Dilemmas of Loyalty: Lesson 1

What do we owe one another? Dilemmas of loyalty

“Should nations apologize for historic wrongs? To answer this question, we need to think through some hard questions about collective responsibility and the claims of community” (210).

Should we atone for the sins of our predecessors?

Moral Individualism

“For the moral individualist, to be free is to be subject only to obligations I voluntarily incur; whatever I owe others, I owe by virtue of some act of consent – a choice or a promise or an agreement I have made, be it tacit or explicit” (213).

?Does moral individualism leave room for collective responsibility?|no

?Does moral individualism “bear the moral burden of historic injustices perpetrated by our predecessors”?|no

?If moral individualism is correct, do critics of official apologies have a point?|yes

?Does Sandel think that moral individualism is flawed?|yes

“As we have seen, the notions of consent and free choice loom large, not only in contemporary politics, but also in modern theories of justice. Let’s look back and see how various notions of choice and consent have come to inform our present-day assumptions” (214).

?Did John Locke argue “that legitimate government must be based on consent”?|yes

?Why?|because we are free and independent beings, not subject to paternal authority or the divine right of kings

?Who, a century later, “offered a more powerful version of the choosing self”?|Immanuel Kant

?Did Kant “think of ourselves as more than a bundle of preferences and desires”?|yes

?”To be free is to be ___________, and to be _________ is to be governed by a law I give myself” (214).|autonomous, autonomous

?Is Kantian autonomy more demanding than consent?|yes

?When I will the moral law, do I will it according to desires or alligiances?|no

?How do I will the moral law?|as a participant in pure practical reason

?Who, in the twentieth century, adapted Kant’s conception of the autonomous self?|John Rawls

“Like Kant, Rawls observed that the choices we make often reflect morally arbitrary contingencies. Someone’s choice to work in a sweatshop, for example, might reflect dire economic necessity, not free choice in any meaningful sense” (214).

?If we want our society to be a voluntary arrangement, can we base it on actual consent?|no

?How does Rawls base a just society on a voluntary arrangement?|using a hypothetical agreement by using a veil of ignorance

Both Kant and Rawls “conceive the moral agent as independent of his or her particular aims and attachments” (214).

?”When we will the moral law (Kant) or choose the principles of justice (Rawls), we do so without reference to the roles and identities that situate us in the world and make us the particular people we are” (215). Using Kant and Rawls reasoning, can we be responsible for past wrongs done by our generations long ago or have collective responsibility?|no

“Conceiving persons as free and independent selves doesn’t only make a difference for questions of collective responsibility across generations. It has a more far-reaching implication: Thinking of the moral agent is this way carries consequences for the way we think about justice more generally. The notion that we are freely choosing, independent selves supports the idea that the principles of justice that define our rights should not rest on any particular moral or religious conception; instead, they should try to be neutral among competing visions of the good life” (215).

?Kant and Rawls would say that government should be neutral on what the good life should be. True or False?|true

Should Government be morally neutral?

?”For Aristotle, the purpose of politics is not only to easy economic exchange and provide for the common defense; it is also to cultivate ____________ and form __________” (215).|good character, good citizens

?”Before we can investigate the __________ of an ideal constitution, it is necessary for us first to determine the __________ of the most desirable way of life. As long as that is obscure, the nature of the ideal constitution must also remain obscure” (215).|nature, nature

?For Kant and Rawls, a government adopting a certain conception of the good life is an affront to human freedom. Is this true?|yes

?Does the freely choosing self and neutrality go hand in hand?|yes

?Is the idea that persons should be free to choose itself a moral idea?|yes

?What is the appeal of a neutral framework?|its refusal to affirm a preferred way of life or conception of the good

?For Kant and Rawls, what is prior to the good?|right

?What’s the mode of reasoning that Kant and Rawls use to reject Utilitarianism and Teleology?|the right is prior to the good

?For Kant, if we think ourselves as autonomous beings, we must do what?|will the moral law

“Only then, after we’ve arrived at the principle that defines our duties and rights, can we ask what conceptions of the good are compatible with it” (217).

?When Aristotle reasons about justice, he doesn’t have the right prior to the good. He reasons from the good. Is this true?|yes

Justice and Freedom

?If the right is prior to the good, then what besides justice is at stake?|freedom

?Can we choose the good for ourselves if we adopt Aristotle’s teleology?|no

?”He(Aristotle) sees justice as a matter of _______ between persons and the ends or goods appropriate to their nature” (218).|fit

?Modern liberal thought has what prior to the good?|right

?”Much of the argument over the role of government and markets is a debate about how best to enable individuals to pursue their ________ for themselves” (218).|ends

?Most liberals argue in the name of individual rights and freedom of choice rather than solidarity, right?|yes

?Libertarians also argue in the name of individual rights, mainly in economic areas. True?|yes

?Egalitarian liberals and libertarians have what as the source of moral obligations?|ourselves

?Does Sandel think this vision is flawed?|yes

?Does Sandel think that principles of justice can be “neutral among competing conceptions of the good life”?(220).|no

Claims of Community

?”The weakness of the liberal conception of ____________ is bound up with its appeal. If we understand ourselves as free and independent selves, unbound by moral ties we haven’t chosen, we can’t make sense of a range of moral and political obligations that we commonly recognize, even prize” (220).|freedom

?What obligations are they?|solidarity and loyalty, historic memory and religious faith

?Do these obligations arise from communities and traditions that shape our identity?|yes

?If we are encumbered selves, are our moral claims willed?|no

?Sandel is a critic of the unencumbered self, right?|yes

?Do communitarians reason about justice by abstracting from our aims and attachements?|no

?Who are the critics of today’s liberalism?|communitarians

“How is it possible to acknowledge the moral weight of community while still giving scope to human freedom? If the voluntarist conception of the person is too spare – if all our obligations are not the product of our will – then how can we see ourselves as situated and yet free” (221)?

Storytelling beings

?Who offers the answer to this question?|Alasdair MacIntyre

?MacIntyre doesn’t offer a voluntarist conception but what?|narrative

?Do lived narratives have teleological aspects?|yes

?Is the telos fixed?|no

?For MacIntyre, moral deliberation is isn’t about exerting the will, but what?|interpreting the life story

?MacIntyre and Aristotle have the narrative and telos aspects of moral reflection bound up with what?|membership and belonging

?Does MacIntyre think that the self “is detachable from its social and historical roles and statuses”?|no

?Using this reasoning, a modern day German or modern day white American would have to share collective responsibility for past atrocities, right?|yes

“MacIntyre’s narrative conception of the person offers a clear contrast with the voluntarist conception of persons as freely choosing, unencumbered selves. How can we decide between the two? We might ask ourselves which better captures the experience of moral deliberation, but that is a hard question to answer in the abstract. Another way of assessing the two views is to ask which offers a more convincing account of moral and political obligation. Are we bound by some moral ties we haven’t chosen and that can’t be traced to a social contract” (223)?

Obligations beyond consent

?Would Rawls say that we are bound my obligations that can’t be traced to a social contract?|no

?Kant and Rawls don’t have an actual consent/contract for natural duties, right?|yes

?Kant uses what for basing natural duties?|autonomous will

?Rawls uses what for basing natural duties?|hypothetical social contract

?Natural duties arise without actual consent. What obligations arise from actual consent?|voluntary obligations

?If the liberal account of obligation is right, then the average citizen has no special obligation for his fellow citizens, right?|yes

?If the narrative account of obligations is right, then the average citizen has a special obligations for his fellow citizens, right?|yes

“On the narrative account, these identities are not contingencies we should set aside when deliberating about morality and justice; they are part of who we are, and so rightly bear on our moral responsibilities” (224).

So far there are 2 categories of moral responsibility for the liberal conception of morality: Natural duties (universal and don’t require consent) and Voluntary obligations (particular and require consent).

?What’s the third category of moral responsibility that a communitarian would espouse?|obligations of solidarity

?Can obligations of solidarity require an actual contract?|no

?Are obligations of solidarity particular or universal?|particular

“Their(obligations of solidarity) derives from the situated aspect of moral reflection, from a recognition that my life story is implicated in the stories of others” (225).

?Spanning both liberal and narrative account of moral obligations, what three categories of moral responsibility are there?|natural duties, voluntary obligations, and obligations of solidarity

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