Utilitarianists are often persecuted for holding a morality in which the end always justifies the means, no matter how repulsive it may be to intuitional moral standards. Hare attempts to quiet controversy by combining act and rule utilitarianism in daily life in such a way that internal moral standards are satisfied and overall good is promoted. Kymlicka stays firm in his opposition to Hare’s theories and shuns the idea of consequentialism having intrinsic value greater than that of intuitive moral standards.
Hare’s process of critical thinking combined with intuitionism leads to a flawless conclusion based on systematic procedure that will benefit the most people in the long term even against Kymlicka’s well thought out arguments. Kymlicka thinks that utilitarianism bypasses immediate obligations that should be fulfilled. He believes that utilitarianists’ foresight actually hinders their ability to do what is “right” or “just” in the present.
He also believes that utilitarianism gives too much weight to illegitimate preferences, meaning that utilitarianists can often choose to do the worse option in consideration in order to satiate a desire for immoral happiness.
In the specific case that he puts forward, Kymlicka uses the simple example of an everyday action in which a loan is given to him and he faces the moral dilemma of whether or not he should repay it. He believes that the utilitarianist might keep the money or give it away rather than repaying it if he thought that it would produce the most good in the end to himself or some other party.
One may argue that by loaning out money it is consensual and therefore cannot be categorized as theft when the amount is not repaid. However, the loan was made with the qualification and equal understanding that the money would be repaid. Since Kymlicka uses the term “loan,” he is very much aware that he has the obligation to pay the money back. This may be called breaking a promise as well as theft, so it is doubly breaking a moral standard. Herein lays Kymlicka’s problem with utilitarianism and its criteria of morality. Phil 434 First Writing Assignment 1.
Due Mon. Sep 13 Hare believes that there are two levels to moral thinking – critical and intuitive. Critical thinking is systematic and calculated while intuitive thinking is vaguer and based on feelings rather than a systematic procedure. It is said that each person starts at the intuitive level and then progresses to the critical level with age and maturity in understanding. He uses the example of two beings from opposite ends of the spectrum to show what one must be to think purely critically or intuitively – an archangel and a prole.
The archangel has no human flaws thus can think critically all the time, and a prole has human flaws to an extreme degree thus must rely on intuitive thinking all the time. Consequentialism is the major theme of critical thinking, which aims to promote the most good to the most people in the end. He postulates, however, that since the human condition is flawed and cannot predict with certainty and without bias what is best in the long run, intuition must be used.
Where intuition comes from is a controversial subject – but most believe that upbringing and environment have a strong effect on it and therefore may be tampered with. Since both levels have the possibility to be flawed, they must be used in conjunction. Vacillating between the two is the only way to make good moral decisions throughout one’s entire life. It can be argued that the two levels agree many times in normal day-to-day cases since there is a commonality to moral thinking, such as the law of non-maleficence.
Both place in high respect accomplishing what is “good,” but both have different criteria as to what qualifies – namely what promotes the most good versus what you intuitively know to be the right thing to do. According to the utilitarianist, in a perfect world, critical thinking would be used all the time. Since humans have limits, however, Hare allows and even encourages intuitionism to be used and used often even though he views critical thinking to be superior. One cannot expect to sever himself of all emotion and possess the capability to see the exact outcomes of all possible Phil 434 First Writing Assignment 2.