Why Should I be Moral?

A useful mind map summarising the theories of Kant, Aristotle and Hobbes about morality. Covers Deontology, Virtue Ethics, Contract theory, and includes weaknesses of each. I hope this is helpful; good luck if you have exams coming up!

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  • Created by: Anna
  • Created on: 11-05-13 20:32
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  • Why Should I be Moral?
    • Hobbes: Morality as a Social Contract
      • I am moral so that others are moral to me
        • Enables Social Co-operation
          • If I agree not to harm/hinder you and you agree the same for me, we can work together to our mutual advantage
          • Prisoner's Dilemma
            • Two prisoners, who can't communicate with each other, are offered a deal. If one testifies against the other, the testifier goes free while the other gets three years in prison. If neither testifies against the other, both get one year. But if both prisoners testify against each other, both get two years.
            • Shows that it can be in our self interest to help others, because we will be helped. Most sensible option is not to testify.
              • Two prisoners, who can't communicate with each other, are offered a deal. If one testifies against the other, the testifier goes free while the other gets three years in prison. If neither testifies against the other, both get one year. But if both prisoners testify against each other, both get two years.
        • Avoid the state of nature
          • Life is 'nasty, brutish and short' - everyone out for himself
          • Relies on three premises
            • a) Psychological Egoism
            • b) Scarcity of Resources
            • c) Increasing desires/appetites
        • The ring of Gyges - if we had impunity we would do whatever we liked, surely? Murder, adultery, theft - if we could never be found out, would we  be tempted? Glaucon thinks so.
      • Tacit consent - Silent agreement
        • I never agreed to this!
          • To get out of the contract I need to leave society - how possible is this? So do I really have a choice in being moral?
    • Aristotle: Morality as constitutive of self interest
      • I am moral so that I am happy
        • Reach eudaimonia (worthwhile life)
          • Function argument: A knife is a good knife if it cuts well. Thus a person is a good person if it reasons well.
            • Phronesis = the virtue of reason
            • Virtues are character traits (patterns of thought, desire and feeling)
              • The doctrine of the mean: a virtue lies between two vices (one of excess and one of deficiency). Courage (virtue) lies in between Cowardice and Rashness (vices)
                • A virtuous person exercises the right virtues at the right time in the right amount towards the right objects and for the right reasons.
                  • A virtuous person enjoys being virtuous
                    • When I act virtuously, I am exercising my capacity for reason and so I am fulfilling my function (my aim) as a human being. Pleasure and happiness is the result.
                      • My aim is not pleasure. Pleasure is the by product of achieving my aims
                      • Function argument: A knife is a good knife if it cuts well. Thus a person is a good person if it reasons well.
                        • Phronesis = the virtue of reason
                        • Virtues are character traits (patterns of thought, desire and feeling)
                          • The doctrine of the mean: a virtue lies between two vices (one of excess and one of deficiency). Courage (virtue) lies in between Cowardice and Rashness (vices)
                            • A virtuous person exercises the right virtues at the right time in the right amount towards the right objects and for the right reasons.
                              • A virtuous person enjoys being virtuous
                                • When I act virtuously, I am exercising my capacity for reason and so I am fulfilling my function (my aim) as a human being. Pleasure and happiness is the result.
                                  • My aim is not pleasure. Pleasure is the by product of achieving my aims
                                  • What if stealing diamonds would make me happy? Aristotle says that doing the virtuous thing will bring us more happiness, especially in the long run
                      • What if stealing diamonds would make me happy? Aristotle says that doing the virtuous thing will bring us more happiness, especially in the long run
      • Sympathetic and Compassionate nature of human beings - we suffer when we see others suffer (so it is in our interest to stop/reduce their suffering)
  • Link - Self Interest
    • Aristotle: Morality as constitutive of self interest
      • I am moral so that I am happy
        • Reach eudaimonia (worthwhile life)
        • Sympathetic and Compassionate nature of human beings - we suffer when we see others suffer (so it is in our interest to stop/reduce their suffering)
      • Hobbes: Morality as a Social Contract
        • I am moral so that others are moral to me
          • Enables Social Co-operation
            • If I agree not to harm/hinder you and you agree the same for me, we can work together to our mutual advantage
            • Prisoner's Dilemma
              • Shows that it can be in our self interest to help others, because we will be helped. Most sensible option is not to testify.
            • Avoid the state of nature
              • Life is 'nasty, brutish and short' - everyone out for himself
              • Relies on three premises
                • a) Psychological Egoism
                • b) Scarcity of Resources
                • c) Increasing desires/appetites
            • The ring of Gyges - if we had impunity we would do whatever we liked, surely? Murder, adultery, theft - if we could never be found out, would we  be tempted? Glaucon thinks so.
          • Tacit consent - Silent agreement
            • I never agreed to this!
              • To get out of the contract I need to leave society - how possible is this? So do I really have a choice in being moral?
      • Link - sense of a person's moral praiseworthiness
        • Kant: Morality as overcoming self interest
          • I am moral because I recognise it as my duty
          • Link- rules
            • Why Should I be Moral?
              • If I carry out an action which could be described as moral, it only really IS moral if my reason for doing it is duty
                • I am moral because I recognise it as my duty
                • An action is moral if the maxim underpinning it could be made a universal law
                  • Kant: Morality as overcoming self interest
                    • Link- rules
                      • If I carry out an action which could be described as moral, it only really IS moral if my reason for doing it is duty
                        • An action is moral if the maxim underpinning it could be made a universal law
                          • If it could logically/rationally be a universal law, and it be a good thing, then it is a categorical imperative
                            • Categorical Imperative: Act only on that maxim  (reason)through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law
                      • Weaknesses
                        • Lying is immoral. But if a murderer asks you where your friend (his next victim) is hiding, surely it would be worse to tell the truth?!
                        • Reason on its own doesn't motivate us. Recognition of duty may be reason enough to be moral but without wanting to be moral, I won't be moral. And if I wanted to be moral, then being moral would fulfil my self interest - so it wouldn't be moral
                    • If it could logically/rationally be a universal law, and it be a good thing, then it is a categorical imperative
                      • Categorical Imperative: Act only on that maxim  (reason)through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law
                • Weaknesses
                  • Lying is immoral. But if a murderer asks you where your friend (his next victim) is hiding, surely it would be worse to tell the truth?!
                  • Reason on its own doesn't motivate us. Recognition of duty may be reason enough to be moral but without wanting to be moral, I won't be moral. And if I wanted to be moral, then being moral would fulfil my self interest - so it wouldn't be moral
            • Weaknesses
              • Living is more important than living happily (Hobbes)
            • Weaknesses
              • Why do we think it immoral to torture kittens? Why is it wrong to kill a baby? Neither creature is capable of harming us, so what is stopping us?
              • Leaves out human compassion
                • Why do we think it immoral to torture kittens? Why is it wrong to kill a baby? Neither creature is capable of harming us, so what is stopping us?
            • Humans have reasons for acting
              • To act morally our actions must meet a certain standard of rationality: the categorical imperative
                • The only thing which is good without qualification is a good will. If we act with a good will and we thus act out of a sense of duty, then our action is moral.
              • Morality is a code by which we live through duty (doing what we must).

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