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).
"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
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.
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 as Existentialism) holds that the self is essentially free. His analysis is ontological. Let's begin with Sartre's lemma: "l'existence précède l'essence," i.e., existence precedes essence. We exist first, and are "defined" later. This happens because the self (l'être) is in a constant state of becoming (devenir).
For the purpose of the analysis, there are two kinds of being:
being-for-itself: l'être-pour-soi. main property: being for itself, which is essentially "a freedom that chooses" (une liberté qui choisit).
being in itself: l'être-en-soi, which is fundamentally without qualification (sans nuance).
To cope with this heavy "weight" of our own FREEDOM we come up with a sort of justification which Sartre calls "bad faith" or mauvaise foi. However, since not choosing is choosing, in the end we remain responsible for our actions.
The only possible constraint to our freedom is our facticity (the stuff we don't choose, like being born and having a certain name and parents).
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.
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,).
Are there universal moral principles? YES! 1- Principle of mercy (Unnecessary suffering is wrong) and 2- Principle of justice (Treat equals equally).
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).
(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
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
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.
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).
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: Some times we have
to treat people as means to ends: Broad's Typhoid Man.
Pluralistic Formalism: What makes an action right is that it falls under the highest ranked duty in a given situation.