Two deferent question

Learning Goal: I’m working on a philosophy discussion question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

Question 1: You have the opportunity to lie in order to (presumably) save a life. You cannot predict the exact outcomes of your decision, of course. Taking a Kantian stance, do you think that Kant would approve of your decision? Would it be a moral decision, for Kant? Why? (You should engage with Kant’s categorical imperative.)

Suggestions: The Kantian perspective: the CI is notoriously rigid in its design, so on the face of it, Kant would not approve of lying to, presumably, save a life. The hard part is to justify your answer. You need to engage with the CI (whichever formulation you find is most appropriate here) and demonstrate in-depth understanding of how Kant’s CI works. Definitely consider the connection between moral decisions and consequences. Ask yourself this: where does Kant stand on consequences of one’s moral actions? You can give an example, if you wish. But try to think a as a philosopher, that is, beyond the surface of such declarations as “I would 100% lie to save a life.” or “I would never ever lie.”

Question 2: Friedrich Nietzsche, in Beyond Good and Evil, makes a distinction between what he claims are the two ‘types’ of morality. Saying that there are “certain traits regularly recurring together”, he proceeds to describe them, and classifies previous systems of morality into those categories. What are the two types? Describe them. Finally, using examples from (a) previous theorist(s) in the course, make an argument either for or against Nietzsche’s distinction.

Suggestions: the two types of morality are ‘slave’ and ‘master’ morality. Note that when you compare Nietzsche, you have to compare him to someone who’s lived earlier than him (so, comparing him to Sartre or de Beauvoir wouldn’t work.) Possible points of comparison: Aristotle, Plato, Machiavelli, or Kant, of course. I suggest you pick someone whose moral theory we’ve studied. But this doesn’t exclude the possibility of you getting creative (in other words, you could pick someone who has not written on morality directly). Then ask yourself this: would Aristotle, or whoever else you pick, accept Nietzsche’s theory of morality? Aristotle, for example, probably wouldn’t accept it. Why? For Aristotle, for example, community is very important. So, the isolated individual cannot possibly survive on his/her own. After the analysis, you’ll have to say whether you think that Nietzsche can sustain the morality that he proposes, or not. Suggestions in favor of his morality: the individual has only him or herself and his or her life power/will to power, so it makes sense that everyone would want to be a master of their own destiny, etc. Suggestions against his morality: it leads to extreme individualism.

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