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Flashcards in Why Should I Be Moral? Deck (20):

Hobbes, morality is based on self interest.

State of nature is solitary poor nasty brutish and short


What is psychological egoism?

All action is motivated by self interest


What is ethical egoism

It is rational and right to peruse your interests


Social contract theory

Power is invested in an all mighty sovereign who keeps the peace. Give up freedom for security. Peace = industry, prosperity


What is enlightened self interest?

Give up your immediate desires in favour of long term goals


Criticisms of Hobbes social contract

Free rider problem - it's ultimately in your interest to undermine the contract by taking the benefits without fulfilling your obligations. (Taxes). Social contract is hypothetical not empirical - authority is established through conquest not consent


Problems with the social contract

It presupposes a legal system with the authority to punish and enforce the agreement



Obeying is something we do not choose to do - it is a product of social conditioning


Social contract counter criticisms. Locke 'tacit concent'

If you remain in a society you had already agreed to abide by its rules


Social contract counter criticisms. Hume

It's difficult to leave the culture you are born into


Kant - to be moral is to go against self interest

Being moral means acting against our natures inclinations to be selfish. 'The good will' is the only thing that's good in itself. Deontological duties to others is the basis of moral action.


Criticisms of Kant

Conflict of duties - satre- can't decide whether to join the French resistance or protect family farm.
Impossible to universalise certain maxims 'promotion of life'
Kants examples go against common sense - murderer at the door


Categorical imperative

'Universalise your maxims' and 'treat people as ends in themselves'


Hume - intentions are not empirical and therefore impossible to know

Kant's example 'the honest shopkeeper'
Consequences are more important than intentions - utilitarianism - the right action is the one to maximise happiness for the greatest number of people


Virtue ethics - Plato

Morality and self interest.
Be moral because it makes me happy
Desires are irrational and if you live your life purely in pursuit of your selfish wants it will make you unhappy because they can change and aren't necessarily good.
Desire mistakes pleasure for good


Morality and self interest are compatible

Reason with courage must control desire. You recognise the good - as it is rational and leads to you achieving long term objectives. You become healthy and strong. You achieve 'eudiamonia' happiness through being the most successful version of you that there can be.


Criticisms of Plato - Aristotle

Acting rational makes you happy. It's every human function to be rational. The good is not absolute and universal but relative to the kind or person you are


Aristotle - moderation

Virtue lies in rationally choosing the moderate path between excess and deficiency. This 'mean' is based on experience and the good example of others. Desires are not necessarily bad if regulated by rational choices


Criticisms of Plato

Good is infallible so there is no alternative point of view. This leads to authoritarianism and tyranny.
Nietzsche- Plato says if you have knowledge of the good you will be compelled to follow it. What about clever bad people?
Virtue sometimes leads to misery EG saint Lucy (no eyes and raped)


Criticisms of Aristotle

What if there is no function?
If the good is relative to each person there are no objective moral facts
What about our duties towards others?(Kant)
Nietzsche - greatness comes from excess EG romantic genius Beethoven