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Why Rule Consequentialism does not collapse

Fkkize
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10/14/2015 3:47:19 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Why Rule Consequentialism does not collapse into Act Consequentialism

Act consequentialism faces serious difficulties and I believe it was Parfit who said no serious philosopher still adheres to it. I can't blame them.

Let's assume for this thread that

AC: Everyone ought to act in a way that would produce the best overall outcome.

ought to be rejected.
Many consequentialists proposed rule consequentialism as an alternative to avoid those objections.

RC1: Everyone ought to act in accordance with those rules that would produce the best overall outcome.

One objection to this is that is actually collapses into AC.

Under RC1 we might have a rule (A) "Don't do X" (say, don't punch pregnant women to death). Which seems prima facie conductive to produce good outcomes.

However under AC, there may be circumstances under which, although generally forbidden, the most horrible acts would be required.
Suppose in some situation AC would require you to do X as everyone else on earth would receive a tasty chocolate bar and thus it would produce the overall best outcome.
But wait, in this situation, under RC1, (A) would not produce the best outcome. SO we should revise (A).

(A') Don't punch pregnant women to death unless everyone else would receive a chocolate bar.

Now we see RC1 implies the same actions as AC. That is to say, it collapses.

Instead, we should reformulate RC1.

RC2: Everyone ought to follow the rules whose universal acceptance would produce the best outcome.

RC2 rejects rules with to many exceptions. (A) is pretty universally accepted I suppose, but getting people to accept (A') would be to costly and time intensive to allow for the fringe situation where beating a pregnant woman to death would somehow make everyone else receive a chocolate bar.
Thus, RC2 condemns the example above.

Furthermore, RC2 would prefer rules that are uncomplicated and not to demanding, for similar reasons.

In conclusion, proper rule consequentialism does not collapse into act consequentialism.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
kp98
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10/14/2015 8:06:29 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
AC: Everyone ought to act in a way that would produce the best overall outcome.

I wonder if Fk and I will ever see eye-to-eye....I hope not.

Anyway, I don't think that AC: is a proper description/example of act consequentialism.

Act consequentialism is the position that the moral status of an act depends solely on its outcome. It's defining characteristic is that it is only the 'consequences' that are to be considered, so everything else (such as what the doers intention was) is irrelevant. Consequentialism says it's perfectly possible for an act to be morally good even if the doers intention was to do evil - as long as the consequences of the act are good, it's a good act. All that matters are the consequences of the act - hence the name.

As it stands, "AC: Everyone ought to act in a way that would produce the best overall outcome." is indistinguishable from utilitarianism and not defintively 'act consequentialist'.

Rule consequentialism is the idea that there are pre-defined rules that define what is the right to do in any given situation and following those rules is the moral thing to do, regardless of outcome. So if the outcome doesn't matter, where is the consequentualism?

The consequentialism is in the choice of rules. Different choices of rules will have different consequences, and we should select for our rules those rules which have better consequences than any other choice.

So as I see it act consequentialism and rule consequentialism are very different animals indeed, so I agree - rule consequentialism does not collapse into act consequentialism. I am not sure I agree with anything else, especially not with punching pregnant women to get a free bars of chocolate.
Fkkize
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10/14/2015 8:28:05 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/14/2015 8:06:29 PM, kp98 wrote:
AC: Everyone ought to act in a way that would produce the best overall outcome.

I wonder if Fk and I will ever see eye-to-eye....I hope not.
Thanks.

Anyway, I don't think that AC: is a proper description/example of act consequentialism.
It's taken directly from Parfit's On What Matters. It's fairly uncontroversial that this is act consequentialism.

Act consequentialism is the position that the moral status of an act depends solely on its outcome. It's defining characteristic is that it is only the 'consequences' that are to be considered, so everything else (such as what the doers intention was) is irrelevant. Consequentialism says it's perfectly possible for an act to be morally good even if the doers intention was to do evil - as long as the consequences of the act are good, it's a good act. All that matters are the consequences of the act - hence the name.
Which is precisely what I described.

As it stands, "AC: Everyone ought to act in a way that would produce the best overall outcome." is indistinguishable from utilitarianism and not defintively 'act consequentialist'.
Utilitarianism is a subcategory of consequentialism. Act utilitarianism identifies positive states of mind with good consequences. I left this open as my point generalizes to all forms of consequentialism, not just utilitarianism.

Rule consequentialism is the idea that there are pre-defined rules that define what is the right to do in any given situation and following those rules is the moral thing to do, regardless of outcome. So if the outcome doesn't matter, where is the consequentualism?
Strawman. That is neither what is commonly understood under Rule Consequentialism, nor how I characterized it.

The consequentialism is in the choice of rules. Different choices of rules will have different consequences, and we should select for our rules those rules which have better consequences than any other choice.
Pretty much what I said.

So as I see it act consequentialism and rule consequentialism are very different animals indeed, so I agree - rule consequentialism does not collapse into act consequentialism. I am not sure I agree with anything else, especially not with punching pregnant women to get a free bars of chocolate.
You do realize this was an example of an abhorent act, the permissibility of which would count as a reduction of any moral theory, right?
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Philocat
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10/14/2015 8:52:51 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Interesting. I guess the perceived problem is that it is difficult to decide the extent to which 'a rule' can be specified in detail.

But the beauty of rule utilitarianism is that its validity isn't determined by philosophical integrity, but by pragmatic results. Even if rule utilitarianism does revert into act utilitarianism, the universal adherence to rule util will result in greater overal utility than universal adherence to act util. The main reason for this is that act util relies heavily on the moral responsibility and impartiality of individual moral agents - which often is non-existent..

Hence if we compare two possible worlds:

World A: Everyone attempts to live by rule util
World B: Everyone attempts to live by act util

I would make the quite reasonable assumption that world A will have greater overall utility than world B. The principal reason for this is that act util is incompatible with the law - the only world in which act util can even start to be attempted is an anarchist one. Yet I am very sceptical as to the utility resulting from anarchism.

Therefore, even if rule util does revert to act util (I personally don't think it does, due to similar reasoning as the OP), utility is maximised if everyone lives by rule util and not by act util. Since those engaged in this debate already accept the principle of utility, this should be all the justification required to acccept rule util.
kp98
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10/14/2015 10:19:06 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
There is no mention of the word 'consequence' in that last post! Let's be clear on one point - consequentialism refers specifically to the over-riding importance of after-the-fact consequences and the irrelevance of prior motivations. On the other hand utilitatianism is about how one might set about quantifying 'goodness' or 'badness'. They aren't the same thing.

So if I do some act X then from an act consequentialist perspective whether I did good or evil depends purely on whether the consequences of me doing X were good or bad (ie my intentions or reasons for acting as I did are irrelevant). Utilitarianism comes in when we try to quantify how good or bad my act was. I could be a consequentialist-utilatarian and believe all that matters is the actual good and bad that accrued to the greatest number as a consequence of an act, or I could be a non-consequentialist utilitarian believing intentions matter when deciding if an act was morally good or not.
Other combinations are posible!
skipsaweirdo
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10/14/2015 10:35:55 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/14/2015 8:06:29 PM, kp98 wrote:
AC: Everyone ought to act in a way that would produce the best overall outcome.

I wonder if Fk and I will ever see eye-to-eye....I hope not.

Anyway, I don't think that AC: is a proper description/example of act consequentialism.

Act consequentialism is the position that the moral status of an act depends solely on its outcome. It's defining characteristic is that it is only the 'consequences' that are to be considered, so everything else (such as what the doers intention was) is irrelevant. Consequentialism says it's perfectly possible for an act to be morally good even if the doers intention was to do evil - as long as the consequences of the act are good, it's a good act. All that matters are the consequences of the act - hence the name.

As it stands, "AC: Everyone ought to act in a way that would produce the best overall outcome." is indistinguishable from utilitarianism and not defintively 'act consequentialist'.

Rule consequentialism is the idea that there are pre-defined rules that define what is the right to do in any given situation and following those rules is the moral thing to do, regardless of outcome. So if the outcome doesn't matter, where is the consequentualism?
This is what I pulled off of asu.
Rule consequentialism holds that the rightness of an act depends not on the
goodness of its consequences, but on whether or not it is in accordance with a
certain code of rules, which has been selected for its good consequences.: The consequentialism is in the choice of rules. Different choices of rules will have different consequences, and we should select for our rules those rules which have better consequences than any other choice.
Great thing about subjective mental masturbation is people can convince themselves they have decided that they have discovered a universal state of mind in humanity. Your definition is not that far off, essentially what determines "better" consequences of the outcome of a rule is subjective therefore , as you state, it essentially doesn't matter because everyone can have their own view as to what constitutes better for themselves.
So as I see it act consequentialism and rule consequentialism are very different animals indeed, so I agree - rule consequentialism does not collapse into act consequentialism. I am not sure I agree with anything else, especially not with punching pregnant women to get a free bars of chocolate.
I would punch the effing hell out of a pregnant woman if that psycho was trying to smother her first child to death with a pillow or was attacking me with a knife. Where someone would come up with "everyone", you know all 7 billion people in the world, getting a chocolate bar as an example is beyond absurd and isn't even a point.

I may be absurd myself, but anytime I see someone put forth argumentation with words like "everyone" and "better" I dismiss the rest of their rhetoric as to what it usually boils down to. They've read an opinion that fits their own opinion and they figure opinions aren't actually like azz holes, everyone doesn't deserve one. Lol
skipsaweirdo
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10/14/2015 10:36:57 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/14/2015 8:06:29 PM, kp98 wrote:
AC: Everyone ought to act in a way that would produce the best overall outcome.

I wonder if Fk and I will ever see eye-to-eye....I hope not.

Anyway, I don't think that AC: is a proper description/example of act consequentialism.

Act consequentialism is the position that the moral status of an act depends solely on its outcome. It's defining characteristic is that it is only the 'consequences' that are to be considered, so everything else (such as what the doers intention was) is irrelevant. Consequentialism says it's perfectly possible for an act to be morally good even if the doers intention was to do evil - as long as the consequences of the act are good, it's a good act. All that matters are the consequences of the act - hence the name.

As it stands, "AC: Everyone ought to act in a way that would produce the best overall outcome." is indistinguishable from utilitarianism and not defintively 'act consequentialist'.

Rule consequentialism is the idea that there are pre-defined rules that define what is the right to do in any given situation and following those rules is the moral thing to do, regardless of outcome. So if the outcome doesn't matter, where is the consequentualism?

This is what I pulled off of asu.
Rule consequentialism holds that the rightness of an act depends not on the
goodness of its consequences, but on whether or not it is in accordance with a
certain code of rules, which has been selected for its good consequences.: The consequentialism is in the choice of rules. Different choices of rules will have different consequences, and we should select for our rules those rules which have better consequences than any other choice.
Great thing about subjective mental masturbation is people can convince themselves they have decided that they have discovered a universal state of mind in humanity. Your definition is not that far off, essentially what determines "better" consequences of the outcome of a rule is subjective therefore , as you state, it essentially doesn't matter because everyone can have their own view as to what constitutes better for themselves.
So as I see it act consequentialism and rule consequentialism are very different animals indeed, so I agree - rule consequentialism does not collapse into act consequentialism. I am not sure I agree with anything else, especially not with punching pregnant women to get a free bars of chocolate.
I would punch the effing hell out of a pregnant woman if that psycho was trying to smother her first child to death with a pillow or was attacking me with a knife. Where someone would come up with "everyone", you know all 7 billion people in the world, getting a chocolate bar as an example is beyond absurd and isn't even a point.

I may be absurd myself, but anytime I see someone put forth argumentation with words like "everyone" and "better" I dismiss the rest of their rhetoric as to what it usually boils down to. They've read an opinion that fits their own opinion and they figure opinions aren't actually like azz holes, everyone doesn't deserve one. Lol
kp98
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10/14/2015 11:14:42 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Where someone would come up with "everyone", you know all 7 billion people in the world, getting a chocolate bar as an example is beyond absurd and isn't even a point.

But look at it this way. One day someone might come up to you in the street and say that if you punch a pregnant woman in the face he will buy everyone in the world a bar of chocolate, and now you know exactly what to do when that happens.
bsh1
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10/14/2015 11:35:24 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Propose some rules whose universal acceptance would promote the best outcome overall?

How is RC1 substantively different from RC2? Could it not be argued that the only way to create such a universal rule is to include a lot of exceptions in the rule, therefore making it functionally the same?
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Yassine
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10/15/2015 3:28:29 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/14/2015 3:47:19 PM, Fkkize wrote:
Why Rule Consequentialism does not collapse into Act Consequentialism

- I think the example you gave is flawed. From our perspective, there are other considerations coupled with Consequentialism to complement it, such as:
1. "Preventing harm shall be prioritised over gaining benefit". In case of your example, not harming the pregnant woman would be prioritised over globally gaining chocolate bars, such that the overall better outcome rests always on preventing the harm first.
2. "A severe harm shall be removed by a lesser harm". Meaning, there is an order to things. Not all harms are on the same level, & not all benefits are on the same level. For instance, back to your example, if these chocolate bars happen to have a cure for cancer, & by sending them out we would get to cure cancer, well, then that would outweigh the act of harming the pregnant woman, for preventing cancer is more important than preventing some individual physical abuse. There is a similar rule for 'benefits' as well. & there are a ton of more specific rules about which harms are lesser, & which benefits are better, such as:
3. "Private harm shall be tolerated to dispel public harm". If all else is the same, private harm is a lesser harm than public harm.
...etc.
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ShabShoral
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10/15/2015 3:42:26 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/14/2015 3:47:19 PM, Fkkize wrote:

This is actually one of the few things about Util that interests me. Great thread.

If I'm understanding you correctly, you're basically saying that (A') wouldn't be acceptable under Rule Util because it would be impossible for people to universally agree to follow it. The thing, though, is that, if no one would follow (A'), and (A') is indistinguishable from the relevant Act Util principles in terms of final outcomes, why would Act Util necessitate (A') being the de facto rule in the first place? If you accept that Act Util will make people act in accordance with (A') because acting in accordance with (A') produces the max util possible, then why would (A') be untenable?

Of course, the alternative is that it would not be expedient, under Act Util, to follow (A'), for the reason that no one would follow it in the first place (necessitating other "looser rules"), but then the problem with your argument is brought to light: you're assuming that Act Util would never reject (A') on the same grounds that you suppose Rule Util would. If Act Util would reject (A'), the logical principle it would settle on would still be whatever Rule Util would prescribe , thus maintaining the original problem.
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ShabShoral
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10/15/2015 3:45:57 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/14/2015 8:52:51 PM, Philocat wrote:
Interesting. I guess the perceived problem is that it is difficult to decide the extent to which 'a rule' can be specified in detail.

But the beauty of rule utilitarianism is that its validity isn't determined by philosophical integrity, but by pragmatic results. Even if rule utilitarianism does revert into act utilitarianism, the universal adherence to rule util will result in greater overal utility than universal adherence to act util. The main reason for this is that act util relies heavily on the moral responsibility and impartiality of individual moral agents - which often is non-existent..

Hence if we compare two possible worlds:

World A: Everyone attempts to live by rule util
World B: Everyone attempts to live by act util

I would make the quite reasonable assumption that world A will have greater overall utility than world B. The principal reason for this is that act util is incompatible with the law - the only world in which act util can even start to be attempted is an anarchist one. Yet I am very sceptical as to the utility resulting from anarchism.

Therefore, even if rule util does revert to act util (I personally don't think it does, due to similar reasoning as the OP), utility is maximised if everyone lives by rule util and not by act util. Since those engaged in this debate already accept the principle of utility, this should be all the justification required to acccept rule util.

If, as you argue, following Rule Util will lead to max net util, then Act Util would necessitate and prescribe Rule Util... any followers of Act Util would do whatever any followers of Rule Util would do in the scenario where Rule Util is flawless, meaning that anyone who follows Rule Util cannot avoid their more fundamental basis in Act Util.
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Philocat
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10/15/2015 7:16:36 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/15/2015 3:45:57 AM, ShabShoral wrote:
At 10/14/2015 8:52:51 PM, Philocat wrote:
Interesting. I guess the perceived problem is that it is difficult to decide the extent to which 'a rule' can be specified in detail.

But the beauty of rule utilitarianism is that its validity isn't determined by philosophical integrity, but by pragmatic results. Even if rule utilitarianism does revert into act utilitarianism, the universal adherence to rule util will result in greater overal utility than universal adherence to act util. The main reason for this is that act util relies heavily on the moral responsibility and impartiality of individual moral agents - which often is non-existent..

Hence if we compare two possible worlds:

World A: Everyone attempts to live by rule util
World B: Everyone attempts to live by act util

I would make the quite reasonable assumption that world A will have greater overall utility than world B. The principal reason for this is that act util is incompatible with the law - the only world in which act util can even start to be attempted is an anarchist one. Yet I am very sceptical as to the utility resulting from anarchism.

Therefore, even if rule util does revert to act util (I personally don't think it does, due to similar reasoning as the OP), utility is maximised if everyone lives by rule util and not by act util. Since those engaged in this debate already accept the principle of utility, this should be all the justification required to acccept rule util.

If, as you argue, following Rule Util will lead to max net util, then Act Util would necessitate and prescribe Rule Util... any followers of Act Util would do whatever any followers of Rule Util would do in the scenario where Rule Util is flawless, meaning that anyone who follows Rule Util cannot avoid their more fundamental basis in Act Util.

Or, if act util commands us to follow rule util (because following rule util maximises overall utility), then it could be said that act util reverts to rule util.

I don't doubt that rule util has a basis in act util, it's just that the former is a more refined theory than the latter.
ShabShoral
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10/15/2015 1:51:32 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/15/2015 7:16:36 AM, Philocat wrote:
At 10/15/2015 3:45:57 AM, ShabShoral wrote:
At 10/14/2015 8:52:51 PM, Philocat wrote:
Interesting. I guess the perceived problem is that it is difficult to decide the extent to which 'a rule' can be specified in detail.

But the beauty of rule utilitarianism is that its validity isn't determined by philosophical integrity, but by pragmatic results. Even if rule utilitarianism does revert into act utilitarianism, the universal adherence to rule util will result in greater overal utility than universal adherence to act util. The main reason for this is that act util relies heavily on the moral responsibility and impartiality of individual moral agents - which often is non-existent..

Hence if we compare two possible worlds:

World A: Everyone attempts to live by rule util
World B: Everyone attempts to live by act util

I would make the quite reasonable assumption that world A will have greater overall utility than world B. The principal reason for this is that act util is incompatible with the law - the only world in which act util can even start to be attempted is an anarchist one. Yet I am very sceptical as to the utility resulting from anarchism.

Therefore, even if rule util does revert to act util (I personally don't think it does, due to similar reasoning as the OP), utility is maximised if everyone lives by rule util and not by act util. Since those engaged in this debate already accept the principle of utility, this should be all the justification required to acccept rule util.

If, as you argue, following Rule Util will lead to max net util, then Act Util would necessitate and prescribe Rule Util... any followers of Act Util would do whatever any followers of Rule Util would do in the scenario where Rule Util is flawless, meaning that anyone who follows Rule Util cannot avoid their more fundamental basis in Act Util.

Or, if act util commands us to follow rule util (because following rule util maximises overall utility), then it could be said that act util reverts to rule util.

I don't doubt that rule util has a basis in act util, it's just that the former is a more refined theory than the latter.

But if one implies the other then how can there be a practical distinction between the two? If Act Util would lead to people following rules, how does that not show that Rule Util is nothing but the logical conclusion of Act Util?
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Fkkize
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10/15/2015 2:57:58 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/14/2015 8:52:51 PM, Philocat wrote:
Therefore, even if rule util does revert to act util (I personally don't think it does, due to similar reasoning as the OP), utility is maximised if everyone lives by rule util and not by act util.
Then you are admitting defeat to the objection.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Fkkize
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10/15/2015 3:07:06 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/15/2015 3:28:29 AM, Yassine wrote:
At 10/14/2015 3:47:19 PM, Fkkize wrote:
Why Rule Consequentialism does not collapse into Act Consequentialism

- I think the example you gave is flawed.
Could you be more precise?

From our perspective, there are other considerations coupled with Consequentialism to complement it, such as:
1. "Preventing harm shall be prioritised over gaining benefit". In case of your example, not harming the pregnant woman would be prioritised over globally gaining chocolate bars, such that the overall better outcome rests always on preventing the harm first.
2. "A severe harm shall be removed by a lesser harm". Meaning, there is an order to things. Not all harms are on the same level, & not all benefits are on the same level. For instance, back to your example, if these chocolate bars happen to have a cure for cancer, & by sending them out we would get to cure cancer, well, then that would outweigh the act of harming the pregnant woman, for preventing cancer is more important than preventing some individual physical abuse. There is a similar rule for 'benefits' as well. & there are a ton of more specific rules about which harms are lesser, & which benefits are better, such as:
3. "Private harm shall be tolerated to dispel public harm". If all else is the same, private harm is a lesser harm than public harm.
...etc.
That is not the point of the thread.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Fkkize
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10/15/2015 3:37:58 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/14/2015 11:35:24 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Propose some rules whose universal acceptance would promote the best outcome overall?
"Do not physically attack the innocent" seems like a good candidate, no?

How is RC1 substantively different from RC2?
For once, RC1 collapses into AC, while RC2 does not. Further, RC2 prohibits certain acts even though taken on their own they would have the best consequences.

Could it not be argued that the only way to create such a universal rule is to include a lot of exceptions in the rule, therefore making it functionally the same?
If we have a rule, "keep promises", but add a thousand exceptions and conditionals to it, then that would decrease the confidence in whether someone will actually keep that promise. We must consider the costs of getting new/ more demanding/ more complicated rules to be accepted.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Fkkize
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10/15/2015 4:09:39 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/15/2015 3:42:26 AM, ShabShoral wrote:
At 10/14/2015 3:47:19 PM, Fkkize wrote:

This is actually one of the few things about Util that interests me. Great thread.

If I'm understanding you correctly, you're basically saying that (A') wouldn't be acceptable under Rule Util because it would be impossible for people to universally agree to follow it.

The thing, though, is that, if no one would follow (A'), and (A') is indistinguishable from the relevant Act Util principles in terms of final outcomes, why would Act Util necessitate (A') being the de facto rule in the first place?
I don't understand what you are saying. (A') is not a principle. AC does not deal with rules.

If you accept that Act Util will make people act in accordance with (A') because acting in accordance with (A') produces the max util possible, then why would (A') be untenable?
Quite obviously people would not be inclined to do (A').

Of course, the alternative is that it would not be expedient,
But it is.

you're assuming that Act Util would never reject (A') on the same grounds that you suppose Rule Util would.
I don't.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
dylancatlow
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10/15/2015 5:53:37 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Why exactly is it important that everyone agree on a given moral principle in order for people to act on it? That seems like a totally arbitrary restriction intended to save utilitarianism from the headache of trying to justify "icky" yet nevertheless utilitarian actions. There is much disagreement over whether torture is ever justified, for example. Does that mean we are not allowed to practice it - even in cases where it would save millions of lives -until everyone gets on board with it? That is a very anti-utilitarian notion. Whether or not universal acceptance of a moral principle will, on average, produce the best outcome, is an empirical question - and if you accept it axiomatically, then you can hardly call yourself a consequentialist or a utilitarian.

If you then argue that, no, it's not blind adherence to the "rule of universal acceptance" which advises against beating the pregnant woman to death, but some practical consideration that outweighs the benefit of everyone getting a chocolate bar, then RC1's recommendation would coincide with that of RC2 and you have not demonstrated any difference between them.
bsh1
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10/15/2015 7:04:12 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/15/2015 3:37:58 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/14/2015 11:35:24 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Propose some rules whose universal acceptance would promote the best outcome overall?
"Do not physically attack the innocent" seems like a good candidate, no?

This does not always produce the best results. Perhaps, a police officer might forcefully shove an innocent person out of the way to pursue a criminal, harming the innocent person. This is an "Attack." I think we can think of other examples.

How is RC1 substantively different from RC2?
For once, RC1 collapses into AC, while RC2 does not. Further, RC2 prohibits certain acts even though taken on their own they would have the best consequences.

Why should we prohibit, under a consequenitalist paradigm, actions that lead to the best consequences.
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Fkkize
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10/15/2015 7:19:09 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/15/2015 7:04:12 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/15/2015 3:37:58 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/14/2015 11:35:24 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Propose some rules whose universal acceptance would promote the best outcome overall?
"Do not physically attack the innocent" seems like a good candidate, no?

This does not always produce the best results.
It does not have to. RC has no overarching commitment to maximizing the good with every act.

Perhaps, a police officer might forcefully shove an innocent person out of the way to pursue a criminal, harming the innocent person. This is an "Attack." I think we can think of other examples.
Calling that an attack is quite a stretch. If I bump into you I am not attacking you either.

How is RC1 substantively different from RC2?
For once, RC1 collapses into AC, while RC2 does not. Further, RC2 prohibits certain acts even though taken on their own they would have the best consequences.

Why should we prohibit, under a consequenitalist paradigm, actions that lead to the best consequences.
RC really just consists of two claims. The rules we act upon are to be judged based on their consequences and these rule determine what is right and wrong.
A Rule Consequentialist need not and should not have any overarching commitment to the further claim that we ought to maximize the expected good with every single act.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Fkkize
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10/15/2015 7:25:22 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/15/2015 5:53:37 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Why exactly is it important that everyone agree on a given moral principle in order for people to act on it?
This thread is not about justifying rule consequentialism.

That seems like a totally arbitrary restriction intended to save utilitarianism from the headache of trying to justify "icky" yet nevertheless utilitarian actions.
This thread is not restricted to utilitarianism.

There is much disagreement over whether torture is ever justified, for example. Does that mean we are not allowed to practice it - even in cases where it would save millions of lives -until everyone gets on board with it?
I have not made any claims about the concrete content of RC rules and I need not to respond to the objection.

That is a very anti-utilitarian notion.
This thread is not about utilitarianism.

Whether or not universal acceptance of a moral principle will, on average, produce the best outcome, is an empirical question - and if you accept it axiomatically, then you can hardly call yourself a consequentialist or a utilitarian.
Nowhere was claimed we should do that.

If you then argue that, no, it's not blind adherence to the "rule of universal acceptance" which advises against beating the pregnant woman to death, but some practical consideration that outweighs the benefit of everyone getting a chocolate bar, then RC1's recommendation would coincide with that of RC2 and you have not demonstrated any difference between them.
I am not sure what you are trying to say.
Even if I grant the first part, that would demonstrate they coincide in at least this one circumstance.
Both Act Utilitarianism and Scanlonian Contractualism say I should not go and murder my neighbor next door. That does not mean these moral theories are practically identical.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
ShabShoral
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10/15/2015 7:25:44 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/15/2015 4:09:39 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/15/2015 3:42:26 AM, ShabShoral wrote:
At 10/14/2015 3:47:19 PM, Fkkize wrote:

This is actually one of the few things about Util that interests me. Great thread.

If I'm understanding you correctly, you're basically saying that (A') wouldn't be acceptable under Rule Util because it would be impossible for people to universally agree to follow it.

The thing, though, is that, if no one would follow (A'), and (A') is indistinguishable from the relevant Act Util principles in terms of final outcomes, why would Act Util necessitate (A') being the de facto rule in the first place?
I don't understand what you are saying. (A') is not a principle. AC does not deal with rules.
A rule is just a generalized description of individual acts. When one follows a rule, he does so by *acting in accordance with it*. A rule could certainly be described that l, when followed, would entail every action Act Util entails.

(A') is a principle, isn't it? How do you distinguish between rules and principles?
If you accept that Act Util will make people act in accordance with (A') because acting in accordance with (A') produces the max util possible, then why would (A') be untenable?
Quite obviously people would not be inclined to do (A').
In which case advocating (A') in the first place would never be done by someone who follows Act Util.
Of course, the alternative is that it would not be expedient,
But it is.

you're assuming that Act Util would never reject (A') on the same grounds that you suppose Rule Util would.
I don't.

If it would, then the grounds for the distinction that you make vanishes into thin air. If both agree that (A') should be rejected, there's no reason to say that they don't agree.
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bsh1
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10/15/2015 7:27:47 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/15/2015 7:19:09 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/15/2015 7:04:12 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/15/2015 3:37:58 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/14/2015 11:35:24 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Propose some rules whose universal acceptance would promote the best outcome overall?
"Do not physically attack the innocent" seems like a good candidate, no?

This does not always produce the best results.
It does not have to. RC has no overarching commitment to maximizing the good with every act.

But if rules had more exceptions, could you increase their effectiveness is producing results?

Perhaps, a police officer might forcefully shove an innocent person out of the way to pursue a criminal, harming the innocent person. This is an "Attack." I think we can think of other examples.
Calling that an attack is quite a stretch. If I bump into you I am not attacking you either.

Not really. But I am sure you can think of other counterexamples.
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Fkkize
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10/15/2015 7:31:12 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/15/2015 7:25:44 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
A rule is just a generalized description of individual acts.
Not when it comes to moral theories. Here, rules are not descriptions, they are prescriptions.

A rule could certainly be described that l, when followed, would entail every action Act Util entails.
Pardon but I don't understand this sentence. Are you saying there could be a rule "do as act utilitarianism requires you to do"?
Under RC, the answer is No.

(A') is a principle, isn't it? How do you distinguish between rules and principles?
Nevermind, I misread that.

If it would, then the grounds for the distinction that you make vanishes into thin air. If both agree that (A') should be rejected, there's no reason to say that they don't agree.
But they don't. (A') would very much be required under AC, but not under RC.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
ShabShoral
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10/15/2015 7:35:42 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/15/2015 7:31:12 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/15/2015 7:25:44 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
A rule is just a generalized description of individual acts.
Not when it comes to moral theories. Here, rules are not descriptions, they are prescriptions.
Not mutually exclusive. The acts a rule describes are morally valuable in nature. That doesn't mean that a rule doesn't describe them.
A rule could certainly be described that l, when followed, would entail every action Act Util entails.
Pardon but I don't understand this sentence. Are you saying there could be a rule "do as act utilitarianism requires you to do"?
Pretty much.
Under RC, the answer is No.
Why not?
(A') is a principle, isn't it? How do you distinguish between rules and principles?
Nevermind, I misread that.

If it would, then the grounds for the distinction that you make vanishes into thin air. If both agree that (A') should be rejected, there's no reason to say that they don't agree.
But they don't. (A') would very much be required under AC, but not under RC.

I thought that's what you were disagreeing with...
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Fkkize
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10/15/2015 7:36:30 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/15/2015 7:27:47 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/15/2015 7:19:09 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/15/2015 7:04:12 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/15/2015 3:37:58 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/14/2015 11:35:24 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Propose some rules whose universal acceptance would promote the best outcome overall?
"Do not physically attack the innocent" seems like a good candidate, no?

This does not always produce the best results.
It does not have to. RC has no overarching commitment to maximizing the good with every act.

But if rules had more exceptions, could you increase their effectiveness is producing results?
[...]
Not really. But I am sure you can think of other counterexamples.
In the first you assume rules can have exceptions, in the second you assume they cannot.
Of course they can, but these exceptions need to be evaluated on their own.
Having too few or too many conditionals or exceptions are both detrimental.
You suggested something very similar in our conversation on rationality.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Fkkize
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10/15/2015 7:41:01 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/15/2015 7:35:42 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
Not mutually exclusive. The acts a rule describes are morally valuable in nature. That doesn't mean that a rule doesn't describe them.
Of course they aren't mutually exclusive, but a moral theory is only concerned with the prescriptive part.

Under RC, the answer is No.
Why not?
Because this rule cannot rationally be universally accepted.

I thought that's what you were disagreeing with...
I'm sorry, but at times it's hard for me to understand what you are saying.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
bsh1
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10/15/2015 7:46:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/15/2015 7:36:30 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/15/2015 7:27:47 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/15/2015 7:19:09 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/15/2015 7:04:12 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/15/2015 3:37:58 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/14/2015 11:35:24 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Propose some rules whose universal acceptance would promote the best outcome overall?
"Do not physically attack the innocent" seems like a good candidate, no?

This does not always produce the best results.
It does not have to. RC has no overarching commitment to maximizing the good with every act.

But if rules had more exceptions, could you increase their effectiveness is producing results?
[...]
Not really. But I am sure you can think of other counterexamples.
In the first you assume rules can have exceptions, in the second you assume they cannot.

In the first, I question whether your system is benefit-maximizing. In the latter, I point out that you would exclude opportunities to maximize benefits.

Of course they can, but these exceptions need to be evaluated on their own.

How do you mean?

Having too few or too many conditionals or exceptions are both detrimental.

I think the problem is that your rules could always increase benefits by making exceptions, and, because of this, it becomes hard to justify the precise rule you put forth because it isn't really benefit-maximizing.

You suggested something very similar in our conversation on rationality.

Separate conversations. It's traditional debate etiquette to not hold a person to their actual statements when debating.
Live Long and Prosper

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"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

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dylancatlow
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10/15/2015 7:58:50 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/15/2015 7:25:22 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/15/2015 5:53:37 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Why exactly is it important that everyone agree on a given moral principle in order for people to act on it?
This thread is not about justifying rule consequentialism.

That seems like a totally arbitrary restriction intended to save utilitarianism from the headache of trying to justify "icky" yet nevertheless utilitarian actions.
This thread is not restricted to utilitarianism.

As you've defined them, act consequentialism and rue consequentialism are basically synonymous with utilitarianism.

There is much disagreement over whether torture is ever justified, for example. Does that mean we are not allowed to practice it - even in cases where it would save millions of lives -until everyone gets on board with it?
I have not made any claims about the concrete content of RC rules and I need not to respond to the objection.

That is a very anti-utilitarian notion.
This thread is not about utilitarianism.

Whether or not universal acceptance of a moral principle will, on average, produce the best outcome, is an empirical question - and if you accept it axiomatically, then you can hardly call yourself a consequentialist or a utilitarian.
Nowhere was claimed we should do that.

Okay, accept it without regard to the ramifications. Because if the ramifications do in fact justify it, and if that's why it supports it, then it's no different from act con, so they can't be relevant.

If you then argue that, no, it's not blind adherence to the "rule of universal acceptance" which advises against beating the pregnant woman to death, but some practical consideration that outweighs the benefit of everyone getting a chocolate bar, then RC1's recommendation would coincide with that of RC2 and you have not demonstrated any difference between them.
I am not sure what you are trying to say.
Even if I grant the first part, that would demonstrate they coincide in at least this one circumstance.
Both Act Utilitarianism and Scanlonian Contractualism say I should not go and murder my neighbor next door. That does not mean these moral theories are practically identical.

I guess I misspoke. What I meant was that if you attempt to justify not beating the pregnant woman on practical grounds (as opposed to axiomatic grounds) in order to support consequentialism, then you would have to conclude that act con is in agreement with rule con, in which case you have not demonstrated any difference. In other words, if universal acceptance is really based on practical grounds, then it's already subsumed under act con, in which case rule con just devolves to "a certain interpretation of act con."