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The Formula of Humanity

Ethics for Dummies, by Panza & Potthast, provide written answers to the following questions. Please give complete answers in complete sentences.

  1. What is a moral principle? How does it differ from a moral rule?
  2. What is practical reason?
  3. What is the difference between acting from duty and acting from inclination?
  4. What is the difference between acting in accord with duty and acting from duty? (Use the honest shopkeeper as an example.)
  5. What is the difference between heteronomy and autonomy? What is the connection between living ethically and living free?
  6. What is a maxim?
  7. What is an imperative? What is the difference between a hypothetical imperative and the categorical imperative?
  8. What is the Formula of Universal Law? Explain what it means.
  9. What is a universalizability test? (NOTE: Panza & Potthast misspell it!)
  10. What is the Formula of Humanity? Explain what it means.
  11. What is a kingdom of ends? How is the Formula of the Kingdom of Ends related to the two previous formulas?
  12. What do Panza & Potthast say is the difference between perfect duties and imperfect duties? (NOTE: In trying to simplify the distinction, they may miss what is essential. Note later how Mill characterizes the difference.)
  13. How does the Formula of Universal Law help distinguish perfect from imperfect duties? (NOTE: Panza & Potthast do a pretty good job with this.)
  14. What is one of the four examples of specific duties Kant uses, and how does violating it also violate the categorical imperative?
  15. Why might it be a problem that duties in Kantian ethics are unconditional?
  16. Why might it be a problem that Kantian ethics focuses on rationality (and rational beings)?

Sample Solution

wage war in response to anticipated wrong,’ suggesting we cannot just harm another just because they have done something unjust. Other factors need to be considered, for example, Proportionality. Thirdly, Vittola argues that war should be avoided (Begby et al (2006b), Page 332) and that we should proceed circumstances diplomatically. This is supported by the “last resort” stance in Frowe, where war should not be permitted unless all measures to seek diplomacy fails (Frowe (2011), Page 62). This means war shouldn’t be declared until one party has no choice but to declare war, in order to protect its territory and rights, the aim of war. However, we can also argue that the war can never be the last resort, given there is always a way to try to avoid it, like sanctions or appeasement, showing Vittola’s theory is flawed. Fourthly, Vittola questions upon whose authority can demand a declaration of war, where he implies any commonwealth can go to war, but more importantly, “the prince” where he has “the natural order” according to Augustine, and all authority is given to him. This is further supported by Aristotle’s Politics ((1996), Page 28): ‘a king is the natural superior of his subjects.’ However, he does later emphasise to put all faith in the prince is wrong and has consequences; a thorough examination of the cause of war is required along with the willingness to negotiate rival party (Begby et al (2006b), Page 312& 318). This is supported by the actions of Hitler are deemed unjustly. Also, in today’s world, wars are no longer fought only by states but also non-state actors like Al-Queda and ISIS, showing Vittola’s normative claim on authority is outdated. This is further supported by Frowe’s claim that the leader needs to represent the people’s interests, under legitimate authority, which links on to the fourth condition: Public declaration of war. Agreed with many, there must be an official announcement on a declaration of war (Frowe (2011), Page 59-60&63). Finally, the most controversial condition is that wars should have a reasonable chance of success. As Vittola reiterated, the aim of war is to establish peace and security; securing the public good. If this can’t be achieved, Frowe argues it would be better to surrender to the enemy. This can be justified because the costs of war would have been bigger (Frowe (2011), Page 56-7). Consequently, jus ad bellum comprises several conditions but most importantly: just cause an

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