Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Final Exam Summer B MWF 10:25am

Chapter 3 
Causal Determinism (every event has a cause that makes it happen + laws of nature) and 
Hard determinism (the doctrine that there are no free actions). Hard determinism assumes that if CD is true, then there are no free actions because as our bodies made up of matter, we must be subjects to the same laws of causation. In class we discussed an argument to problematize HD. If HD is true, then there is no human responsibility: i.e., if we are not free, we cannot be responsible for our actions (since one is responsible if and only if one can make choices). 

Compatibilism is the belief that free will and determinism are not mutually exclusive.
Soft determinism: Determined actions can nevertheless be free. One "soft" theory is Traditional Compatibilism (Free actions are 1- caused by one's will and 2- not externally constrained). The reasoning is this:

Principle of alternative possibilities:  one can be held responsible for doing something only if one could have done otherwise. "could have done otherwise" means "if you had chosen otherwise, then you would have done otherwise." Think of our "fork-example" of a student being late for class. He chooses ( A) "having coffee with lots of traffic," instead of (B) "not having coffee and no traffic." For Traditional Compatibilism the student is responsible for being late since "if he had choosen (B) instead of (A), he would have been on time for class.  

C/E "Taylor's Ingenious Physiologist. In class we discussed how TV can "plant" desires. So in a way is a kind of ingenious physiologist.

"Hierarchical Compatibilism: First and Second Order Desires; Second Order Volitions. Remember: A first order desire is directed to an object or state of affairs, a second order desire is a desire about a desire, a second order volition is a second order desire one decisely acts upon. Harry Frankfurt's three drug addicts: 
(Let's call a first order desire: FOD, a second order desire: SOD, a second order volition: SOV) So we get the following:  
Wanton addict: FOD, not SOD, not SOV, not free.
Happy Addict: FOD, SOD, SOV, free.
Unwilling Addict: FOD, SOD (only this desire is against his taking the drug, not SOV, not free).C/E to Hierarchical Compatibilism: Slote's Hypnotized patient and The Willing Bank Teller. One proves that SOV can be manipulated from the inside. The other shows rthat SOV can be manipulated beyond our control.  

Punishment: How do compatibilists see punishment? p. 203. Punishment cannot be  retributive (eye-for-an-eye). The only legitimate way of punishment is rehabilitation and deterrence. Criminal actions are dictated by genes and habits (nature and nurture). Retributive punishment makes sense if it's deserved. But nothing people do is up to them. 

Event and Agent Causation. Event---> event or Agent---> event. 

Libertarianism holds that agents can cause events. How? remember we talked about the possibility that the mind causes the brain. There are two arguments:

Argument from Experience. Argument from deliberation. 
Libet's Neurophysiological challenge: it seems to show that consciousness of a decision arises only after the decision has already been made (the 300 millisecond gap between the decision to press the button and the brain signal). Rebuttal by libertarians: There's a difference between making a "conscious decision" and a "meta-conscious decision" (meta-conscious awareness is second order). For the libertarian, the subject in Libet's report is not having a "conscious" but a "meta-conscious" decision. So it's no surprise that it happens "after" the conscious decision was made.

Radical Libertarianism (Existentialism): Jean-Paul Sartre's kind of libertarianism (known asExistentialism) holds that the self is essentially free. When he says: "L'existence précède l'essence" he means that we exist first, and are "defined" later. Sartre puts it as such: "il n'est rien d'autre que ce qu'il fait de sa vie." 

Section 5.1

1. Subjective Absolutism: The view that what makes an action right is that one approves of it;
Objections: (a) SA makes moral evaluations a matter of personal opinion, (b)impossibility of moral disagreements (one can only agree with the absolutist and the reason is that he believes he's the ONLY ONE THAT'S RIGHT). 

 2. Subjective Relativism: What makes an action right is that it is approved by that person.Objections (same as above). You must be able to tell the difference between the (the absolutist thinks she's the only one that's right, whereas the subjective relativist believes that many people can disagree and still be right at the same time) absolutist and the subjective relativist. 

3. Emotivism: The doctrine that moral utterances are expressions of emotions. Basically, the emotivist is saying that right and wrong ARE NOT REALLY OUT THERE!
Counterargument: Blanshard’s Rabbit. What matters is not one's suffering but the victim's suffering (factual force of the victim's suffering). I've brought up the argument of throwing acid into women's faces, as a proof that these women's suffering warrant a moral judgment of condemnation.  

4. Cultural relativism: The doctrine that what makes an action right is that it's approved by that culture. Counterarguments: 1- Logical contradiction (see above), impossibility for moral disagreements and 2- The fact that cultures are not that different at a deeper level. One can point to differences between "deep" values (moral values, i.e., human behavior of fundamental consequence for human welfare) and "superficial" values (domestic habits, etiquette, fashion, etc) other cultural values to the effect that most cultures seem to share the same deep moral values.

5. Logical Structure of Moral Arguments: Moral standards + factual beliefs = Moral judgments(this is not a formula, just an approximation). What is a factual belief? A belief held by factual evidence (i.e., child abuse is wrong because of the facts we know about psychology, human rights, child development, etc,).

6. Are there universal moral principles? YES! 1- Principle of mercy (Unnecessary suffering is wrong) and 2- Principle of justice (Treat equals equally).

Section 5.2
1. Difference between consequentialist theories and formalist theories. Consequentialism is the theory that judges the rightness or wrongness of an action in terms of its consequences. Formalism is the theory that judges the rightness or wrongness of an action in terms of the action's form (i.e., "killing is wrong": the formalist believes that moral actions are objective).

2. Intrinsic (value for its own sake; personhood is an essential value: a-reason, b-autonomy, c-sentience, d-freedom) and instrumental values (value for the sake of something else). 

3. Ethical egoism: What makes an action right is that it promotes one's best interest in the long run = PRUDENCE. Counterarguments: (a) Egoist's motivations (if known, the egoist's intentions seem to betray reversibility principle). (b) Egoism is not a socially or politically cogent theory (i.e., you would not vote for an egoist in office). 

4. Act Utilitarianism: What makes an action right is that it maximizes happiness everyone considered (which means, "bringing happiness for the greatest majority of people").Counterarguments: (a) McCloskey’s informant (b) Brandt’s Heir, (c) Ross' unhappy promise, (d) Goodwin's Fire Rescue, (e) Ewing's Utilitarian torture. In each one of these cases one has violated principles of justice, duty and equality. 

5. Rule Utilitarianism: What makes an action right is that it falls under a rule that if generally followed would maximize happiness everyone considered. RU is a better theory than AU. Why?Because if applied, it can solve the problems posed by the previous counterarguments.

Section 5.3

1. Kant’s Categorical Imperative: What makes an action right is that everyone can act on it (which yields universalizability), and you'd have everyone acting on it (which yields reversibility:Golden Rule).

2. Perfect duty: A duty that must always be performed no matter what. And imperfect duties. Problem with Kant's first formulation: (a) Hare’s Nazi fanatic (I've commented this as Bin-Laden Syndrome).  How can we solve that?

3. Kant's Second Formulation: TREAT PEOPLE AS ENDS, NEVER AS MEANS TO AN END. Problems with the second formulation? Problem of exceptions to the rule. Some times we have to treat people as means to ends. Example: Broad's Typhoid Man. What to do then?

Pluralistic Formalism: What makes an action right is that it falls under the highest ranked duty in a given situation. 

4. Ross’ Prima Facie Duties. Actual duties: One that must be performed in a particular situation. Prima Facie Duty: A duty that must be performed unless it conflict with a more important duty. You must know hierarchy and each one of these duties as I explained in class: 1- Justice, seems the most prominent duty. Then all the rest follows: 2- fidelity, 3- reparation, 4- beneficence, 5- non-maleficence, 6- gratitude, 7- self-improvement. Ross doesn't say how to proceed, only that it rests on our intuition. It makes sense.

5. Pluralistic Formalism improves upon Kantian theory's problem with exceptions. 

No comments: