Please pick one of the following questions to answer for the forum this week:
Jeremy Bentham argued that when we think about whether someone/something ought to count morally that ” The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?” a.) Why would it make sense for a utilitarian like Bentham to make such a statement? b.) Do you think that he’s right about the ability to suffer as what we ought to look at when we’re thinking about whether someone/something counts morally? c.) If we took this seriously what would it mean for our treatment of non-human animals?
Immanuel Kant’s moral philosophy is extremely strict about what we ought and ought not do. So strict that he argued that it is always and everywhere wrong to lie. a.) Explain why Kant thought that lying was always wrong using the categorical imperative as a guide. b.) Explain whether you think Kant was right or wrong about this lying business and make sure to use clear examples to help your explanation along. If he was wrong, what’s an example of when it’s morally ok to lie, and if he was right, what’s an example where it looks ok to lie but it really isn’t ok?
Kant focused on the intentions behind your actions when assessing the morality of the act, while Bentham and Mill focused on the consequences of your act when assessing it’s moral worth. Of the two, consequences and intentions, which do you think is more important when it comes time to assess the morality of actions? Do good intentions save a bad outcome, or vice versa? Make sure to provide some clear and specific examples in your explanation. Also note that while it’s possible to look at both intentions and consequences, for any act it looks like we can only really prioritize one of those.
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