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A new normative theory and a PhD thesis

DanielMcKay
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5/2/2016 1:51:09 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
I am a PhD student in my second year and for my thesis I am writing, explaining and defending an entirely new normative theory called freedom consequentialism. Part of this is getting feedback and criticisms of my theory from all sorts of people and then answering them in my thesis. Some time ago I posted a chapter relating to the demandingness objection to this forum for feedback and got some useful responses, some of which will be discussed and referenced in my thesis. Now I find myself in need of feedback, counterargument and criticism for my first two chapters, which outline what the theory is and why we should accept it.

So, here's how this works:
* At the end of this post is a link to the first two chapters of my PhD thesis, not including the introduction, in a draft form (ignore the references section as my zotero malfunctioned and skipped some of the sources referenced in the text)
* Anyone who would like to read these chapters is very welcome to.
* If you have any ideas, criticisms, counterarguments or other feedback, post it here or send me a private message.
* If your feedback is intelligent or otherwise useful, I may ask for your name in a private message so I can reference you in the thesis
* This is your chance to be referenced in a proper academic work and have your say on an exciting new moral theory.
* Yes, I am open to suggestions of better names than freedom consequentialism

Link to first two chapters: https://drive.google.com...
1harderthanyouthink
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5/4/2016 8:07:43 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
*clicks on DDO forum*
*sees Danielle posted*
*quickly goes to thread she posted in*
*is disappointed she only posted one sentence*
"It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here,
And I'm much obliged to you for making it clear - that I'm not here."

-Syd Barrett

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1harderthanyouthink
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5/4/2016 8:08:23 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
(Note: when I said 'DDO forum' I meant the general forums)
"It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here,
And I'm much obliged to you for making it clear - that I'm not here."

-Syd Barrett

DDO Risk King
YYW
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5/4/2016 8:52:52 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
This is interesting.

When it comes to our free will there are two possibilities, either our actions are free (in the sense that they could have been otherwise) or they are not.

How you conceive of "free will" is something that's going to be important, it seems, to your overall argument. You're using a more narrow definition, i.e. our actions are free in the sense that they could have been otherwise, but the definition doesn't really get at what free will is about.

Free will is about being able to make a choice from multiple options (read: agency + options). The mere fact that our actions could have been otherwise simply gets at the idea that there *were* other options. Options alone don't make a will free. For a will to be free, you have both *have the ability* to chose, and options to chose from.

It's interesting how you go about framing our understanding of free will as something like Pascals' wager, but I don't buy it, because you aren't saying we have free will or not; you're just talking about the range of possible worlds between choice and the existence of free will. Critically, that has no connection to the later parts of your argument.

So we have our starting assumption; that morality consists in how persons ought to be or act, but how do we know what that way is? We begin by determining what has intrinsic moral value. That is, what it is that makes an action or way of being one we should perform or attain, or seek to perform or attain and what makes an action or way of being one we should avoid or abstain from.

You're going down a rabbit hole there that I don't think you're going to be able to work your way out of. Here's why:

When and to the extent that you're talking about actions which have "intrinsic moral value" what you're not talking about is the context in which any actions take place, and what relationship any action has to the context in which it occurs. Yet, consideration of actions in the context that they occur, and what relationship those actions have to their context is the predicate for consequentialist moral thought. The implication, then, is that your argument for a new consequentialism is at war with the fundamental assumptions of consequentialism. If, however, this was the point you were trying to make... that's not what you said.

But then when you later move into a discussion of how ought implies can, you're totally shifting the focus. Again, there's an argumentative disconnect between this section, and other sections. Really, that was the overall theme of what I was reading. I could elaborate on this more... but to do so would require more time than I want to spend doing it.

As to your conclusion in the first chapter:

So in determining how to be moral we can say that a certain, limited kind of freedom is of fundamental value, we ought to focus on what we do rather than on what we think or feel and we ought to be act consequentialists rather than deontologists or rule consequentialists. It seems we have the skeleton of a normative theory. In the next chapter, I will fill in the flesh. I will explain how this theory, freedom consequentialism, works and what it actually says about living a moral life.

You need to not be talking about things of "fundamental value." That's not what consequentialism is about; that's deontology. I agree with you that if we have any freedom, then that freedom is necessarily limited by circumstance (which is an idea that was behind, I think, what you were getting at, though it is not what you said) and you need to get away from language like "fundamental value."

You also don't have a skeleton of a normative theory. A skeleton of a normative theory would tell us what a normative theory looks like, by giving a framework of how it works. That's not what you did. You did something very different; and what this reads like is something like a franken-paper, where you're trying to sew together a bunch of different ideas you've encountered prior to going through comprehensives, but there's no coherent line of reasoning throughout the paper's constituent parts. (Maybe you spent too much time reading French philosophy? Idk. I don't mean that condescendingly, btw.)

Also, after reading your paper... I have no idea what you mean by "freedom consequentialism" is.

Can you explain that in like maybe a paragraph? How is it new? How is it work? Lay it out. Because what you're not doing is laying out a new normative theory; or, really, even a normative theory that's not new.

It's not enough in writing a dissertation just to say "Ok here is all the stuff I read when I was an undergrad." You've got to come up with something.

What is freedom consequentialism? What distinguishes it from other kinds of consequentialism? What does it have in common with other kinds of consequentialism?

Answer those questions lucidly, coherently, and directly, and you'll be on your way to coming up with a new normative consequentialist theory.
Tsar of DDO
keithprosser
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5/4/2016 9:20:21 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
What is freedom consequentialism? What distinguishes it from other kinds of consequentialism? What does it have in common with other kinds of consequentialism?

Answer those questions lucidly, coherently, and directly, and you'll be on your way to coming up with a new normative consequentialist theory.


I think that FC is very much like Consequentialist Utilitarianism except that the optimised metric is 'freedom' (defined in the thesis) rather than 'utility'.

I don't know what is expected for a thesis in this context. It strikes me that an entire new normative theory is a huge undertaking and I am surprised your supervisor didn't recommend something rather less ambitious! Many articles on abstruse details of philosopy in, for example, the SEP run to a similar number of pages. With so much to cover, sometimes the thesus comes over as lacking depth of analsysis.

But I have no experience of PhD theses! It might be great or it might be totally pants (from an examiners pov). I really have no idea. All I can say is best of luck with it!!
dylancatlow
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5/4/2016 9:35:45 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/4/2016 8:52:52 PM, YYW wrote:
Also, after reading your paper... I have no idea what you mean by "freedom consequentialism" is.

I agree it could use a more explicit definition, but I think what he's proposing is an interpretation of consequential in which "freedom" is the standard of value, so that actions are moral when they seek to maximize freedom.
dylancatlow
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5/4/2016 9:48:21 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
Your defense of act consequentialism over rule consequentialism is totally circular, as you take for granted act consequentialism when you claim that a broadly defined rule "is not likely to have the best consequences" and is therefore in need of refinement, a process which you claim inevitably leads to "act consequentialism" when done according to the "proper rules" -- "proper" defined according to act consequentialist morality, of course.

Not that this is really a problem for a mere PhD thesis. I don't think anyone expects you to solve morality.
DanielMcKay
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5/5/2016 12:42:59 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
First, thanks to everyone who provided feedback.

Okay. YYW, I will deal with your objections in a separate post as they are quite a lot longer.

Keithprosser: Yes it is indeed very ambitious, but if I had wanted to deal with easy questions, I would have chosen a different field of study.

As for the differences between utilitarianism and FC, there are several. But, before I go into those, I would like to say thanks for bringing this up as it comes up a lot when I explain my theory to people. Would you mind if I included you as one of the people who had said it when I write my objections chapter? If so, please PM with your name so I can reference you.

As for the differences between FC and utilitarianism, the main ones are:

Utilitarianism basis why we should be moral on the idea that we are being irrational if we make an exception of ourselves so if we value our own happiness we should value the happiness of others. FC makes no such claims about the connection between rationality and morality.

Utilitarianism requires us to maximize value/utility. FC deals with the protection of the freedom of persons that already exist over things that already belong to them. This kind of value can't really be "maximized". Which means that for FC, there is a hypothetical state the world could be in, in which there is no good to do as no one's freedom is, or is going to be, violated.

Utilitarianism, because in part of the two differences outlined above, runs into the issue of the demandingness objection. How FC deals with this is explained in chapter three (here I have posted chapters one and two) but in short it is not required to assume that the only good action is the one with the best consequences and, because of this, can talk about moral responsibility in an entirely different way. Essentially you figure out your degree of moral obligation by considering how much good needs doing, your own ability to do good and the uniqueness of your position to bring about a particular good. Once this is calculated, meeting this minimum requirement is obligatory and going beyond it is supererogatory.

FC also has quite different metaethics, but these are the main practical differences between it and a form of utilitarianism based on the same measure of value. This is why I called it freedom consequentialism rather than freedom utilitarianism. (though if anyone has a suggestion for a better name, I'm open to it)

Dylancatlow:

My defense of act consequentialism over rule consequentialism is not circular at all. Rule consequentialists want the rules that will have the best consequences. If you always follow the rule "do not kill" this will have worse consequences than if you follow the rule "do not kill except in self defense" which will in turn have worse consequences than the rule "do not kill except in self defense or when not killing would lead to the deaths of more people" which will have worse consequences than "do not kill except in situations in which killing will lead to the best consequences". My point is that the rule with the best consequences, which again is exactly what rule consequentialists are looking for, is going to be so convoluted that it will be identical to act consequentialism. This doesn't presume an act consequentialist morality, it presumes that rule consequentialists want the rules which, if followed, would produce the best consequences, which is exactly the point of their theory.
DanielMcKay
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5/5/2016 1:20:18 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
YYW:

I would say that if your decision could have been different without anything about the universe leading up to that decision being different then that implies an ability to choose as well as options from which to choose.

I am unsure exactly what part of this wager you don't buy? I am not saying we definitely do have free will, I am saying that we should believe we do and act accordingly.

When talking about what about actions has intrinsic moral value, you could indeed be talking about the context in which they occur and what relationship those actions have to that context, if that is indeed what gives actions intrinsic moral value. In the case of any consequentialist theory, what makes actions good is that they bring about good consequences, and what makes consequences good is some moral value (happiness or preference satisfaction for utilitarians, the protection of a particular, limited kind of freedom for freedom consequentialists). Nothing about considering what this moral value is goes against the spirit of consequentialism. If anything, the opposite objection, that it too readily assumes that value comes before right action, might be more reasonable. Although I do not think this objection is a particularly problematic one either. I suppose the point I am making here is that consequentialism is all about what has value, so figuring out what has fundamental value and then seeking to protect or promote it is not unconsequentialist at all.

Freedom consequentialism is an act consequentialist theory based on the idea that what is of value is the protection of the freedom of persons over that which already belongs to them; their mind, their body and their property.

As for what it looks like and how it differs from other moral theories, that is covered in the next several chapters (not surprisingly my thesis is considerably more than two chapters long). Also, I have explained some of this in the above post so that might be worth reading. But I will try to outline the theory in a paragraph in order to clear up any confusion.

FC: The ability of persons (who already exist) to make their own choices, which we will call "freedom" is of value. To put this another way; what is of value is the freedom of persons (who already exist) over those things that belong to them; their mind, their body and their property. Actions which bring about more violation of this freedom are bad. Actions which protect or prevent the violation of this freedom are good if they also do not cause any violation of freedom except in cases where the freedom protected could not be protected except without at least as much violation of freedom as is done and when the amount violated is less than the amount. A person is morally obligated to do no bad and to do at least the minimum amount of good determined by the amount of good that needs doing, their ability to do good and the uniqueness of their position to do a particular good. What this means in practice is that your actions should not violate the freedom of others and you ought to, at least sometimes (though how often will be determined by your ability to do so and whether you are in unique position to do so), act to protect or prevent the violation of the freedom of others.

I hope that helps to clear things up. It doesn't answer every question one might have about how freedom consequentialism can be applied and what it's implications are, but that takes a lot more spare than I have here to explain.

Also, if you didn't mean that comment condescendingly, perhaps you are unaware of what condescending means. Here is a dictionary definition and an example in order to help you understand: condescending
showing or characterized by a patronizing or superior attitude toward others
YYW
Posts: 36,282
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5/5/2016 2:37:43 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/5/2016 1:20:18 AM, DanielMcKay wrote:
YYW:

I would say that if your decision could have been different without anything about the universe leading up to that decision being different then that implies an ability to choose as well as options from which to choose.

I am unsure exactly what part of this wager you don't buy? I am not saying we definitely do have free will, I am saying that we should believe we do and act accordingly.


When talking about what about actions has intrinsic moral value, you could indeed be talking about the context in which they occur and what relationship those actions have to that context, if that is indeed what gives actions intrinsic moral value. In the case of any consequentialist theory, what makes actions good is that they bring about good consequences, and what makes consequences good is some moral value (happiness or preference satisfaction for utilitarians, the protection of a particular, limited kind of freedom for freedom consequentialists). Nothing about considering what this moral value is goes against the spirit of consequentialism. If anything, the opposite objection, that it too readily assumes that value comes before right action, might be more reasonable. Although I do not think this objection is a particularly problematic one either. I suppose the point I am making here is that consequentialism is all about what has value, so figuring out what has fundamental value and then seeking to protect or promote it is not unconsequentialist at all.


Freedom consequentialism is an act consequentialist theory based on the idea that what is of value is the protection of the freedom of persons over that which already belongs to them; their mind, their body and their property.

As for what it looks like and how it differs from other moral theories, that is covered in the next several chapters (not surprisingly my thesis is considerably more than two chapters long). Also, I have explained some of this in the above post so that might be worth reading. But I will try to outline the theory in a paragraph in order to clear up any confusion.

FC: The ability of persons (who already exist) to make their own choices, which we will call "freedom" is of value. To put this another way; what is of value is the freedom of persons (who already exist) over those things that belong to them; their mind, their body and their property. Actions which bring about more violation of this freedom are bad. Actions which protect or prevent the violation of this freedom are good if they also do not cause any violation of freedom except in cases where the freedom protected could not be protected except without at least as much violation of freedom as is done and when the amount violated is less than the amount. A person is morally obligated to do no bad and to do at least the minimum amount of good determined by the amount of good that needs doing, their ability to do good and the uniqueness of their position to do a particular good. What this means in practice is that your actions should not violate the freedom of others and you ought to, at least sometimes (though how often will be determined by your ability to do so and whether you are in unique position to do so), act to protect or prevent the violation of the freedom of others.

I hope that helps to clear things up. It doesn't answer every question one might have about how freedom consequentialism can be applied and what it's implications are, but that takes a lot more spare than I have here to explain.

Also, if you didn't mean that comment condescendingly, perhaps you are unaware of what condescending means. Here is a dictionary definition and an example in order to help you understand: condescending
showing or characterized by a patronizing or superior attitude toward others

Did you understand anything of what I said, because what you wrote here doesn't reflect it.

You need to talk to your advisor. Your paper needs a lot of work, and it's nowhere near worth being published.
Tsar of DDO
YYW
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5/5/2016 2:39:50 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
have explained some of this in the above post so that might be worth reading. But I will try to outline the theory in a paragraph in order to clear up any confusion.

The confusion is the fact that you haven't written anything intelligible, and you didn't answer any of my questions. So, answer my questions, and then we'll talk. Until then, I'm not sure you're in a position to be able to make progress.
Tsar of DDO
DanielMcKay
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5/5/2016 5:32:05 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
If you really didn't understand what I wrote, I suppose I can try answering these questions in a more direct way. Let me go through them one by one.

"How is it new?": It has different, and I would say more fundamental, metaethical assumptions to existing normative theories. It has a different moral value to any existing consequentialist theory. It has a different, and more nuanced, description of moral obligation to any normative theory. It leads to a different set of practical moral recommendations than any existing normative theory.

"How is it work?": I am assuming you mean how does it work. It works by determining which actions are "bad" because they violate more freedom than they protect (or that freedom could be protected without violating at least this much freedom), determines which acts are morally neutral because they involve no violation or protection of freedom and determines which actions are "good" because they protect freedom (and violate no additional freedom or violation less freedom than they protect and no other option available protects this much freedom without violating at least this amount). Then it says that we are morally obligated to do none of these "bad" actions, and a certain minimum amount of these "good" actions, determined by reference to how much good needs doing (how much freedom is being/will be violated), your ability to do good, and the uniqueness of your position to do a particular good. Then, assuming you mean that minimum threshold, all morally neutral are permissible and any additional good actions are supererogatory but not obligatory.

"What distinguishes it from other kinds of consequentialism?": It's approach to moral obligation and the thing it treats as of moral value (what utilitarians might call the measure of utility).

"What does it have in common with other kinds of consequentialism?": It treats actions as right or wrong based on their consequences, rather than on the form they take or the intentions behind them. Also, it is similar to utilitarianism in regards to agent neutrality, in that the freedom of yourself is no more morally important than the freedom of another person. Which is different from forms of consequentialism like ethical egoism.

Does this answer your questions to your satisfaction? Because I can explain each one in more depth if you are still confused.
dylancatlow
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5/5/2016 3:06:45 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/5/2016 12:42:59 AM, DanielMcKay wrote:
First, thanks to everyone who provided feedback.

Okay. YYW, I will deal with your objections in a separate post as they are quite a lot longer.

Keithprosser: Yes it is indeed very ambitious, but if I had wanted to deal with easy questions, I would have chosen a different field of study.

As for the differences between utilitarianism and FC, there are several. But, before I go into those, I would like to say thanks for bringing this up as it comes up a lot when I explain my theory to people. Would you mind if I included you as one of the people who had said it when I write my objections chapter? If so, please PM with your name so I can reference you.

As for the differences between FC and utilitarianism, the main ones are:

Utilitarianism basis why we should be moral on the idea that we are being irrational if we make an exception of ourselves so if we value our own happiness we should value the happiness of others. FC makes no such claims about the connection between rationality and morality.

Utilitarianism requires us to maximize value/utility. FC deals with the protection of the freedom of persons that already exist over things that already belong to them. This kind of value can't really be "maximized". Which means that for FC, there is a hypothetical state the world could be in, in which there is no good to do as no one's freedom is, or is going to be, violated.

Utilitarianism, because in part of the two differences outlined above, runs into the issue of the demandingness objection. How FC deals with this is explained in chapter three (here I have posted chapters one and two) but in short it is not required to assume that the only good action is the one with the best consequences and, because of this, can talk about moral responsibility in an entirely different way. Essentially you figure out your degree of moral obligation by considering how much good needs doing, your own ability to do good and the uniqueness of your position to bring about a particular good. Once this is calculated, meeting this minimum requirement is obligatory and going beyond it is supererogatory.

FC also has quite different metaethics, but these are the main practical differences between it and a form of utilitarianism based on the same measure of value. This is why I called it freedom consequentialism rather than freedom utilitarianism. (though if anyone has a suggestion for a better name, I'm open to it)

Dylancatlow:

My defense of act consequentialism over rule consequentialism is not circular at all. Rule consequentialists want the rules that will have the best consequences. If you always follow the rule "do not kill" this will have worse consequences than if you follow the rule "do not kill except in self defense" which will in turn have worse consequences than the rule "do not kill except in self defense or when not killing would lead to the deaths of more people" which will have worse consequences than "do not kill except in situations in which killing will lead to the best consequences". My point is that the rule with the best consequences, which again is exactly what rule consequentialists are looking for, is going to be so convoluted that it will be identical to act consequentialism. This doesn't presume an act consequentialist morality, it presumes that rule consequentialists want the rules which, if followed, would produce the best consequences, which is exactly the point of their theory.

You're right, it's not circular. I thought rule consequentialism was something else. I still don't think rule consequentialism reduces to act consequentialism, because rule consequentialists are not concerned with whether a particular action maximizes utility, only whether it would maximize utility if it were turned into a general rule to be followed by everyone at all times. For instance, an act con might argue that it's moral to kill someone in order to harvest their organs to save the lives of five others, while a rule con would argue that organizing society on that principle would destroy it. Or as another example, an act con might think that having a functioning democracy is important but decides not to vote because their own vote won't affect the outcome, while a rule con would vote regardless because of the "rule".
keithprosser
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5/5/2016 3:47:48 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
If so, please PM with your name so I can reference you.

No need for a PM..... Keith Prosser is my actual name.

I hope you post the rest of your thesis here when you can.
tejretics
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5/5/2016 4:38:37 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/4/2016 8:07:43 PM, 1harderthanyouthink wrote:
*clicks on DDO forum*
*sees Danielle posted*
*quickly goes to thread she posted in*
*is disappointed she only posted one sentence*

^This
"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
YYW
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5/5/2016 9:17:29 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/5/2016 5:32:05 AM, DanielMcKay wrote:
If you really didn't understand what I wrote, I suppose I can try answering these questions in a more direct way. Let me go through them one by one.

The issue isn't my understanding; it's the lack of coherency with regard to what you wrote. This is why I encourage you to talk to your advisor, or whoever is sitting on your dissertation panel, because what you are not doing is articulating a normative theory of any sort... new or otherwise.

"How is it new?": It has different, and I would say more fundamental, metaethical assumptions to existing normative theories. It has a different moral value to any existing consequentialist theory. It has a different, and more nuanced, description of moral obligation to any normative theory. It leads to a different set of practical moral recommendations than any existing normative theory.

That has no meaning. You didn't tell me what other iterations of consequentialism's "metaethical assumptions" were, or tell me what yours were, or compare or contrast them. You didn't indicate what your "moral value" is, or compare or contrast it to any other iteration of consequentialism. You didn't tell me how yours is more nuanced, or why others are not nuanced. You didn't tell me what a "practical moral recommendation" is, nor how yours differ from others which stem from other theories.

Perhaps you could do those things... but you're still not answering my question.

"How is it work?": I am assuming you mean how does it work. It works by determining which actions are "bad" because they violate more freedom than they protect (or that freedom could be protected without violating at least this much freedom), determines which acts are morally neutral because they involve no violation or protection of freedom and determines which actions are "good" because they protect freedom (and violate no additional freedom or violation less freedom than they protect and no other option available protects this much freedom without violating at least this amount). Then it says that we are morally obligated to do none of these "bad" actions, and a certain minimum amount of these "good" actions, determined by reference to how much good needs doing (how much freedom is being/will be violated), your ability to do good, and the uniqueness of your position to do a particular good. Then, assuming you mean that minimum threshold, all morally neutral are permissible and any additional good actions are supererogatory but not obligatory.

Except... that's not consequentialism. It's also fatalistic, for reasons your advisor should discuss with you. (I'm not going to spend the time. Your whole notion that "I have not understood." is incredibly dim. The problem is not my understanding, as it is your inability to coherently communicate.)

"What distinguishes it from other kinds of consequentialism?": It's approach to moral obligation and the thing it treats as of moral value (what utilitarians might call the measure of utility).

Again.... still not answering the question. How do previous iterations of consequentialism "treat moral value" and how does that differ from yours?

"What does it have in common with other kinds of consequentialism?": It treats actions as right or wrong based on their consequences, rather than on the form they take or the intentions behind them. Also, it is similar to utilitarianism in regards to agent neutrality, in that the freedom of yourself is no more morally important than the freedom of another person. Which is different from forms of consequentialism like ethical egoism.

Ok, so you have given me one superficial similarity with previous iterations of consequentialism, and that's it. The problem is that you can't answer with specificity because you haven't come up with anything that resembles a normative moral theory.

As Keith correctly indicated, you've bitten off more than it appears you can chew.

Does this answer your questions to your satisfaction? Because I can explain each one in more depth if you are still confused.

You really come across as stupid when you use language like "if you are still confused," and as perhaps you can tell it's pissing me off tremendously (and making me disinclined to help you in any further respect).

So, change your attitude before you respond to me, first, and second, be specific.

You are writing like a sub-par freshman philosophy major at a lower tier private liberal arts college. If you want to actually accomplish something, you are going to have do do better.
Tsar of DDO
ColeTrain
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5/5/2016 10:40:39 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/5/2016 4:38:37 PM, tejretics wrote:
At 5/4/2016 8:07:43 PM, 1harderthanyouthink wrote:
*clicks on DDO forum*
*sees Danielle posted*
*quickly goes to thread she posted in*
*is disappointed she only posted one sentence*

^This

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ShabShoral
Posts: 3,229
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5/5/2016 11:47:52 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/2/2016 1:51:09 AM, DanielMcKay wrote:
I am a PhD student in my second year and for my thesis I am writing, explaining and defending an entirely new normative theory called freedom consequentialism. Part of this is getting feedback and criticisms of my theory from all sorts of people and then answering them in my thesis. Some time ago I posted a chapter relating to the demandingness objection to this forum for feedback and got some useful responses, some of which will be discussed and referenced in my thesis. Now I find myself in need of feedback, counterargument and criticism for my first two chapters, which outline what the theory is and why we should accept it.

So, here's how this works:
* At the end of this post is a link to the first two chapters of my PhD thesis, not including the introduction, in a draft form (ignore the references section as my zotero malfunctioned and skipped some of the sources referenced in the text)
* Anyone who would like to read these chapters is very welcome to.
* If you have any ideas, criticisms, counterarguments or other feedback, post it here or send me a private message.
* If your feedback is intelligent or otherwise useful, I may ask for your name in a private message so I can reference you in the thesis
* This is your chance to be referenced in a proper academic work and have your say on an exciting new moral theory.
* Yes, I am open to suggestions of better names than freedom consequentialism

Link to first two chapters: https://drive.google.com...

You don't actually offer an argument against deontology beyond saying "this seems wrong." There is absolutely no reason to assume that a deontologist wouldn't bite the bullet and say, "yes, 99 people would die, but that's not morally relevant." You have to do more than simply brush it aside.

You're in favour of "reasonable" freedom instead of freedom in general without giving an argument for that distinction.

You don't justify this: "It seems that if freedom is of objective, universal moral value, and if morality just is how persons ought to be or act, then the freedom of one person should not constantly be in conflict with the freedom of another"

The most glaring problem is that you offer no argument for treating freedom as something that can be weighed to determine if one agent's freedom may be stripped for a net increase in freedom.

http://philosophyfaculty.ucsd.edu...
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YYW
Posts: 36,282
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5/6/2016 4:45:19 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
Frankly I think working with Danny boy here will be a waste of time. His writing style is terrible, his thoughts lack coherency, and frankly he's done nothing more than stitch together a Franken-paper of some of the nonsense he thinks he learned while an undergraduate.

I wouldn't be this blunt if his tone wasn't so irritating, but the way he approaches "discussion" with those who are trying to help him is incredibly patronizing, especially when he doesn't appear to have the capacity to understand the tremendous gap between what he thinks he's done and what he's actually done.

Note: It is bad form to regard those who are trying to help you (read: those people who actually read your poorly written amalgamation of nonsense you think you learned as an undergrad) as people who simply "do not understand." Your dissertation committee (if they even read what your wrote, which I doubt they will), hopefully will take the time to explain that to you.

But, it seems like what you actually wanted here was for people on here to blow smoke up your @ss, which just isn't going to happen. If you were good, I'd tell you. But you're not. Really, this isn't even mediocre. It's bad.
Tsar of DDO
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,244
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5/6/2016 5:08:57 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
Lol YYW...the only person in this thread whose attitude needs adjustment is yours. Daniel has been perfectly polite, while you have not, to put it mildly. It was clear from the very first post that YYW either knows little about the topic or didn't read Daniel's paper very closely. An analysis of one paragraph should make this fact obvious:

Daniel: So we have our starting assumption; that morality consists in how persons ought to be or act, but how do we know what that way is? We begin by determining what has intrinsic moral value. That is, what it is that makes an action or way of being one we should perform or attain, or seek to perform or attain and what makes an action or way of being one we should avoid or abstain from.

YYW: When and to the extent that you're talking about actions which have "intrinsic moral value" what you're not talking about is the context in which any actions take place, and what relationship any action has to the context in which it occurs. Yet, consideration of actions in the context that they occur, and what relationship those actions have to their context is the predicate for consequentialist moral thought. The implication, then, is that your argument for a new consequentialism is at war with the fundamental assumptions of consequentialism. If, however, this was the point you were trying to make... that's not what you said.

Daniel never claimed that actions have intrinsic moral value. Consequentialism is not at odds with the notion of intrinsic moral value, it's at odds with the notion that intrinsic moral value resides in actions rather than outcomes. Thus, to a consequentialist an act is never intrinsically moral but only moral insofar as it results in intrinsically "good" outcomes. So the morality of an action is contingent upon its likely consequences, and therefore actions are not intrinsically moral or immoral, which is exactly what Daniel is arguing.
ShabShoral
Posts: 3,229
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5/6/2016 8:29:22 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/6/2016 5:08:57 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Lol YYW...the only person in this thread whose attitude needs adjustment is yours. Daniel has been perfectly polite, while you have not, to put it mildly. It was clear from the very first post that YYW either knows little about the topic or didn't read Daniel's paper very closely. An analysis of one paragraph should make this fact obvious:

Daniel: So we have our starting assumption; that morality consists in how persons ought to be or act, but how do we know what that way is? We begin by determining what has intrinsic moral value. That is, what it is that makes an action or way of being one we should perform or attain, or seek to perform or attain and what makes an action or way of being one we should avoid or abstain from.

YYW: When and to the extent that you're talking about actions which have "intrinsic moral value" what you're not talking about is the context in which any actions take place, and what relationship any action has to the context in which it occurs. Yet, consideration of actions in the context that they occur, and what relationship those actions have to their context is the predicate for consequentialist moral thought. The implication, then, is that your argument for a new consequentialism is at war with the fundamental assumptions of consequentialism. If, however, this was the point you were trying to make... that's not what you said.

Daniel never claimed that actions have intrinsic moral value. Consequentialism is not at odds with the notion of intrinsic moral value, it's at odds with the notion that intrinsic moral value resides in actions rather than outcomes. Thus, to a consequentialist an act is never intrinsically moral but only moral insofar as it results in intrinsically "good" outcomes. So the morality of an action is contingent upon its likely consequences, and therefore actions are not intrinsically moral or immoral, which is exactly what Daniel is arguing.

You're incredibly off-base.

For an action to have intrinsic value, by definition, it MUST not be valued instrumentaly.

Consequentialism is based wholly on the idea that all actions have only instrumental value.

Danny is saying, in effect, "That which has inherent value [his words] is that which is a means to an end [the definition of an instrumental value, not an intrinsic value]."
"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

"fvck omg ur face"

~ Liz
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,244
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5/6/2016 8:35:47 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/6/2016 8:29:22 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
At 5/6/2016 5:08:57 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Lol YYW...the only person in this thread whose attitude needs adjustment is yours. Daniel has been perfectly polite, while you have not, to put it mildly. It was clear from the very first post that YYW either knows little about the topic or didn't read Daniel's paper very closely. An analysis of one paragraph should make this fact obvious:

Daniel: So we have our starting assumption; that morality consists in how persons ought to be or act, but how do we know what that way is? We begin by determining what has intrinsic moral value. That is, what it is that makes an action or way of being one we should perform or attain, or seek to perform or attain and what makes an action or way of being one we should avoid or abstain from.

YYW: When and to the extent that you're talking about actions which have "intrinsic moral value" what you're not talking about is the context in which any actions take place, and what relationship any action has to the context in which it occurs. Yet, consideration of actions in the context that they occur, and what relationship those actions have to their context is the predicate for consequentialist moral thought. The implication, then, is that your argument for a new consequentialism is at war with the fundamental assumptions of consequentialism. If, however, this was the point you were trying to make... that's not what you said.

Daniel never claimed that actions have intrinsic moral value. Consequentialism is not at odds with the notion of intrinsic moral value, it's at odds with the notion that intrinsic moral value resides in actions rather than outcomes. Thus, to a consequentialist an act is never intrinsically moral but only moral insofar as it results in intrinsically "good" outcomes. So the morality of an action is contingent upon its likely consequences, and therefore actions are not intrinsically moral or immoral, which is exactly what Daniel is arguing.

You're incredibly off-base.

For an action to have intrinsic value, by definition, it MUST not be valued instrumentaly.

Consequentialism is based wholly on the idea that all actions have only instrumental value.

Danny is saying, in effect, "That which has inherent value [his words] is that which is a means to an end [the definition of an instrumental value, not an intrinsic value]."

Where does Danny say that actions have intrinsic value? He doesn't. He says that freedom (as an outcome) does.
YYW
Posts: 36,282
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5/6/2016 9:17:30 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/6/2016 5:08:57 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Lol YYW...the only person in this thread whose attitude needs adjustment is yours. Daniel has been perfectly polite, while you have not, to put it mildly. It was clear from the very first post that YYW either knows little about the topic or didn't read Daniel's paper very closely. An analysis of one paragraph should make this fact obvious:

Daniel: So we have our starting assumption; that morality consists in how persons ought to be or act, but how do we know what that way is? We begin by determining what has intrinsic moral value. That is, what it is that makes an action or way of being one we should perform or attain, or seek to perform or attain and what makes an action or way of being one we should avoid or abstain from.

YYW: When and to the extent that you're talking about actions which have "intrinsic moral value" what you're not talking about is the context in which any actions take place, and what relationship any action has to the context in which it occurs. Yet, consideration of actions in the context that they occur, and what relationship those actions have to their context is the predicate for consequentialist moral thought. The implication, then, is that your argument for a new consequentialism is at war with the fundamental assumptions of consequentialism. If, however, this was the point you were trying to make... that's not what you said.

Daniel never claimed that actions have intrinsic moral value. Consequentialism is not at odds with the notion of intrinsic moral value, it's at odds with the notion that intrinsic moral value resides in actions rather than outcomes. Thus, to a consequentialist an act is never intrinsically moral but only moral insofar as it results in intrinsically "good" outcomes. So the morality of an action is contingent upon its likely consequences, and therefore actions are not intrinsically moral or immoral, which is exactly what Daniel is arguing.

You are totally off base, and you need to learn to read more carefully, as we have consistently established in other threads where you have claimed to be right.
Tsar of DDO
DanielMcKay
Posts: 6
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5/8/2016 2:27:17 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
I have been away on a road trip for the past couple of days and it looks like there has been quite a lot going on while I've been gone. I'm going to try to deal with most of it here but if I miss anything important, just let me know and I'll get to it.

Keithprosser: Thanks. I may just do that.

Dylancatlow: But a rule consequentialist is concerned with following the best rules. So, even though killing someone in order to harvest their organs and save five might have bad consequences if we always acted according to that rule, we can have a more nuanced rule that says "we should kill a patient and harvest their organs if and only if we will save at least five people who each generate a similar amount of happiness lost by the killing of the one and have a great degree of certainty that no one will find out we did it". This rule has better consequences (from a utilitarian perspective) than either a blanket rule saying we should kill people when it will save five, or one saying we shouldn't. Further, I'm not sure appealing to everyone else acting in a similar way is likely to help as if everyone acted in a utilitarian way, it would likely lead to very good utilitarian consequences.

Also, while I appreciate your coming to my defense with regards to YYW, it really isn't necessary. And, in fairness to him, I was getting a bit snippy as I dislike being patronized.

ShabShoral: Actions have instrumental value insomuch as they bring about whatever is of intrinsic value. I wasn't saying that actions have intrinsic value, I was saying that whatever is of intrinsic value is what makes an action right, or good, or of instrumental value.

Okay, as regards deontology. Yes a deontologist might well say that, but if we are starting with the idea that what is morally relevant is the freedom of persons, then we can't really say it is morally irrelevant when person's freedom gets violated. Kantian deontologists can do this, but largely because they have a different starting point. I would say that I have given an argument against deonotology, in that unless we can make some strong distinction between action and inaction then by failing to kill one person, we may be killing another and in such a situation a deontological theory may essentially require us to both not kill a person and also not not kill a person, which is nonsensical. But perhaps it goes by a bit quickly, particularly as there is a reasonably strong intuition about the difference between action and inaction, particularly in anyone remotely deontologically inclined. I would value your feedback on how this could be made more clear.

I admit to being somewhat flummoxed as to how to respond to your objection that I do not argue for treating freedom as something that can be weighed. It seems obvious to me that the kind of freedom I have described can certainly be weighed at the very least by counting each person's freedom as equally important. But this could be a case of missing the wood for the trees. I would like to hear more on this if you would like to explain exactly what you mean by this?

YYW: Dylancatlow doesn't actually need to learn to read more carefully. I wasn't claiming actions had intrinsic value. I was claiming what makes actions right/good was the thing of intrinsic value that they promote (or in this case protect). He is right.

A theory is consequentialist if the rightness/goodness of an action is determined by its consequences. To say that having consequentialism in common with other consequentialist theories is a superficial similarity seems very odd.

I didn't say that my theory "treats moral value" differently than other consequentialist theories (though I suppose it could be argued that it could). I said it differed in the thing that it treats as of moral value. In this case, it treats the freedom of persons which already exist over those things that already belong to them as of moral value. This is different from classical utilitarianism for example which treats overall happiness/pleasure as the thing which is of moral value.

As for what metaethical assumptions and what is of moral value, that is covered in the chapter we are discussing. I recommend reading it there.

Obligation is a tricky issue. But essentially the difference is that most forms of consequentialism either employ a maximizing approach, whereby any action that brings about less value than the best action is wrong, or a satisficing approach, which has various issues that I don't really have time to go into (but I could potentially post that chapter here as well). My theory, by contrast, uses a kind of modified satisficing approach, made possible in part by the value it is dealing with (the freedom of person over those things which already belong to them), which means that actions can be morally permissible without being ideal.

Also, I might suggest that the removal of your help may not be quite the threat you think it is.
YYW
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5/9/2016 7:38:06 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/8/2016 2:27:17 PM, DanielMcKay wrote:

so, I might suggest that the removal of your help may not be quite the threat you think it is.

lol where are you even in school? Liberty university?
Tsar of DDO
Axonly
Posts: 1,802
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6/7/2016 1:04:16 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/4/2016 8:07:43 PM, 1harderthanyouthink wrote:
*clicks on DDO forum*
*sees Danielle posted*
*quickly goes to thread she posted in*
*is disappointed she only posted one sentence*

xD
Meh!