Peter Singer
#6
(04-15-2010, 07:42 PM)INPEFESS Wrote: Have you ever heard a consequentialist qualify "consequence"? I have not. To the consequentialist: "a morally right action is one that produces a good outcome, or consequence." But what is a "good outcome"? What is good for you might not be good for me. Say someone wanted to assassinate a powerful political leader. If the tyrant is exterminating the poor in your own country, then killing the tyrant would produce a "good outcome". But if that same tyrant is supporting the poor (by preventing them from being killed) in another nation, killing the tyrant would produce a "bad outcome". If it is relative according to one's own personal needs and wants, then it begins to sound a lot like ethical egoism, which, although holds some weight, is not without its various pitfalls.

Well, Mill appealed to what he called the Greatest Happiness principal, i.e., an action is good insofar as it tends to promote happiness and the absence of unhappiness. For him, happiness is simply "pleasure and the absence of pain," and unhappiness, "pain, and the privation of pleasure." For humans, this includes not only sensual but intellectual pleasures, which many thoughtful people would rate more highly than the merely physical.

As far as the second part of your paragraph goes, utilitarian metrics quickly get quite complicated! A utilitarian (of the agent-neutral variety) wouldn't deny that there was an answer, they would just say it's complicated. How many poor people is the tyrant oppressing? How many poor people is the tyrant helping? How much is he oppressing/helping them, in absolute and relative terms? What about the non-poor members of each country? Can some people or groups of people inherently experience greater degrees of pleasure or pain than others? How much so? How much will it hurt my head to figure all this out? And so on. This doesn't have any bearing on the validity of utilitarian ethics, or consequentialism more generally. There is an answer, it'll just take a while to get there.
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Messages In This Thread
Peter Singer - by INPEFESS - 04-12-2010, 06:18 PM
Re: Peter Singer - by INPEFESS - 04-15-2010, 06:29 PM
Re: Peter Singer - by Antonius Block - 04-15-2010, 06:59 PM
Re: Peter Singer - by INPEFESS - 04-15-2010, 07:42 PM
Re: Peter Singer - by Anastasia - 04-15-2010, 08:47 PM
Re: Peter Singer - by Antonius Block - 04-15-2010, 08:56 PM
Re: Peter Singer - by Antonius Block - 04-15-2010, 08:58 PM
Re: Peter Singer - by INPEFESS - 04-15-2010, 10:55 PM
Re: Peter Singer - by INPEFESS - 04-16-2010, 12:26 AM
Re: Peter Singer - by INPEFESS - 04-16-2010, 12:59 AM
Re: Peter Singer - by Historian - 04-16-2010, 09:10 AM
Re: Peter Singer - by INPEFESS - 04-16-2010, 06:21 PM
Re: Peter Singer - by Benno - 04-23-2010, 05:20 AM
Re: Peter Singer - by INPEFESS - 04-23-2010, 11:25 AM



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