Phil101 Discussion Question 3

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ost a 200 – 250 word response to the following questions:

A) J. S. Mill claims that what makes our action right or wrong is the amount of pleasure and pain our action brings about. If we do what generates the most pleasure sum-total we do what is right. Assuming we accept that all that matters for our happiness is the amount of pleasure we have, why does Mill state that unsatisfied Socrates (in terms of pleasures) is still better off than a satisfied fool? [100 words]

B) Kant claims that protecting your own life is a duty-toward-oneself (moral obligation) each of us has. But Kant seems to think that when you run away from a danger out of your inborn instinct to protect your life, you do not act out of duty to protect your life (you act out of instinct). Therefore, protecting your life out of instinct does not have any moral content.

Why would Kant think that protecting your life out of instinct does not count as a fulfillment of your moral obligation to protect your life (what is the difference between acting out of duty and acting out of instinct)? [150 words]

Part II

Reply to the bellow students point by addressing a point, problem or offering an alternate perspective. Your reply should be 100 – 150 words in length.

  1. Mill states that a dissatisfied Socrates is better off than a satisfied fool because he makes the case that, for those who have experienced both primal pleasures and those that engage the “higher faculties,” every one of them prefers the latter. Once you are aware of how much more there is to bring you pleasure and happiness, you would not choose to live in ignorance of them. Even if wisdom brings about more chances for discontentment, as Mill claims, you’d still rather that than the alternative. You will not be jealous of the person who is unaware of “the imperfections.”
  2. According to Kant, in order for a behavior to have moral content, it must be a choice made separate from personal inclinations or desired outcomes. The decision must be made because of moral obligation, which he calls our duty as people. Humans are hard-wired to survive, and do so because of instinct, the vast majority of the time. The only example he gives of someone preserving their life and being moral for doing so is a man who wishes for death, but continues his life not because of his own desires or inclinations, but because of his duty to preserve his life as a human. Most people (hopefully) are not in this category, and preserve their life not because of their duty, but simply because of instinct. They are also inclined and desire to live. They make the choice to protect their lives either because of instinct or their desired outcome, which makes it void of moral content.


What Does It All Mean, Thomas Nagel, 87, Oxford Publishing

ISBN# 9780195052169

Voices of Wisdom, 8th edition, Kessler, Wadsworth Publishing.

ISBN# 9781111834678

Pages for wuestion below

Kessler: R. Blatchford, “Not Guilty,” pp. 495-499

Nagel, “Right and Wrong,” pp.59-75

Kessler: J. S. Mill, “What Utilitarianism Is,” pp. 116-122

Kessler: I. Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, pp.109-114&νβσπ; &νβσπ; &νβσπ; &νβσπ;

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