Good morning John.
Are you feeling
happy today?
I’m not really at
liberty to say.
Nevertheless I see
what you’re on about.
Morality can only be
about consequences,
Immanuel
Clearly such a
contention forgets the
force of the synthetic
a priori.
Can you deny that
morality has the same
status as
mathematical
propositions, so is
clearly both in the
world and is defined
by logic?
Ahm – it’s
Jeremy here - I
wonder if I might
come in at this
point of the
discussion?
I don’t think we
can really tolerate
interference from a
dead person – why
aren’t you away
somewhere,
celebrating the
summum bonum?
I really feel that
Jeremy should
contribute to the
happiness here – he
appears to have
something
significant to say
about the synthetic a
priori.
Thank you, godson:
Yes, I want to point out
two things: first,
Immanuel, you actually
died first, and were
rejected in the summum
bonum for cruelty to the
victims of mad axemurderers, and sent
back to earth for a rewrite.
Second, I don’t know
how you can have the
effrontery to claim that
moral propositions are
synthetic a priori on the
analogy of
mathematical
statements when you
are on record as saying
that maths is synthetic.
Ummm...
Yes, and not only that,
Immanuel, how can
you have the
effrontery to claim
that happiness is
irrelevant to morality.
The point of any
human activity must
include eudaimonia:
even Aristotle knew
that.
I am petrified at the
idea of eudaimonia
being important in
anything. All that
matters is the good
will. I’d have it out
with Aristotle, but
he’s discussing
teleology with the
First Efficient Cause,
and can’t be
disturbed.
Oh, come on, ‘Manny: you
know the First Efficient
Cause died years ago, and
don’t evade the issue: if
people aren’t happy as the
result of morality, what’s
the point of being moral in
the first place?
It’s lonely in this box, by
the way.
How do you like my
death mask? Makes me
look a bit like Caesar,
don’t you think?
Immanuel – it’s not
your death mask,
and you know it –
it’s a cheap bust
that makes you
look less ugly than
you really were.
And what about
happiness??
This postage stamp has 3
functions:
1. It shows how important
I am
2. It shows how
handsome I really was,
and
3. All I care about
happiness could be written
on it.
Apart from which, if you
look at this excerpt from
the Critique, you will see
that it mentions a
‘Kingdom of Moral
Ends’. What is an end if it
is not a teleological
perspective?
Well I’ll be jiggered,
godson, he’s got a point
there! That’s teleological
language all right
Now what do we do?
Here’s a picture of me
with my step daughter.
Handsome girl, isn’t she!
What’s that
got to do
with
anything?
Nothing – just buying a bit
of time.
Wait – I’ve got it! Why
have you been saying all
this time that consequences
are unimportant in
morality?
I haven’t. I merely
said that happiness
should not be the
object of a doctrine
of morality, only its
incidental outcome.
A man’s duty is to
obey the rules.
Oi! Cut the sexist language.
Women can obey the rules
too, mate!
So sorry (just
recovering my famed
politeness, ma’am). I
am deeply mortified for
having offended you.
Women can indeed
obey the rules.
But Johnny, me’ boy, we
don’t have any rules in
Utilitarianism – we only
have the principle of Utility.
(Thinks …) Ok then, we’d
better invent a few. If this
bloke Immanuel can have
consequences, then we can
have rules.
I know – I’ll become a Rule
Utilitarian and say that rules
were only invented because
of their utilitarian value –
that’ll spike his guns.
Erm, Immanuel, It is a fact
that utilitarians invented
moral rules thousands of
years ago because the rules
make people happy.
What do you have to say
about that, then?
I am rotating in
my grave at the
very idea. What
nonsense.
Besides, what
happens if you
want to break the
rule to maximize
happiness?
I feel so strongly about
this idea that I’m going
to suggest to my 21st
century followers that
they become Strong
Rule Utilitarians (even
though I wasn’t one), so
they must ALWAYS
obey the rule. Ha!
Gulp!
Does this mean that
Categorical
Imperativism will
be superseded by
Strong Rule
Utilitarianism?
How unhappy that
will make me.
Gotcha!!
That’s it, then:
utilitarians from now
on must never break
the rules. We shall
maximize happiness
and rule the world.
‘Ang on,
Johnny: does
this mean that
we always
have to tell the
truth?
Of course it does – we
shall be beacons of ruleobedience, and eclipse
categorical imperativism,
and Yah, boo, sucks to
you too, Kant.
And may I ask, then,
what happens if you
meet a mad axemurderer who asks you
the whereabouts of her
victim?
Oi, mate – I’ve warned you
before – are you implying
that mad axe-murderers are
women?
No, no, dear lady, just a
slip of the tongue. But
what about the question?
Are you going to lie to the
mad axe-murderer or tell
her – sorry, him – the
truth?
Lie, of course –
it gives a
measurable
increase of
propinquity,
intensity,
duration, and
some other
words I’ve
forgotten about
pleasure.
Erm, hang on a tick,
godfather – the rules are
absolute, don’t forget.
Oh, er, sorry – I forgot.
Yes of course, we obey
the rule and tell the truth.
Bit warm, today, isn’t it?
So we’re all agreed,
then – following the
rule gives the best
consequences – a
triumph for categorical
imperativism”
A complete triumph
for the principle of
utility through which
we arrived at the same
outcome!
A complete triumph for
Strong Rule Utilitarianism.
That’s what you
think, laddie!
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