Hume sees moral judgements as being caused by sentiments of pain or pleasure within an agent as reason alone can never motivate, whereas Kant see the only moral actions as being those caused by reason alone, or the categorical imperative. I think that both theories have a problem with coming up with absolute moral laws - Hume's theory because absolute morality would appear to be impossible if morality is based on an individual's sentiment, and Kant's theory because it cannot prove the existence of the categorical imperative.
But to grant that rule-responsibility is socially essential does not grant that it is the essence of morality. QE is flawed as it reduces the topic of moral character to the topic of conscientiousness or rule-responsibility, but it gives no account of the role of the character as a whole in moral deliberation and it excludes questions of character that are not directly concerned with the resolution of problems. Taking into account the criticisms of modern ethical theory I have discussed, it is clearly evident that an ethical theory shaped in light of these criticisms would be very similar to virtue ethics, emphasizing character and centering around the question, "how should I live? ".
John Stuart Mill famously criticized Immanuel Kant and his theory of the Categorical Imperative by arguing that, “[Kant] fails… to show that there would be any contradiction, any logical (not to say physical) impossibility, in the adoption by all rational beings of the most outrageously immoral rules of conduct. All he shows is that the consequences of their universal adoption would be such as no one would choose to incur.” If accurate, this is a debilitating criticism of Kant’s moral theory as he had intended it. Mill’s critique instead classifies Kant’s moral theory as a type of rule utilitarianism. Any action under Kant’s theory is tested as a general rule for the public, and if the consequences are undesirable, then the general rule is rejected. “Undesirable consequences” are, according to the more precise language of Mill’s utilitarianism, consequences which are not a result of producing the greatest happiness.
Plato's Moral Psychology I argue that Plato's psychological theories are motivated by concerns he had about moral theory. In particular, Plato rejects the modern account of rationality as the maximization of subjectively evaluated self-interest because, had he adopted such an account, his theory of justice would be subject to criticisms which he holds are fatal to the contractarian theory of justice. While formulating a theory to remain within ethical constraints sometimes violates the canons of scientific theorizing, Plato avoids this mistake. The first serious account of justice Plato considers in the Republic is the contractarian account. (1) It holds that is always instrumentally rational for one to further her own interests and in that certain situations (exemplified by the prisoners dilemma) it is more rational to forego one's own interests (providing others do so also) than to behave in a straight-forwardly rational way.
In answering, he makes a distinction between prudence and duty, saying that although it may be prudent to make a false promise because of the tangible benefit it provides to the person making the promise, it is not in accordance with duty. Kant details how a universal law of this nature would conflict with the Categorical Imperative by saying that “I immediately become aware that I can indeed will the lie but can not at all will a universal law to lie. For by such a law there would really be no promises at all… Therefore, my maxim would necessarily destroy itself…”(15). Again, Kant’s theory seems to be distinct from utilitarianism because it concerns the logical possibility of a maxim being made universal, rather than the outcome of an
It is important to understand why humans regard things as moral and Hume does an excellent job of explaining this based on observable human characteristics. This theory can then be used to judge the morality of questionable circumstances. A theory like Kant's lacks this quality. Since its basis is not observable it lacks the credibility for application. It does not apply to real world situations because it is not founded on real world data.
He is "someone who conceives of the principles of political expediency in such a way that they can co-exist with morality (118)." On the other hand, the political moralist is considered villainous because he is selective when it co... ... middle of paper ... ...factors of human nature and shape its maxims according to them. Thus, after considering Kant’s discussion of perpetual peace, political moralism and political realism are incompatible in reality. While Kant may have made a compelling case that a conflict does not occur in theory between morality and politics, a conflict does remain when it comes to man’s subjectivity. For one reason, not all politicians will adhere to morality publicly and thus will not enter into a collective unity to attain perpetual peace.
And Fisogni seems to be headed in a fruitful direction—to say that we are incapable of speaking about that which is ineffable is quite clearly tautological. Wittgenstein certainly knows this as well—the connection between logical form and language is rooted in the tautological (“The propositions of logic are tautologies” (TLP 6.1)). Yet Fisogni advances that Wittgenstein’s claim in point 7 of the Tractatus is an ethical one. She claims that his assertion that “we must” not speak of that which is ineffable is a direct claim about how we should act—that in order for a statement to be logical (and in this case, ethical), its
This is Kant's proof of Freedom. Is it satisfactory? Later on, in the "Critics of Practical Reason", Kant does not attempt to deduce synthetically Morality from Freedom, as he tried to do in the Grounding by stating that Freedom was the necessary condition for Morality, but he assumes the moral law as a "fact of the reason" from which he infers Freedom. There have been critics blaming Kant of a sort of vicious circle, because he seemed to demonstrate Freedom by means of deduction from Morality and then to show the possibility of the Categorical Imperative deducing it from Freedom. Kant answers that there is no vicious circle because in the ontological order Freedom is the condition for Morality ( it is not possible to follow the duty for the duty if you are not free), but in the order of our knowledge, the moral law is the requirement for Freedom ( we would not consider ourselves free, if we did not think of ourselves as subject to the moral law).
Plato’s non-natural Forms and the commands of a non-natural divinity would also avoid the difficult task of deriving values from natural, physical facts that ethical naturalism faces. Philosophers (not least of all Ruse) commonly proclaim that Moore’s application of the naturalistic fallacy hinges on the is/ought distinction. For Moore, we cannot derive moral statements from non-moral statements because "‘good’ is indefinable, or, as Prof. Sidgwick says, an ‘unanalysable notion’" (Moore 1903: 17). This would imply of course that any attempt whatsoever to define or analyze a moral term such as ‘good’ in other terms is fallacious. Moore concedes that we can analyze moral words in terms of each other but all reductions of moral terms will ultimately reduce to ‘good’ and ‘bad’.