ACC Wk 3 Virtue of Being Truthful and Integral Discussion and Replies


we will consider the increasingly elusive concept of TRUTH.

Read Kant, First Section (9-22)

Read Horner Chapter 7, Truth” (119-136), paying particular attention to Threats to Truthfulness (120-122) and “the intention to mislead” (129).

You will recall our attention to Moral Scepticism at the beginning of the course. Following that line of thinking, it’s important to be absolutely clear that DEONTOLOGICAL ETHICS stand in direct opposition to Ethical Subjectivism:

It’s time to think about some recent trends in the large scale dissemination of information. I asked you in the first week to think about the intersection of (or incompatibilities between) ethics and morals (values), ethics and law (policy), and ethics and politics (power).

In 2005 satirist Stephen Colbert coined the term “truthiness.” “Anybody can read the news to you,” he said. “I promise to feel the news at you.”—truthiness

These short clips shine a less humorous light on Colbert’s startlingly prescient ideas:

Alternative Facts:

In January 2017 Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, uses the term “alternative facts” to defend White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s inaccurate statement about the attendance numbers at Donald Trump’s inauguration as President of the United States.

Note how, in the construction of an alternative fact, data  and evidence are sidelined in favor of emotional appeals intended to influence public opinion. Watch Conway’s moment-to-moment strategies: how does she, step by step, respond with emotion to Chuck Todd’s attempt to focus on facts? How does she use emotional tactics to cast herself as the “good” (and therefore reliable, trustworthy) person and Todd as the “bad” (and therefore unreliable, untrustworthy) person? What are her maneuvers to shut Todd down?

Fake News:

In February 2017 President Trump advances the idea of the alternative fact into the much broader, much more sweeping idea of fake news:

View “Trump calls the media ‘the enemy of the American people’” Washington Post

Notice how the President uses many of the same strategies that Kellyanne Conway uses, and uses his personal status to reinforce his emotional appeals. This concept of fake news has taken root within the news media, and the term is often misused.

Brian Stelter of CNN attempts a rational definition of the term:

The construction of alternative facts and the dismissal of major news sources as fake news depend on the use of rhetorical strategies known LOGICAL FALLACIES–arguments in which conclusions do not follow logically from the evidence which preceded them. What is important about logical fallacies is that, by eschewing logic, they remove the argument from the ethical arena. Deontological ethics are based on the importance of truth. Truth, in turn, is based on the understanding that we share a common reality. We live in the same world.

The internet is full of such items, but you might find this assessment of the President’s use of logical fallacies interesting:

“Analyzing Trump: 15 Logical Fallacies in 3 Minutes” Teach Argument


We are all aware of the catastrophic Cambridge Analitica disinformation campaign. We will return to Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook when we think about Security. Meanwhile, you might find this fascinating. I do.

“The 7 Commandments of Fake News” NYT Opinion


Read Kant Second Section (23-57)

Re-read Horner, Chapter 7 “Truth”(119-136), paying particular attention to The Supreme Principle of Morality (124-130).

  • Obligation is at the center of ethical judgment, and the catalyst for ethical action (119).
  • Duty is deeply embedded in human relationships (122).
  • Predicting consequences is a fundamental problem: “We can never know certainly that an action or policy is right or wrong by reference to expected consequences” (124).
  • We must reject happiness in favor of duty (125).
  • A good will (126)
  • Universalizability, Humanity, perfect and imperfect duties (128)
  • Moral character is based on a disposition toward dutifulness (130)

This is a lively and accessible assessment of Kantian ethics:

“Kant and Categorical Imperatives: Crash Course Philosophy #35” Crash Course

DISCUSSION 5: TRUTH. Write 2 developed paragraphs applying the CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE and its principles of HUMANITY and UNIVERSALIZABILITY to the question you chose to answer in DISCUSSION 1. Would your answer to the question be different now that you are acquainted with deontological ethics? Why? Respond to 2 other posts.

Here’s the first post:The question I answered in week 1 was “You have persuasive evidence that your best friend’s boyfriend is cheating on her. Do you tell her? Why? Why not?.” My answer to that question was yes I would tell my friend. Categorical imperatives are in effect a set of moral laws all people must follow. In my subjective opinion, I would agree that in a sense telling your friend the truth in this specific context should be a universal moral law. I answered yes to this question because on the maxim or reason of the fact that if I were in that situation I would want someone to do the same thing for me. This correlates directly to the concept of universalizability, I believe that in every case where a person is being harmed or misled due to a lack of information the person deserves to know the truth regardless of the outcome. In order to tell someone a hard truth, you must consider the concept of humanity where you see the person as deserving equal respect and consideration and because of that, you must do the right thing even if that thing brings them harm. In order to treat people with moral respect, you must recognize the humanity in doing what you believe is morally right. I mention what you believe is morally right because I disagree with Kant’s logic however in this specific situation I could argue in favor of deontological ethics because I can hardly see a situation where lying to your friend about their relationship is respectful to them, lying in this situation does seem to be inhumane and unjust. However, there are always exceptions to the rule. The one part of Kant’s theory I do agree with is the aspect of humanity and that people deserve to be treated fair and equally in the sense that we should consider other people’s wants, needs, and feelings and that treating them in a way that is moral according to Kant inherently implies that I see them as human as I am and deserving of the treatment I would expect from others. After studying deontological ethics my answer to the question remains the same. I am acting on the maxim or reason for telling my friend is in fact based on the way I want to be treated which is in alignment with deontological ethics. In my opinion that should be a universal law, however, that is my subjective opinion on what is right and what is wrong. There may be circumstances where a person does not tell their friend their boyfriend is cheating on them perhaps because he has cheated multiple times in the past and she has forgiven him, it is already a toxic relationship, and knowing this information and having it come from you will only strain the friendship, and where a person does not want to be the one to deliver the bad news. Kant believes that we all have a duty to ourselves and to others to act morally and that any action we perform should be applied to everyone at all times. I apologize for not being more specific in my response to why my answer is the same but at this point, it just happens to align with Kant’s beliefs although I fundamentally disagree with Kant’s assessment of morality and believe it is extremely rigid and unrealistic. I will now critique Kant’s philosophy which I wasn’t asked to do in the question but it still feels extremely relevant. In this specific case of the question, I answered, the premise for his argument on categorical imperatives is something I agree with but I do not agree that every action every person takes in every context should always be in alignment with the fact that that action should become a universal law that everyone should follow. So no my answer does not change based on deontological ethics but I object to the Kant’s premise and if I chose to answer another question that was more morally controversial and I said yes because doing the morally wrong thing in certain circumstances is justified my answer would still be the same. My answer would be the same because I do not think expecting everyone to act based on the premise of universalizability is rational or probable. it also is problematic in the sense that the intention of building your own moral character is more important than the consequences on others. This premise seems genuinely selfish, lacks empathy, and lacks any sort of nuance. It’s unrealistic and suggests that Kant alone has solved the problem of immorality in society by suggesting everyone acts the same way all the time regardless of consequences it’s just completely absurd. I get the concept of treating people how you want to be treated but everyone has different maxims or reasons for doing things, morals, and values which need to be taken into consideration. If my friend asks me if I like her new dress that she is excited about but it is not really my style I will tell her I love it because it makes her happy. I would argue that a white lie doesn’t make me immoral or lacking in moral character it exhibits empathy which Kant appears to lack. Not every action should be applied universally context absolutely matters and you should consider the consequences of your actions not just what Kant states is morally correct. I personally found it difficult to answer this question because I do not know how to analyze my response to a premise that is so fundamentally flawed.   

Here’s the second post:According to Kant’s categorical imperative, we are required to act in a certain why, regardless of the consequences. It perfectly describes deontological ethics because we are focusing on the action instead of the consequences of said action. The principles of humanity state that we must not use people are means to an end. That we must respect them as we wish they would respect us. The universalizability principle states that whatever action one decides to take must be able to be practice by everyone else. Both principles are set out to create a fair, balanced and almost kind world. The problem with Kant is there is very little wiggle room when it comes to imperatives. They must be followed and there is rarely any justification as to why they cannot. I chose to answer question 2 which was what would I do if I have evidence that my friend’s boyfriend was cheating on her. My answer to the question wouldn’t change, I would tell her anyway because she is my friend. After reading about Kant and deontological ethics, I feel like my answer closely aligns with his thought process. I chose to tell her because I see her as a human being and respect her enough to know that she should know the truth. I would expect her to do the same thing if the situation was reversed. By omitting the fact that I know this information, I am lying to her. According to Kant, lying is morally wrong and under no justification, can we lie. In this case, I would have no other option but to tell the truth. If I chose to lie, that sets an example that it is okay for everyone can lie. That’s something that would be against what Kant set out to enforce. 

ACC Wk 3 Virtue of Being Truthful and Integral Discussion and Replies

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ACC Wk 3 Virtue of Being Truthful and Integral Discussion and Replies


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ACC Wk 3 Virtue of Being Truthful and Integral Discussion and Replies