University of Kansas, Fall 2002
Philosophy 880: Topics in Ethics

Class notes: Hooker

The following notes correspond roughly to what we cover, including at least a portion of what I put on the board or the screen, in class. In places they may be more or less comprehensive than what we actually cover in class, and should not be taken as a substitute for your own observations and records of what goes on in class.

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  1. contrasts between Hare and Hooker
    1. role of in meta-ethics in normative ethics
      1. Hare: essential
      2. Hooker: dispensable
    2. importance of intuitions in normative ethics
      1. Hare: fatal
      2. Hooker: essential
    3. conception of the good
      1. Hare: well-being, understood as the satisfaction of preferences (so Hare is a utilitarian—specifically, a preference utilitarian)
      2. Hooker: well-being and fairness (so Hooker is not quite a utilitarian, but still is, of course, a consequentialist)
    4. structure of theory
      1. Hare: act
      2. Hooker: rule
  2. chapters 1–2
    1. chapter 1: “Introduction”
      1. p. 3: a minor query about Hooker’s appeal to expected value—If choosing a moral code is a one-shot event, is expected value really the way to go? Shouldn't the most likely value be determinative (perhaps)?
      2. p. 4: criterion 3  (contrast with Hare)
      3. p. 12: avoidance of unintuitive starting point apparently taken to justify starting with moral intuitions instead of (e.g.) linguistic intuitions
      4. pp. 14–15: meta-ethical neutrality
      5. pp. 24–25: impartiality
        1. impartiality in scope—a logical matter, like Hare’s notion of universalizability?
        2. impartiality in justification—no analogue in Hare’s theory, because this is a moral (not linguistic) intuition?
    2. chapter 2: “What Are the Rules to Promote?”
      1. p. 32: good consequences include not only well-being, but also some priority for the worst-off
      2. pp. 36–37: making room for the intrinsic value of virtue without factoring it into the maximand
      3. pp. 42–43: some neutrality about well-being, but drawn to objective-list theories
      4. p. 51: rejection of formulating rule-consequentialism in terms of rules that result in individuals’ getting what they deserve
      5. p. 65: priority for the worst off
  3. chapters 3–5
    1. chapter 3: “Questions of Formulation”
      1. p. 76–77: not compliance but acceptance: recall Kavka’s notion of the autonomous effects of an intention
      2. p. 78: also in regard to acceptance not compliance: internalization costs
      3. p. 83: inability of “universal acceptance” theory to have rules for non-acceptance
      4. p. 87: non-consequentialist reason for rejecting group- or person-relativization of rules
      5. pp. 90–91: resolving conflicts between rules
    2. chapter 4: “Is Rule-Consequentialism Guilty of Collapse or Incoherence?”
      1. pp. 91–99: not extensionally equivalent to act consequentialism
      2. p. 101: immunity from the incoherence objection
      3. p. 109: rule-consequentialism as a counter-example to a standard account of what makes theories consequentialist
    3. chapter 5: “Predictability and Convention”
      1. p. 112: two concerns
        1. one concern: possibility of predicting that changes to rules will be beneficial (section 5.2)
        2. other concern: that rule-consequentialism too readily counsels disobedience to conventional rules (sections 5.3–5.6)
      2. p. 114.9: reply to first concern: rule-consequentialism’s “epistemological modesty”
      3. p. 120: the case of Linda as a counter-example to both satisficing consequentialism and act consequentialism
      4. p. 122: the occasional unfairness of insisting on the “ideal rules” (or, rather, why the ideal rules must include one about compromising with convention)
  4. chapters 6–9
    1. chapter 6: “Prohibitions and Special Obligations”
      1. p. 131: the overridability of many prohibitions, if the stakes are high enough
      2. p. 140: the utility of special obligations
    2. chapter 7: “Act-consequentialism”
      1. p. 144: focus on criterion of rightness, not decision procedure
      2. p. 146: act-consequentialism’s failure to enforce intuitive prohibitions
      3. p. 150: the demandingness of act-consequentialism
      4. p. 152: another aspect of the demandingness of act-consequentialism
      5. p. 155: demanding not just in terms of acts, but also in terms of patterns of concern
    3. chapter 8: “Rule-consequentialism and Doing Good for the World”
      1. p. 162: inquiry into the best rule, assuming universal compliance
      2. pp. 165–166: role of internalization costs in keeping rule-consequentialism from being overly demanding
      3. p. 171: emphasizing that the costs of getting demanding rules inculcated in the poor must be counted
    4. chapter 9: “Help with Practical Problems”
      1. p. 182: benefits of (voluntary) euthanasia
      2. p. 183: harms of involuntary enthanasia
      3. p. 186: possibility of desirability of rules allowing euthanasia despite occasional abuses