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Utiltarianism / Consequentialism (1)

 
 
bigstew
 
Reply Wed 9 Nov, 2011 06:04 pm
This is an open discussion regarding this normative ethical theory. I would like to hear what people have to say about this ethical theory and present objections against it. In turn, I would like to hear what fellow utiltarians/consequentialists have to say in return.

I'm going to make a few posts as time goes on in topics that I am interested in. The first topic will be:

(1) Is utiltarianism/consequentialism itself better justified/grounded compared to a deontological/virtue based ethics?
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HegelMeister
 
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Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 07:17 pm
@bigstew,
I think Utilitarians/Consequentialists are more responsible and realistic with issues of morality. Deontological/Virtue based individuals are always trying to say up an absolute code or maxim of morality which we have to imperatively follow as predicated in a certain situation.

I don't think its as black and white as that and a Utilitarian perspective allows great flexibility and adaption capacity to the different situations which we will have to react to.

There is no such thing as a moral predicate its merely an imaginary invention of deontologist to make people feel obliged to follow the maxims of their actions by attempting to posit their maxims as imperative duties as applied to a certain situation.
bigstew
 
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Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2011 04:42 pm
@HegelMeister,
Quote:
There is no such thing as a moral predicate its merely an imaginary invention of deontologist to make people feel obliged to follow the maxims of their actions by attempting to posit their maxims as imperative duties as applied to a certain situation.


The only thing I would disagree with (and this is the point at issue) is that in my opinion, utiltarians/consequentialists are almost always moral realists, that is, moral properties of good/bad are real. This is couched in different ways (naturalism/non naturalism) but the point of the utiltarian/consequentialist thesis is that moral judgements are empirically grounded.

You're right about deontology though. Reason itself doesn't seem to ground morality (doesn't connect it with our desires). Virtue ethics falls into the same problem of determining virtue in the first place (without appealing to desire/consequentialist reasoning).
HegelMeister
 
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Reply Fri 18 Nov, 2011 09:54 am
@bigstew,
I agree with your assertion on Utilitarian/Consequentialists. I think they are much more realistic and conceive of morality as not some abstract measure which we are to reach through maxims. That is to say their is not a logical predicate from which we can deduct a proper mode of conduct in response to a certain situation.


They realize their will always be a margin of error when it comes to intentionality in the context of morality. Ironically I think Kant essentially was a Utilitarian and used the framework of Deontology to mask this. He did a similar thing with Metaphysics which I believe was merely an epistemological exposition.


There is always a big problem when you want to convert something as situational as Morality into a Logical or Mathematical proposition. This always invites inconsistencies and hypocrisy. The nice thing about being a utilitarian is that you don't have to run into these troubles at all. As you said utilitarians ground their morality in a system of empirical and that which works in accordance with experience and observation of the senses.
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