DQ 1….After reading: “When Is “Everybody’s Doing It” a Moral Justification?” in the text, consider “How common is it for people to try to justify their conduct with the argument that “Everybody’s doing it”? Provide examples from your own experience. How does the justification of “Everybody’s Doing It” align with Kant’s Categorical Imperative? In your responses to other students, consider how your answers and experiences compare with others.
READING FOR DQ 1
“Everybody’s Doing It”
Imagine you’re driving in your car, you’re going with the flow of traffic and not passing anyone, yet you’re driving ten miles an hour over the speed limit, when you see flashing lights behind you. You get pulled over by the police and are told that you were speeding. You may not say it but you would certainly be thinking that you were only doing what everyone else was doing. This week we discuss the question “When Is “Everybody’s Doing It” a Moral Justification?” As it states in the text, “Sometimes the fact that many others are engaging in a form of conduct is offered as proof that the conduct is not harmful or undesirable.
Moral standards concern behavior that seriously affects human well-being. Moral standards take priority over other standards, including self-interest. We take moral standards to be more important than other considerations in guiding our actions.
Legality should not be confused with morality. Breaking the law isn’t always or necessarily immoral, and the legality of an action doesn’t guarantee its morality.
Most, if not all, people have certain moral principles or a moral code that they explicitly or implicitly accept. Because the moral principles of different individuals in the same society overlap, at least in part, we can also talk about the moral code of a society, meaning the moral standards shared by its members. Many things influence what moral principles we accept: our early upbringing, the behavior of those around us, the explicit and implicit standards or our culture, our experiences, and our critical reflections on those experiences.
3 Minute Philosophy for Immanuel Kant Video Transcript
Utilitarianism is the moral doctrine that we should always act to produce the greatest possible balance of good over bad for everyone affected by our actions. Utilitarianism tells us to bring about the most happiness for everyone affected by our actions. Who can disagree with that? We’ll soon find out.
Immanuel Kant believed that there is just one command (imperative) that is categorical and thus necessarily binding on all rational agents, regardless of any other considerations. Kant’s categorical imperative says that we should always act in such a way that we can will the maxim of our action to be a universal law. Full disclosure: if you can read any of Kant’s texts without falling asleep you have my respect.