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1 - 20 / 25 2016-08-26Hi everyone.
I have recently come across a novel argument that may undermine all forms of consequentialism, and accordingly wrote a paper elaborating on that argument. I now wish to get it peer-reviewed by the experts in this area. Kindly guide on the best course of action I should follow. Thanks!
2016-07-20It seems to me that this work is very much unavailable to students and professionals. Have not found it online in any form, save for a few hardcover editions for more than $500. Crazy.
2016-04-19Freedom of Speech and the Right to Insult
Turkish President Erdogan has filed a complaint against a German comedian who read a poem depicting him committing sexual acts with animals. A vast majority of the German population consider this as an inalienable right to free-speech. Me? I am certainly not a fan of Erdogan, but I agree with him in this special case. The "comedian" should be legally prosecuted. I must add that I find that journalists detained in Turkish prisons should simply be freed. Criticism is certainly a democratic right. So, what is the difference between the German "perpetrator", and the Turkish victims?
Thousands of people, if not millions, throughout history, have given their lives for the freedom to speak freely. And to this day, hundreds are still dying every day for that same right. What I find absolutely disgusting are parasites who abuse this right and not only seek but also get protection from the Law. And then I wonder. Did all those people in the past die for th ... (read more)Latest replies:
- Hachem El Ouggouti, 2016-06-22 : __It is difficult to be modest when you are powerful.__ Whatever will happen tomorrow, whether Bremain or Brexit will pr... (read more)
- Hachem El Ouggouti, 2016-06-24 : __Beards and Headdresses__ I find it, to be honest, sometimes quite hilarious. I am trying to imagine a cop in a Muslim... (read more)
- Hachem El Ouggouti, 2016-07-04 : __Allah Akbar (الله أكبر) said the Pope?__ It sounds strange, doesn't it? Well, theologically, there would be n... (read more)
- Hachem El Ouggouti, 2016-07-05 : __Do not let extremists highjack the language!__ As I said before, Allah Akbar is not only a theologically sane expressi... (read more)
- Hachem El Ouggouti, 2016-07-11 : __The Return of the Black Panther: The Unwanted Sequel__ The sad, but natural death of the Pakistani "social worker... (read more)
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University College LondonWhat kind of academic inquiry can best help humanity make progress towards as good a world as possible? Why are philosophers apparently so uninterested in this question? Is it because most believe the kind of academic inquiry we have today, devoted primarily to the pursuit of knoweldge and technological know-how, is the best that we can have, judged from the perspective of helping humanity make progress towards a better world? Why are philosophers apparently so uninterested in arguments which seem to show decisively that inquiry restricted to the pursuit of knowledge is both profoundly irrational, and a menace? The successful pursuit of knowledge and technological know-how, dissociated from a more fundamental concern to help humanity resolve conflicts and problems of living in increasingly cooperatively rational ways, is almost bound to lead to trouble. Scientific knowledge and technological know-how enormously increase our power to act - for some of us at ... (read more)Latest replies:
- Derek Allan, 2016-10-20 : _Re: while life expectancy among Māori was 298 years old:' _ I'm assuming this is a typo, Ian? _RE: &q... (read more)
- Ian Stuart, 2016-10-21 : Yessss..There does need to be discussion about this, and in indigenous communities it is a group discussion. In ou... (read more)
- Ian Stuart, 2016-10-21 : Yes, a very bad typo... should be 28. Identical to the life expectancy of Paris at the time... Yes, most cul... (read more)
- John Hodgson, 2017-01-07 : _"The scientific approach to ethics, which many here have labelled Eugenics, works well within an Indigenous framew... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2017-01-07 : Hi John RE: There currently seems a strong justification for the notion that humanity often doesn't know what is in... (read more)
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North Carolina State UniversityIf you come across this paper while researching philosophy of love, you should watch this: https://youtu.be/ykxNI137sPk
State University of New York at Binghamton
It has recently occurred to me that the advocate of the Kantian Wille may, in significant measure, be victim of a kind of phenomenological illusion.
We imagine the Kantian going serially down her list of desires -- "passive" matters of fact about what her experiences and behavior reveal to be her preferences -- and saying of each, "I could forebear that, if necessary. So none of them, not one, is really me. Me, my autonomous Wille, is distinct from every one of those desires." A similar mistake led Newton to the postulation of Absolute Space; viz., relative effects are hypostatized into an independent existence. What enables one to deny identity with any particular desire X is one's background awareness of all the other desires that are not X, whose cumulative preponderance overwhelms any particular desire.
Of course, the "background" cumulative awareness of all of one's desires is indeed separate from any particular desire, so in that sense there is indeed a Wille. But it is not ... (read more)Latest replies:
- Pete Murray, 2014-06-07 : Interesting thought. I think this might be running together two distinct issues, though. One is the relationship between... (read more)
- Gerald Hull, 2014-06-09 : Thanks for the response. You are correct to think I am not primarily concerned here with issues of personal identi... (read more)
2013-12-21Essentially, we'll never truly be able to distinguish between "right" and "wrong" actions. At any given time in history, however, philosophers, theologians, and politicians will claim to have discovered the best way to evaluate human actions and establish the most righteous code of conduct. But it's never that easy. Life is far too messy and complicated for there to be anything like a universal morality or an absolutist ethics. The Golden Rule is great (the idea that you should treat others as you would like them to treat you),
For example, should the few be spared to save the many? Who has more moral worth: a human baby or a full-grown great ape?
At best, we can only say that morality is normative, while acknowledging that our sense of right and wrong will change over time.Latest replies:
- Gregor Flock, 2014-01-14 : I do not understand that pessimism either. Also: What makes you so sure that, because you or other philosophers do not k... (read more)
- John Baldari, 2014-01-14 : I think the determination of right and wrong action (and intention/motivation/will/etc) is fairly well defined in the se... (read more)
- Peter G. Jones, 2014-03-23 : I feel that Buddhism gets it right in insisting that for moral understanding we must trade ignorance for knowledge. If w... (read more)
- r. dw, 2014-03-31 : Morality can be extrinsic, when normativity is internalized earlier in life and externalized later in life. Parents, tea... (read more)
- Cliff Guthrie Guthrie, 2015-03-30 : I think the better way to think of moral systems (by which I take it you mean normative ethical theories)Morality is an... (read more)
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Nice paper!. However, if I may, I wasn't convinced by your response to objection five. The objection, I take it, is that the intuitions you are marshaling about incoherence derive from a non-moral standpoint, that is, they are intuitions that arise when one is doing metaethics and not when one is actually moralizing. And it seems undeniable that Moore paradoxical sentences are straightforwardly bizarre when uttered by persons in the context of actual moralizing (just imagine actually having the relevant conversation). At the outset of your paper, you correctly note that expressivism is a theory about actual moralizing, so it seems like this is one objection to which you should be very sensitive. You respond:
This is not really a rejection of C3, but a rejection of C1, since it admits that it is not always the case that affective or conative attitudes are expressed by moral assertions. If non-cognitive mental states are only sometimes expressed by moral assertions, then the clai ... (read more)
This is a very interesting paper. I am in agreement with the basic premise, namely, that we should be suspicious of moral intuitions which are highly contingent or "flippable". However, I have one or two questions about the argument.
In one section, you're dealing with the problem of "typing" mechanisms. The point, as I understand it, is to show that your argument defeats demandingness intuitions but does not defeat other moral intuitions (such as those concerning the wrongness of slavery). You say:
Given these considerations, how generally should we type the testimonial process behind my moral belief that slavery is wrong? The reliability of (say) my mother’s anti-racist moral testimony in the actual world should not necessarily be impugned by the unreliability of her moral testimony were she a racist bigot, for her epistemic situation (i.e., her foundational moral beliefs) in the latter case would be radically mistaken. The two types of testimonial processes, then, are plausibl ... (read more)Latest replies:
- Matthew Braddock, 2013-06-19 : Hi Nick,Your comments much appreciated. & Your main comment focuses on the _Argument from Socialization Effects _(p... (read more)
- Nick Smyth, 2013-06-24 : Thanks again for the chance to discuss this really interesting issue. I hope you take these comments (from a rando... (read more)
- Matthew Braddock, 2013-06-24 : Hi Nick, thanks for your useful (very constructive) comments. Quick response. Of course, no attempt to solve... (read more)
- Nick Smyth, 2013-06-26 : The only sense I can make of a "type" of socialization is by thinking of it as a distinct social-psychological... (read more)
- Matthew Braddock, 2013-06-26 : Good stuff, Nick. My _Argument from Socialization Effects_ intends to stay neutral on the question of moral semantics.&n... (read more)
2013-06-11Hi Professor Demetriou,
I've just read the draft of your paper, and I really enjoyed it, especially the bits where you complicate the somewhat simplistic just-so cultural-evolutionary story provided by Ross and Nisbett. One rarely sees such deep engagement with actual anthropological data in moral-philosophical papers about disagreement, and I think your reflections here are a valuable contribution to this literature.
However, I have a question about the "pluralism" that is on offer, which is "a view urging the moral correctness of multiple and mutually irreducible comprehensive ethical outlooks , each suited to its own dimension of social life ." A familiar worry emerges here, which is that you are covertly drawing on a kind of monism which serves to make each of the competing moral systems appear attractive. The trouble begins with the word "suited": what does it mean to say that a moral outlook is "suited" t ... (read more)
2013-06-11This was a solid paper guys I really must commend you for the excellent work. With that said, I do agree with you about Raz's arguments. They seemed to possess little to no substance whatsoever and his argument of self-interest towards the end seemed to be more of a forfeiture of his premise than anything else. I will at least credit him for attempting to untangle the knots in this complex field we call moral philosophy but I had some major objections while reading. Please do correct me if I speak ignorantly or from a misinformed position.
1. Raz says to be moral is to see value in others and one's self. This value is derived from the virtue of being a person. Are we to take it that the recognition of this value disregards how we cultivate that value through action which subsequently has consequences? If I see value in someone, but still decide to take away their life because I perceive myself to be more valuable, am I moral or not.
2. A refutation of point 1 would be that to see value ... (read more)Latest replies:
- Derek Allan, 2013-06-24 : Hi Terence Yes I agree. The term “amoralist” is in itself very problematic, isn’t it? What would such a person be like... (read more)
- Terence Rajivan Edward, 2013-06-25 : Hi Derek, Actually, on reflection, I can see an argument for investigating whether the amoralist can be argued into some... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2013-06-27 : Hi Terence I’m not sure I follow your argument completely, so correct me if I seem to be missing the point. I take... (read more)
- Terence Rajivan Edward, 2013-06-28 : I was hoping my last reply was clear, but a reference to the 'domain of morality' in an earlier post to Jo... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2013-06-29 : Hi Terence Thanks for these additional remarks – which all seem Just an added thought on the reason/emotion point. Suppo... (read more)
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2012-11-20For those that are interested, I've written up a response at philosophyetc.net that defends consequentialism from some of the interesting objections that Stratton-Lake raises in this paper.
2012-11-12I am delighted that someone of Kitcher's ability has tackled the meta-ethical implications of understanding morality as an evolutionary adaptation. Further, Christine Clavien has advanced that good cause by providing an inspiringly insightful and clear review of important implications of his work.
However, the science of the matter actually supports a much stronger hypothesis than Kitcher's "morality evolved to overcome altruism failures".That stronger hypothesis may have different meta-ethical implications.
Relevant criteria for scientific truth regarding morality as an evolutionary adaptation Include explanatory power for descriptive facts and puzzles, no contradiction with known facts, simplicity, and integration with the rest of science. By these criteria, a superior hypothesis can be stated as "morality overcomes a universal cooperation-exploitation dilemma by motivating or advocating altruistic cooperation strategies". That is, morality is composed of assemblies of biolog ... (read more)Latest replies:
- Kevin Corbett, 2013-01-11 : It remains to be seen that the concept of ethics is "intrinsically bound" to concept of altruism. In order for... (read more)
- Reid A. Ashbaucher, 2013-02-01 : I can appreciate this conversation which focuses on the question of morality. It's interesting to me how same approa... (read more)
- Kevin Corbett, 2013-02-24 : Even if it is the case that morality is deontological and derives from God, natural selection is basically an establishe... (read more)
2012-10-25For anyone interested, I've blogged some criticisms of this article at philosophyetc.net:
Suppose that I am sentenced to death in three years' time and presently held in solitary confinement. One day the jailor makes me an offer. On the day of the execution, he will see that my sentence is commuted to exile to Siberia. For the rest of my life, I will work twelve hours a day on hard benches in a chilly sweatshop. I have no relatives or dependents, and nobody else's well-being will be significantly affected by whether I live or die.
It seems to me that, given this choice, I might marginally prefer the sweatshop to death, but only marginally. At first it seems there are no strings attached to the offer, but now the jailor demands to torture me for fifteen minutes each day for the next three years (he is a sadist and gets his kicks from it). Since my preference for the sweatshop over death is only marginal, I refuse the deal. The jailor, disappointed by my refusal, decides to sweeten the deal. He offers to ensure that the sweatshop has heating, padded chairs and a radio. I do no ... (read more)Latest replies:
- John Baldari, 2013-02-01 : I agree that "wanting to be good" must be an existing motivation for someone prior to them being able to make... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2013-02-05 : Hi John Thanks for your interesting post. You say at the end: “The take-away is that no ethical system of any kind is of... (read more)
- Romney Tansley, 2013-02-24 : Hi John, I'm afraid I've been a little late in gathering my thoughts so this may be somewhat delayed. Thanks for... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2013-03-10 : Here’s an interesting little real-life case for those who follow the “rational decision” approach to ethics favoured on... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2013-03-17 : No comment on this? Trolleyism doesn't throw any light on the situation? Yet it's not just a "thought... (read more)
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2012-08-23This is a great paper! I discuss it in some detail at philosophyetc.net.
2012-06-10For anyone interested, I've a two-part response up at philosophyetc.net:
(1) Assessing Decision Procedures: Background
(2) Action Guidance and Rational Decision Procedures
University of South Carolina UpstateIn the question of this post's title, I am not asking whether one has a duty to act to change others' actions for the moral better; I'm wondering about cases in which others' actions are fixed, and one seems to have some power to make those actions morally better or worse. Here are two examples.
CASE I: Suppose that A and B are traversing the desert. A somehow learns, without B's knowledge, of B's intention to kill A. Each night they take turns standing watch while the other sleeps. A knows that B intends that night to wait until A is asleep, set a time bomb, and then leave. (Staying awake is out of the question for A; narcolepsy, etc.). A is fully confident that B's intentions are unshakable; A now sees his own imminent death as entirely unavoidable. A is choosing the campsite for the night -- whether site 1 or site 2. Unbeknownst to B, A sees that campsite 1 is near a nest of deadly snarks. Ordinarily, this would be no problem -- snarks will not approach while a wakeful hu ... (read more)Latest replies:
- Jim Stone, 2012-06-14 : I agree that the badness of having a bad character is at least partly derived from the fact that bad characters often re... (read more)
- Carl Ehrett, 2012-06-20 : I fully agree with everything except the final two sentences of your recent reply. You say that there is no reason to ch... (read more)
- Jim Stone, 2012-06-21 : Thanks for responding. The way I understand case 1, there is no case of letting die--since B doesn't know about the... (read more)
- Juan Samuel Santos Castro, 2012-07-08 : I wouldn't so sure about that is the only reason why character matters. Were that the case, moral judgments on histo... (read more)
- John Baldari, 2012-07-08 : I suppose you could say that it depends on the centricity of the argument. If we look consequentially, then the end resu... (read more)
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State University of New York at BinghamtonMost moral views assume some kind of equality. However, usually this assumption is foundational, i.e. no further grounds are provided apart from its evident reasonableness. E.g., utilitarians accept the Benthamite requirement that every person counts as one and no one as more than one, but typically no justification is given beyond its apparent fairness.
I believe that that equality can be demonstrated, at least in the specific case of the equality of person's interests.
We begin with a technical restriction. We can distinguish "other-regarding" interests as interests in someone's interests; e.g., a lover can be interested in a partner's well-being, a sympathetic nurse might be interested in reducing a patient's suffering, a sadist could be interested in causing or increasing somebody's pain, etc. The equality to be demonstrated only concerns non-other-regarding interests, or what can be called "self-restricted" interests. This is bec ... (read more)Latest replies:
- Gerald Hull, 2012-03-14 : I appreciate your interest in these things. First, I believe you have conflated interests with matters of taste. I... (read more)
- Gerald Hull, 2012-03-16 : Perhaps this will be more helpful. Interests are unique in that they have both descriptive and prescriptive conten... (read more)
- Tamara Yael Tenenbaum, 2012-04-07 : Thanks for your answer, I appre I'll give you your first point, but I'm still unsure about the second. I believe... (read more)
- Gerald Hull, 2012-04-08 : I would think it reasonably clear by now that I intend "ought" in a normative, viz. action-guiding sense. ... (read more)
- Gerald Hull, 2012-04-29 : My previous remarks have shown where things start; this will give an idea of where they end up. AKA _Why not be moral... (read more)
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2012-02-03In this blog post, I outline a new form of Satisficing Consequentialism that meets Bradley's requirement that it "does not permit the gratuitous prevention of goodness."
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