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Utilitarianism

tejretics
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8/5/2015 4:21:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Ultimately, don't all moral philosophies turn into utilitarianism? While utilitarianism rejects moral rights, even those, and the NAP, say that saving two is better than saving one, since it increases net utility. At some point, moral decisions devolve into utilitarian decisions, in *some* possible situation.

Thoughts?
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
Geogeer
Posts: 4,227
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8/5/2015 5:20:45 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/5/2015 4:21:07 PM, tejretics wrote:
Ultimately, don't all moral philosophies turn into utilitarianism? While utilitarianism rejects moral rights, even those, and the NAP, say that saving two is better than saving one, since it increases net utility. At some point, moral decisions devolve into utilitarian decisions, in *some* possible situation.

Thoughts?

I would say the exact opposite. The greatest net benefit to humanity (with utility thus resulting) will be achieved by adhering to the correct morality.
FullMetal.Alchemist
Posts: 62
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8/5/2015 5:21:54 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/5/2015 4:21:07 PM, tejretics wrote:
Ultimately, don't all moral philosophies turn into utilitarianism? While utilitarianism rejects moral rights, even those, and the NAP, say that saving two is better than saving one, since it increases net utility. At some point, moral decisions devolve into utilitarian decisions, in *some* possible situation.

Thoughts?

But in those pseudo-utilitarian calculations, utility isn't defined by pleasure/suffering, so they can't properly be called "utilitarian". For example, with the NAP, the 'right' choice is the one which involves less rights-violations; while that often does coincide with which choice maximizes pleasure & minimizes suffering, the two calculations are still completely distinct.
Fkkize
Posts: 2,147
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8/5/2015 6:05:42 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/5/2015 4:21:07 PM, tejretics wrote:
Ultimately, don't all moral philosophies turn into utilitarianism? While utilitarianism rejects moral rights, even those, and the NAP, say that saving two is better than saving one, since it increases net utility. At some point, moral decisions devolve into utilitarian decisions, in *some* possible situation.

Thoughts?

Consider a virtue ethicist in a trolley-problem-like situation. Most certainly she is going to save the many, because of some virtue. This, however, is not a utilitarian decision as the reason is not to maximize positive mental states, but to do what best reflects the ideal of this virtue or in other words, what is best in developing her character.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
kp98
Posts: 729
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8/5/2015 6:10:54 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I would say the exact opposite. The greatest net benefit to humanity (with utility thus resulting) will be achieved by adhering to the correct morality.

The greatest net benefit to humanity is hardly ever considered. F'rinstance, what would be the best way to spend an extra billion dollars (saved out of the defence budget) on health care? I'd say that from the point of view of 'humanity as a whole' it would be best to spend it on building clinics in the 3rd world, but that is very unlikely to happen!

The odd thing is that people in, say, California would more happily support a clinic in New York which most californians will never use to a clinic in Nairobi which most californiansl will never use. Both clinics will be used by people unknown to most californians - but New Yorkers are more 'us' and Nairobians more 'not us'.

We are still a parochial even tribal species and that skews our measure of utility. We over-value the utility of something close to home and under-value the utility of things remote from 'us and ours'.
Philocat
Posts: 728
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8/5/2015 6:18:25 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/5/2015 4:21:07 PM, tejretics wrote:
Ultimately, don't all moral philosophies turn into utilitarianism? While utilitarianism rejects moral rights, even those, and the NAP, say that saving two is better than saving one, since it increases net utility. At some point, moral decisions devolve into utilitarian decisions, in *some* possible situation.

Thoughts?

I agree to an extent, that all morality comes down to considerations of utility in the end.

But that doesn't necessary lead us to Bentham's classical utilitarianism, since that has far too many problems. Instead, I would argue for rule utilitarianism, which allows for considerations of rights, the NAP and the creation of a legalistic state.

Also, I would add, utility would be more likely to be maximised in a rule-utilitarian world compared to a classical-utilitarian world.
Fkkize
Posts: 2,147
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8/6/2015 10:14:39 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/5/2015 4:21:07 PM, tejretics wrote:
Ultimately, don't all moral philosophies turn into utilitarianism? While utilitarianism rejects moral rights, even those, and the NAP, say that saving two is better than saving one, since it increases net utility. At some point, moral decisions devolve into utilitarian decisions, in *some* possible situation.

Thoughts?

But you might be onto something. Derek Parfit for example thinks that utilitarianism, kantianism and contractualism are not fundamentally opposed and developed a triple-theory.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
ShabShoral
Posts: 3,221
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8/6/2015 5:34:49 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/5/2015 6:18:25 PM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/5/2015 4:21:07 PM, tejretics wrote:
Ultimately, don't all moral philosophies turn into utilitarianism? While utilitarianism rejects moral rights, even those, and the NAP, say that saving two is better than saving one, since it increases net utility. At some point, moral decisions devolve into utilitarian decisions, in *some* possible situation.

Thoughts?

I agree to an extent, that all morality comes down to considerations of utility in the end.

But that doesn't necessary lead us to Bentham's classical utilitarianism, since that has far too many problems. Instead, I would argue for rule utilitarianism, which allows for considerations of rights, the NAP and the creation of a legalistic state.

Also, I would add, utility would be more likely to be maximised in a rule-utilitarian world compared to a classical-utilitarian world.

Either A), the rules you would advocate always universally promote the greatest amount of happiness, in which case the rules would be followed by an act utilitarian anyway, or B), the rules do not produce the greatest net happiness, in which case you must either amend them to the point of A or accept that act utilitarianism would produce more happiness. Rule util is either functionally equivalent to act util or is inefficient.
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ShabShoral
Posts: 3,221
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8/6/2015 5:38:47 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/5/2015 4:21:07 PM, tejretics wrote:
Ultimately, don't all moral philosophies turn into utilitarianism? While utilitarianism rejects moral rights, even those, and the NAP, say that saving two is better than saving one, since it increases net utility. At some point, moral decisions devolve into utilitarian decisions, in *some* possible situation.

Thoughts?

All moral theories collapse into consequentialism (and, more specifically, virtue ethics), but not necessarily utilitarianism.

Interesting read about NAP: http://plato.stanford.edu...
"This site is trash as a debate site. It's club penguin for dysfunctional adults."

~ Skepsikyma <3

"Your idea of good writing is like Spinoza mixed with Heidegger."

~ Dylly Dylly Cat Cat

"You seem to aspire to be a cross between a Jewish hipster, an old school WASP aristocrat, and a political iconoclast"

~ Thett the Mighty
Philocat
Posts: 728
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8/6/2015 5:49:29 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/6/2015 5:34:49 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
At 8/5/2015 6:18:25 PM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/5/2015 4:21:07 PM, tejretics wrote:
Ultimately, don't all moral philosophies turn into utilitarianism? While utilitarianism rejects moral rights, even those, and the NAP, say that saving two is better than saving one, since it increases net utility. At some point, moral decisions devolve into utilitarian decisions, in *some* possible situation.

Thoughts?

I agree to an extent, that all morality comes down to considerations of utility in the end.

But that doesn't necessary lead us to Bentham's classical utilitarianism, since that has far too many problems. Instead, I would argue for rule utilitarianism, which allows for considerations of rights, the NAP and the creation of a legalistic state.

Also, I would add, utility would be more likely to be maximised in a rule-utilitarian world compared to a classical-utilitarian world.

Either A), the rules you would advocate always universally promote the greatest amount of happiness, in which case the rules would be followed by an act utilitarian anyway, or B), the rules do not produce the greatest net happiness, in which case you must either amend them to the point of A or accept that act utilitarianism would produce more happiness. Rule util is either functionally equivalent to act util or is inefficient.

Act util considers the individual moral dilemma in a 'bubble' with no regard for consequences of universalisation or future implications.

Rule util maximises happiness because it acknowledges universalisation.
Fkkize
Posts: 2,147
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8/6/2015 5:59:41 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/6/2015 5:49:29 PM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/6/2015 5:34:49 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
At 8/5/2015 6:18:25 PM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/5/2015 4:21:07 PM, tejretics wrote:
Ultimately, don't all moral philosophies turn into utilitarianism? While utilitarianism rejects moral rights, even those, and the NAP, say that saving two is better than saving one, since it increases net utility. At some point, moral decisions devolve into utilitarian decisions, in *some* possible situation.

Thoughts?

I agree to an extent, that all morality comes down to considerations of utility in the end.

But that doesn't necessary lead us to Bentham's classical utilitarianism, since that has far too many problems. Instead, I would argue for rule utilitarianism, which allows for considerations of rights, the NAP and the creation of a legalistic state.

Also, I would add, utility would be more likely to be maximised in a rule-utilitarian world compared to a classical-utilitarian world.

Either A), the rules you would advocate always universally promote the greatest amount of happiness, in which case the rules would be followed by an act utilitarian anyway, or B), the rules do not produce the greatest net happiness, in which case you must either amend them to the point of A or accept that act utilitarianism would produce more happiness. Rule util is either functionally equivalent to act util or is inefficient.

Act util considers the individual moral dilemma in a 'bubble' with no regard for consequences of universalisation or future implications.
Where exactly did you get that from?

Rule util maximises happiness because it acknowledges universalisation.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
ShabShoral
Posts: 3,221
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8/6/2015 8:23:36 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/6/2015 5:49:29 PM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/6/2015 5:34:49 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
At 8/5/2015 6:18:25 PM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/5/2015 4:21:07 PM, tejretics wrote:
Ultimately, don't all moral philosophies turn into utilitarianism? While utilitarianism rejects moral rights, even those, and the NAP, say that saving two is better than saving one, since it increases net utility. At some point, moral decisions devolve into utilitarian decisions, in *some* possible situation.

Thoughts?

I agree to an extent, that all morality comes down to considerations of utility in the end.

But that doesn't necessary lead us to Bentham's classical utilitarianism, since that has far too many problems. Instead, I would argue for rule utilitarianism, which allows for considerations of rights, the NAP and the creation of a legalistic state.

Also, I would add, utility would be more likely to be maximised in a rule-utilitarian world compared to a classical-utilitarian world.

Either A), the rules you would advocate always universally promote the greatest amount of happiness, in which case the rules would be followed by an act utilitarian anyway, or B), the rules do not produce the greatest net happiness, in which case you must either amend them to the point of A or accept that act utilitarianism would produce more happiness. Rule util is either functionally equivalent to act util or is inefficient.

Act util considers the individual moral dilemma in a 'bubble' with no regard for consequences of universalisation or future implications.
No it doesn't... if an action directly leads to, for example, a culture wherein utility won't be maximized, then that action wouldn't be moral under act utilitarianism. Act util makes no distinction between "immediate" and "future" consequences.
Rule util maximises happiness because it acknowledges universalisation.
So does act util, which is why both are basically the same.
"This site is trash as a debate site. It's club penguin for dysfunctional adults."

~ Skepsikyma <3

"Your idea of good writing is like Spinoza mixed with Heidegger."

~ Dylly Dylly Cat Cat

"You seem to aspire to be a cross between a Jewish hipster, an old school WASP aristocrat, and a political iconoclast"

~ Thett the Mighty
Philocat
Posts: 728
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8/6/2015 9:59:53 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Another reason why rule util is better than act util is that it can be applied to legalistic societies. Act util has no respect for the law because it can be justifiably overridden in any situation that might maximise utility. Besides, we need laws in order to ensure that people act in a utilitarian manner. If everyone followed act util, there would be anarchy because the government would have no moral authority.

At 8/6/2015 8:23:36 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
At 8/6/2015 5:49:29 PM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/6/2015 5:34:49 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
At 8/5/2015 6:18:25 PM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/5/2015 4:21:07 PM, tejretics wrote:
Ultimately, don't all moral philosophies turn into utilitarianism? While utilitarianism rejects moral rights, even those, and the NAP, say that saving two is better than saving one, since it increases net utility. At some point, moral decisions devolve into utilitarian decisions, in *some* possible situation.

Thoughts?

I agree to an extent, that all morality comes down to considerations of utility in the end.

But that doesn't necessary lead us to Bentham's classical utilitarianism, since that has far too many problems. Instead, I would argue for rule utilitarianism, which allows for considerations of rights, the NAP and the creation of a legalistic state.

Also, I would add, utility would be more likely to be maximised in a rule-utilitarian world compared to a classical-utilitarian world.

Either A), the rules you would advocate always universally promote the greatest amount of happiness, in which case the rules would be followed by an act utilitarian anyway, or B), the rules do not produce the greatest net happiness, in which case you must either amend them to the point of A or accept that act utilitarianism would produce more happiness. Rule util is either functionally equivalent to act util or is inefficient.

Act util considers the individual moral dilemma in a 'bubble' with no regard for consequences of universalisation or future implications.
No it doesn't... if an action directly leads to, for example, a culture wherein utility won't be maximized, then that action wouldn't be moral under act utilitarianism. Act util makes no distinction between "immediate" and "future" consequences.

Really? That's not what I've previously taken act util to be.

Act util considers whether that single, particular act in that given situation maximises utility. There is nothing within the felicific calculus that universalises the act. This is because a single act on its own may have negative utility if universalised but have positive utility if it wasn't. Yet act util only considers the utility of that singluar act in one particular situation, disregarding the implications of universalisation.

Rule util maximises happiness because it acknowledges universalisation.
So does act util, which is why both are basically the same.

I don't see how act util can consider universalisation, as universalisation can only be considered if we ask what would happen if everyone did a particular action; a question not asked by act util.

At 8/6/2015 5:59:41 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 8/6/2015 5:49:29 PM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/6/2015 5:34:49 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
At 8/5/2015 6:18:25 PM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/5/2015 4:21:07 PM, tejretics wrote:
Ultimately, don't all moral philosophies turn into utilitarianism? While utilitarianism rejects moral rights, even those, and the NAP, say that saving two is better than saving one, since it increases net utility. At some point, moral decisions devolve into utilitarian decisions, in *some* possible situation.

Thoughts?

I agree to an extent, that all morality comes down to considerations of utility in the end.

But that doesn't necessary lead us to Bentham's classical utilitarianism, since that has far too many problems. Instead, I would argue for rule utilitarianism, which allows for considerations of rights, the NAP and the creation of a legalistic state.

Also, I would add, utility would be more likely to be maximised in a rule-utilitarian world compared to a classical-utilitarian world.

Either A), the rules you would advocate always universally promote the greatest amount of happiness, in which case the rules would be followed by an act utilitarian anyway, or B), the rules do not produce the greatest net happiness, in which case you must either amend them to the point of A or accept that act utilitarianism would produce more happiness. Rule util is either functionally equivalent to act util or is inefficient.

Act util considers the individual moral dilemma in a 'bubble' with no regard for consequences of universalisation or future implications.
Where exactly did you get that from?

Sorry, I was incorrect in saying that act util doesn't consider future considerations. But I maintain that it cannot consider universalisation, as I have elaborated on in answer to ShabShoral.

Rule util maximises happiness because it acknowledges universalisation.
Fkkize
Posts: 2,147
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8/6/2015 10:30:08 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/6/2015 9:59:53 PM, Philocat wrote:
Another reason why rule util is better than act util is that it can be applied to legalistic societies. Act util has no respect for the law because it can be justifiably overridden in any situation that might maximise utility. Besides, we need laws in order to ensure that people act in a utilitarian manner. If everyone followed act util, there would be anarchy because the government would have no moral authority.
Ask yourself, "is anarchy and an impotent government beneficial to overall welfare". If your answer is, as it should be, no, then there is no problem for AU. Look at some basic laws. Don't steal, don't kill, don't harm. Are these laws generally beneficial to welfare or not? Of course there are trolley problems and other thought experiments where the utilitarian answer quite possible entails the deliberate ending of a persons life (presumably violating the law) to save the greater number, but realistically you are not going to face any such situations in your entire life.

Act util considers whether that single, particular act in that given situation maximises utility. There is nothing within the felicific calculus that universalises the act. This is because a single act on its own may have negative utility if universalised but have positive utility if it wasn't. Yet act util only considers the utility of that singluar act in one particular situation, disregarding the implications of universalisation.
A utilitarian is not blind to human psychology. If you save someone's car from a giant rock falling onto it by attempting to steal it with this as the sole, vicious intention, then he is still going to condemn you.

Rule util maximises happiness because it acknowledges universalisation.
So does act util, which is why both are basically the same.

I don't see how act util can consider universalisation, as universalisation can only be considered if we ask what would happen if everyone did a particular action; a question not asked by act util.
[...]
Sorry, I was incorrect in saying that act util doesn't consider future considerations. But I maintain that it cannot consider universalisation
If universalization maximizes utility, then an AU is going to consider it, too.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
ShabShoral
Posts: 3,221
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8/6/2015 10:34:56 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/6/2015 9:59:53 PM, Philocat wrote:
Another reason why rule util is better than act util is that it can be applied to legalistic societies. Act util has no respect for the law because it can be justifiably overridden in any situation that might maximise utility. Besides, we need laws in order to ensure that people act in a utilitarian manner. If everyone followed act util, there would be anarchy because the government would have no moral authority.
If the implementation and adherence to laws would increase net utility, then act util would promote them... why wouldn't it?
At 8/6/2015 8:23:36 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
At 8/6/2015 5:49:29 PM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/6/2015 5:34:49 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
At 8/5/2015 6:18:25 PM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/5/2015 4:21:07 PM, tejretics wrote:
Ultimately, don't all moral philosophies turn into utilitarianism? While utilitarianism rejects moral rights, even those, and the NAP, say that saving two is better than saving one, since it increases net utility. At some point, moral decisions devolve into utilitarian decisions, in *some* possible situation.

Thoughts?

I agree to an extent, that all morality comes down to considerations of utility in the end.

But that doesn't necessary lead us to Bentham's classical utilitarianism, since that has far too many problems. Instead, I would argue for rule utilitarianism, which allows for considerations of rights, the NAP and the creation of a legalistic state.

Also, I would add, utility would be more likely to be maximised in a rule-utilitarian world compared to a classical-utilitarian world.

Either A), the rules you would advocate always universally promote the greatest amount of happiness, in which case the rules would be followed by an act utilitarian anyway, or B), the rules do not produce the greatest net happiness, in which case you must either amend them to the point of A or accept that act utilitarianism would produce more happiness. Rule util is either functionally equivalent to act util or is inefficient.

Act util considers the individual moral dilemma in a 'bubble' with no regard for consequences of universalisation or future implications.
No it doesn't... if an action directly leads to, for example, a culture wherein utility won't be maximized, then that action wouldn't be moral under act utilitarianism. Act util makes no distinction between "immediate" and "future" consequences.

Really? That's not what I've previously taken act util to be.

Act util considers whether that single, particular act in that given situation maximises utility. There is nothing within the felicific calculus that universalises the act. This is because a single act on its own may have negative utility if universalised but have positive utility if it wasn't. Yet act util only considers the utility of that singluar act in one particular situation, disregarding the implications of universalisation.
That's an arbitrary distinction. That single, particular act can, for example, set a dangerous precedent for future acts - there's no reason why act util wouldn't consider that in its initial evaluation.

Rule util maximises happiness because it acknowledges universalisation.
So does act util, which is why both are basically the same.

I don't see how act util can consider universalisation, as universalisation can only be considered if we ask what would happen if everyone did a particular action; a question not asked by act util.
Literally the only way for an act to have negative util because of the danger of universalization is if it leads to universalization in itself, since, if it didn't, then it's not a concern, so the acts you're referring to are negative in themselves, and thus would be counted as such by act util.

At 8/6/2015 5:59:41 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 8/6/2015 5:49:29 PM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/6/2015 5:34:49 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
At 8/5/2015 6:18:25 PM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/5/2015 4:21:07 PM, tejretics wrote:
Ultimately, don't all moral philosophies turn into utilitarianism? While utilitarianism rejects moral rights, even those, and the NAP, say that saving two is better than saving one, since it increases net utility. At some point, moral decisions devolve into utilitarian decisions, in *some* possible situation.

Thoughts?

I agree to an extent, that all morality comes down to considerations of utility in the end.

But that doesn't necessary lead us to Bentham's classical utilitarianism, since that has far too many problems. Instead, I would argue for rule utilitarianism, which allows for considerations of rights, the NAP and the creation of a legalistic state.

Also, I would add, utility would be more likely to be maximised in a rule-utilitarian world compared to a classical-utilitarian world.

Either A), the rules you would advocate always universally promote the greatest amount of happiness, in which case the rules would be followed by an act utilitarian anyway, or B), the rules do not produce the greatest net happiness, in which case you must either amend them to the point of A or accept that act utilitarianism would produce more happiness. Rule util is either functionally equivalent to act util or is inefficient.

Act util considers the individual moral dilemma in a 'bubble' with no regard for consequences of universalisation or future implications.
Where exactly did you get that from?

Sorry, I was incorrect in saying that act util doesn't consider future considerations. But I maintain that it cannot consider universalisation, as I have elaborated on in answer to ShabShoral.

Rule util maximises happiness because it acknowledges universalisation.
"This site is trash as a debate site. It's club penguin for dysfunctional adults."

~ Skepsikyma <3

"Your idea of good writing is like Spinoza mixed with Heidegger."

~ Dylly Dylly Cat Cat

"You seem to aspire to be a cross between a Jewish hipster, an old school WASP aristocrat, and a political iconoclast"

~ Thett the Mighty
Philocat
Posts: 728
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8/7/2015 10:47:30 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/6/2015 10:30:08 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 8/6/2015 9:59:53 PM, Philocat wrote:
Another reason why rule util is better than act util is that it can be applied to legalistic societies. Act util has no respect for the law because it can be justifiably overridden in any situation that might maximise utility. Besides, we need laws in order to ensure that people act in a utilitarian manner. If everyone followed act util, there would be anarchy because the government would have no moral authority.

Act util only considers the utility of each individual action, hence it *can't* consider universalisation because universalisation only becomes apparent if we consider the cumulative utility if everyone did a certain action. (if everyone does X, will utility be maximised?)

AU asks: if I do X right now, will utility be maximised?

RU asks: if everyone does X right now, will utility be maximised?

Therein lies the distinction. AU only considers individual acts and therefore cannot universalise.

Ask yourself, "is anarchy and an impotent government beneficial to overall welfare". If your answer is, as it should be, no, then there is no problem for AU. Look at some basic laws. Don't steal, don't kill, don't harm. Are these laws generally beneficial to welfare or not?

Yes, but what you describe is Rule Util.

Of course there are trolley problems and other thought experiments where the utilitarian answer quite possible entails the deliberate ending of a persons life (presumably violating the law) to save the greater number, but realistically you are not going to face any such situations in your entire life.

Agreed, so we can safely rely on rule util to live a moral life.


Act util considers whether that single, particular act in that given situation maximises utility. There is nothing within the felicific calculus that universalises the act. This is because a single act on its own may have negative utility if universalised but have positive utility if it wasn't. Yet act util only considers the utility of that singluar act in one particular situation, disregarding the implications of universalisation.

A utilitarian is not blind to human psychology. If you save someone's car from a giant rock falling onto it by attempting to steal it with this as the sole, vicious intention, then he is still going to condemn you.

According to act util, the car thief acted morality because, in that particular situation, it maximised utility.


Rule util maximises happiness because it acknowledges universalisation.
So does act util, which is why both are basically the same.

I don't see how act util can consider universalisation, as universalisation can only be considered if we ask what would happen if everyone did a particular action; a question not asked by act util.
[...]
Sorry, I was incorrect in saying that act util doesn't consider future considerations. But I maintain that it cannot consider universalisation
If universalization maximizes utility, then an AU is going to consider it, too.

No, because AU only considers the utility of the individual action. Considerations of the utility of an individual action do not recognise the utility of that action universalised because, by definition, universalisation requires considerations of multiple occurrences of that act.
Philocat
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8/7/2015 10:48:29 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/6/2015 10:34:56 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
At 8/6/2015 9:59:53 PM, Philocat wrote:
Another reason why rule util is better than act util is that it can be applied to legalistic societies. Act util has no respect for the law because it can be justifiably overridden in any situation that might maximise utility. Besides, we need laws in order to ensure that people act in a utilitarian manner. If everyone followed act util, there would be anarchy because the government would have no moral authority.
If the implementation and adherence to laws would increase net utility, then act util would promote them... why wouldn't it?
At 8/6/2015 8:23:36 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
At 8/6/2015 5:49:29 PM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/6/2015 5:34:49 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
At 8/5/2015 6:18:25 PM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/5/2015 4:21:07 PM, tejretics wrote:
Ultimately, don't all moral philosophies turn into utilitarianism? While utilitarianism rejects moral rights, even those, and the NAP, say that saving two is better than saving one, since it increases net utility. At some point, moral decisions devolve into utilitarian decisions, in *some* possible situation.

Thoughts?

I agree to an extent, that all morality comes down to considerations of utility in the end.

But that doesn't necessary lead us to Bentham's classical utilitarianism, since that has far too many problems. Instead, I would argue for rule utilitarianism, which allows for considerations of rights, the NAP and the creation of a legalistic state.

Also, I would add, utility would be more likely to be maximised in a rule-utilitarian world compared to a classical-utilitarian world.

Either A), the rules you would advocate always universally promote the greatest amount of happiness, in which case the rules would be followed by an act utilitarian anyway, or B), the rules do not produce the greatest net happiness, in which case you must either amend them to the point of A or accept that act utilitarianism would produce more happiness. Rule util is either functionally equivalent to act util or is inefficient.

Act util considers the individual moral dilemma in a 'bubble' with no regard for consequences of universalisation or future implications.
No it doesn't... if an action directly leads to, for example, a culture wherein utility won't be maximized, then that action wouldn't be moral under act utilitarianism. Act util makes no distinction between "immediate" and "future" consequences.

Really? That's not what I've previously taken act util to be.

Act util considers whether that single, particular act in that given situation maximises utility. There is nothing within the felicific calculus that universalises the act. This is because a single act on its own may have negative utility if universalised but have positive utility if it wasn't. Yet act util only considers the utility of that singluar act in one particular situation, disregarding the implications of universalisation.
That's an arbitrary distinction. That single, particular act can, for example, set a dangerous precedent for future acts - there's no reason why act util wouldn't consider that in its initial evaluation.

Rule util maximises happiness because it acknowledges universalisation.
So does act util, which is why both are basically the same.

I don't see how act util can consider universalisation, as universalisation can only be considered if we ask what would happen if everyone did a particular action; a question not asked by act util.
Literally the only way for an act to have negative util because of the danger of universalization is if it leads to universalization in itself, since, if it didn't, then it's not a concern, so the acts you're referring to are negative in themselves, and thus would be counted as such by act util.

At 8/6/2015 5:59:41 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 8/6/2015 5:49:29 PM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/6/2015 5:34:49 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
At 8/5/2015 6:18:25 PM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/5/2015 4:21:07 PM, tejretics wrote:
Ultimately, don't all moral philosophies turn into utilitarianism? While utilitarianism rejects moral rights, even those, and the NAP, say that saving two is better than saving one, since it increases net utility. At some point, moral decisions devolve into utilitarian decisions, in *some* possible situation.

Thoughts?

I agree to an extent, that all morality comes down to considerations of utility in the end.

But that doesn't necessary lead us to Bentham's classical utilitarianism, since that has far too many problems. Instead, I would argue for rule utilitarianism, which allows for considerations of rights, the NAP and the creation of a legalistic state.

Also, I would add, utility would be more likely to be maximised in a rule-utilitarian world compared to a classical-utilitarian world.

Either A), the rules you would advocate always universally promote the greatest amount of happiness, in which case the rules would be followed by an act utilitarian anyway, or B), the rules do not produce the greatest net happiness, in which case you must either amend them to the point of A or accept that act utilitarianism would produce more happiness. Rule util is either functionally equivalent to act util or is inefficient.

Act util considers the individual moral dilemma in a 'bubble' with no regard for consequences of universalisation or future implications.
Where exactly did you get that from?

Sorry, I was incorrect in saying that act util doesn't consider future considerations. But I maintain that it cannot consider universalisation, as I have elaborated on in answer to ShabShoral.

Rule util maximises happiness because it acknowledges universalisation.

Most of your points were echoed by Ffikze, so to save repeating myself I'll direct you to my response to Ffikze.
Fkkize
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8/7/2015 11:24:05 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/7/2015 10:47:30 AM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/6/2015 10:30:08 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 8/6/2015 9:59:53 PM, Philocat wrote:
Another reason why rule util is better than act util is that it can be applied to legalistic societies. Act util has no respect for the law because it can be justifiably overridden in any situation that might maximise utility. Besides, we need laws in order to ensure that people act in a utilitarian manner. If everyone followed act util, there would be anarchy because the government would have no moral authority.

Act util only considers the utility of each individual action, hence it *can't* consider universalisation because universalisation only becomes apparent if we consider the cumulative utility if everyone did a certain action. (if everyone does X, will utility be maximised?)

AU asks: if I do X right now, will utility be maximised?

RU asks: if everyone does X right now, will utility be maximised?

Therein lies the distinction. AU only considers individual acts and therefore cannot universalise.
I am a utilitarian and I don't do that.




Ask yourself, "is anarchy and an impotent government beneficial to overall welfare". If your answer is, as it should be, no, then there is no problem for AU. Look at some basic laws. Don't steal, don't kill, don't harm. Are these laws generally beneficial to welfare or not?

Yes, but what you describe is Rule Util.
Not at all. If this coincides with what you take to be RU, then this just supports Shab's and my claim that both forms of utilitarianism are identical.

Of course there are trolley problems and other thought experiments where the utilitarian answer quite possible entails the deliberate ending of a persons life (presumably violating the law) to save the greater number, but realistically you are not going to face any such situations in your entire life.

Agreed, so we can safely rely on rule util to live a moral life.
So you agree that they are identical?

A utilitarian is not blind to human psychology. If you save someone's car from a giant rock falling onto it by attempting to steal it with this as the sole, vicious intention, then he is still going to condemn you.

According to act util, the car thief acted morality because, in that particular situation, it maximised utility.
Restating the point is not an argument.

If universalization maximizes utility, then an AU is going to consider it, too.

No, because AU only considers the utility of the individual action. Considerations of the utility of an individual action do not recognise the utility of that action universalised because, by definition, universalisation requires considerations of multiple occurrences of that act.

You draw a complete caricature of utilitarianism. The utilitarians i know, me included, are indirect utilitarians. You won't find anyone holding the position you attack.

"Indirect Utilitarians believe that calculating utility is not something people are very good at on a day to day basis. According to them, it may be most effective if people follow laws and rules of thumb which are effective in practice. This will often maximize utility more effectively than if people always explicitly tried to calculate utility, because people are not very good at trying to calculate the utility of every action they take. ...
[U]tility maximization is the ideal but that ideal might be most effectively achieved by people who are not constantly and consciously trying to maximize utility... [It] is a normative theory that says what is important is maximizing utility, regardless of what approach leads to it." - Ian Montgomerie, 2000.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Philocat
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8/7/2015 12:45:29 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/7/2015 11:24:05 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 8/7/2015 10:47:30 AM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/6/2015 10:30:08 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 8/6/2015 9:59:53 PM, Philocat wrote:
Another reason why rule util is better than act util is that it can be applied to legalistic societies. Act util has no respect for the law because it can be justifiably overridden in any situation that might maximise utility. Besides, we need laws in order to ensure that people act in a utilitarian manner. If everyone followed act util, there would be anarchy because the government would have no moral authority.

Act util only considers the utility of each individual action, hence it *can't* consider universalisation because universalisation only becomes apparent if we consider the cumulative utility if everyone did a certain action. (if everyone does X, will utility be maximised?)

AU asks: if I do X right now, will utility be maximised?

RU asks: if everyone does X right now, will utility be maximised?

Therein lies the distinction. AU only considers individual acts and therefore cannot universalise.
I am a utilitarian and I don't do that.

Then I would conjecture that you're not a full-on act utilitarian, but more of a rule utilitarian.





Ask yourself, "is anarchy and an impotent government beneficial to overall welfare". If your answer is, as it should be, no, then there is no problem for AU. Look at some basic laws. Don't steal, don't kill, don't harm. Are these laws generally beneficial to welfare or not?

Yes, but what you describe is Rule Util.
Not at all. If this coincides with what you take to be RU, then this just supports Shab's and my claim that both forms of utilitarianism are identical.

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy says that there is a distinction (http://www.iep.utm.edu...), namely that AU considers utility on a case-by-case basis and RU considers utility in terms of universal rules.


Of course there are trolley problems and other thought experiments where the utilitarian answer quite possible entails the deliberate ending of a persons life (presumably violating the law) to save the greater number, but realistically you are not going to face any such situations in your entire life.

Agreed, so we can safely rely on rule util to live a moral life.
So you agree that they are identical?

No, I just think that most people who claim to be Act Utilitarians actually live by Rule Util in their everyday lives.



A utilitarian is not blind to human psychology. If you save someone's car from a giant rock falling onto it by attempting to steal it with this as the sole, vicious intention, then he is still going to condemn you.

According to act util, the car thief acted morality because, in that particular situation, it maximised utility.
Restating the point is not an argument.

I'm just saying that AU gives absolutely no moral value to the intention of the act, only the consequence.


If universalization maximizes utility, then an AU is going to consider it, too.

No, because AU only considers the utility of the individual action. Considerations of the utility of an individual action do not recognise the utility of that action universalised because, by definition, universalisation requires considerations of multiple occurrences of that act.

You draw a complete caricature of utilitarianism. The utilitarians i know, me included, are indirect utilitarians. You won't find anyone holding the position you attack.

In that case, I think most people are rule utilitarians.


"Indirect Utilitarians believe that calculating utility is not something people are very good at on a day to day basis. According to them, it may be most effective if people follow laws and rules of thumb which are effective in practice. This will often maximize utility more effectively than if people always explicitly tried to calculate utility, because people are not very good at trying to calculate the utility of every action they take. ...
[U]tility maximization is the ideal but that ideal might be most effectively achieved by people who are not constantly and consciously trying to maximize utility... [It] is a normative theory that says what is important is maximizing utility, regardless of what approach leads to it." - Ian Montgomerie, 2000.

'Rules of thumb' are essentially rule util but on a personal level. But the problem with this is that peoples' rules of thumb may or not coincide with the law of the land, leading to criminal activity. Mill's Rule Util applies to law-making - where the 'rules of thumb' are actually rules of the land, and instigated on the basis of maximising utility on a universal basis.
Fkkize
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8/7/2015 3:49:11 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/7/2015 12:45:29 PM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/7/2015 11:24:05 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 8/7/2015 10:47:30 AM, Philocat wrote:
At 8/6/2015 10:30:08 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 8/6/2015 9:59:53 PM, Philocat wrote:
Another reason why rule util is better than act util is that it can be applied to legalistic societies. Act util has no respect for the law because it can be justifiably overridden in any situation that might maximise utility. Besides, we need laws in order to ensure that people act in a utilitarian manner. If everyone followed act util, there would be anarchy because the government would have no moral authority.

Act util only considers the utility of each individual action, hence it *can't* consider universalisation because universalisation only becomes apparent if we consider the cumulative utility if everyone did a certain action. (if everyone does X, will utility be maximised?)

AU asks: if I do X right now, will utility be maximised?

RU asks: if everyone does X right now, will utility be maximised?

Therein lies the distinction. AU only considers individual acts and therefore cannot universalise.
I am a utilitarian and I don't do that.

Then I would conjecture that you're not a full-on act utilitarian, but more of a rule utilitarian.





Ask yourself, "is anarchy and an impotent government beneficial to overall welfare". If your answer is, as it should be, no, then there is no problem for AU. Look at some basic laws. Don't steal, don't kill, don't harm. Are these laws generally beneficial to welfare or not?

Yes, but what you describe is Rule Util.
Not at all. If this coincides with what you take to be RU, then this just supports Shab's and my claim that both forms of utilitarianism are identical.

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy says that there is a distinction (http://www.iep.utm.edu...), namely that AU considers utility on a case-by-case basis and RU considers utility in terms of universal rules.


Of course there are trolley problems and other thought experiments where the utilitarian answer quite possible entails the deliberate ending of a persons life (presumably violating the law) to save the greater number, but realistically you are not going to face any such situations in your entire life.

Agreed, so we can safely rely on rule util to live a moral life.
So you agree that they are identical?

No, I just think that most people who claim to be Act Utilitarians actually live by Rule Util in their everyday lives.



A utilitarian is not blind to human psychology. If you save someone's car from a giant rock falling onto it by attempting to steal it with this as the sole, vicious intention, then he is still going to condemn you.

According to act util, the car thief acted morality because, in that particular situation, it maximised utility.
Restating the point is not an argument.

I'm just saying that AU gives absolutely no moral value to the intention of the act, only the consequence.


If universalization maximizes utility, then an AU is going to consider it, too.

No, because AU only considers the utility of the individual action. Considerations of the utility of an individual action do not recognise the utility of that action universalised because, by definition, universalisation requires considerations of multiple occurrences of that act.

You draw a complete caricature of utilitarianism. The utilitarians i know, me included, are indirect utilitarians. You won't find anyone holding the position you attack.

In that case, I think most people are rule utilitarians.


"Indirect Utilitarians believe that calculating utility is not something people are very good at on a day to day basis. According to them, it may be most effective if people follow laws and rules of thumb which are effective in practice. This will often maximize utility more effectively than if people always explicitly tried to calculate utility, because people are not very good at trying to calculate the utility of every action they take. ...
[U]tility maximization is the ideal but that ideal might be most effectively achieved by people who are not constantly and consciously trying to maximize utility... [It] is a normative theory that says what is important is maximizing utility, regardless of what approach leads to it." - Ian Montgomerie, 2000.

'Rules of thumb' are essentially rule util but on a personal level. But the problem with this is that peoples' rules of thumb may or not coincide with the law of the land, leading to criminal activity. Mill's Rule Util applies to law-making - where the 'rules of thumb' are actually rules of the land, and instigated on the basis of maximising utility on a universal basis.

You know, I'd be happy to debate this.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
ShabShoral
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8/7/2015 4:45:48 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/7/2015 12:45:29 PM, Philocat wrote:


The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy says that there is a distinction (http://www.iep.utm.edu...), namely that AU considers utility on a case-by-case basis and RU considers utility in terms of universal rules.
The argument we're making is very common and is probably the most widely accepted argument against rule util: http://plato.stanford.edu...

Let me ask you this: if you could be sure that an act will not be universalized (I.e. That it will be a one-time occurrence), would rule util have a problem with it? If it would, then it seems like it makes an arbitrary choice to blacklist all actions that, in some possible world, would produce negative util, even if it's certain that they won't in the real world (thus not actually maximizing util). If it wouldn't, then it's clear that acts which are bad when universalized aren't necessarily bad at all times - therefore, there must be something inherent in the act itself that determines whether or not universalization is a danger that needs to be considered (where else would the danger come from if not from the action? Universalization requires an initial spark), and this thing can be evaluated by an act utilitarian just by looking at the act itself, and, as such, eliminating any distinction between act and rule util on that level.

The only way out of this is to say that rule util doesn't want to maximize total util, which seems very un-utilitarian to me.
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dylancatlow
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8/7/2015 4:57:10 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/5/2015 6:05:42 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 8/5/2015 4:21:07 PM, tejretics wrote:
Ultimately, don't all moral philosophies turn into utilitarianism? While utilitarianism rejects moral rights, even those, and the NAP, say that saving two is better than saving one, since it increases net utility. At some point, moral decisions devolve into utilitarian decisions, in *some* possible situation.

Thoughts?

Consider a virtue ethicist in a trolley-problem-like situation. Most certainly she is going to save the many, because of some virtue. This, however, is not a utilitarian decision as the reason is not to maximize positive mental states, but to do what best reflects the ideal of this virtue or in other words, what is best in developing her character.

This just involves a reinterpretation of "utility".
FullMetal.Alchemist
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8/7/2015 5:31:16 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/7/2015 4:57:10 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 8/5/2015 6:05:42 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 8/5/2015 4:21:07 PM, tejretics wrote:
Ultimately, don't all moral philosophies turn into utilitarianism? While utilitarianism rejects moral rights, even those, and the NAP, say that saving two is better than saving one, since it increases net utility. At some point, moral decisions devolve into utilitarian decisions, in *some* possible situation.

Thoughts?

Consider a virtue ethicist in a trolley-problem-like situation. Most certainly she is going to save the many, because of some virtue. This, however, is not a utilitarian decision as the reason is not to maximize positive mental states, but to do what best reflects the ideal of this virtue or in other words, what is best in developing her character.

This just involves a reinterpretation of "utility".

Yes, but the 'utility' of utilitarianism is specifically defined by the maximization of "positive mental states". So it cannot really be said that other ethical systems devolve into utilitarianism.
ShabShoral
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8/7/2015 5:48:37 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/7/2015 4:57:10 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 8/5/2015 6:05:42 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 8/5/2015 4:21:07 PM, tejretics wrote:
Ultimately, don't all moral philosophies turn into utilitarianism? While utilitarianism rejects moral rights, even those, and the NAP, say that saving two is better than saving one, since it increases net utility. At some point, moral decisions devolve into utilitarian decisions, in *some* possible situation.

Thoughts?

Consider a virtue ethicist in a trolley-problem-like situation. Most certainly she is going to save the many, because of some virtue. This, however, is n ot a utilitarian decision as the reason is not to maximize positive mental states, but to do what best reflects the ideal of this virtue or in other words, what is best in developing her character.

This just involves a reinterpretation of "utility".

That's like saying that red and blue are equivalent because "blue is just a reinterpretation of the wavelengths that cause red". Utilitarianism is identified by a unique definition of utility. If you change it, you can't have utilitarianism...
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Fkkize
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8/7/2015 5:50:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/7/2015 5:31:16 PM, FullMetal.Alchemist wrote:
At 8/7/2015 4:57:10 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 8/5/2015 6:05:42 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 8/5/2015 4:21:07 PM, tejretics wrote:
Ultimately, don't all moral philosophies turn into utilitarianism? While utilitarianism rejects moral rights, even those, and the NAP, say that saving two is better than saving one, since it increases net utility. At some point, moral decisions devolve into utilitarian decisions, in *some* possible situation.

Thoughts?

Consider a virtue ethicist in a trolley-problem-like situation. Most certainly she is going to save the many, because of some virtue. This, however, is not a utilitarian decision as the reason is not to maximize positive mental states, but to do what best reflects the ideal of this virtue or in other words, what is best in developing her character.

This just involves a reinterpretation of "utility".

Yes, but the 'utility' of utilitarianism is specifically defined by the maximization of "positive mental states". So it cannot really be said that other ethical systems devolve into utilitarianism.
To be fair, there are different understandings of utility. The most well know is of course the mental state account, but there is also the informed desire account and the objective state account. Someone proposing Dylan's suggestion would probably not call it utilitarianism, because virtue ethicists generally charge utilitarianism with ignoring moral character. They'd probably go for virtue consequentialism or simply stick with virtue ethics.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic