Conscience by sdfgsg234


           Conscience, Egoism, Kant
                                                                      Egoism (Psychological and Ethical)
                                                                      Immanuel Kant’s Deontological* Ethics
        Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic

 Department of Computer Science and Engineering
              Mälardalen University

                                                                    * ‘deon’ = duty                                    2

                                                                                             The Seven Essential Virtues
                                                                                                     defining “Moral IQ”
                                                                            Empathy                Wisdom*
                                                                            Conscience             Courage*
                                                                            Self-Control           Temperance*
                                                                            Respect                Justice*
                                                                            Tolerance              Integrity
                                                                            Fairness               Responsibility
                                                                            Kindness               Honesty

            Based on: Lawrence M. Hinman, Ph.D.
                               Director, The Values Institute
                             University of San Diego

                                                                    *Aristotles cardinal virtues
                       The Origins of Conscience                                                                            Conscience

                                                                                The awareness of a moral or ethical aspect to
               cum + scire = to know with                                       one's conduct together with the urge to prefer
As science (scire) means knowledge, conscience etymologically means             right over wrong.
self-knowledge . . .                                                             A source of moral or ethical judgment or
But the English word implies a moral standard of action in the mind as
well as a awareness of our own actions.
                                                                                Conformity to one's own sense of right conduct.
                                                                                The part of the superego in psychoanalysis that
                                                                                judges the ethical nature of one's actions and
                                                                                Present in most cultures
                                                                          5                                                                       6

     The Biological Origins of Conscience                                                                 Function of Conscience

                         Conscience biological mechanism is                   Conscience is a mechanism which judges our own actions, as
                         probably genetically determined, while its           being right or wrong, good or bad, and punishes us with its
                         content is learnt, like language, as part of a       condemnation (disapprobation), or rewards us with its approval
                         culture. For instance, one person may feel a         (approbation), according as these are, or are not, conformed to
                         moral duty to go to war, another feels a             the moral standard.
                         moral duty to avoid war under any
                                                                              Conscience implies both a knowledge of our duty and an ability to
                         Studies of brain damage show that damage
                                                                              perform it.
                         to the anterior prefrontal cortex of the brain
                         results in the reduction or elimination of
                         inhibitions, with a radical change in behavior
                         patterns. When the damage occurs to
                         adults, they may still be able to perform
                         moral reasoning; but when it occurs to
                         children, they may never develop that ability.

                                                                          7                                                                       8
                    Characteristics of Conscience                                                                             Medieval Background

Conscience is the steering-gear and a corrective mechanism that
forces us to act in accordance with our ethical norms
Both negative (remorse, guilt, regret) and positive (good, clear                Conscience is the power of reason and
conscience)                                                                     discernment applied to moral issues
Usually only a guide to one’s own behavior - not oriented toward                Develop an informed and sensitive
judging others                                                                  conscience by living in a Christian
                                                                                community (defining the norm)

                                                                    9                                                                                                  10

                                                                                                                         Deadlock in Conscience
                                 The Central Question                                                                                     The case of Huck and Jim

If conscience represents the urge to conform to moral principals,              In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,
what happens in case of conflicting principles?
                                                                               Huck is faced with the dilemma of
 How to reconcile                                                              turning in his friend Jim, a runaway
 – Loyalty to the friend                                                       slave.
 – Loyalty to society                                                           – Huck would despise himself if
 in case when there is a conflict between the two?                                he turned Jim in
                                                                                – Huck feels he is going
                                                                                  against his conscience by not
                                                                                  turning Jim into the
                                                                                                                                             Mark Twain (1835-1910)
                                                                         Mark Twain, THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN                      (born Samuel L Clemens)
                                                                    11   (Tom Sawyer'sComrade)                                                                         12
                                  Unity of Virtues?                                                               Unity of Virtues?
                Responsibly in a Professional Role                                              Responsibly in a Professional Role

Aristotle defended a strong “unity of virtue" thesis - the unity of the         Character is invariably riddled with "moral gaps“. Character traits are
four cardinal virtues (wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice).               situation-sensitive, moral virtues are enormously varied (and
                                                                                sometimes in conflict), and both situations and personalities vary
Today most ethicists would agree in sharply rejecting the unity of              enormously.
virtue.                                                                                               (Owen Flanagan in the Varieties of Moral Personality)

                                                                          13                                                                            14

                                  Unity of Virtues?                                                               Unity of Virtues?
                Responsibly in a Professional Role                                              Responsibly in a Professional Role

                                                                               Clearly a person's character is relevant to their acting responsibly
Moral gaps arise not only from having some virtues (for example                in a professional role.
generosity) and lacking others (truthfulness), but in manifesting              The most important of these are humaneness, self-control, general
the same virtues in some contexts, roles, or dimensions of roles,              responsibility, and honesty (both trustworthiness and truthfulness).
but not others.                                                                Professionals generally are placed in positions of trust, serving an
                                                                               important need of client or society. The specific importance of trust
                                                                               is broad-based and in varying degrees open-ended.

                                                                          15                                                                            16
              Conscience in Professional Life                                                Conscience in Professional Life

                                                                                 We all agree, for example, that college professors should
Issues about private conscience in professional life are                         have great freedom to express their views. Academic
notoriously complex. How far should we allow private conscience                  freedom is central to what college professors are
to guide professional conduct when it departs from the moral                     supposed to be.
consensus expressed in the relevant code of ethics?
                                                                                 But what about an atheist philosopher who grades down a
                                                                                 student for defending religion in an essay? The professor
                                                                                 is wrong, of course. The question is what should we, his
                                                                                 colleagues, do about it?

                                                                                 Here, I think, a code of ethics is essential in setting and
                                                                                 enforcing standards-even though codes are always vague
                                                                                 and incomplete.

                                                                      17                                                                       18

              Conscience in Professional Life                                       The Freudian Critique of Conscience

                                                                             Sigmund Freud (1932)
                                                                           The Anatomy of the Mental Personality
What does it require by way of setting aside personal values in
order to meet professional responsibilities, to avoid greed, sexual            – ID (instinctive part, driven by
dominance, paternalism, or conflicts of interest, and otherwise to               pleasure and pain, fully
meet minimum standards for practice of the profession?                           unconscious )
                                                                               – EGO (mostly conscious, deals
                                                                                 with external reality )
                                                                               – SUPER-EGO (partly conscious, is
                                                                                 the conscience or the internal
                                                                                 moral judge. )

                                                                      19                                                                       20
      The Freudian Critique of Conscience
Freud’s saw conscience as the voice of
the superego
 – Initially, the internalized voice of
   parental restrictions
 – Later, the internalization of
   societal prohibitions
 – Almost exclusively negative,
   saying “no” to the id.

                                          Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)


                                                                                 Analyzing the Psychological Egoist’s
                                 Two Types of Egoism

Two types of egoism:
                                                                           The psychological egoist claims that
 – Psychological egoism                                                    people always act selfishly or in their
    • Asserts that as a matter of fact we do always act                    own self-interest.
      selfishly - descriptive                                              One of the earlier advocates of this
 – Ethical egoism                                                          view was Thomas Hobbes, who saw
                                                                           life as “…nasty, brutish, and short.”
    • Maintains that we should always act selfishly

                                                                                                                     Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)

                                                                      23                                                                         24
                    Psychological Egoism:
                                                                                                   Psychological Egoism
           A Common and Widespread Belief
 Folk psychology                                                 What exactly does the psychological egoist maintain? Two
                                                                 possible interpretations:
  – There is a widespread belief that people are just
                                                                  – #1: We act selfishly, or
    out for themselves                                            – #2: We act in our self-interest

 Social Darwinism: everyone is just trying to survive.
 Social sciences
  – Economics: rational agent theory
 Foreign policy
  – Belief that other nations will always act solely in
    terms of self-interest

                                                          25                                                                                 26

              What Does it Mean to be Selfish?                              What Does it Mean to be Selfish?

If we are selfish, do we only do things that                   If we are selfish, do we only do things we
are in our genuine self-interest?                              believe are in our self-interest?
 – What about the chain smoker? Is                              – What about those who believe
   this person acting out of genuine                              that sometimes they act
   self-interest?                                                 altruistically?
 – In fact, the smoker may be acting                            – Does anyone truly believe
   selfishly (doing what he wants                                 Mother Theresa was completely
   without regard to others) but not                              selfish?
   self-interestedly (doing what will                          Think of the actions of parents. Don’t
   ultimately benefit him).                                    parents sometimes act for the sake of their
                                                               children, even when it is against their narrow   Mother Theresa (1910-1997)
                                                               self-interest to do so?

                                                          27                                                                                 28
                          Re-conceptualizing Psychological                                                                      Re-conceptualizing Psychological
                                                Egoism, 1                                                                                             Egoism, 2
                                                                                                                 Instead of seeing this one a single scale, we can see egoism and altruism
 The standard view of human motivation embedded in                                                               as two independent axes:
 discussions of psychological egoism sees egoism and                                                                                                                Altruism
                                                                                                                 Conceptualizing the issue in this
 altruism as opposite poles of a single scale:                                                                   way allows some actions to be
                                       Human Motivation                                                          done both for the sake of others
                                                                                                                 and for one’s own sake, and
                                                                                                                 avoids falling into a false          Low                            High
 Egoism                                                                                  Altruism                dichotomy between altruism and      Egoism                         Egoism
The premise is that an increase in egoism automatically                                                             However, an additional
                                                                                                                 distinction remains to be draw.
results in a decrease in altruism, and vice versa.

                                                                                                         29                                                                                 30

                         Re-conceptualizing Psychological
                                               Egoism, 3                                                                        Re-conceptualizing Psychological
 In addition to having two independent axes, we must distinguish between                                                                              Egoism, 4
 the intentions of actions and their consequences. Thus we get two graphs:

                                                                                                                 This double grid suggests that any given action can be ranked according to
                    Intentions                                           Consequences                               both:
                                                                                                                     – Intentions
             Strongly intended to help others                           High beneficial To others
                                                                                                                     – Consequences
                                                                                                                 And that, for each of these two issues, each act can be ranked along two
                                                                                                                   independent axes, concern/consequences for self and
   Not                                           Strongly    Highly                                  Highly        concern/consequences for other.
intended                                        intended     harmful                                beneficial
to benefit                                      to benefit    to self                                to self
   self                                            self

                                                                         Highly harmful to others
             Strongly intended to harm others

                                                                                                         31                                                                                 32
                                                                                                                  Be My Valentine?
                                     Ethical Egoism
                                                                   “Love, we are repeatedly taught, consists of self-sacrifice. Love based
                                                                   on self-interest, we are admonished, is cheap and sordid. True love, we
                                                                   are told, is altruistic. But is it?
                                                                   “Genuine love is the exact opposite. It is the most selfish experience
                                                                   possible, in the true sense of the term: it benefits your life in a way that
                                                                   involves no sacrifice of others to yourself nor of yourself to others.”
                                                                                                                                       Gary Hull
                                                                                                                           Valentine’s Day, 1998
                                                                                                                              Ayn Rand Institute


                                          Ethical Egoism                                           Versions of Ethical Egoism

Selfishness is praised as a virtue                                 Personal Ethical Egoism
 – Ayn Rand, The Virtue of                                          – “I am going to act only in my own interest, and
   Selfishness                                                        everyone else can do whatever they want.”
May appeal to psychological egoism as a                            Individual Ethical Egoism
                                                                    – “Everyone should act in my own interest.”
Often very compelling for high school
students                                                           Universal Ethical Egoism
                                                                    – “Each individual should act in his or her own self
                                          Ayn Rand (1905-1982).
                                          (born Alice Rosenbaum)

                                                              35                                                                              36
                                                              Altruism                                          Arguments for Ethical Egoism

  Unselfish concern for the welfare of others; selflessness, charity,
  generosity.                                                                       Altruism is demeaning.
  Zoology. Instinctive cooperative behavior that is detrimental (harmful) to        Acting selfishly creates a better world.
  the individual but contributes to the survival of the species.
                                                                                    It doesn’t result in such a different world after all.

                                                                                      demean = degrade oneself
                                                                             37                                                                               38

                       Argument for Ethical Egoism:
                                                                                           What is great in man is that he is a bridge
                            Altruism is Demeaning

Friedrich Nietzsche argued that altruism was
demeaning because it meant that an                                                "Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Superman -- a
individual was saying that some other person
was more important than that individual.                                             rope over an abyss...What is great in man is that he is a bridge and
                                                                                     not a goal: what is lovable in man is that he is a transition..."
Nietzsche saw this as denigrating oneself,                                                                                    Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra
putting oneself down by valuing oneself less
than the other.

Comment. Concern for the welfare of others
does not mean no concern for ones own self!
                                                       Friedrich Nietzsche

                                                                             39                                                                               40
    Argument for Ethical Egoism: Acting Selfishly                                Argument for Ethical Egoism: Ethical egoism
                          Creates a Better World                                           doesn’t result in a different world.

Ethical egoists sometimes maintain that if each person took care of             This argument presupposes the people in fact
   himself/herself, the overall effect would be to make the world a             already act selfishly (i.e, psychological egoism) and
   better place for everyone.                                                   are just pretending to be altruistic.
    – Epistemological: Each person is best suited to
      know his or her own best interests.
                                                                                If psychological egoism is true, then we should admit
    – Moral: Helping others makes them dependent,                               its truth and get rid of our hypocrisy.
      which ultimately harms them.
   Comment. It is rational for people to solve together their
   common problems. Building e.g. state institutions, that exist                Comment. It may not make a big difference in a
   everywhere in the world means putting energy in a common                     world of independent, strong and healthy adults, but
   societal project that is not in the first place meant to satisfy my          in a world with children and people at risk or in need,
   own personal needs.                                                          they would be put in further jeopardy.

                                                                           41                                                                    42

                                                                                                  Universalizing Ethical Egoism
                                  Criticism of Ethical Egoism
                                                                                 Can the ethical egoist consistently will that everyone else
                                                                                 follow the tenets of ethical egoism?
   Cannot be consistently universalized.
                                                                                  – It seems to be in one’s self-interest to be selfish
   (But can work in sports!).
                                                                                    oneself and yet get everyone else to act
   Presupposes a world of indifferent strangers.                                    altruistically (especially if they act for your benefit).
   Difficult to imagine love or even friendship between ethical egoists.            This leads to individual ethical egoism.
   Seems to be morally insensitive.                                              Some philosophers such as Jesse Kalin have argued that in
                                                                                 sports we consistently universalize ethical egoism: we intend
                                                                                 to win, but we want our opponents to try as hard as they

                                                                           43                                                                    44
                                Ethical Egoism:                                                            Egoism, Altruism, and
              A philosophy for a world of strangers                                                              the Ideal World
                                                                                                               Kant                “Self-interest rightly understood”
Some philosophers have argued that ethical egoism                    Ideally, we seek a society in                                    High
is, at best, appropriate to living in a world of strangers           which self-interest and regard for                             Altruism
                                                                     others converge—the green
that you do not care about.                                          zone.                                                                 Self-interest
                                                                                                                      Self-sacrificing     and regard
                                                                     Egoism at the expense of others                     altruism           for others
                                                                     and altruism at the expense of                                         converge
                                                                     self-interest both create worlds in      Low                                             High
                                                                     which goodness and self-regard          Egoism                                          Egoism
                                                                     are mutually exclusive—the                        Not beneficial      Self-interest
                                                                     yellow zone.                                      either to self     at the expense
                                                                                                                         or others            of others
                                                                     No one want the red zone, which
                                                                     is against both self-interest and                                 Low
                                                                     regard for others.                      Drug addiction          Altruism
                                                                                                            Alcoholism, etc.                     State of Nature,
                                                        45                                                                                                     46

        Sinking Titanic: Egoism vs. Altruism
                      (Even Risks in Technical Systems)                                                        Immanuel Kant
                                                                                                             The Ethics of Duty
                                                                                                           (Deontological* Ethics)

                                                        47   * ‘deon’ = duty
                                   Living by Rules                                        Categorical Imperatives

                                                                Always act in such a way that the maxim of your
                                                                action can be willed as a universal law of humanity.
   Most of us live by rules much                                                                      --Immanuel Kant
   of the time.
   Some of these are what Kant
   called Categorical
                                   Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)

                                                           49                                                            50

                     The Ethics of Respect (1)                                         The Ethics of Respect (2)

One of Kant’s most lasting contributions to                     Respect has become a fundamental moral concept in
moral philosophy was his emphasis on the                        contemporary West
notion of respect (Achtung).                                    – There are rituals of respect in almost all cultures.
                                                                Two central questions:
                                                                – What is respect?
                                                                – Who or what is the proper object of respect?

                                                           51                                                            52
                                       Kant on Respect                     Kant on Respecting Persons

“Act in such a way that you always treat                       Kant brought the notion of respect (Achtung) to
   humanity, whether in your own person or in                  the center of moral philosophy for the first time.
   the person of any other, never simply as a                  To respect people is to treat them as ends in
   means, but always at the same time as an                    themselves. He sees people as autonomous,
   end.”                                                       i.e., as giving the moral law to themselves.
                                                               The opposite of respecting people is treating
                                                               them as mere means to an end.

                                                    53                                                              54

                Using People as Mere Means                  Treating People as Ends in Themselves

                                                         What are the characteristics of treating people
The Tuskegee Syphilis                                     as ends in themselves?
Experiments                                               Not denying them relevant information
– More than four hundred African
  American men infected with                              Allowing them freedom of choice
  syphilis went untreated for four
  decades in a project the
  government called the Tuskegee
  Study of Untreated Syphilis in the
  Negro Male.
– Continued until 1972

                                                    55                                                              56
                                         Additional Cases           What Is the Proper Object of Respect?
  Plant Closing
  Firing Long-Time Employees                                      For Kant, the proper object of respect is the will. Hence,
                                                                  respecting a person involves issues related to the will--
  Medical Experimentation on Prisoners                            knowledge and freedom.
  Medical Donations by Prisoners                                  Other possible objects of respect:
  Medical Consent Forms                                            – Feelings and emotions
                                                                   – The dead
                                                                   – Animals
                                                                   – The natural world

                                                             57                                                                 58

                                                   Self-Respect                                                Self-Respect

 Is lack of proper self-respect a moral failing?
                                                                     Aristotle and Self-Love
                                                                      – What is the difference between self-respect and self-
 The Deferential* Wife                                                   love? Clearly, there is at least a difference in the
  – See article by Tom Hill, “Servility and Self-Respect”                affective element.

*Deferential = Respectful, considerate
                                                             59                                                                 60
         Self-respect, Self-regard, Self-love                                            The Kantian Heritage
                                                                           What Kant Helped Us to See Clearly
Self-respect: Due respect for oneself, one's
character, and one's conduct.                                        The Admirable Side of Acting from Duty
                                                                     – The person of duty remains committed, not matter
Synonyms or near-synonyms of self-esteem include:                      how difficult things become.
–   self-love (which can express overtones of self-promotion)        The Evenhandedness of Morality
–   self-worth                                                       – Kantian morality does not play favorites.
–   self-regard                                                      Respecting Other People
–   self-esteem                                                      – The notion of treating people as ends in
–   self-confidence (a sometimes disparaging term which can            themselves is central to much of modern ethics.
    (more than self-esteem) suggest excessive self-regard

                                                                61                                                                  62

                                The Kantian Heritage                                                 The Kantian Heritage
                       Critique of Kant´s Deontology                                        Critique of Kant´s Deontology
                                                                     The Place of Consequences in the Moral Life
The Neglect of Moral Integration                                      – In order to protect the moral life from the changing of moral
– The person of duty can have deep and conflicting                      luck, Kant held a very strong position that refused to attach
  inclinations and this does not decrease moral worth—                  moral blame to individuals who were acting with good will,
  indeed, it seems to increase it in Kant’s eyes.                       even though some indirect bad consequences could be
The Role of Emotions                                                    foreseen.
– For Kant, the emotions are always suspect because they are
                                                                                                       The Kantian Heritage
                                                                     Overall, after two hundred years, Kant remains an absolutely
                                                                       central figure in contemporary moral philosophy, one from
                                                                       whom we can learn much even when we disagree with
                                                                63                                                                  64

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