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The Utilitarian Trap

 
 
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2015 11:44 pm
The Utilitarian Trap
If Utilitarianism is based simply on Happiness then it based on a state of mind and not an ethical value. At best Utilitarianism is a method that can be employed after we have already decided the values that must relate to it. We can be happy perhaps in a state of perpetual valorous warfare, or supine resignation to fate, each of us on our desert island. We may be happy within a great culture or none at all.
There is no possible method by which everything can be qualified terms of virtue and vice. We exist within the system, and God is but a definition of the whole. What we decide as virtuous is predicated by what we are already. At best we can classify the ethical universe, such that logical alternatives are defined, and absolute end values. Nothing to do with those end values being achievable, but merely the logic of where the values point.
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Thomas
 
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Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2015 08:22 am
@RW Standing,
RW Standing wrote:
If Utilitarianism is based simply on Happiness then it based on a state of mind and not an ethical value.

How is that not a false alternative? Why can't a state of mind be an ethical value?

RW Standing wrote:
We can be happy perhaps in a state of perpetual valorous warfare, or supine resignation to fate, each of us on our desert island. We may be happy within a great culture or none at all.

Sure, some individuals among us may. But remember, Utilitarians seek the greatest happiness of the greatest number. And as an empirical matter, the number of your militarists, hardcore fatalists, and hardcore loners is vanishingly small. The overwhelming majority of people suffer immensely in wars, want to live life by their own choices, thrive in society, and wither on lonely islands. Consequently, the policies and ethical guidelines that Utilitarians end up recommending reflect mostly the preferences of this overwhelming majority.

RW Standing wrote:
There is no possible method by which everything can be qualified terms of virtue and vice.

So what? Utilitarians don't care about virtue and vice, they care about actions and their consequences. In other words, Utilitarianism is not a virtue ethic, it's a consequentialist ethic.

RW Standing wrote:
We exist within the system, and God is but a definition of the whole.

Utilitarians don't care about god, either. As it happens, some believe in one god, some in several gods, some in no god at all. Either way, the total number of gods in the universe is irrelevant to the philosophy of Utilitarianism.
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Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2015 07:32 am
@RW Standing,
Nail in the head...it also helps explaining why western culture and people will go extinct at speed of light.
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