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Chapter 9: Kant and Respect for Persons. PHIL 2525 Lecture 15. Mirandola puts words into the mouth of God: . We have made you neither of heavenly nor of earthly stuff, neither mortal nor immortal, so that with free choice and dignity, you may fashion yourself into whatever form you choose. .

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mirandola puts words into the mouth of god
Mirandola puts words into the mouth of God:
  • We have made you neither of heavenly nor of earthly stuff, neither mortal nor immortal, so that with free choice and dignity, you may fashion yourself into whatever form you choose.
  • NASA image called ‘The Eye of God’
pico de la mirandola from oration on the dignity of man 1486
Pico de la Mirandola: from Oration on the Dignity of Man (1486)...
  • Imagine! The great generosity of God! The happiness of man! To man it is allowed to be whatever he chooses to be!
9 1 the idea of human dignity
9.1 The Idea of Human Dignity

Mirandola’s take:

  • As soon as an animal is born, it brings out of its mother’s womb all that it will ever possess.....
  • Man, when he entered life, the Father gave the seeds of every kind and every way of life possible. Whatever seeds each man sows and cultivates will grow and bear him their proper fruit.
pico de la mirandola
Pico de la Mirandola:
  • Who could not help but admire this great shape-shifter?
where does that feeling of superiority and specialness come from
Where does that feeling of superiority and specialness come from?
  • The Bible tells us so...
  • Says we have dominion
  • Says that the world was created for us
    • For our food and medicine
    • For our welfare
only god has the right to play god
Only God has the right to play God...

Belief that underpins arguments against

  • Suicide
  • Death penalty
  • Euthanasia
  • Abortion
  • War

(some odd bedfellows there...)

the sanctity of life
The sanctity of life...

But which life counts?

  • Albert Schweitzer’s answer....
  • All life...
    • Insects
    • Flowers
    • Leaves
  • All Life...
the sanctity of life9
The sanctity of life...

But which life counts?

  • Jainism’s answer...
  • All life...
    • Insects
    • Flowers
    • Leaves
  • All Life...
the sanctity of life10
The sanctity of life...

Descartes take:

Animals are automatons ...they can’t speak and they don’t have souls....

the sanctity of life11
The sanctity of life...

Kant’s take:

“But so far as animals are concerned, we have no direct duties. Animals...are there merely as means to an end. That end is man...”

the sanctity of life12
The sanctity of life...

But which life counts?

  • Christianity has a variety of answers...

Genesis 1:26:

  • And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
the sanctity of life13
The sanctity of life...
  • But which life counts?
  • Christianity has a variety of answers...

Psalm 139:13-16 

  •  You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body      and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!      Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,      as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born.      Every day of my life was recorded in your book.  Every moment was laid out      before a single day had passed.
the sanctity of life14
The sanctity of life...

But which life counts?

  • Christianity has a variety of answers...
  • Some beautiful, some not so beautiful...
the sanctity of life15
The sanctity of life...

But which life counts?

  • Christianity has a variety of answers...
  • Some beautiful, some not so beautiful...
if we take religion out of the picture
If we take religion out of the picture?
  • Which religion is true anyway?
  • Where does the sacredness come from...or go?
  • Recent neuroscience....neural monism
the sanctity of life17
The sanctity of life...

So ‘Sanctity of Life’ refers to human life...

  • Life with a divine soul?
  • Life created in the image of God?

But still just words in the mouths of many.....

the sanctity of life18
The sanctity of life...
  • Perhaps it’s quality of life that counts instead of mere quantity...
  • Sanctity of life values any life above no life
  • Quality of Life values life from very positive to very negative (no life is neutral)
9 1 the dignity of life
9.1 The Dignity of Life
  • The ‘dignity of humans’ comes from rationality....
  • Our rationality makes us ‘intrinsically’ worthwhile...
problems with kant s formulation
Problems with Kant’s formulation?
  • What about irrational humans?
problems with kant s formulation21
Problems with Kant’s formulation?
  • What about irrational humans?
  • At both ends of life?
problems with kant s formulation22
Problems with Kant’s formulation?
  • What about irrational humans?
  • At both ends of life?
  • A sucker born every minute...who is culpable?
problems with kant s formulation23
Problems with Kant’s formulation?
  • What about irrational humans?
  • At both ends of life?
  • A sucker born every minute...who is culpable?
  • What of ‘thinking’ computers?
problems with kant s formulation24
Problems with Kant’s formulation?
  • What about irrational humans?
  • At both ends of life?
  • A sucker born every minute...who is culpable?
  • What of ‘thinking’ computers?
  • Does more rationality count more?
categorical imperative 2 formulations
Categorical Imperative(2 formulations)
  • Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.
  • Act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always as an end and never as a means only.
treating others as ends involves
Treating others as ends involves....
  • A strict duty of beneficence....
    • Helping (and not hindering) their plans, dreams, safety....
  • Respecting their rationality....
    • They are the arbiters of what is best for them...
    • Their rationality serves them like yours serves you...
two kinds of justice distributive and retributive
Two kinds of justice: Distributive and Retributive....

Distributive: dividing up what there is....

Retributive: an eye for an eye...a tooth for a tooth...

utilitarians on retributive justice
Utilitarians on Retributive Justice...
  • Retributivism increases the sum total of misery in the world....but we don’t want criminals out on the street .... so....we better think fast...
utilitarians on retributive justice29
Utilitarians on Retributive Justice...
  • Comfort to the victims...
  • “The universe has brought about balance...I have closure”
utilitarians on retributive justice30
Utilitarians on Retributive Justice...
  • Comfort to the victims...
  • Public safety...
utilitarians on retributive justice31
Utilitarians on Retributive Justice...
  • Comfort to the victims...
  • Public safety...
  • Deterrent effect...
utilitarians on retributive justice32
Utilitarians on Retributive Justice...
  • Comfort to the victims...
  • Public safety...
  • Deterrent effect...
  • Rehabilitation...
slide33
9.3
  • “Like all orthodoxies, the utilitarian theory of punishment has generated opposition.”
  • Bertrand Russell: Orthodoxy is the grave of intelligence. No matter what orthodoxy it is...
9 3 kant s retributivism
9.3 Kant’s Retributivism...

Kant finds Utilitarianism Retributivism

incompatible with human dignity...

  • It uses prisoners as means to an end...
  • It messes with prisoners’ autonomy... (Rehabilitation is really ‘re-education’)
9 3 kant s retributivism35
9.3 Kant’s Retributivism...

Instead....Kant says....

  • We have the right to lock them up just

because they deserve it...

  • But the punishment should be proportional to the crime...
9 3 kant s retributivism36
9.3 Kant’s Retributivism...

We want to hold

criminals morally

responsible....

But...we can only do that

when we allow them (in

hindsight) the dignity of

choice....

at the end this little delight
At the end...this little delight...
  • Justice in kind plays out the Categorical Imperative for the criminal...
cypher and the experience machine
Cypher and the experience machine...
  • http://whatisthematrix.warnerbros.com/rl_cmp/new_phil_mov_experience.html
  • http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7BuQFUhsRM