[SydPhil] MQ Work in Progress Seminar, Toshiro Osawa, Tue Oct 23, 1-2pm, W3A Blackshield

Karola Stotz karola.stotz at gmail.com
Sun Oct 21 11:30:21 AEDT 2018

*Why Conscience Can Be Mistaken: Baumgarten contra Kant*

*Toshiro Osawa*

When: Tues Oct 23, 1-2 pm

Where: Blackshield Room

This paper examines the validity of Kant’s claim that conscience cannot be
mistaken (and that there is no duty to have conscience) by assessing the
opposite claim by Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten, Kant’s direct predecessor,
against which Kant structures his argument. Behind Kant’s claim is his
assumption that a rational being immediately and spontaneously knows
whether an action she intends to undertake is good or bad and that this
knowledge is infallible. But how can this argument be defended, if we
consider cases where, for example, people seem to have no conflict of
conscience when recommending us to live in Tokyo located roughly 250
kilometres (about the same distance between Sydney and Canberra) away from
Fukushima, the site of the nuclear disaster? In this paper, I argue for
Baumgarten’s claim about an erring conscience and contend that we must
develop our acute awareness of unwelcome situations where it is our duty to
have conscience, precisely because conscience is prone to mistakes. I also
argue that a person must have the knowledge, even the faintest, of the
consequence(s) of an action that she intends to undertake to have any
conscience at all.
Karola Stotz
Senior Lecturer, TWCF Fellow
Philosophy Department
Macquarie University
karola.stotz at mq.edu.au

[image: Macquarie University] <http://mq.edu.au/>

Honorary Associate
Unit for History and Philosophy of Science
University of Sydney
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