Well, isn't that a problem with utilitarianism? If an ethical theory can't definitively determine whether an action is ethical or unethical, then that strikes me as a pretty significant flaw.
Assuming that it doesn't, how is the process of answering Boomerang's question so different?
Couldn't the same be said about your position? You're not being entirely altruistic in your estimation of the pros and cons of this situation, are you?
Not me. Consider the analogy in American law. You can't always determine if an act is legal or illegal. For example, were George Zimmerman's acts towards Trayvon Martin legal or illegal? The jury couldn't definitely determine this under Florida law, so the law fell back on the presumption of innocence and acquitted Zimmerman. Does this strike you as "a pretty significant flaw" in the theory of criminal procedure?
Assuming that it doesn't, how is the process of answering Boomerang's question so different? Our applicable social mores offer two defaults, well justified under any theory of ethics: (1) Don't judge people without a reason. (2) When judging, start by giving people the benefit of the doubt. So what's wrong with asking would-be boycotters for sufficient evidence to overcome the benefit of the doubt? How is that "tipping the scale"?
Any ethical theory must be able to inform a person of the ethical way to act before that person acts.
How do you decide where to shop?
In fairness to gays, let me say I also wouldn't like to buy food if a smoker has been handling it.
I'd buy other stuff from smokers and gays, but not food, no way hozay..
Thomas wrote:What's good about the boycott is mostly driven by impact on third parties. Yet what's good for the boycotteer --- like the pleasant feelng of moral superiority --- is still what drives their decision.
I'm not sure I'd agree with that, but suppose you're right. Couldn't the same be said about your position? You're not being entirely altruistic in your estimation of the pros and cons of this situation, are you?
Not if the facts that figure into the decision aren't clear enough.
Again, that's a problem with utilitarianism.
joefromchicago wrote:Again, that's a problem with utilitarianism.
Sure. It's a problem with every ethic that has enough moving parts to connect with the messy reality we live in.
It's a more rigorous, harder-to-game system. But when someone asks you, "I want to murder X, is he in your house?", and X is in your house, what should you actually do?
you shouldn't lie. That may not be the answer that you want, but then that just means you've already decided that it should be ethical to lie in that situation,
The farmer's view was printed in our local paper.
This is the city that fined a bakery hundreds of thousands of dollars for refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.
I don't facebook at all.
Gays and smokers bother you, but fiddlers and child molesters can handle your food.
People have all kinds of opinions I don't like. As long as they don't do anything that I think is wrong, I'm not going to concern myself too much with their views.
Liberals much more than conservatives are sheep, they do as their leaders suggest.
Bobsal said:@RF- Gays and smokers bother you, but fiddlers and child molesters can handle your food. Good to know.