Let’s start with the terms of normative moral evaluation (W03 Slide #8). Not sure if you noticed but for right and wrong, only blameworthiness is involved. Praiseworthiness is not mentioned at all. Praiseworthiness only comes up in the next category of Supererogation. This should alert you to an important feature (and it’s commonsense) too of morality—the whole point is to escape blame. When we do our duty we are doing what’s required, that’s all. Praise is an extra. So the answer to:

So for Morally Right, if X is required would you then be praiseworthy for doing it?

Is “no”.

wouldnt morally good things that is just permissible and not praiseworthy just something which doesnt fall into the moral sphere? so in a sense its not moral in that it has no moral implications

but if you say something is morally right, does that not mean most of the time it is required because it is kind of expected of you to do it? for the action being permissible, is it not another thing separate from moral evaluation?

Ah, but if you do something permissible it, you don’t deserve blame. And if it’s something that’s required and you don’t do it, you do deserve blame. Both connections are surely under the purview of the moral sphere.

How about the possiblity that X is morally bad and required?

What about rock/hard place situations? Are you both blameworthy if you choose to pull the lever (e.g. in trolley problem), or also blameworthy via inaction?

can something be morally right and but bad?

What these questions are ultimately asking is whether genuine moral dilemmas are possible. Could it be that our true duties can come into conflict in a circumstance such that it’s impossible to escape blame? (Note that we are talking about our true duties. Some dilemmas are only apparent and due to our own ignorance of morality or lack of sufficient information.) The jury is out on this one—philosophers continue to debate this. Some think the answer is “no”. Under Consequentialism, for instance, genuine dilemmas are impossible. While intuitively Deontological theories accommodate dilemmas more readily, many Deontologists resist as well—Kant, for instance, doesn’t think that a genuine moral dilemma is possible under an adequate moral theory (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-dilemmas/).

What if one have wrong belief and do a thing that he thinks it is required but actually not necessary? Should we praise him for that?

What if someone violates your categorical norm [note: I’m taking this to mean “norms I hold to be the true ones”] but not theirs? Do you hold them morally responsible?

Is an individual ‘free’ from moral responsibility if their action clashes with the theories? Since it cannot be exactly evaluated.

First and foremost, if he merely did what’s required, can we please don’t be so “low standards” and praise him? He doesn’t deserve that.

More generally, the terms of appraisal are about the deserved reactions given actions under true morality. Whatever the person did and whatever his beliefs, he genuinely deserves will be determined by what the true moral duties are. This doesn’t mean that you or I will, as a matter of fact, give him the appropriate reactions—since we could be just as deluded. So, in answer to the second question–surely you would hold them morally responsible, since as far as you are concerned, they violated what you hold to be the true norms. Whether you really should will depend not on what you believe, but on the actual truth.

Always be careful to distinguish two layers to the issue here.

There’s the layer of what we (you, or I, or us) believe—which will generally determine how we behave, etc. If you believe that X has a duty to do Y, then, presumably, you would blame X for not doing X if you knew about his not doing Y. There’s the layer of what the connections are between key concepts. Here, if X (really) has a duty to do Y, then X deserves to be blamed for not doing Y. Nothing here about what you or I happened to believe.

More generally, don’t confuse talking about things with talking about our beliefs about things. When we talk about things (rather than our beliefs about things), obviously, we can only do so given our beliefs. And our beliefs may even be false. But the point remains—we are talking about things, we aren’t talking about us and our beliefs.

It’s not that we are never interested in what people believe, by the way. This is also why the following (in response to Super Spreader):

Why isn’t there a “it depends on the moral theory” option

Misses the point. Obviously, how people in general answer will depend on their moral theory. But we were just asking for your opinion—is Beng Seng morally blameworthy for what he did? You can answer according to whatever moral theory you believe in. In fact, even if you don’t have a moral theory, you can still answer “intuitively”.

Does supererogatory mean superfluous in your actions?

No. Surely we don’t find people who do superfluous things praiseworthy.

an example for supererogatory?

isn’t supererogatory just going the extra mile?

Is an example of supererogatory like saving a child from an accident – will be praiseworthy but not blame for, for not doing it ?

If you sacrifice yourself and jump in front of the trolley and stop it from killing either one or five people, is that supererogatory?

There you go. All plausible examples. It’s not that hard to come up with other commonsense examples of what at least appears to be acts of supererogation as idea isn’t that strange. Just think of people who win our praise for doing something ‘extra’ at ‘personal cost’.

X is supererogatory-> prasieworthy but not blameworthy, but can it be blameworthy, for eg, excessive answering to get class part ? -> TA would find it praiseworthy, class would more likely be blameworthy-> rob class part?

First and foremost, the more experienced TA will not find the behavior of “hogging class discussion” praiseworthy, especially if it’s genuinely hogging—other people are prevented from chiming in. Second of all, take the “community of inquiry” thing seriously (see the handout in Luminus).

Can X be both Supererogatory as well as Morally Right (permissible)?

Typically, if it’s supererogatory, it will be permissible as well, though of course the reverse does not hold.

Does supererogatory account for intention behind their actions? Going beyond the call of duty —> but for appraisal and pride

This will depend on the specifics of the moral theory. For typical Deontological theories, the answer is “yes”, for instance. But if what the agent’s intentions are behind the action doesn’t matter for moral appraisal, e.g., as in Consquentialism, then the answer is “no” lor…

The moral evaluation seems to be external, what if we include our own guilt- our conscience making us think its blameworthy when its not to others? Is it considered under ‘supererogatory’?

Don’t forget that the quality of your intentions matter to the typical Deontologists, so the evaluation isn’t purely external. But sure, we can have our own thoughts and evaluations of our own actions too. And we can even be harder on ourselves than others. Are we praiseworthy for being like that though?

What is the difference between morally right and morally good

For now, take “morally good” as “morally praiseworthy”. Maybe it’s better not to go into that for now.

why ought we do that which is right, and ought not do that which is wrong?

There’s a short answer and there’s a long answer. The short answer is–it is actually part and parcel of the language, i.e., what it means for something to be morally right is that it is something we ought to do (at least something we ought to do all things else being equal), All our talk about right and wrong could be systematically false–say, if it turns out that there’s not such thing as true morality. But that doesn’t change the fact that saying it is the morally right (let’s say, required) thing to do is to directly imply that it’s the thing we ought to do.

The longer answer will need us to go behind the question a bit and expand on it–something like, is it true that what we morally ought to do (e.g., because it’s our moral duty), we ought to do, all things considered. In old way of asking this: Why should one be moral? This one is more podcast material. Let’s see.

is it right for me to say that criminal laws are mainly structured with deontology and consequentialism?

Most criminal law systems will have both elements–unsurprisingly. Incidentally, Jeremy Bentham proposed Utilitarianism as an attempt to push for legal reform in England.

Is the main difference between deontology and consequentialism relating to the better outcome the world as a whole instead of individual outcome

Neither is talking about “individual outcome”, though only one is talking about “better outcome for the world”.

Can philosophists subscribe to different theories depending on the situation? Does that make one not a philosopher anymore?

There is such a thing as “situationism”, and also the related “contextualism”. But seriously, let’s keep things manageable by making sure we ge the basics first.

Most of us have both intuitions (just think of the usual responses to Trolley vs. Transplant). But this might just the the case that our moral commonsense is not fully consistent–that many of us swing back and forth between these different intuitions depending on the context. To be clear, it’s not as if the two perspectives conflict at all levels. On many issues, the two could well issue in the same advice or evaluate actions in the same way. But on the point where the two perspectives disagree–is the morality of an action all about the consequences it produces in the world, taken impartially?–you can’t have them ‘complement each other’ as it were. It’s either a yes, or a no. Assuming classical logic, of course.

We need to be realistic–I, for one, don’t believe that people in general (unless they were already corrupted by philosophy)–make decisions by directly appealing to Consequentialism and Deontology. And I certainly didn’t claim anything like that, but only that the decisions we do make on the basis of the intuitions we do have can point in a more Consequentialistic direction or in a Deontological direction. When a policy maker thinks to herself–let’s go with Health Policy Option X rather than Y because X will save more lives than Y, even though in both cases, some people’s lives will still not be saved, she is deciding in a Consequentialist manner even if she may not be a actual Consequentialist who is conscious of her Consequentialism. And if you think to yourself that brutally torturing someone is just plain wrong–even if there is a chance that we might be able to extract important information about his terrorist plans using such enhanced interrogation techniques–you are thinking in a Deontological manner, not necessarily because you even know what Deontology is.

Part of what it means for us to live in a well functioning society is exactly that the moral consensus is often codified in laws, statutes, and even the codes of conduct of sub-political groups, and so on, so that people don’t have to be thinking afresh all the time, especially for things that regularly happen. So yes, I’m thankful that, in Singapore, there is essentially zero chance that a healthy person’s organs will be harvested just so that they can save the lives of five without his consent (and even so). But saying that we have arranged the world so that such difficult situations don’t commonly arise isn’t the same as saying that we have resolved the underlying philosophical issues.