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Utilitarianism?

000ike
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2/18/2012 4:40:56 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I'm sorry to create so many morality threads, but this topic is so fascinating but at the same time confusing and complicated. Finding a thoroughly sensible moral philosophy has proven to be like attempting to solve a 1 billion faced rubix cube.

How does Utilitarianism fair against other sentient beings that are not human? Utilitarianism is what I'll call a collective egoism, where mankind only does things that benefit mankind as a whole,...even altruism is an agent of this purpose,..for does selfless heroism not help the overall prosperity of the human race?

I find the basis of Utilitarianism extremely valid because it right away answers the question, why ought I be moral? and Utilitarianism always substantiates the obligations of "ought" with some kind of ultimate outcome or consequence. However, when we get the beings that are not human, this ethical code seems to fall apart.

Under Utilitarianism, why ought I be moral to animals? Why ought I be moral to insects? In a hypothetical situation where we met extraterrestrial beings, why ought I come in peace? Obviously being moral to these beings does not further the human race's prosperity or survival in anyway, because animals lack the intelligence to retaliate and reciprocate when treated immorally.

In short, how do you defend Utilitarianism in regards to non-human, sentient beings?
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Oryus
Posts: 8,280
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2/18/2012 5:16:23 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Try Peter Singers "animal liberation".
: : :Tulle: The fool, I purposely don't engage with you because you don't have proper command of the English language.
: :
: : The Fool: It's my English writing. Either way It's okay have a larger vocabulary then you, and a better grasp of language, and you're a woman.
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: I'm just going to leave this precious struggle nugget right here.
OMGJustinBieber
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2/18/2012 5:23:25 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
How does Utilitarianism fair against other sentient beings that are not human?

Utilitarianism is remarkably strong in this area. Since Bentham utilitarians have expressed concern at animal rights. Singer is huge on this today, but even in Bentham's time this idea was pretty revolutionary and animal welfare follows very fluently from utilitarianism. Utilitarianism doesn't restrict moral obligations to "rational" beings in a narrow sense and as long as an orgasm is sentient and self-aware you really can't escape moral obligations in the minds of most utilitarians. To do so, as Singer would say, is engaging in "speciesm."

I don't know any utilitarians who are against animal rights.
000ike
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2/18/2012 5:29:09 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/18/2012 5:23:25 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
How does Utilitarianism fair against other sentient beings that are not human?

Utilitarianism is remarkably strong in this area. Since Bentham utilitarians have expressed concern at animal rights. Singer is huge on this today, but even in Bentham's time this idea was pretty revolutionary and animal welfare follows very fluently from utilitarianism. Utilitarianism doesn't restrict moral obligations to "rational" beings in a narrow sense and as long as an orgasm is sentient and self-aware you really can't escape moral obligations in the minds of most utilitarians. To do so, as Singer would say, is engaging in "speciesm."

I don't know any utilitarians who are against animal rights.

But that doesn't justify why we ought to be moral to animals. If we act in a matter that's supposed to maximize good for ourselves as human beings, then where in that equation is morality towards animals included?

I reasoned that Utilitarianism derives its origin from the realization that it is necessary to establish a universal code of conduct for our benefit. If there is something that has nothing to do with our benefit, then what condition makes us obligated to share morality with it?
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
OMGJustinBieber
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2/18/2012 5:33:18 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/18/2012 5:29:09 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:23:25 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
How does Utilitarianism fair against other sentient beings that are not human?

Utilitarianism is remarkably strong in this area. Since Bentham utilitarians have expressed concern at animal rights. Singer is huge on this today, but even in Bentham's time this idea was pretty revolutionary and animal welfare follows very fluently from utilitarianism. Utilitarianism doesn't restrict moral obligations to "rational" beings in a narrow sense and as long as an orgasm is sentient and self-aware you really can't escape moral obligations in the minds of most utilitarians. To do so, as Singer would say, is engaging in "speciesm."

I don't know any utilitarians who are against animal rights.

But that doesn't justify why we ought to be moral to animals. If we act in a matter that's supposed to maximize good for ourselves as human beings, then where in that equation is morality towards animals included?

I reasoned that Utilitarianism derives its origin from the realization that it is necessary to establish a universal code of conduct for our benefit. If there is something that has nothing to do with our benefit, then what condition makes us obligated to share morality with it?

Utilitarianism has never explicitly limited well-being to humans.To believe otherwise is a fundamental misunderstanding of the doctrine. IMO there's no logical reason to make this sharp and arbitrary distinction either. Utilitarians are concerned with happiness or preference satisfaction in the aggregate (or on average) which can obviously cut across the lines of specie.
Oryus
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2/18/2012 5:36:02 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/18/2012 5:33:18 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:29:09 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:23:25 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
How does Utilitarianism fair against other sentient beings that are not human?

Utilitarianism is remarkably strong in this area. Since Bentham utilitarians have expressed concern at animal rights. Singer is huge on this today, but even in Bentham's time this idea was pretty revolutionary and animal welfare follows very fluently from utilitarianism. Utilitarianism doesn't restrict moral obligations to "rational" beings in a narrow sense and as long as an orgasm is sentient and self-aware you really can't escape moral obligations in the minds of most utilitarians. To do so, as Singer would say, is engaging in "speciesm."

I don't know any utilitarians who are against animal rights.

But that doesn't justify why we ought to be moral to animals. If we act in a matter that's supposed to maximize good for ourselves as human beings, then where in that equation is morality towards animals included?

I reasoned that Utilitarianism derives its origin from the realization that it is necessary to establish a universal code of conduct for our benefit. If there is something that has nothing to do with our benefit, then what condition makes us obligated to share morality with it?

Utilitarianism has never explicitly limited well-being to humans.To believe otherwise is a fundamental misunderstanding of the doctrine. IMO there's no logical reason to make this sharp and arbitrary distinction either. Utilitarians are concerned with happiness or preference satisfaction in the aggregate (or on average) which can obviously cut across the lines of specie.

True dat. I never understood why people often ask how animals play into utilitarianism.. Animals were never excluded from the conversation and, I agree, there is no logical reason to make the arbitrary distinction.
: : :Tulle: The fool, I purposely don't engage with you because you don't have proper command of the English language.
: :
: : The Fool: It's my English writing. Either way It's okay have a larger vocabulary then you, and a better grasp of language, and you're a woman.
:
: I'm just going to leave this precious struggle nugget right here.
000ike
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2/18/2012 5:37:55 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/18/2012 5:33:18 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:29:09 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:23:25 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
How does Utilitarianism fair against other sentient beings that are not human?

Utilitarianism is remarkably strong in this area. Since Bentham utilitarians have expressed concern at animal rights. Singer is huge on this today, but even in Bentham's time this idea was pretty revolutionary and animal welfare follows very fluently from utilitarianism. Utilitarianism doesn't restrict moral obligations to "rational" beings in a narrow sense and as long as an orgasm is sentient and self-aware you really can't escape moral obligations in the minds of most utilitarians. To do so, as Singer would say, is engaging in "speciesm."

I don't know any utilitarians who are against animal rights.

But that doesn't justify why we ought to be moral to animals. If we act in a matter that's supposed to maximize good for ourselves as human beings, then where in that equation is morality towards animals included?

I reasoned that Utilitarianism derives its origin from the realization that it is necessary to establish a universal code of conduct for our benefit. If there is something that has nothing to do with our benefit, then what condition makes us obligated to share morality with it?

Utilitarianism has never explicitly limited well-being to humans.To believe otherwise is a fundamental misunderstanding of the doctrine. IMO there's no logical reason to make this sharp and arbitrary distinction either. Utilitarians are concerned with happiness or preference satisfaction in the aggregate (or on average) which can obviously cut across the lines of specie.

But there's no such thing as an "ought"....there is nothing we ought to do unless we establish a desired outcome.

The rationale for the human race establishing morality for itself is this:
We ought to establish morality if we want to survive and prosper.

What would be the rationale for being moral to animals?

We ought to be moral to animals if we want _______ ?

You can't just have a lingering ought without any justification.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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2/18/2012 5:47:23 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
But there's no such thing as an "ought"....there is nothing we ought to do unless we establish a desired outcome.

The rationale for the human race establishing morality for itself is this:
We ought to establish morality if we want to survive and prosper.

What would be the rationale for being moral to animals?

We ought to be moral to animals if we want _______ ?

You can't just have a lingering ought without any justification.

Well now you're expressing meta-ethical doubts which is really a whole different ball game. The desired outcome is good utility calculations for the utilitarian. IMO, morality was not really "created" either but rather something that has been with us for as long as we've been living in social groups and even before the time of modern humans.

On top of that, survival and prosperity for one's own group is simply not a cogent goal for morality. Once we see the situation of our birth is accidental we can apply a wider concern and transcend group-based desires (in theory, at least.) Utilitarians throughout his history has been what Singer has called "an expanding circle" in which the circle of concern takes on an impartial character and extends to all sentient beings.
Stephen_Hawkins
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2/19/2012 5:39:49 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Utilitarian's main problem is that when it is put into practice, it completely throws away the idea of personal liberty, and forces everyone to do the same thing. Mill's interpretation that we can do whatever we want until it gets in the way of others, I feel, lets us do almost nothing, because everything impacts other people. Singer's preference utilitarianism is just virtue ethics rehashed.
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Lasagna
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2/21/2012 8:20:54 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Animals can be seen as directly linked to well-being of humans - they are not separate. Any ecosystem is a "system" comprised of all the organisms within it, all which may not interact directly (through symbiosis) but all of which form a very complex interrelationship in which the biological functions of one species contribute to the functions of others.

Of course if you have a pet in a cage, which I personally find rather repulsive, then you can torture or kill it without this underlying systems theme. But that doesn't mean you ought to do what you want with it - your own psychological health is affected by how you treat it. Somebody who tortures their pet is not likely to sustain great relationships with other people...
Rob
vbaculum
Posts: 1,274
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2/21/2012 2:07:31 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/18/2012 5:37:55 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:33:18 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:29:09 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:23:25 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
How does Utilitarianism fair against other sentient beings that are not human?

Utilitarianism is remarkably strong in this area. Since Bentham utilitarians have expressed concern at animal rights. Singer is huge on this today, but even in Bentham's time this idea was pretty revolutionary and animal welfare follows very fluently from utilitarianism. Utilitarianism doesn't restrict moral obligations to "rational" beings in a narrow sense and as long as an orgasm is sentient and self-aware you really can't escape moral obligations in the minds of most utilitarians. To do so, as Singer would say, is engaging in "speciesm."

I don't know any utilitarians who are against animal rights.

But that doesn't justify why we ought to be moral to animals. If we act in a matter that's supposed to maximize good for ourselves as human beings, then where in that equation is morality towards animals included?

I reasoned that Utilitarianism derives its origin from the realization that it is necessary to establish a universal code of conduct for our benefit. If there is something that has nothing to do with our benefit, then what condition makes us obligated to share morality with it?

Utilitarianism has never explicitly limited well-being to humans.To believe otherwise is a fundamental misunderstanding of the doctrine. IMO there's no logical reason to make this sharp and arbitrary distinction either. Utilitarians are concerned with happiness or preference satisfaction in the aggregate (or on average) which can obviously cut across the lines of specie.

But there's no such thing as an "ought"....there is nothing we ought to do unless we establish a desired outcome.

The rationale for the human race establishing morality for itself is this:
We ought to establish morality if we want to survive and prosper.

In other words, humans ought to establish morality if they want to be alive and happy. Likewise, we ought to establish and extend morality to non-human animals if we desire that our fellow creatures be alive and happy. This may or may not be among one of your desires but it is the desire of most humans who don't have empathy disorders like sociopathy.

So, extending our sphere of moral concerns to non-human species serves a purpose and thus satisfies the "if" requirement of an "ought" statement:

Humans ought to be moral to animals if we desire their happiness (which most humans do).

What would be the rationale for being moral to animals?

We ought to be moral to animals if we want _______ ?

You can't just have a lingering ought without any justification.
"If you claim to value nonviolence and you consume animal products, you need to rethink your position on nonviolence." - Gary Francione

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000ike
Posts: 11,196
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2/21/2012 2:09:22 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/21/2012 2:07:31 PM, vbaculum wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:37:55 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:33:18 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:29:09 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:23:25 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
How does Utilitarianism fair against other sentient beings that are not human?

Utilitarianism is remarkably strong in this area. Since Bentham utilitarians have expressed concern at animal rights. Singer is huge on this today, but even in Bentham's time this idea was pretty revolutionary and animal welfare follows very fluently from utilitarianism. Utilitarianism doesn't restrict moral obligations to "rational" beings in a narrow sense and as long as an orgasm is sentient and self-aware you really can't escape moral obligations in the minds of most utilitarians. To do so, as Singer would say, is engaging in "speciesm."

I don't know any utilitarians who are against animal rights.

But that doesn't justify why we ought to be moral to animals. If we act in a matter that's supposed to maximize good for ourselves as human beings, then where in that equation is morality towards animals included?

I reasoned that Utilitarianism derives its origin from the realization that it is necessary to establish a universal code of conduct for our benefit. If there is something that has nothing to do with our benefit, then what condition makes us obligated to share morality with it?

Utilitarianism has never explicitly limited well-being to humans.To believe otherwise is a fundamental misunderstanding of the doctrine. IMO there's no logical reason to make this sharp and arbitrary distinction either. Utilitarians are concerned with happiness or preference satisfaction in the aggregate (or on average) which can obviously cut across the lines of specie.

But there's no such thing as an "ought"....there is nothing we ought to do unless we establish a desired outcome.

The rationale for the human race establishing morality for itself is this:
We ought to establish morality if we want to survive and prosper.

In other words, humans ought to establish morality if they want to be alive and happy. Likewise, we ought to establish and extend morality to non-human animals if we desire that our fellow creatures be alive and happy. This may or may not be among one of your desires but it is the desire of most humans who don't have empathy disorders like sociopathy.

So, extending our sphere of moral concerns to non-human species serves a purpose and thus satisfies the "if" requirement of an "ought" statement:

Humans ought to be moral to animals if we desire their happiness (which most humans do).

I like this justification. That makes sense
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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2/21/2012 2:38:07 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/21/2012 2:09:22 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 2/21/2012 2:07:31 PM, vbaculum wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:37:55 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:33:18 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:29:09 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:23:25 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
How does Utilitarianism fair against other sentient beings that are not human?

Utilitarianism is remarkably strong in this area. Since Bentham utilitarians have expressed concern at animal rights. Singer is huge on this today, but even in Bentham's time this idea was pretty revolutionary and animal welfare follows very fluently from utilitarianism. Utilitarianism doesn't restrict moral obligations to "rational" beings in a narrow sense and as long as an orgasm is sentient and self-aware you really can't escape moral obligations in the minds of most utilitarians. To do so, as Singer would say, is engaging in "speciesm."

I don't know any utilitarians who are against animal rights.

But that doesn't justify why we ought to be moral to animals. If we act in a matter that's supposed to maximize good for ourselves as human beings, then where in that equation is morality towards animals included?

I reasoned that Utilitarianism derives its origin from the realization that it is necessary to establish a universal code of conduct for our benefit. If there is something that has nothing to do with our benefit, then what condition makes us obligated to share morality with it?

Utilitarianism has never explicitly limited well-being to humans.To believe otherwise is a fundamental misunderstanding of the doctrine. IMO there's no logical reason to make this sharp and arbitrary distinction either. Utilitarians are concerned with happiness or preference satisfaction in the aggregate (or on average) which can obviously cut across the lines of specie.

But there's no such thing as an "ought"....there is nothing we ought to do unless we establish a desired outcome.

The rationale for the human race establishing morality for itself is this:
We ought to establish morality if we want to survive and prosper.

In other words, humans ought to establish morality if they want to be alive and happy. Likewise, we ought to establish and extend morality to non-human animals if we desire that our fellow creatures be alive and happy. This may or may not be among one of your desires but it is the desire of most humans who don't have empathy disorders like sociopathy.

So, extending our sphere of moral concerns to non-human species serves a purpose and thus satisfies the "if" requirement of an "ought" statement:

Humans ought to be moral to animals if we desire their happiness (which most humans do).

I like this justification. That makes sense

I would actually deny the conditional element. It just seems to make morality contingent on your personal desires, which is not how morality can function. What if I don't desire the welfare of animals? I suppose that absolves me of the conditional element and I can therefore torture them as much as I want without moral blame.

"One ought not needlessly cause suffering to sentient beings" - full stop.
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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2/21/2012 2:48:22 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/21/2012 2:38:07 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 2/21/2012 2:09:22 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 2/21/2012 2:07:31 PM, vbaculum wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:37:55 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:33:18 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:29:09 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:23:25 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
How does Utilitarianism fair against other sentient beings that are not human?

Utilitarianism is remarkably strong in this area. Since Bentham utilitarians have expressed concern at animal rights. Singer is huge on this today, but even in Bentham's time this idea was pretty revolutionary and animal welfare follows very fluently from utilitarianism. Utilitarianism doesn't restrict moral obligations to "rational" beings in a narrow sense and as long as an orgasm is sentient and self-aware you really can't escape moral obligations in the minds of most utilitarians. To do so, as Singer would say, is engaging in "speciesm."

I don't know any utilitarians who are against animal rights.

But that doesn't justify why we ought to be moral to animals. If we act in a matter that's supposed to maximize good for ourselves as human beings, then where in that equation is morality towards animals included?

I reasoned that Utilitarianism derives its origin from the realization that it is necessary to establish a universal code of conduct for our benefit. If there is something that has nothing to do with our benefit, then what condition makes us obligated to share morality with it?

Utilitarianism has never explicitly limited well-being to humans.To believe otherwise is a fundamental misunderstanding of the doctrine. IMO there's no logical reason to make this sharp and arbitrary distinction either. Utilitarians are concerned with happiness or preference satisfaction in the aggregate (or on average) which can obviously cut across the lines of specie.

But there's no such thing as an "ought"....there is nothing we ought to do unless we establish a desired outcome.

The rationale for the human race establishing morality for itself is this:
We ought to establish morality if we want to survive and prosper.

In other words, humans ought to establish morality if they want to be alive and happy. Likewise, we ought to establish and extend morality to non-human animals if we desire that our fellow creatures be alive and happy. This may or may not be among one of your desires but it is the desire of most humans who don't have empathy disorders like sociopathy.

So, extending our sphere of moral concerns to non-human species serves a purpose and thus satisfies the "if" requirement of an "ought" statement:

Humans ought to be moral to animals if we desire their happiness (which most humans do).

I like this justification. That makes sense

I would actually deny the conditional element. It just seems to make morality contingent on your personal desires, which is not how morality can function. What if I don't desire the welfare of animals? I suppose that absolves me of the conditional element and I can therefore torture them as much as I want without moral blame.

I doesn't make morality contingent on personal desires, its makes it contingent on collective desires. Man invents morality, based on a general census of human desire. It is in collective human desire for humans to live, collective human desire for humans to prosper, and collective human desire to refrain harm from those beings capable of feeling it (this one I'd call a biological tendency). Of course there will be individuals who violate the IF and do not "want" humans to live,...but individuals do not establish moral rules, a collective assembly of individuals (such as society) establishes moral rules.

The individual technically has no reason to not kill people,...but SOCIETY has reason to not kill people, and will establish punishments to MAKE it in the interest of those individuals to not kill, steal etc.

"One ought not needlessly cause suffering to sentient beings" - full stop.

Things cannot be asserted without justification. Unless there is a goal to this "ought"...society is not compelled to adhere to that statement. However, for this particular example I believe we are moral to animals through an intrinsic capacity for empathy, and therefore it extends beyond fellow humans to anything that feels. There for it is in our desire to be moral to animals as well.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
OMGJustinBieber
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2/21/2012 2:57:16 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I doesn't make morality contingent on personal desires, its makes it contingent on collective desires. Man invents morality, based on a general census of human desire. It is in collective human desire for humans to live, collective human desire for humans to prosper, and collective human desire to refrain harm from those beings capable of feeling it (this one I'd call a biological tendency). Of course there will be individuals who violate the IF and do not "want" humans to live,...but individuals do not establish moral rules, a collective assembly of individuals (such as society) establishes moral rules.

Even going by that definition it only apparently becomes wrong to torture animals when society has formed a collective consensus on it. As I've mentioned before, I don't see morality as being invented and neither do many of the more prominent moral philosophers. Kant even separates morality from desire. It's always been a collective human desire to not hurt animals? Really? Various societies obviously have various rules regarding hunting.

"One ought not needlessly cause suffering to sentient beings" - full stop.

Things cannot be asserted without justification. Unless there is a goal to this "ought"...society is not compelled to adhere to that statement. However, for this particular example I believe we are moral to animals through an intrinsic capacity for empathy, and therefore it extends beyond fellow humans to anything that feels. There for it is in our desire to be moral to animals as well.

Well yes, there's reasoning behind it and utilitarians would just group everything under principle of utility so that would be the answer to every "if." You haven't really extended beyond a descriptive view here, but the first part of the response seems to be implying relativism.
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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2/21/2012 3:13:44 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/21/2012 2:07:31 PM, vbaculum wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:37:55 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:33:18 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:29:09 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:23:25 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
How does Utilitarianism fair against other sentient beings that are not human?

Utilitarianism is remarkably strong in this area. Since Bentham utilitarians have expressed concern at animal rights. Singer is huge on this today, but even in Bentham's time this idea was pretty revolutionary and animal welfare follows very fluently from utilitarianism. Utilitarianism doesn't restrict moral obligations to "rational" beings in a narrow sense and as long as an orgasm is sentient and self-aware you really can't escape moral obligations in the minds of most utilitarians. To do so, as Singer would say, is engaging in "speciesm."

I don't know any utilitarians who are against animal rights.

But that doesn't justify why we ought to be moral to animals. If we act in a matter that's supposed to maximize good for ourselves as human beings, then where in that equation is morality towards animals included?

I reasoned that Utilitarianism derives its origin from the realization that it is necessary to establish a universal code of conduct for our benefit. If there is something that has nothing to do with our benefit, then what condition makes us obligated to share morality with it?

Utilitarianism has never explicitly limited well-being to humans.To believe otherwise is a fundamental misunderstanding of the doctrine. IMO there's no logical reason to make this sharp and arbitrary distinction either. Utilitarians are concerned with happiness or preference satisfaction in the aggregate (or on average) which can obviously cut across the lines of specie.

But there's no such thing as an "ought"....there is nothing we ought to do unless we establish a desired outcome.

The rationale for the human race establishing morality for itself is this:
We ought to establish morality if we want to survive and prosper.

In other words, humans ought to establish morality if they want to be alive and happy. Likewise, we ought to establish and extend morality to non-human animals if we desire that our fellow creatures be alive and happy. This may or may not be among one of your desires but it is the desire of most humans who don't have empathy disorders like sociopathy.

So, extending our sphere of moral concerns to non-human species serves a purpose and thus satisfies the "if" requirement of an "ought" statement:

Humans ought to be moral to animals if we desire their happiness (which most humans do).

Your manner of reasoning.. Like actually explaining why there's force behind your claimed "oughts" makes good sense!

So much so that you shouldn't be a Utilitarian...

For Utilitarians don't make sense.. They call what "most people happen to desire" Objective Good.

also.. though people may, by in large, dislike causing sentient beings pain... People also like eating chicken..

Desire eating chicken..

so the care-based morality of the situation is a bit more involved than you suggested... Unless there's some distinct and important difference between Disliking causing pain and Enjoying tasty chicken ;)
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
OMGJustinBieber
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2/21/2012 3:27:35 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/21/2012 3:13:44 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 2/21/2012 2:07:31 PM, vbaculum wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:37:55 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:33:18 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:29:09 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:23:25 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
How does Utilitarianism fair against other sentient beings that are not human?

Utilitarianism is remarkably strong in this area. Since Bentham utilitarians have expressed concern at animal rights. Singer is huge on this today, but even in Bentham's time this idea was pretty revolutionary and animal welfare follows very fluently from utilitarianism. Utilitarianism doesn't restrict moral obligations to "rational" beings in a narrow sense and as long as an orgasm is sentient and self-aware you really can't escape moral obligations in the minds of most utilitarians. To do so, as Singer would say, is engaging in "speciesm."

I don't know any utilitarians who are against animal rights.

But that doesn't justify why we ought to be moral to animals. If we act in a matter that's supposed to maximize good for ourselves as human beings, then where in that equation is morality towards animals included?

I reasoned that Utilitarianism derives its origin from the realization that it is necessary to establish a universal code of conduct for our benefit. If there is something that has nothing to do with our benefit, then what condition makes us obligated to share morality with it?

Utilitarianism has never explicitly limited well-being to humans.To believe otherwise is a fundamental misunderstanding of the doctrine. IMO there's no logical reason to make this sharp and arbitrary distinction either. Utilitarians are concerned with happiness or preference satisfaction in the aggregate (or on average) which can obviously cut across the lines of specie.

But there's no such thing as an "ought"....there is nothing we ought to do unless we establish a desired outcome.

The rationale for the human race establishing morality for itself is this:
We ought to establish morality if we want to survive and prosper.

In other words, humans ought to establish morality if they want to be alive and happy. Likewise, we ought to establish and extend morality to non-human animals if we desire that our fellow creatures be alive and happy. This may or may not be among one of your desires but it is the desire of most humans who don't have empathy disorders like sociopathy.

So, extending our sphere of moral concerns to non-human species serves a purpose and thus satisfies the "if" requirement of an "ought" statement:

Humans ought to be moral to animals if we desire their happiness (which most humans do).

Your manner of reasoning.. Like actually explaining why there's force behind your claimed "oughts" makes good sense!

So much so that you shouldn't be a Utilitarian...

For Utilitarians don't make sense.. They call what "most people happen to desire" Objective Good.

also.. though people may, by in large, dislike causing sentient beings pain... People also like eating chicken..

Desire eating chicken..

so the care-based morality of the situation is a bit more involved than you suggested... Unless there's some distinct and important difference between Disliking causing pain and Enjoying tasty chicken ;)

We've been over this. I can't argue with someone who denies everything.
vbaculum
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2/21/2012 3:35:56 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/21/2012 2:57:16 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
I doesn't make morality contingent on personal desires, its makes it contingent on collective desires. Man invents morality, based on a general census of human desire. It is in collective human desire for humans to live, collective human desire for humans to prosper, and collective human desire to refrain harm from those beings capable of feeling it (this one I'd call a biological tendency). Of course there will be individuals who violate the IF and do not "want" humans to live,...but individuals do not establish moral rules, a collective assembly of individuals (such as society) establishes moral rules.

Even going by that definition it only apparently becomes wrong to torture animals when society has formed a collective consensus on it.

There is another clause that my previous conditional requires:

We should extend moral concerns to other animals if we desire their happiness AND if we wish to be consistent with our other moral beliefs.

Human are obviously programmed to be concerned with the welfare of other sentient beings - usually that of other humans who they are close to. Thus codes of normative ethics emerge regardless of the time or place. So, if we say "Humans are deserving of moral consideration but all other animals aren't" then we are compelled to offer a reason why this is. I've never heard of a good reason for regarding one sentient animal's welfare differently than from another. To do so would be illogical and, since we humans desire to be logical, we are compelled to include animals within the same sphere of moral concern as ourselves (as the above conditional states).

As I've mentioned before, I don't see morality as being invented and neither do many of the more prominent moral philosophers. Kant even separates morality from desire. It's always been a collective human desire to not hurt animals? Really? Various societies obviously have various rules regarding hunting.

"One ought not needlessly cause suffering to sentient beings" - full stop.

Things cannot be asserted without justification. Unless there is a goal to this "ought"...society is not compelled to adhere to that statement. However, for this particular example I believe we are moral to animals through an intrinsic capacity for empathy, and therefore it extends beyond fellow humans to anything that feels. There for it is in our desire to be moral to animals as well.

Well yes, there's reasoning behind it and utilitarians would just group everything under principle of utility so that would be the answer to every "if." You haven't really extended beyond a descriptive view here, but the first part of the response seems to be implying relativism.
"If you claim to value nonviolence and you consume animal products, you need to rethink your position on nonviolence." - Gary Francione

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mattrodstrom
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2/21/2012 3:41:25 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/21/2012 3:27:35 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
We've been over this. I can't argue with someone who denies everything.

Vbaculum and 0ike seem to understand the importance of actually having REASON to call something "good"... That is, because it's DESIRABLE...

Because it's what we would have done.. what we care for...


You however are quite content to Not explain why the "utility" of someone else is what you would have.. What people generally would have..

You are quite content to support the doing of things which you, supposedly, don't desire... WHY?

For what reason?

That it's "good" means nothing... You can say General Utility is "good" ('define' it as such if you're that much of a dummy) but that word "good" is Not convincing, has no power toward how someone will act UNLESS it matches up with what they care about.

You can say they "ought" to act this way.. but unless you explain how that "ought" is at all Powerfull.. than you're not really saying anything.. that "ought" is an Empty word... Like your "good"

Connecting those words up with what you/humanity tends to care about makes them powerful.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mattrodstrom
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2/21/2012 3:46:38 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/21/2012 3:41:25 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
You can say they "ought" to act this way.. but unless you explain how that "ought" is at all Powerful.. than you're not really saying anything.. that "ought" is an Empty word... Like your "good"

You can't simply "define" something as important to do...

you have to explain/show Why or How it's important to do.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
vbaculum
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2/21/2012 3:57:44 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/21/2012 3:13:44 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 2/21/2012 2:07:31 PM, vbaculum wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:37:55 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:33:18 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:29:09 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 2/18/2012 5:23:25 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
How does Utilitarianism fair against other sentient beings that are not human?

Utilitarianism is remarkably strong in this area. Since Bentham utilitarians have expressed concern at animal rights. Singer is huge on this today, but even in Bentham's time this idea was pretty revolutionary and animal welfare follows very fluently from utilitarianism. Utilitarianism doesn't restrict moral obligations to "rational" beings in a narrow sense and as long as an orgasm is sentient and self-aware you really can't escape moral obligations in the minds of most utilitarians. To do so, as Singer would say, is engaging in "speciesm."

I don't know any utilitarians who are against animal rights.

But that doesn't justify why we ought to be moral to animals. If we act in a matter that's supposed to maximize good for ourselves as human beings, then where in that equation is morality towards animals included?

I reasoned that Utilitarianism derives its origin from the realization that it is necessary to establish a universal code of conduct for our benefit. If there is something that has nothing to do with our benefit, then what condition makes us obligated to share morality with it?

Utilitarianism has never explicitly limited well-being to humans.To believe otherwise is a fundamental misunderstanding of the doctrine. IMO there's no logical reason to make this sharp and arbitrary distinction either. Utilitarians are concerned with happiness or preference satisfaction in the aggregate (or on average) which can obviously cut across the lines of specie.

But there's no such thing as an "ought"....there is nothing we ought to do unless we establish a desired outcome.

The rationale for the human race establishing morality for itself is this:
We ought to establish morality if we want to survive and prosper.

In other words, humans ought to establish morality if they want to be alive and happy. Likewise, we ought to establish and extend morality to non-human animals if we desire that our fellow creatures be alive and happy. This may or may not be among one of your desires but it is the desire of most humans who don't have empathy disorders like sociopathy.

So, extending our sphere of moral concerns to non-human species serves a purpose and thus satisfies the "if" requirement of an "ought" statement:

Humans ought to be moral to animals if we desire their happiness (which most humans do).

Your manner of reasoning.. Like actually explaining why there's force behind your claimed "oughts" makes good sense!

Thank you.

So much so that you shouldn't be a Utilitarian...

I'm not. I say that the best definition for a moral act is any act that causes more pleasure than pain. I think a utilitarian would have to say "morality is whatever cause more pleasure than pain." That claim doesn't make sense to me.


For Utilitarians don't make sense.. They call what "most people happen to desire" Objective Good.

Hmm. What a sentient believes is good is objectively good. It's tautological.

also.. though people may, by in large, dislike causing sentient beings pain... People also like eating chicken..

Yes. See what I wrote in my last post abount logical constency.

If we want to be considered logical and we don't want animals to suffer then we ought not hurt them or cause them to suffer in slaughterhouses.

Desire eating chicken..

so the care-based morality of the situation is a bit more involved than you suggested... Unless there's some distinct and important difference between Disliking causing pain and Enjoying tasty chicken ;)
"If you claim to value nonviolence and you consume animal products, you need to rethink your position on nonviolence." - Gary Francione

THE WORLD IS VEGAN! If you want it
OMGJustinBieber
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2/21/2012 4:05:09 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
There is another clause that my previous conditional requires:

We should extend moral concerns to other animals if we desire their happiness AND if we wish to be consistent with our other moral beliefs.

Human are obviously programmed to be concerned with the welfare of other sentient beings - usually that of other humans who they are close to. Thus codes of normative ethics emerge regardless of the time or place. So, if we say "Humans are deserving of moral consideration but all other animals aren't" then we are compelled to offer a reason why this is. I've never heard of a good reason for regarding one sentient animal's welfare differently than from another. To do so would be illogical and, since we humans desire to be logical, we are compelled to include animals within the same sphere of moral concern as ourselves (as the above conditional states).

I agree with your entire last paragraph but your morality is still relative - if anything, you've made it more selective by adding a second condition. You still are holding morality as subjective to the attitudes of the individual though. I just want to confirm that this is the stance you're taking - as it's certainly not the one Harris would take or really any of the new atheists.
mattrodstrom
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2/21/2012 4:12:29 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/21/2012 3:57:44 PM, vbaculum wrote:
For Utilitarians don't make sense.. They call what "most people happen to desire" Objective Good.

Hmm. What a sentient believes is good is objectively good. It's tautological.

Sentient beings can desire different things.. and think different things are good..

if when you say "objectively good" you mean "objectively good for that person" than sure...

If by Objectively good you mean Universally, Absolutely, good.. then different people believing different things does not tautologically suggest such differing "goods" are Universal/absolute... in fact, it kind of necessarily suggests the opposite.

also.. though people may, by in large, dislike causing sentient beings pain... People also like eating chicken..

Yes. See what I wrote in my last post abount logical constency.

If we want to be considered logical and we don't want animals to suffer then we ought not hurt them or cause them to suffer in slaughterhouses.

I like to Use logic.. (as it makes sense and all ;)
My innate want/desires may or may not be consistent.

Given my innate desires I have to figure out how to best fulfill them all.. Sometimes fulfilling one may come at the expense of another.

It's best if you can fulfill them without such expense... but if you can't do that it's not necessarily because you're lacking in proper reasoning ability.. but might be due to the nature of the world.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mattrodstrom
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2/21/2012 4:21:15 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/21/2012 4:05:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
I agree with your entire last paragraph but your morality is still relative - if anything, you've made it more selective by adding a second condition. You still are holding morality as subjective to the attitudes of the individual though. I just want to confirm that this is the stance you're taking - as it's certainly not the one Harris would take or really any of the new atheists.

You have any reason for calling what you call "good" good yet?

Also, in response to the OP, Reasoning Aliens can indeed present problems for Utilitarianism.. just as can other reasoning Humans..

If the aliens/Humans are simply NOT empathetic.. Then they will not have any chance of being befuddled by the poor arguments of Utilitarians.

And, with aliens, if they are Rational but Without empathy as a species than Utilitarians are really put on the spot to explain what they mean by "good" even to those who might've been duped previously.

For... these Rational, Gigantic lets say, so-called "evil", unempathetic, alien bugs, who each enjoy consuming people by the dozens, will scoff at Utilitarians pleas for "doing the right thing".. and "acting for the most Utility of all".

People will wonder why these Super-intelligent aliens Just don't care for Utilitarian's "good".. and they might come to think.. and Realize.. that the "good" of Utilitarians is Not any Objective, Necessary Understanding to properly reasoning beings.. It is loosely based upon Humane feeling.. and is absolutely ridiculous to assert as "objective truth".
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
OMGJustinBieber
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2/21/2012 4:43:00 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/21/2012 4:21:15 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 2/21/2012 4:05:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
I agree with your entire last paragraph but your morality is still relative - if anything, you've made it more selective by adding a second condition. You still are holding morality as subjective to the attitudes of the individual though. I just want to confirm that this is the stance you're taking - as it's certainly not the one Harris would take or really any of the new atheists.

You have any reason for calling what you call "good" good yet?
It's desired in and of itself would be the short answer. I don't have time to get into this, I should do doing a paper on Kant.
Also, in response to the OP, Reasoning Aliens can indeed present problems for Utilitarianism.. just as can other reasoning Humans..

If the aliens/Humans are simply NOT empathetic.. Then they will not have any chance of being befuddled by the poor arguments of Utilitarians.
Util. isn't predicated or grounded in however much personal empathy the person has.
And, with aliens, if they are Rational but Without empathy as a species than Utilitarians are really put on the spot to explain what they mean by "good" even to those who might've been duped previously.
How?
For... these Rational, Gigantic lets say, so-called "evil", unempathetic, alien bugs, who each enjoy consuming people by the dozens, will scoff at Utilitarians pleas for "doing the right thing".. and "acting for the most Utility of all".
Then we kill or imprison them because their presence is minus utility. Who cares if they scoff at the notion. You scoff at the notion.

People will wonder why these Super-intelligent aliens Just don't care for Utilitarian's "good".. and they might come to think.. and Realize.. that the "good" of Utilitarians is Not any Objective, Necessary Understanding to properly reasoning beings.. It is loosely based upon Humane feeling.. and is absolutely ridiculous to assert as "objective truth".

We've been over this. I'm limiting the discussion for my own sake.
vbaculum
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2/21/2012 6:08:23 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/21/2012 4:05:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
There is another clause that my previous conditional requires:

We should extend moral concerns to other animals if we desire their happiness AND if we wish to be consistent with our other moral beliefs.

Human are obviously programmed to be concerned with the welfare of other sentient beings - usually that of other humans who they are close to. Thus codes of normative ethics emerge regardless of the time or place. So, if we say "Humans are deserving of moral consideration but all other animals aren't" then we are compelled to offer a reason why this is. I've never heard of a good reason for regarding one sentient animal's welfare differently than from another. To do so would be illogical and, since we humans desire to be logical, we are compelled to include animals within the same sphere of moral concern as ourselves (as the above conditional states).

I agree with your entire last paragraph but your morality is still relative - if anything, you've made it more selective by adding a second condition. You still are holding morality as subjective to the attitudes of the individual though. I just want to confirm that this is the stance you're taking -

My stance on morality is that it is a word which deserves a good definition. The best definition we can give it is a the utilitarian-like one I used above (my first conditional). Plus, in order for me to be logical and consistent, my definition would have to be logical and consistent (my second conditional).

I think the miscommunication we are having is that I don't consider morality a thing - it's just a word. All we can do with a word is give it a good definition and be logical and consistent in devising the definition.

as it's certainly not the one Harris would take or really any of the new atheists.

I liked The Moral Landscape though I think a good meta-ethical position is one that is too simple to require a book (most ethicists who write books would surly disagree with me here :). A lot of the time I was reading it I kept thinking "Does this really need to be said. It's so obvious".

Also, I don't consider the "new atheistism" to be a school of ethics so, though they are some of my favorite writers, they haven't done much to influence my meta-ethics.
"If you claim to value nonviolence and you consume animal products, you need to rethink your position on nonviolence." - Gary Francione

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000ike
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2/21/2012 6:11:43 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/21/2012 4:43:00 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 2/21/2012 4:21:15 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 2/21/2012 4:05:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
I agree with your entire last paragraph but your morality is still relative - if anything, you've made it more selective by adding a second condition. You still are holding morality as subjective to the attitudes of the individual though. I just want to confirm that this is the stance you're taking - as it's certainly not the one Harris would take or really any of the new atheists.

You have any reason for calling what you call "good" good yet?
It's desired in and of itself would be the short answer. I don't have time to get into this, I should do doing a paper on Kant.

could you explain your moral philosophy? I don't think I understand it or how you justify ought
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
OMGJustinBieber
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2/21/2012 6:39:34 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
My stance on morality is that it is a word which deserves a good definition. The best definition we can give it is a the utilitarian-like one I used above (my first conditional). Plus, in order for me to be logical and consistent, my definition would have to be logical and consistent (my second conditional).

I think the miscommunication we are having is that I don't consider morality a thing - it's just a word. All we can do with a word is give it a good definition and be logical and consistent in devising the definition.

as it's certainly not the one Harris would take or really any of the new atheists.

I liked The Moral Landscape though I think a good meta-ethical position is one that is too simple to require a book (most ethicists who write books would surly disagree with me here :). A lot of the time I was reading it I kept thinking "Does this really need to be said. It's so obvious".

Also, I don't consider the "new atheistism" to be a school of ethics so, though they are some of my favorite writers, they haven't done much to influence my meta-ethics.

I think I'm on the same page with you as to the ontological status of morality: I don't think it exists as a platonic form. My qualm is the first conditional implies that morality is entirely subjective to the wishes and desires of that individual. You write: "We should extend moral concerns to other animals if we desire their happiness AND if we wish to be consistent with our other moral beliefs."

I'll just focus on the first, but I just want to emphasize you're taking a position that's really quite relative and that Harris would certainly reject. It essentially makes the quantity of moral actions you commit dependent on your frame of mind at the time. The first claim overshadows the second - my main point is I want to draw a distinction between personal feelings and moral law. Your conception places personal feelings at the forefront: If we want them happy it is morally correct to do so. If however we don't then...I suppose your basis for morality is rejected.

could you explain your moral philosophy? I don't think I understand it or how you justify ought

I don't have time or the effort, but you should read "The Expanding Circle" by Peter Singer which captures many but not all elements of it and it's in plain english.
vbaculum
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2/21/2012 9:15:03 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/21/2012 6:39:34 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
My stance on morality is that it is a word which deserves a good definition. The best definition we can give it is a the utilitarian-like one I used above (my first conditional). Plus, in order for me to be logical and consistent, my definition would have to be logical and consistent (my second conditional).

I think the miscommunication we are having is that I don't consider morality a thing - it's just a word. All we can do with a word is give it a good definition and be logical and consistent in devising the definition.

as it's certainly not the one Harris would take or really any of the new atheists.

I liked The Moral Landscape though I think a good meta-ethical position is one that is too simple to require a book (most ethicists who write books would surly disagree with me here :). A lot of the time I was reading it I kept thinking "Does this really need to be said. It's so obvious".

Also, I don't consider the "new atheistism" to be a school of ethics so, though they are some of my favorite writers, they haven't done much to influence my meta-ethics.

I think I'm on the same page with you as to the ontological status of morality: I don't think it exists as a platonic form. My qualm is the first conditional implies that morality is entirely subjective to the wishes and desires of that individual. You write: "We should extend moral concerns to other animals if we desire their happiness AND if we wish to be consistent with our other moral beliefs."


Hmm. Well, there is no "if" about it, is there? We do value the happiness of sentients and we do want to be consistent. I should of said "because" instead of "if".

What one calls "moral" is up to the wishes and desires of an individual. This is just a point of fact; people can say and believe whatever they want. However, people can't just arbitrarily say that this or that is moral and be logical and consistent unless they make an effort to do so. My insistence on the logical and consistent is crucial in my assertion that moral claims aren't merely subjective.

Consider Muslim men who throw acid in the faces of their disobedient girls and woman. They can say they don't have an interest in the welfare of these women. Fine, sociopaths exists. However, they can't objectively say their actions produce more pleasure than pain and therefore they can't justify saying their behavior is moral as I've defined it.

So, when we define an act that produces more pleasure that pain as moral, we are picking the best definition for the word "morality" because this is what people truly mean by the word "moral" when used in everyday speech (by people who aren't hopped up on religion). Additionally, any act can be (at least in theory) objectively demonstrated to meet this criteria. Therefore this definition of morality doesn't imply morality is subjective but rather the opposite.

I'll just focus on the first, but I just want to emphasize you're taking a position that's really quite relative and that Harris would certainly reject.:It essentially makes the quantity of moral actions you commit dependent on your frame of mind at the time. The first claim overshadows the second - my main point is I want to draw a distinction between personal feelings and moral law. Your conception places personal feelings at the forefront: If we want them happy it is morally correct to do so. If however we don't then...I suppose your basis for morality is rejected.

Morality wouldn't exist if it weren't for personal feelings; these are the start of all normative morality. We simply wouldn't have morality if it weren't for empathy. If the world were run by sociopaths then any reasonable definition of morality would be rejected. Assuming nobody had any empathy, they would be logically consistent in all their amoral assertion regarding their indifference to the suffering of others. My definition of morality depends heavily on moral normality. I suppose in that respect it is relative in a way.


could you explain your moral philosophy? I don't think I understand it or how you justify ought

I don't have time or the effort, but you should read "The Expanding Circle" by Peter Singer which captures many but not all elements of it and it's in plain english.
"If you claim to value nonviolence and you consume animal products, you need to rethink your position on nonviolence." - Gary Francione

THE WORLD IS VEGAN! If you want it
vbaculum
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2/21/2012 9:39:01 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/21/2012 4:12:29 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 2/21/2012 3:57:44 PM, vbaculum wrote:
For Utilitarians don't make sense.. They call what "most people happen to desire" Objective Good.

Hmm. What a sentient believes is good is objectively good. It's tautological.

Sentient beings can desire different things.. and think different things are good..

if when you say "objectively good" you mean "objectively good for that person" than sure...

If by Objectively good you mean Universally, Absolutely, good.. then different people believing different things does not tautologically suggest such differing "goods" are Universal/absolute... in fact, it kind of necessarily suggests the opposite.

Right. Phrases like "Universally, Absolutely, good" don't exist in my lexicon of real things. Sentients can experience pleasure and this experience is what I call good as in "this ice-cream tastes good".

also.. though people may, by in large, dislike causing sentient beings pain... People also like eating chicken..

Yes. See what I wrote in my last post abount logical constency.

If we want to be considered logical and we don't want animals to suffer then we ought not hurt them or cause them to suffer in slaughterhouses.

I like to Use logic.. (as it makes sense and all ;)
My innate want/desires may or may not be consistent.

Right. And I would call you out for being illogical if you were to eat a chicken while expressing concern for the welfare of chickens. I would say that you ought not eat chickens since you value their welfare and ask you to tell me if you believe human pleasure is worth the terrible suffering of chickens on factory farms.


Given my innate desires I have to figure out how to best fulfill them all.. Sometimes fulfilling one may come at the expense of another.

It's best if you can fulfill them without such expense... but if you can't do that it's not necessarily because you're lacking in proper reasoning ability.. but might be due to the nature of the world.

Right. In other words, you would save your child from a burning house instead of saving 2 children who aren't yours if you had to chose. No matter what utilitarian argument could be made for saving 2 children, any normal human would save their own single child. This is the "nature of the world" - to save one's own. "Better to save 2 than 1" the utilitarian would say. However, just because my definition of morality cannot always be lived up to in extreme cases doesn't make it a bad definition for non-extreme cases. It may just be the case that humans aren't always perfect.
"If you claim to value nonviolence and you consume animal products, you need to rethink your position on nonviolence." - Gary Francione

THE WORLD IS VEGAN! If you want it