Frustrations with Consequentialism
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23-05-2012, 08:08 PM
RE: Frustrations with Consequentialism
(23-05-2012 06:50 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  Just ask yourself not what Jesus would do, but what you would get locked up for, and then don't do that.

That is all the morals one needs.

...or cruxified

I've spent a good amount of time studying ethics in grad school and have taught business ethics on several occasions. David Hume declared that ethics was simply a matter of taste. For years I absolutely rejected his finding as just lazy and not serious. Today I have to agree with him. One example that I can illustrate is the abortion debate. Both pro-life and pro-choice are sure that they have the moral high ground. When I try to prove either side wrong I come up with no argument to defeat either position.

It is all a matter of opinion (taste) just as Hume said. Apparently Hume was not so lazy after all.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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28-05-2012, 02:01 PM
RE: Frustrations with Consequentialism
Here's Sam Harris's full Audio book of The Morale Landscape online if you haven't read it yet. It doesn't really spell out an algorithm for a consequentiallistic ethic but does a very good job of defending why a consequentialist ethic must be the correct ethic compared to others.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgX2_WRIf...plpp_video
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28-05-2012, 03:10 PM
RE: Frustrations with Consequentialism
I think we have created a false dichotomy for ourselves when we set out to choose ethical positions such as Consequentialism verses Non-Consequentialism. Is it really just this simple choice and one is right and the other is wrong thinking? Can both be ethical systems? Can neither be ethical systems?
What about this. All ethics (morals) are subjective to a society based on survival of the individual in society and the survival of the society. Society and the individual are in constant conflict. There are good ideas for survival and bad ones. If a good idea is universal it just happens to be because all societies would be better off with the rule, but it's irrelevant to consider anything universal, as some society could be worse off with the rule. How would you know? Why would any of this matter outside of a philosophical argument? I say it does not.
...but how could society survive without an ethical system? Who say it has to? Who says it must if we just get the ethics right?

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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19-07-2012, 12:29 AM
RE: Frustrations with Consequentialism
(10-05-2012 12:12 AM)nobodyimportant Wrote:  I understand the basic idea behind consequentialism, and it seems to make a lot of sense. The definition I found was "Of all the things a person might do at any given moment, the morally right action is the one with the best overall consequences." That seems to sum it up nicely. However, what defines what is "morally right?" And how do you decide whether one moral good is more important/better than another?
I really like Aristotle's use of practical reason within his philosophy.
Even though he was an advocate for virtue ethics, practical reason can
guide the subject to the "morally right" action.



Many people think that this ultimately ends in relativism. However, the
morally right action is guided by the correct use of practical reason.
Go to Google and search "Martha Nussbaum non-relative virtues an
aristotelian approach." The first link will send you to the article. It
is worth checking out.
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19-07-2012, 05:16 AM
RE: Frustrations with Consequentialism
(10-05-2012 12:12 AM)nobodyimportant Wrote:  Hey, wrestling with a question that I can't find the answer to, and I thought you all might be able to offer some insight. First off, before I get flamed (as has happened in the past), I am a recovering theist trying to change my point of view. As such, I might use terms or phrases that only make sense in a religious context (because that's how I was raised), so please be patient in explaining my mistakes to me. I'm doing my best to be open-minded! Now, all of that said...

I understand the basic idea behind consequentialism, and it seems to make a lot of sense. The definition I found was "Of all the things a person might do at any given moment, the morally right action is the one with the best overall consequences." That seems to sum it up nicely. However, what defines what is "morally right?" And how do you decide whether one moral good is more important/better than another?
I'd say by measuring out comes. What will happen if you choose a or b or both.

Morally right I'd say is what effect is the perceived best for everybody, or what will increase happiness for a person or persons, based on the choice you make, don't forget to include yourself as a person you are effecting.

Usually I try to think about long term effects, and short term out comes. The long term happiness is always my preference.

I should note that even if you think you are doing something good, the people you are effecting might not see it that way.
So telling them what you are choosing and why is important too. Just by talking to them you might find you didn't need to do all that ethical work in the first place.

My only problem with consequentialism is that if the outcome leads to the greater good then the steps in between you and the goal don't matter. Which I think the steps in between should also be taken in a manner consistent with increasing happiness, as much as possible.

With all that being said I have no idea where I stand with what ethical normative I stand with, but this is what I've come up with so far.

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The atheist is a man who destroys the imaginary things which afflict the human race, and so leads men back to nature, to experience and to reason.
-Baron d'Holbach-
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19-07-2012, 05:15 PM
RE: Frustrations with Consequentialism
The hell am I again? A Kantian Imperative Absolute Relativist. Yeah, that's it! Thumbsup

I think. Philosophy sux. Angry

I disagree with anticipation of outcomes, as I find it unsatisfying at the moral (personal) level, but it has been shown to be useful in development of ethics at the social level.

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