[SydPhil] MQ Philosophy Seminar: Paul Formosa (MQ)

Rachael Brown rachael.brown at mq.edu.au
Thu Nov 5 15:46:45 AEDT 2015

Please note the following upcoming event as part of the Macquarie
University Philosophy Work in Progress Seminar Series:
A Kantian Ethics of Consistency vs. a Kantian Ethics of Dignity

Paul Formosa (Macquarie)

Date: Tuesday, 10th November
Time: 13:00 - 14:00
Venue: W6A, Rm 107

In this paper I will look at Kant’s Formula of Universal Law and Formula of
the Law of Nature. I will argue that both of these formulas generate
important false-positives and false-negatives, and that they do so since
they embody what I call an ethics of consistency. The moral focus of these
formulas is on whether everyone could consistently act in the way that you
do. This moral focus generates problem cases that can’t be avoided. In
contrast I argue that Kant’s Formula of Humanity avoids these problem
cases, and it avoids them because it embodies an ethics of dignity. The
moral focus of this formula is on ensuring that each person is properly
deferred to by being treated firstly and always as a rational being who can
decide how he or she will act on the basis of reasoned deliberation.
Finally, I briefly consider the much debated issue of whether the various
formulations of the Categorical Imperative are equivalent. By identifying
two different conceptions of universalisability present in the different
formulations, I argue that they are not equivalent.

Contact: Rachael Brown (rachael.brown at mq.edu.au), Adam Hochman (
adam.hochman at mq.edu.au) or Mike Olson (michael.olson at mq.edu.au)

A google calendar with details of other events in this series is available
for viewing and subscription by following this link:


17 Nov: Robert Sinnerbrink (MQ)

24 Nov: Michael Devitt (CUNY)
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