Modeling Rationality, Morality, and Evolution

By Peter A. Danielson | Go to book overview

13
Moral Dualism

David Schmidtz


1. The Formal Structure of a Moral Theory

When I teach Introductory Ethics, I spend several weeks on deontology and utilitarianism. Then I ask students to evaluate the two theories and every year a few of them say the truth is a little bit of both. A little bit of "rightness is determined solely by consequences" and a little bit of "consequences have nothing to do with it." I used to get exasperated. Now I think my students are right, and I have been trying to develop a theory that reflects my students' intuitions in a coherent way. What follows is a progress report.

My approach to moral theory begins by borrowing from H. L. A. Hart. Hart's legal theory distinguishes between primary and secondary legal rules ( 1961, pp. 89-93). Primary rules comprise what we normally think of as the law. They define our legal rights and obligations. We use secondary rules, especially rules of recognition, to determine what the law is. For example, among the primary rules in my neighbourhood is a law saying the speed limit is thirty miles per hour. The secondary rule by which we recognize the speed limit is: read the signs. Exceeding speed limits is illegal, but there is no further law obliging us to read signs that post the speed limit. So long as I stay within the speed limit, the police do not worry about whether I read the signs. In reading the signs, we follow a secondary rule, not a primary rule.

We can think of moral theories in a similar way. 1 For example, utilitarianism's recognition rule is the principle of utility: X is moral if and only if X maximizes utility. As it stands, the principle defines a family of moral theories rather than any particular member thereof. The different flavours of utilitarianism are produced by replacing X with a specific subject matter. Act-utilitarianism applies the principle of utility to actions themselves. Act-utilitarianism's fully specified recognition rule -- an act is moral if and only if it maximizes utility -- then translates directly into act-utilitarianism's single rule of conduct: maximize utility. Rule-utilitarianism applies the principle of utility to sets of action-guiding rules. The resulting recognition rule states that an action guide is moral if and only if following it has more utility than

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Modeling Rationality, Morality, and Evolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Series Editors ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Contributors ix
  • 1: Introduction 3
  • References 9
  • Rationality 11
  • 2: Rationality and Rules 13
  • Notes 34
  • 3: Intention and Deliberation 41
  • References 54
  • 4: Following Through with One's Plans: Reply to David Gauthier 55
  • Notes 64
  • Notes 65
  • 5: How Braess' Paradox Solves Newcomb's Problem 67
  • Notes 86
  • 6: Economics of the Prisoner's Dilemma: A Background 92
  • Notes 111
  • Notes 115
  • 7: Modeling Rationality: A Normative or Descriptive Task? 119
  • References 132
  • Modeling Social Interaction 135
  • 8: Theorem 1 137
  • References 158
  • 9: The Failure of Success: Intrafamilial Exploitation in the Prisoner's Dilemma 161
  • References 184
  • 10: Transforming Social Dilemmas: Group Identity and Co-Operation 185
  • Conclusion 206
  • Acknowledgments 207
  • Notes 207
  • Notes 208
  • 11: Beliefs and Co-Operation 210
  • References 234
  • 12: The Neural Representation of the Social World 236
  • References 253
  • Morality 255
  • 13: Moral Dualism 257
  • Notes 278
  • Notes 281
  • 14: Categorically Rational Preferences and the Structure of Morality 282
  • Notes 301
  • References 301
  • 15: Why We Need a Moral Equilibrium Theory 302
  • Notes 330
  • Notes 338
  • 16: Morality's Last Chance 340
  • Notes 371
  • Notes 374
  • Evolution 377
  • 17: Mutual Aid: Darwin Meets the Logic of Decision 379
  • Notes 403
  • Notes 404
  • 18: Three Differences Between Deliberation and Evolution 408
  • Notes 420
  • Notes 421
  • 19: Evolutionary Models of Co-Operative Mechanisms: Artificial Morality and Genetic Programming 423
  • Acknowledgments 439
  • Notes 439
  • Notes 441
  • 20: Norms as Emergent Properties of Adaptive Learning: The Case of Economic Routines 442
  • Notes 459
  • Notes 461
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