Week 9 Notes:
The following notes are highlights from the above chapter. They are neither intended to replace the lectures and text, nor to substitute for a reading of the text. Lectures will add to and supplement material given here. In order to do well in this class, it is recommended that you review these notes to identify main ideas after having attended class.
Reading philosophical essays is more challenging in that you often have to scan once, read once, and review once before you can adequately explain the author's position. In order to be sure that you are receiving maximum benefit from your time spent studying, try to answer the guide questions posed below. If you cannot answer them, it is time to read or review to be sure you understand the main arguments presented.
Immanuel Kant & John Stuart Mill
Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill present two different views of ethics. The former argues that conduct ought to be regulated by a series of rules that apply to all people, in all times, in all places. This approach is termed deontological ethics and means that universal rules will govern ethical conduct. The latter, Mill, argues that ethics ought to be practiced in accordance with practical likes and dislikes. This latter approach is termed utilitarian denoting a strong preference for utility. The general catch phrase for utilitarian ethics is that one ought to promote the "greatest happiness for the greatest number of individuals." Hence it is an understatement to note that these two theorists are at odds when they debate.
Dr. Robert Berman of Xavier University posted text outlines for his general ethics course; included is an outline for the Grounding for a Metaphysics of Morals. These is one of the best summaries available on Kant's text.
Looking for a one-stop resources site for everything you ever wanted to know about Immanuel Kant? Then search no more! Click here for a veritable library of links and resources. (Philosophy for Everyone, Ryan Breedan author/owner)
Garth Kemerling posts an excellent summary covering the core concepts in Kant's theory of morality. This site is recommended if you are having a hard time understanding the reading.
John Stuart Mill Institute: The John Stuart Mill Institute is an independent policy think tank operating in the UK. Its starting point and core philosophy is liberalism, based on the concepts of the freedom of the individual and responsible democratic participation.
Links to Mill resources: This site provides a get started point for those wishing to read Mill's texts or learn more about utilitarian philosophy.
Mill's texts and more utilitarian resources: This site provides all of Mill's most famous texts just one click away!
The following summaries are designed to fine tune your understanding of the reading. Although I will not collect or check to see if you've read, the subject matter forms the basis of what you will be required to know for exams.
Kant: Metaphysics of Morals
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