTI-REALISM: Morality is a Social Invention

Two main arguments:

(1) the argument from diversity (Chap. 2)

(2) the argument from queerness (Chap. 3)

Conclusion: Moral standards are cultural inventions.

 

II. McNaughton's Realism: Morality is Something that We Discover

Two important arguments:

(1) the is-ought (fact-value) gap is bridged because the non-moral properties of actions fix or determine their moral properties. They are emergent properties (like consciousness).

(2) If we think that we can make moral mistakes (Talbott's addition: and that societies can make moral mistakes), then we are committed to objective moral truth.

 

(3) Talbott's addition: If we think that we (and societies) can make moral progress, then we are committed to objective standards of moral progress.

 

ULTIMATE ISSUE: IS THERE MORAL PROGRESS?

 

 

THE EPISTEMOLOGICAL QUESTION

 

How can we come to know moral truths or at least make progress getting closer to the truth?

 

A. Intuitionism (e.g., Kant and Ross)

 

B. Rawls's Alternative: The Process of Reflective Equilibrium.

 

 

MATRIX REPRESENTATION OF CHOICE OF WHAT KIND OF PERSON TO BE

 

Everyone else

 

is a Virtuous Person (V)

is a Ruthless Person (-V)

I am a Virtuous Person (V)

 

+100,

+100

 

-101,

-99.9

I am a Ruthless Person (-V)

 

+101,

+99.9

 

-100,

-100

 

 

Matrix 3. Choosing To Be or Not To Be Virtuous--a Potential Collective Action Problem .