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 ŕ

 

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

            + General Facts ŕ

 

3.  Rules/Maxims (e.g., Do not kill.)

            + Facts of Particular Situations ŕ

 

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

 

 

What is the Philosophical Significance of Moral Diversity/Disagreement?

 

I.  Descriptive Cultural Relativism About Particular Judgments (DCRAPJ) DOES NOT IMPLY Descriptive Cultural Relativism About Basic Standards (DCRABS). 

 

II.  Even if Descriptive Cultural Relativism About Basic Standards (DCRABS) is true, that DOES NOT IMPLY any of the following positions:  Normative Cultural Absolutism, Normative Cultural Relativism, Metaphysical Relativism, or Epistemological Relativism.

 

 

THE HUDSON'S BAY NATIVE

AND THE WESTERN EUROPEAN

 

 

 

HB:  I OUGHT                     WE:  I OUGHT NOT

         to kill my parents when they ask me to.

 

 

HB

WE

HB Normative Cultural Absolutism

 

 

WE Normative Cultural Absolutism

 

 

Normative Cultural Relativism

 

 

Metaphysical Relativism (MAR)

 

 

Epistemological Relativism (MS)

 

 

 

 

TWO ISSUES

 

1.  What is the extent of moral disagreement?

Brandt:  Are there "Ultimate" Moral Disagreements?  Brandt's objection to the emphasis on disagreement.

 

2.  What is the best explanation of the moral disagreement that exists?

MacIntyre's Normative Culture Relativism:  Incommensurable premises

Mackie's Metaphysical Relativism (Moral Anti-Realism):  The Error Theory (Note that his position is technically not moral skepticism.)

 

 

ALASDAIR MACINTYRE'S ARGUMENT FOR IRRECONCILABLE MORAL DISAGREEMENT

 

1.  Different moral traditions have different and incommensurable moral premises (i.e., basic moral principles).

 

2.  Reasoning proceeds from premises to conclusions.

 

3.  Different moral traditions will never be able to reach agreement by reasoning.

 

What model of moral reasoning is presupposed by MacIntyre? 

 

What is an alternative model of moral reasoning?

 

 

MORE ON THE HUDSON'S BAY NATIVES EXAMPLE

 

HB:  1.  I ought to kill my parents when they request it (I Ought Kill Parents =IOKP).

            2.  You ought to kill your parents when they request it (You Ought Kill Parents =YOKP).

 

WE:  3.  I ought not to kill my parents when (or even if) they request it [-(I Ought Kill Parents=-IOKP)].

            4.  You ought not to kill your parents when (or even if) they request it [-(You Ought Kill Parents = -YOKP).

            5.  I ought to stop you from killing your parents even if they request it (I Ought Stop Your Killing Your Parents = IOSYKYP).

 

 

 

H

B

 

W E

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

HBNCA

 

 

 

 

 

WENCA

 

 

 

 

 

NCR

 

 

 

 

 

NCR/NRT

 

 

 

 

 

MS

 

 

 

 

 

MAR

 

 

 

 

 

MNC

 

 

 

 

 

IMCTT

 

 

 

 

 

HBNCA = Hudson's Bay Normative Cultural Absolutism

WENCA = Western European Normative Cultural Absolutism

NCR = Normative Cultural Relativism

NCR/NRT = Normative Cultural          Relativism Qualified by a Norm of Non-Relative Tolerance

MS = Moral Skepticism (Epistemological Relativism)

MAR = Moral Anti-Realism (Metaphysical Relativism)

MNC = Moral Non-Cognitivism

IMCTT = It's More Complicated Than That

 

 

Relative Tolerance (Wishy-Washy Tolerance) = The view that I should be tolerant of other cultures, because my culture has a norm of tolerance, but that the norm of tolerance does not apply to cultures that do not have such a norm. 

 

This view holds that there is only a relative duty to be tolerant of other cultures.  It only applies to cultures that have it.  This is the only duty of tolerance that Normative Cultural Relativism (as defined on the handout) could ever justify.  According to NCR, only those cultures with a norm of tolerance would have a duty to be tolerant.

 

            Although historically, NCR developed from the thought that the Western European colonists' treatment of the American Natives was wrong, NCR itself actually implies that their treatment of the natives was not wrong!

 

 

Two Kinds of Practices and Two Kinds of Norms

 

Internal interactions or practices are interactions or practices that involve only members of the same culture. 

 

External interactions or practices are interactions or practices that involve members of different cultures. 

 

An internal norm is a norm of a culture that applies to the culture's internal interactions or practices. 

 

An external norm is a norm of a culture that applies to the culture's external interactions or practices.   

 

 

A Non-Relative Norm of Tolerance = That the members of each culture should follow their own internal norms (or at least it is morally permissible for them to do so) and that all cultures (whether or not they accept a norm of tolerance) should tolerate (not interfere with or attempt to change) other cultures' internal norms. 

 

This view holds that there is a non-relative duty to be tolerant of other cultures' internal norms.  It applies even to cultures that have a norm of intolerance toward other cultures. 

 

            Talbott's Challenge:  To develop a moral theory that is an alternative to Normative Cultural Absolutism and all the varieties of Relativism About Morality that go Beyond Descriptive Relativism (Normative Cultural Relativism, Metaphysical Relativism, and Epistemological Relativism)

 

The Ultimate Issue:  The Possibility of Moral Progress and Moral Discovery--not Merely Working Out the Implications of Accepted Principles

 

 

THE DISCOVERY OF THE GOLDEN RULE

 

BAHA'I

"Blessed is he who prefers his brother before himself." (Baha'u'llah)

 

BUDDHISM

"Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." (Udanavarga 5:18)

 

CHRISTIANITY

"So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them."  (Matthew 7:12)

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Luke 6:31)

 

CONFUCIANISM

"Surely it is the maxim of lovingkindness:  Do not do to others that which you would not have them do to you." (Analects, 15:23)

 

HINDUISM

"This is the sum of true righteousness:  Deal with others as you would have yourself dealt with.  Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you." (Mahabharata 5:1517)

 

 

ISLAM

"No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself." (Sunnan)

 

JUDAISM

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself."(Leviticus 19:18)

 

TAOISM

The good man "ought to pity the malignant tendencies of others; to rejoice over their excellence; to help them in their straits; to regard their gains as if they were his own, and their losses in the same way." (The Tai-shang, 3)

 

ZOROASTRIANISM

"That nature only is good when it shall not do to another whatever is not good for its own self." (Dadistan-i Dinik, 94:5)

 

 

DOES EITHER VERSION OF THE GOLDEN RULE PROVIDE PURELY DESCRIPTIVE SUFFICIENT CONDITION FOR MORAL RIGHTNESS?

 

First Version of the Golden Rule:  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

 

Let DUOAYWHTDUY = Doing Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You

Let R = (Morally) Right

 

Is the following implication true:

 

DUOAYWHTDUY ŕ R

 

Is there a counterexample to this claim of implication—that is:

Is it possible for an act to be:

            DUOAYWHTDUY & -R?

 

There are two interpretations of the first version of the Golden Rule, depending whose preferences are used in interpreting "as you would have them do unto you".  Both interpretations generate potential counterexamples.

 

 

SECOND VERSION OF THE GOLDEN RULE

 

Second Version:  Love All Others As Yourself

 

Let LAOAY = Loving All Others As Yourself

 

Is the following implication true:

 

LAOAY ŕ R

 

Is there a counterexample to this claim of implication—that is:

Is it possible for an act to be:

LAOAY & -R?

 

            There are potential counterexamples.