Ought Implies Kant: A Reply to the Consequentialist Critique by Joel Marks

By Joel Marks

Ought Implies Kant deals an unique protection of the moral conception of Immanuel Kant, and develops an extension of that theory's account of ethical accountability to incorporate direct tasks to nonhuman animals. The dialogue facilities on a severe exam of consequentialism, the view that the rightness or wrongness of an motion is set exclusively via its effects. Kantianism, against this, claims that the center of ethics is to regard all persons―or, in Joel Marks's view, all residing beings―as ends-in-themselves. The consequentialist criterion would appear to allow, certainly require, violating the honor of folks (not to say the glory of different animals) if this might lead to a greater consequence. This quantity treats the consequentialist problem to Kantian ethics in numerous novel methods. first of all, the utilitarian model of consequentialism is delineated and defended through a conceptual equipment dubbed through the writer because the Consequentialist Continuum. Marks then presents an exhaustive and definitive exposition of the really missed Epistemic Objection to utilitarianism. whereas acknowledging the intuitive allure of utilitarianism's middle conviction―that we must always do what's for the best―Marks argues that this is often an most unlikely injunction to satisfy, or perhaps to try to satisfy, simply because the entire appropriate result of our activities can by no means be identified. Kantianism is then brought as a doable replacement account of our moral duties. Marks argues that Kantianism is easily in the scope of standard human competence and conforms both good to our moral intuitions as soon as the theory's right interpretation is favored. in spite of the fact that, Kant's personal model needs to be prolonged to deal with the rightful ethical attention we owe to nonhuman animals. ultimately, Marks employs the idea of a Consequentialist phantasm to provide an explanation for utilitarianism's carry on our ethical intuitions, whereas constructing a sort of Consequentialist Kantianism to deal with them.
An unique and penetrating exam of a relevant debate

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This may seem obvious once pointed out but is in fact a deep matter, to which we shall return. A humorous but telling take on it comes from that marvelous— alas, defunct—comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes. In one episode the lonely, self-centered little boy, Calvin, explains to his imaginary friend Hobbes: “I’ve discovered my purpose in life. I know why I was put here and why everything exists. . ”9 Here we have an individual who personifies a perverse form of ethical egoism, who believes that not only he but everyone else ought to have his, Calvin’s, happiness innermost at heart.

And surely suffering lays claim to ethical concern. Ergo: “everybody” must include all sentient22 animals, including but not limited to humans. In fact, I would argue, humanism falls flat on its face in its attempt even to be in the running for an ethical theory. I think our diagrammatic scheme helps us to see that humanism belongs on the ersatz continuum. For to the right of sexism23 would properly be speciesism, would it not? And according to this ethics, that is, on the ethical continuum, everyone’s first allegiance is to the welfare of their species.

In other words, any argument for the truth of a particular ethical theory, such as ethical egoism, ought20 to provide a justification for the “demand quality” of that theory. For example: Why must21 I generally tell the truth, according to ethical egoism? It seems to me that asserting psychological egoism fails to answer this question. For even if it were true that we humans are well-nigh incapable of caring about anybody except our personal selves, and also that, say, being a reliable truth-teller is an excellent strategy for attaining our best long-term personal good, I don’t see how it would follow that we have an obligation to be reliable truth-tellers.

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