Thursday, December 28, 2006

GRIFFIN: 3 well-being and morality/4 Ethical push and pull

Ethical push and pull do not meet necessarily: further arguments:

Though living a life of point and weight and of conformity to values generally may be seen as prudential values, it is hard to see how their value, purely prudentially, could be greater than a good life itself – if it came to the terribly hard choice between morality and survival. Moral reasons and practical reasons overall might outweigh prudential ones in such a case, but identifiably prudential ones still would be in conflict with them” [What makes these reasons identifiably prudential?]

It is not that death could never be better than dishonour, but rather that it is hard any longer to see the relevant notion of dishonour solely under the heading of prudence – it has to be something lesss hedged in than that.” 160-161

[But Griffin is conscious of the difficulty:]

This does, however, call for some qualification. Since morality penetrates prudence, so making the prudence/morality dualism hard to maintain, my talk about 'identifiably prudential reasons is not entirely satisfactory; prudential reason run, without boundary, into moral ones” (161)

GRIFFIN: 3 well-being and morality/3

Griffin's idea of the relation between morality and prudence is complicated. He wants to allow both the existence of a sense in which lives can be said to be good which is prior to the moral sense and the "penetration of the prudential by the moral", namely the fact that being virtous or acting morally can be intrinsically prudentially valuable; in addition to this a deflationist view about "dualism of practical reason". I believe that it is very difficult to come up with a coherent notion of well-being, compatible with these ideas.

The penetration of the prudential by the moral. (p. 131)


What I have in mind is this. One has not got a specification of the prudential at all without a pretty full account of what moral demands there are on us and how they are to be accommodated. Prudential value does not stop at the edges of an individual’s own private life. Some persons may see their self-interest in a narrow, crabbed way. But anyone with a defensible idea of prudential values can see what he cares about not just as what as a matter of fact he now cares about, but as what he ought to care about or what he will care about after subjecting his concerns to full deliberations. He will find it hard, therefore, to keep moral and prudential values apart. One of the things he will want is a life of point and substance. What he will see as prudentially valuable, valuable to his own personal life, will to some extent coincide with what he will see as valuable morally. Our understanding of ‘a good life’ cannot be parcelled into ‘good prudentially’ and ‘good morally’. The very phrase ‘ a good life’ may seem ambiguous (good prudentially? good morally?), but at any deep level there are not two senses to be distinguished. Part of having a life of point and substance is having a life in which moral reasons take their place, along with other practical reasons, in motivation.” (131)

[He endorses this for the sake of the argument. Apparently this conception seems to be rejected by those other arguments. But he does not appeal to the previous arguments. Rather, Griffin endorses this claim for the sake of the argument, and shows that even if it is true, in this way one cannot attempt to reduce morality to prudence, since prudence is already defined in moral terms.].


“And since we want to live a life of value or weight, we have to decide what a valuable life is. This is a point, among many others, at which prudence and morality will not stay apart. A valuable life, in the sense that we are now trying to understand, cannot just be a life filled with prudential values conceived in fairly narrow self-interested terms. A valuable life, in the sense we are after, consists importantly in doing things with one's life that are themselves of sufficiently substantial value to turn back on the life itself and make it valuable. And we cannot see what we do in those necessary terms if we have no regard for, or if we damage, values generally, including the value of other persons' lives.[...] Prudence cannot be kept in narrow confines. What is prudentially valuable must, at various points, spread out into areas that do not look like a part of prudence at all. The boundary defining prudence cannot, along this frontier, really be fixed.” (156-157)

Thus, Sigdwick's dualism of practical reason has to be rejected:


“Furthermore, the penetration of prudence by morality, in particular that it penetrates it in a way that shifts serious deliberation on to the level of abstraction where the categories 'prudential' and 'moral' are left behind, makes dualism an unlikely model for their relation. This is not to say that ethical push and ethical pull eventually meet; so far as I can see it points to the opposite conclusion.” 160

Why does Griffin thinks that the rejection of dualism does not favor the idea that ethical push and pull eventually meet? Here is what he writes.

Griffin also makes a point that is anaologous to the one made by Scanlon in “what we owe...”, about the idea that there is type of deliberation in which reasons of prudence are evaluated together with reasons of morality.


But the most important point to make about the putative dualism of practical reason is that deliberation of a sufficiently global scope is not conducted in terms of ‘prudence’, ‘self-interest’, or ‘flourishing’ on the one side and ‘morality’ on the other. It is conducted in terms of strength of practical reasons. […] It is to say that values, neither expressly prudential nor expressly moral but values taken at a higher level of abstraction, are what we appeal to: the notion f what , all things considered, is worth our concern. Just as when with prudential values we deliberate not by appeal to any one substantive prudential value but to the notion of prudential value itself [when is it the case that we do this?], here too we step up another rung in the ladder of abstraction. There is nothing mysterious or suspect about this step; it is one more of the same sort that we have continually taken in deliberation.” (161)

The big difference between this view and the view argued by Scanlon is that Griffin thinks that the above described type of practical deliberation, which may be called "deliberation about the kind of life one should live" represents the next "step up" "in the ladder of abstraction", after one in which "with prudential values we deliberate not by appeal to any one substantive prudential value but to the notion of prudential value itself". Scanlon, on the contrary, argues there is no level of deliberation in which we appeal to the notion of prudential value itself, rather than to any one substantive prudential value.
Also Griffin seems almost to contradict himself, when he writes that "
the most important point to make about the putative dualism of practical reason is that deliberation of a sufficiently global scope is not conducted in terms of ‘prudence’, ‘self-interest’, or ‘flourishing’ on the one side and ‘morality’ on the other. It is conducted in terms of strength of practical reasons." If this is true, how can he hold that there is a level in which we deliberate "by appeal to any one substantive prudential value but to the notion of prudential value itself" ? I think that Scanlon's argues his view much more convincingly than Griffin.

GRIFFIN: 3 well-being and morality/2

The question is:

do ethical push and ethical pull eventually meet?”

this “meeting” is interpreted in terms of “moral reasons [being] generated out of prudential ones” ("if you behave well - morally speaking - is always going to be good for you”)

Griffin allows that:

  • Moral reasons do trump purely prudential reasons.



that does not mean [...] that moral reasons are generated out of prudential ones. It shows only that once our various reasons for action – prudence, morality, etiquette, and the rest – are brought together in a single hierarchy of reasons for action, moral reasons come out on top. But we want to know something different. When we organize the various things that make an individual life better into a hierarchy of prudential values, does morality then come out on top? Does it, in cases of conflict, trump, perhaps even extinguish all other prudential values?” (68-69) [This is identified with the idea of McDowell about prudential value. Griffin here follows the Foot/Hosthouse line rather than the McDowellian one.]

“So the strong argument we need, which indeed many will make, runs something like this. There is no coherent concept of good in conflict with right; right is prior to good; good has sense only within limits laid down by right. Therefore, it would make no sense to say that morality required a sacrifice of good. Suppose I come upon several children trapped in a blazing building. Suppose, too, I ought to try and save them (for whatever reason are strong enough to create an obligation: it is one life against many; I am risking fewer years than they have ahead of them; I am responsible for them.) [This is starting with a bad example. We do not know enough about the life of the person who is supposed to make the decision. Suppose you were studying a molecule that would provide a vaccination for AIDS. Or suppose you had children to care, etc... We could question whether you have, after all, most reason to do is to save the trapped children.] I might reason: I could well die in the attempt; my life – if I funk doing what I ought – would still be a lot better than no life at all; by funking it I would, of course, suffer terrible guilt and remorse, but I would eventually face up to them and go on living what altogether would be a good life. But this strong claim means that I cannot intelligibly reason like this. The moral failure would make it impossible for it to be a good life; it could not be a better life than one without the moral failure. It could not, no matter how small the moral failure, and how great the disaster to me. [How small the moral failure is a rethorical device. An act which can be called “a small moral failure” in terms of conventional morality may turn out to be no moral failure at all when seen in the light of the right moral theory. For example, I may be poor and steal a drug to save my life. This is a moral failure in conventional terms, but it may not be a moral failure in the stronger sense of “moral” for which it is sensible to say that moral reasons “come up on top”.] It is an extravagant claim, and one that again, I think, rests on a confusion. We need to split the notion of 'a good life' into two. There is a sense in which moral failure, being a failure to act for the best reasons, is a falling off from an ideal – and not just in the trivial circular sense that it is not the most moral or most rational life.[ What it means is that it is among the things that count in a good life.] It is not the finest life: the life one would hope to lead. But there is another conception of a good life, a life one would hope to lead. It is the sense that appears in judgments such as that it is better to be moral and alive than to be moral and thereby lose one's life, or that it is sometimes better to fail morally and stay alive than not to fail and thereby lose one's life. [Here I shall ask: better from which point of view? Are such claims really typical, ones whose meaning I am supposed to recognize? Are they really uttered? And does the concept of “moral” in question refer to conventional morality, or to what is truly moral and therefore ought to trump other concerns?] And it is this second conception that should be the base for judgments of well-being in moral theory. [But I find there is more than one sense in which a life can be meant to be better, when it contains a moral failure, than another. Example: it contains more subjective states of happiness, it contains more accomplishments, etc… Why shall we suppose that there is only one conception of what it means for a life to go well, apart from moral considerations?] This is not at all paradoxical. We want as the base for at least some moral judgment consideration of quality of life that are restricted to the prudential values on my list. [who is “we”. Why should we want this?] And being moral enters that list only in a limited way: only by being part of what it is to be at peace with one’s neighbour and with oneself. This sort of peace is a prudential value, and when morality enters consideration under that heading it takes on prudential weight. But as a purely moral consideration, not subsumable under one of these headings, it has no prudential weight. We do not want to lose this prudential notion of a good life by merging it altogether with morality. [Why?] And we do not for reasons of moral theory: it needs the notion.” (69)[Is this supposed to be a constraining assumptions? If yes, it puts the argument on weak grounds. One could claim that morality does not need the notion. (E.g. Scanlon.)]

[Also: This shows that Griffin's conception of well-being as a particular sense of goodness invokes the self-sacrifice constraint: the concept of self-sacrifice must be coherent]

GRIFFIN: 3 well-being and morality/1

When Griffin wants to show the difference between the concept of well-being and other senses in which a life can be said to become good or go well, he often talks about the peculiar type of independence that obtains between well-being evaluations and moral evaluations.

This is note 38 at p. 38 of ch. II. In this note, Griffin is explaining why he can endorse a restricted version of the interest theory of value. What Griffin has troubles showing, here and in other passages dedicated to the distinction between the rational and the moral life, and prudential value, is that there is "a conception of a valuable life independent of, not subordinate to, right".

“I have followed the utilitarian assumption – actually is far more widespread – that we have a notion of good or valuable independent of our notion of what it is right or wrong to do. […] But there is a tradition that holds that good has status only in the context of a theory of right, or that the concept of right is prior to the concept of good. […] But the desire account qualifies the independence of good and right in certain ways. One thing that people with mature values take as an aim is acting morally. Ethical push comes to incorporate much of ethical pull. Moreover, when a person faces a conflict between his own interest and his moral obligation, the latter wins: moral reasons trump prudential reasons. But there still remains a conception of a valuable life independent of, not subordinate to, right.[What is the argument for this claim? Does the next sentence explain or justify it?] That immoral desires make no claim on fulfilment, that they have no authority in determining action, which seems to be the nerve of Rawls claim, does not mean that they cannot make one better off. [Apparently the synonimity between "being better off” and having well-being or a prudentially valuable life is assumed.
If this is right, the sentence with which Griffin distances himself from Rawls' position can be translated into the following claim: immoral desires have no authority in determining action, but they are relevant in terms of well-being. So Rawls' conclusion is resisted by arguing that even if the good - conceived in action guiding terms - is subordinate to right - this yet does not show that a different concept of value, which is not value in the action guiding sense, value as it is expressed in well-being evaluations, cannot exist when it opposes morality. Against this: if well-being is defined as prudential value, then, how is it possible for it not to be action guiding? After all the concept of prudence is related to action. It must be shown that some values can be acting guiding in a different sense from the sense in which morality is action guiding. But Griffin does not want to identify this difference with the difference between acting rationally and acting morally, since he, like McDowell, conceives the boundaries of rationality to be broad enough as to include receptivity to moral reasons (see here, esp . 20 and 21). So the difference he appeal to must be one between two recognizibly different ways of being guided by values, namely having goals of well-being, on one side, and living the most reasonable life, which includes obedience to moral reasons. Griffin holds that the objectives set by these two maxims can coincide, but do not necessarily:
[this is still endnote 38] And I doubt whether even an ideal person, whose values are perfectly developed, will find that ethical push and ethical pull entirely coincide. [This is also no argument.] But certainly with the mass of humanity they do not. [Most people's interests and subjective characteristics are such that, for them, doing what is best - morally speaking - and doing what will increase their well-being most represent two different courses of action. (So this is an appeal to principle M.)
This may seem obvious. It would be obvious if well-being were considered a function of people's actual desires. But it is not at all obvious that things should be so, if we start from Griffin's idea according to which well-being is a function of "rational" or "informed" desires, desires had in idealized conditions.]
In thinking about others (say the inept sadist who can rise to no richer life), we might well decide that their welfare is greater for their acting wrongly. [What ground this assertion? It is not plain common sense, in so far as we are talking about welfare, and welfare is not a folk term. Maybe Griffin is claiming that when we think about the sadist fulfilling some of his desires, we may agree that the fulfillment of some of those desires makes the sadist life better in some sense. Clearly, there can be many senses in which a sadist life can be made better by the fulfillment of immoral desires. The sadist life can go better in experiential terms, meaning that it would contain more rather than less desirable experiential mental states. It can become better in material terms, etc... But how are we supposed to know in what sense Griffin means the life of the sadist life goes "better", when he opposes this sense to better in moral terms? Griffin needs to prove that there is a sense in which the sadist's life goes better by acting wrongly, which is more general than material conditions or pleasure, and less general than the concept of valuable life as it appears in this post (quote 19), that is, as a notion of choiceworthiness. ] Similarly, in thinking about our own lives, we may decide that, though we have no sufficient reason to act immorally, it would increase our well-being to do so. END OF ENDNOTE 38
For a rielaboration of those arguments, see also this post and this post.

Griffin: TASTE

I have tasted both apples and pears. I like both but prefer pears. How do we expalin my attaching more value to having a pear? The only relevant desirability feature is that they taste good. [“tasting good” is invoked still as a value in the objective sense.] However, it is not a plausible explanation of tasting better that I perceive that pears possess this desirability features to a greater degree than apples. We need to explain my liking pears more in terms of my wanting them more. [...] [This is only a statement, not an argument. The argument comes next:] We have no reason to expect, with many tastes, that differences in valuing shows that there is any lack of perfection of understanding. My preference for pears is not open to criticism...” (28)

[ But why should we believe this? Suppose that the only reason why I prefer pears is that they unconsciously remind me the male genital organ... And suppose that nonetheless pears do not taste better, nor is the experience of eating pears is not made any more pleasurable by this unconscious aspect it has. Why should not this preference be revisable?]

Griffin: The distinction between subjective and and objective elements of well-being


Some philosophers treat the distinction between objective and subjective as if it marked a crucial distinction between accounts of well-being. They do, because they attach great importance to whether or not well-being is made to depend upon an individual's desires, tastes, feelings, or attitudes. But, as we just saw in the last section, the dependence of prudential value on desires is much less simple, less a matter of all or nothing, than they assume. The best account of 'utility' makes it depend on some desires and no on others.” 33.

Griffin's idea is that different attitudes are appropriate to different sorts of objects, so that different ways of criticizing desires are appropriate with respect to different types of desires.

He quotes 4 different sorts of cases:

Case 1. involves personal tastes. E.g. “apples and pears

Case 2. involves “discovering a valuable thing”, which is based upon pre-existent motivations that are “features of human nature”. E.g. Company.

Case 3. “preference based upon understanding” involves “discovering a value” like in 2, but here understanding of the thing values plays a major role. E.g Freud preferring thinking clearly to pleasure.

Case 4. “discovering a value” such as “accomplishing something with one's life” when this involves a radical shift of perspective.

Case 1 and 2 involve what Scanlon calls “subjective conditions.” Griffin thinks that in 1. ( taste case) mere preferences or desires affect well-being directly.

Griffin: 2. Distinction between prudential value and perfectionist values


The good, almost unavoidable, point in perfectionism is this. There are prudential values that are valuable in any life. There are not enough of them, nor is a specific balance between nthem prescribable universally enough, to constitute a form of life. They are the values on the list of the ends of life.” (70)



Persons differ not so much in basic values as in their capacity to realize them. Some basic values (e.g. enjoyment) depend in part on persons’ individual, varying tastes, [Notice: an aspect of subjective variability is introduced via the concept of taste] but not many depend on taste.[…] This is the unavoidable form of prudential perfectionism.” (70)

[Now we shall ask: what distinguishes perfectinism pure from prudential evaluation, apart from the inclusion in prudential evaluations of matters of taste? What makes an objective account of well-being prudential as opposed to a theory of the good life in a perfectionist sense?]


To get an account of well-being that would be of use in moral theory we have to move beyond forms of perfectionism (even my modest one) and on to what is valuable to the particular person affected in each case we judge. For special reasons about Jessica, autonomy might not be the thing for her to go for. For Nicholas, totally absorbed in his work, with no taste for day-to-day pleasures, enjoyment may count for little and accomplishments for a lot. For Edward, risk stimulates; for Sarah, it is off-putting. [In Jessica’s, Edward’s and Sarah’s case, the sort of subjectivity in question can be interpreted according to the notion of capacity to realize prudential values.] We cannot make any useful judgment about how to act so as to promote well-being without having a notion of well-being that captures these variations.” (72)

Summing up: he difference between the two type of value seems to consist in the following:

a. that prudential evaluation allows more subjective variability than perfectionist evaluation

b. that prudential evaluation includes matters of taste which are excluded from perfectionist evaluation

Griffin. How the concept of well-being is introduced: value and interest

Griffin is trying to show that there is a close connection between the concept of prudential value and the concept of interest. He shows that his theory is compatible with a weakened form of the Interest Theory of value.


“… the only form of the Interest Theory [of value] [i.e. ‘for a thing to be of value is for it to be the object of, or the satisfaction of, desire or interest.’ This is Perry.] that is plausible is one restricted to prudential value. There are two weighty doubts about it. It does not make value prior to desire […] And it does not allow the value we attach to our various ends ever to diverge from their place in the hierarchy of our informed desires, and there seem to be cases of such divergence.” 38

“So this restricted version [of the Interest Theory] seems to me right. There are, none the less, differences in tone between 'valued' and 'desired'. 'Valued' and 'valuable' are, like 'good' and 'interest', rather weighty words and do not sit altogether comfortably in cases where what one wants lacks importance. But these are minor troubles, the sort of linguistis strains that most theories involve." (38)

Griffin. How the concept of well-being is introduced. 3: Interest

The concept of well-being is sometimes considered to be analytically connected to the concept of what is in a person's interest. Griffin claims that his analysis of the meaning of well-being preserves this connection to a sufficient degree:

“The desire account has all along been designed to keep ‘utility’’ close to ‘ what is in a person’s interest’. It is not that the expression ‘fulfilling ones informed desire’ and ‘being in one’s interest’ come out meaning the same. They certainly do not mean the same in the usual sense of ‘desire’. [Moreover] I may desire Turkish delight simply through having a weakness for it, but to say that it is in my ‘interest’ applies a heavy word to an entirely light subject. None the less, these are all pretty minor differences, and the application of the two expressions is very close.” (37)
He also assumes that the concepts of good and interest are analytically connected:

"The link between ‘interest’ and ‘good’, however, is one of meaning. The word ‘good’ has associated with it ‘the condition of answering certain interests, which interests are in question being indicated either by the element modifying or the element modified by “good” or by certain features of the context of utterance’ [this is the semantic analysis of ‘good’ by Ziff , Paul, Semantic Analysis; Ithaca Cornell University Press.] [Here comes the important point:] The use of ‘good’ that we are especially concerned with is ‘good for such-and-such a person’. The relevant interests, therefore, are that person’s interests, and for something to be good is for it to satisfy those interests of his. And since utility is linked to satisfying a person’s interest, it must in the same way be linked to a person’s good." (37)

Griffin. How the concept of well-being is introduced. 2. well-being and "valuable"

GRIFFIN: well-being and valuable lives.

There are many places in which Griffin talks as if statements about what is valuable to a person and the concept of well-being could be used interchangeably:


“If a father wants his children to be happy, what he wants, what is valuable to him, is a state of the world, not a state of his mind; merely to delude him into thinking that his children flourish, therefore, does not give him what he values” (13)

“that is what gives the [present account of well-being] its breadth and attraction as a theory of what makes life valuable” (14)


“If the Experience Requirement excludes these values [accomplishments, close authentic personal relationships] from 'utility', then 'utility will have less and less to do with what these persons see as making their own lives good.” (19) “If either I could accomplish something with my life but not know it, or believe that I had but not really have, I should prefer the first. That would be, for me, for me, the more valuable life.

Finally, after the previous passage, he recognizes that there is a problem. The notion of valuable life can mean many things:

'Valuable life', of course, is full of ambiguity. It can mean a life that is valuable because of its value ot other persons. It can mean a morally valuable life, or an aesthetically valuable one, or one valuable in terms of some code, such as a code of chivalry. But my ground for preferring the first sort of life would not be any of these; I should prefer it because it would be, considered on its own, considered simply as a life I must lead [This introduces the criterion of “a life considered on its own” . I will show that it is impossible to distinguish the ground of preferring this life from a perfectionist one if not by committing oneself to a definition of what “a life considered on its own is” that entails a mental state account of well-being], a more fulfilling one. [“fulfilling” has both a perfectionist and a welfarist connotation. Griffin can be read as committing himself to the view that a valuable life, in the sense in question, is a a life that rates high in terms of perfection, when it is evaluated “on its own”. But this would be contentious for a definition: we can imagine counterexamples in which a life is made better in terms of perfection by realizing some feature, but not better prudentially." ] So it is a value that has to be found a place within the bounds of 'utility'.

So here we have a further specification of what we mean when we use the concept of well-being or prudential value. What is in question is not what makes a life valuable, or good, simpliciter, but what makes it good or valuable on its own. I expected Griffin to the intuitive idea of what is "good for the person who lives it", as Sumner and Crisp do. Griffin does this here (see 8).

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Griffin. How the concept of well-being is introduced.

A. There must be a connection between well-being evaluations and deliberation:


“our job is not to describe an idea already in existence independently of our search. Before we properly explain well-being, we have to know the context in which it is to appear and and the work it needs to do there. [...] One proper ground for choosing between conceptions of well-being would be that one lends itself to the deliberation that we must do and another does not.” (1)

The assumption that the concept of well-being can be connected to deliberative notions is reflected also in the choice of characterizing well-being and utility as prudential value. Being prudent, in fact, is an attribute of people taken as agents.

“The way to submit [a moral theory] to the test of correctness is harder to decide. [...] A good place to start on the search for standard of correctness in prudential and moral judgment is with developing as rich a substantive account of prudence and morality as one can. (I am using 'prudence' here in the philosopher's especially broad sense, in which it has to do not just with a due concern for one's future but with everything that bears on one's self-interest.)” (4)

He connects his discussion of well-being to the context of the utilitarian tradition:


“How are we to understand 'well-being'? As 'utility', say the utilitarians, aware that this technical term itself needs explaining.” (7)

So the idea is not clear. But as I shall show in the next posts, the concept of well-being is defined negatively, often by explaining the difference between moral good and prudential value:

B. Griffin recognizes there is no particular folk usage of the word "well-being" that stands for the concepts he (and utilitarians philosophy) were trying to characterize:


“Utilitarians use our rough, everyday notion of 'well-being', our notion of what it is for a single life to go well, in which morality may have a place but not the dominant one. This does not mean that our ob is merely to describe the everyday use. It is too shadowy and incomplete for that; we still have to be ready for stipulation.” (7)

James Griffin's "Well-Being"

From now on, and for a while, I shall be discussing James Griffin's theory about well-being, as exposed in his "Well-Being" (Oxford University Press, 1986.)
The leading question is about well-being's meaning: what does Griffin takes well-being to be? How does he characterize the notion? What common-sense ideas does he appeal to?

Monday, December 11, 2006

On an apparently coherent view and how to interpret it maliciously.

Academic philosophy is wonderwul. The most coherent worldview is probably going to win the competition for truth in the long run. For this, we have to thank our (philosopher's) current methodology: reflective equilibrium or something like that. (Maybe, more a sort of intuitionism, than reflective equilibrium.)

I shall now expose a very coherent view of the world which will not appear respectable in a British institution. Then, I shall argue that we shall have doubts about it and fear it; also because of its coherence.

A coherent system of philosophy:

(IN the brackets, I shall refer to what is usually taken to ground the assertion.)
1. Philosophy of Mind:
1.A what is mind?
1.A.I it consist roughly in having intentional states: belief/desires (intuitions/use)
1.A.II it consist in having consciousness (intuitios/use)
1.A.I requires: purposive behavior, or at least behavior (intuitions/philosophical analysis)
1.A.II what does requires? very difficult to say (the hard problem of consciousness) maybe creatures having 1.A.I all have some form of 1.A.II, even if this may be only a contingent truth. (intuitions/philosophical analysis)

1.A.III: what creatures have some form of mind? (intuititions; deduction with 1.A.I: coherence!)
We (humans)
Lizards (?)
Frogs (?)
Plants .... no.
Mountains, rivers... no, come on!

2. Ethical theory
2.A. What is good? Well-being. (intuitions/arguments)

2.B. What is acting right?
2.B.I It means maximizing the good. Or it is at least intimately connected with promoting the good. (within certain limits?) (intuitions)
2.B.II Hence acting right: promoting well-being/ avoiding doing harm/ (respecting well-being?)
2.B.III Respect: respect things that have well-being. Do not harm them!

2.C. What is well-being? Difficult to say.
2.C.I: necessary conditions for well-being: the subject of well-being must have a point of view. Something must be good for him (it) (intuitions)
2.C.II Having a point of view: having desires (or the capacity to have desires). My desires make something good good for me.
2.C III Having consciousness. The world that enters my consciosness becomes my world.
(having a point of view=having some form of "mind"?)
2.C.IV What creatures have well-being?
we humans (we have consciosness and desires, so we have a point of view (2.C.III and IV), so we can have well-being (2.C.I)
monkeys, delphins, dogs (?), bats (?) (they have desires, or at least consciosness, so they can have a point of view (2.C.III and IV), and they can have well-being (2.C.I)
rabbits, lizards, frogs, (?) : they behave/act. Display purposive behavior. So they have desires. Hence a point of view (2.C.III). They can have well-being (2.C.I)
plants? cannot have desires. cannot have a point of view
mountains, rivers: cannot have desires, cannot have well-being

2.B.III + 2.C. The boundaries of morality:
The boundaries of respect:
The following creatures must be respected (i.e. taken into account in our moral calculations:)
we, humans
monkeys, delphis, dogs (?), bats (?)
rabbits, lizards, frogs (??)
plants... not for their own sake.
mountains, rivers: not for their own sake.

2.D.: some historical and contingent facts: we (Europeans, cultures which adopted "western" values) recognize all humans as worthy of respect + some animals (monkeys, delphins, dogs).
We do not take plants as beings to whom moral respect is own: when we respect them, we do it for the sake of the good of some human or non - human animal.
We do not consider mountains, rivers as individual with moral rights: we can use them, unless we violate a right of a person, or cause harm to a human or non human animal.

This is coherent world view. It looks as if every piece of it is independently plausible. The normative conclusions fit wonderfully with our practices!!!

Let us try to look at it from another perspective:
The Hegelian/Wittgensteinian interpretation:
the central concept of ethics is RECOGNITION

2.D, the facts about practices are the starting point. . We, (westeners) as a matter of fact recognize other human beings, some animals, as creatures with a moral standing. We do not recognize plants, mountains or rivers. (Notice that other cultures do.)
We do not do this because of 2A, 2B and 2C. We just do it. Our phisiology, our culture, the way we grow up shape our relations with other animals, plants and natural objects. Probably a certain empathy with mammals is genetically pre-determined. But we share obvious behavioral and superficial traits with them: it could even be approved. Dogs, cuts and cows live with us, etc.... Recognize at least certain animals as creatures with a moral standing took a long way, and there are still a lot of people who do not share this view. We have established practices about how to treat other human beings and certain other animals. We have problems with intermediate cases: we have troubles dealing with embryos and severely mentally handicapped people; which is to say, we have not developed an agreeement how to deal with such cases, and our intincts and practices sometimes point to opposite directions.

We create something like 2.C+2A coherently with 2D: we shape our ethical theories to fit the intuitions we already have about who we shall respect. We formulate its principles as abstraction which sound plausible in themselves.

2A. what look like questions in the philosophy of mind are actually questions of moral and political philosophy, in the following sense. The concept of a mind is strictly connected with the concept of a point of view and the concept of a point of view is strictly connected with the concept of well-being, and intuitions about who is capable of being a well-being recipient are strictly connected to "intuitions" about who we shall respect. We ascribe minds to those creatures belonging to a class of which we respect at least some members. Hence we ascribe it to childrens even if we have no first-person reports of experience by children who are younger of 3 years old, and we ascribe it to cows because we recognize it in our dogs. We have troubles ascribing minds to plants, they do not have "behavior" in the same sense as animals do. We do not feel enough near to them. We have troubles with insects and worms.

The malicious interpretation: on coherence and truth.

Analytic philosophy, celebrated as the most respectable form of philosophy for its methodological analysis with science, prizes coherence.
But coherence has two faces. Aristotle, for example, had a coherent philosophical system in which slavery could be justified.
Coherence is a warm gun, too much of it grounds a suspicion about the truth of the system. For it looks that so much coherence cannot be a coincidence, and that it only represents a rationalization of the dominant ideas in a culture, those ideas that are rarely questioned. But being rarely questioned does not make them more true.
Coherent system of thoughts are important because they represent what we, as free thinkers, have reasons to fear, in a way.