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Homework for 11/11

Here’s your homework for Tuesday, November 11:

  • Read the same passage in Kant that we focused on last time. Now that we’ve talked about how the arguments seem to work, you are in a better position to assess whether Kant’s arguments work.
  • Blog about the issue of rationality that arises time and time again in these passages. Here are some questions you might think about: What is the connection between rationality and self-interest or self-love? What kinds of assumptions does Kant make about the nature of rationality? How does Kant use the notion of rationality to demonstrate our duties? In what ways is categorical imperative dependent on rationality? Et cetera.

Homework for 11/6

For Thursday, review Section II of the Kant, especially pages 285-288, where Kant discusses four different duties and explains how, in his view, they are derived from the categorical imperative.

No blog assignment.

In the blogs, 11/3/08

In the blogs today, November 3, 2008:

  • At 4:30,
    • Gordon gives a step-by-step demonstration of how the categorical imperative is supposed to work
    • Sebastian clearly states the important distinction between Mill and Kant, and warns us about what to look for when discussing Kant’s theory
  • At 6:30,
    • Stacey has a clear way of explaining the way the Categorical Imperative works
    • Amanda, on Ken’s blog, asks a question about what it can really mean to will a maxim into universal law.

Homework for 11/4

Here’s your homework for Tuesday, 11/4:

  • Read the Second Section of Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. Use Rachels’s "Are There Absolute Moral Values?" to help you grasp some of the finer points of Kant’s argument.
  • In your blog, I’d like you to rehearse the Categorical Imperative method of determining our duties. Explain why, in Kant’s view, it’s immoral to cheat on an exam. Due Sunday at midnight.

Audio files are available.

In the blogs, 10/30/08

In the blogs today, October 30, 2008:

  • The question was whether happiness, in contradistinction to what Mill says, has any inherent worth. At 4:30,
    • Vinny has a simple reason for thinking that there is some intrinsic worth
    • Lance sees happiness as an emotion or a feeling, and denies that these have value in themselves
  • At 6:30,
    • Sherida says that happiness needs a person in order to have value.
    • Stacey agrees that there is no intrinsic value in happiness, but arrives at this conclusion via an argument from Kant.

Homework for 10/30

Read the First Section of Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals in the Cahn anthology. Even if you’ve read it already, read it again.

Blog in response to the following question: Does happiness have any intrinsic value? You might answer this from Kant’s point of view (following the argument from the first few pages of the chapter), or from the point of view of Mill or you. Make sure, in any case, that you focus on the question of intrinsic value, i.e. value that is not dependent on relationships with any external entities – everyone agrees that happiness has some sort of value, after all. Due Wednesday at midnight.
This blogging period ends on Thursday at class time. By that point you should have five comments (since 9/24) and five entries. And if you’ve got posts to make up from the last blogging period, you should feel free to complete those as well for partial credit.

In the blogs, 10/27/08

In the blogs today, October 27, 2008:

  • At 4:30,
    • Becca wonders to what extent we are really responsible for the outcomes of our actions
    • Gordon asks how it could possible seem reasonable to divorce examination of someone’s motives from the judgment of their actions
    • Tyler wants to know how Mill can reconcile himself to such an inexact theory.
  • At 6:30,
    • Neha wants to know how Mill can separate motives from morality.
    • Jeffersson points out that we still haven’t been told how we’re supposed to divine the consequences of our actions
    • Jon T. asks to what extent we should consider the repercussions of an action when determining its moral worth
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