Friday, July 15, 2016

Slavery and the Principle of Universalizability

From guest blogger,  Catherine.

In class we talked about many of the objections to Kant’s Principle of Universalizability, such as being able to get away with anything morally if you phrase your maxim in just the right way, or that it could condemn an action most would consider morally right as in the example of leaving a football game early to beat traffic is impossible to universalize because it’s self defeating but doesn’t seem inherently wrong.

However, by using the Principle of Universalizability, assuming you phrase your maxim in a coherent way, you should get the desired effect and be able to determine what most would agree upon as moral or immoral, but in some instances it seems to come to the conclusion with the wrong reasons. Take slavery for example, is slavery wrong just because everyone one isn’t able to do it or is it wrong because it is a violation of a person’s dignity? Sure the Principle of Humanity can be brought in to provide that reasoning but on it’s own this seems like a bit of a shortcoming for Universalizability.

1 comment:

Rachel Cherney said...

I personally think slavery is immoral. I had never had a reason based on theory, but after this first week of class, I would have today that my reasoning would be a combination of some of theories we have learned about. For example, based on Ethical subjectivisim, slavery is wrong because I disapprove of it, and from cultural relativism, where our society now deems slavery as wrong/immoral, I find slavery immoral. However, two-three hundred years ago, the cultural relativism view would have been different.

Aristotle said to be virtuous, which I think is hard in this situation. What would be the virtue for slavery? Fairness? How would one determine what is fair? The slave? The slaveowner?