What moral philosophy do you subscribe to? Watch

TheTruthTeller
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As the title states.

Been looking at philosophers like Bentham and Kant recently and I've noticed there is really little point in subscribing to any of their viewpoints since every situation is different. For now I would say I don't subscribe to any particular philosophy but treat every situtation differently as I don't think we can apply something absolute such as morality to each situation equally...

So what do you subscribe or partially subscribe to?
Do you find it difficult to be consistently moral with your views?
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viddy9
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(Original post by TheTruthTeller)
As the title states.

Been looking at philosophers like Bentham and Kant recently and I've noticed there is really little point in subscribing to any of their viewpoints since every situation is different. For now I would say I don't subscribe to any particular philosophy but treat every situtation differently as I don't think we can apply something absolute such as morality to each situation equally...

So what do you subscribe or partially subscribe to?
Do you find it difficult to be consistently moral with your views?
I fully subscribe to utilitarianism; specifically, preference utilitarianism. As you'll know, utilitarianism is part of a broader strand of moral philosophy known as consequentialism.

I subscribe to it, in part, because I believe that utilitarianism follows directly from reason:

*All sentient beings try to satisfy their preferences, and maximise their preference-satisfaction.

* Taking the objective point of view (the great utilitarian philosopher Henry Sidgwick called this "taking the point of view of the universe"), there's no reason, however, why our own preferences and interests matter more than anyone else's. The notion that they do is a subjective illusion. In other words, there's no rational justification for putting our own interests above those of others'.

* As a result, if we are to try to satisfy our own preferences, which it is impossible not to do, we also have to satisfy the preferences, and maximise the preference-satisfaction, of others. This is preference utilitarianism: gaining the greatest good, where good is defined by satisfying preferences, for the greatest number.

I also originally came to utilitarianism, however, because it best fit with my moral intuitions. For example, I would murder 1 person to save 1 million people from dying, so is it wrong for me to murder 1 person to save 5 people? I can find no justification for sparing the 1 person in the latter case, but having a strong moral intuition to save the 1 million people in the former. Similarly, if I would divert a trolley from a track on which five people are tied, to a track on which one person is tied, do I have any justification for not pushing a Very Big (Fat) Man off a bridge to stop the trolley to save the five people on the track, assuming that nobody else was there to see and so on? No, I don't, so I think it's justifiable to push the Fat Man off the bridge, after reflecting on my intuitions.

Utilitarianism is also impartial: it doesn't give extra moral weight to certain people or beings for unjustifiable reasons. It can also help to solve political disputes - at the end of the day, both sides want what will do the most good for people, they just disagree on what does. So, instead of appealling to "freedom" or "rights", which often become meaningless (proponents of abortion will talk of "women's rights"; opponents will talk of a "right to life") we should be looking at the evidence as to which policies do the most good in the world.

Utilitarianism also does, to an extent, look at the situation, which is what appeals to you. Unlike Kantian ethics, it isn't absolutist insofar as taking an action in one situation might be morally persmissible, whereas taking the same action in another situation may not be. For example, shooting a plane full of civilian passengers down is not permissible in general, but when it's been hijacked by a terrorist who may use the plane to crash it into the city, it is permissible to shoot the plane down under utilitarianism. The only absolute is that you maximise good impartially, where I define good as the satisfaction of preferences.


Do I find it difficult to be consistently moral with my views?


Not really. I'm a vegetarian who only occasionally consumes dairy products and is heading towards veganism, which I've found pretty easy to do, on the basis that we shouldn't be inflicting unnecessary suffering, and thus violating the preferences of, other sentient beings.

When I donate to charity, I donate to the most cost-effective charities which directly follows from utilitarianism: I should not only do good in the world, but do the most good that I possibly can. I could give a lot more to charity than I currently do, and plan on donating at least 50% of my income to the most cost-effective charities in the world when I'm older, as recommended by Animal Charity Evaluators and the rigorous global poverty charity evaluator, GiveWell.

I do find myself making utilitarian calculations about moral benefits and costs quite a lot, though, and it is somewhat difficult when it comes to other family members who don't share my viewpoint, for example, those who try to take me somewhere in a car or a plane instead of walking, taking public transport or not going on a trip at all.
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TheTruthTeller
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(Original post by viddy9)
I fully subscribe to utilitarianism; specifically, preference utilitarianism. As you'll know, utilitarianism is part of a broader strand of moral philosophy known as consequentialism.

I subscribe to it, in part, because I believe that utilitarianism follows directly from reason:

*All sentient beings try to satisfy their preferences, and maximise their preference-satisfaction.

* Taking the objective point of view (the great utilitarian philosopher Henry Sidgwick called this "taking the point of view of the universe", there's no reason, however, why our own preferences and interests matter more than anyone else's. The notion that they do is a subjective illusion. In other words, there's no rational justification for putting our own interests above those of others'.

* As a result, if we are to try to satisfy our own preferences, which it is impossible not to do, we also have to satisfy the preferences, and maximise the preference-satisfaction, of others. This is preference utilitarianism: gaining the greatest good, where good is defined by satisfying preferences, for the greatest number.

I also originally came to utilitarianism, however, because it best fit with my moral intuitions. For example, I would murder 1 person to save 1 million people from dying, so is it wrong for me to murder 1 person to save 5 people? I can find no justification for sparing the 1 person in the latter case, but having a strong moral intuition to save the 1 million people in the former. Similarly, if I would divert a trolley from a track on which five people are tied, to a track on which one person is tied, do I have any justification for not pushing a Very Big (Fat) Man off a bridge to stop the trolley to save the five people on the track, assuming that nobody else was there to see and so on? No, I don't, so I think it's justifiable to push the Fat Man off the bridge, after reflecting on my intuitions.

Utilitarianism is also impartial: it doesn't give extra moral weight to certain people or beings for unjustifiable reasons. It can also help to solve political disputes - at the end of the day, both sides want what will do the most good for people, they just disagree on what does. So, instead of appealling to "freedom" or "rights", which often become meaningless (proponents of abortion will talk of "women's rights"; opponents will talk of a "right to life" we should be looking at the evidence as to which policies do the most good in the world.

Utilitarianism also does, to an extent, look at the situation, which is what appeals to you. Unlike Kantian ethics, it isn't absolutist insofar as taking an action in one situation might be morally persmissible, whereas taking the same action in another situation may not be. For example, shooting a plane full of civilian passengers down is not permissible in general, but when it's been hijacked by a terrorist who may use the plane to crash it into the city, it is permissible to shoot the plane down under utilitarianism. The only absolute is that you maximise good impartially, where I define good as the satisfaction of preferences.


Do I find it difficult to be consistently moral with my views?

Not really. I'm a vegetarian who only occasionally consumes dairy products and is heading towards veganism, which I've found pretty easy to do, on the basis that we shouldn't be inflicting unnecessary suffering, and thus violating the preferences of, other sentient beings.

When I donate to charity, I donate to the most cost-effective charities which directly follows from utilitarianism: I should not only do good in the world, but do the most good that I possibly can. I could give a lot more to charity than I currently do, and plan on donating at least 50% of my income to the most cost-effective charities in the world when I'm older.

I do find myself making utilitarian calculations about moral benefits and costs quite a lot, though, and it is somewhat difficult when it comes to other family members who don't share my viewpoint, for example, those who try to take me somewhere in a car or a plane instead of walking, taking public transport or not going on a trip at all.
Very interesting i did read it all. For me utilitarianism is flawed because imo something moral must be just, yet utilitarianism allows the unjust for the greatest hapiness. So it would allow me to kill 1 sinless person as opposed to 30 murderers on an island because it will have the greatest happiness for those 30.
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Justpin
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A very Christian one. Even though I ain't no Christian. Essentially treat people as you would like to be treated.
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viddy9
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(Original post by TheTruthTeller)
Very interesting i did read it all. For me utilitarianism is flawed because imo something moral must be just, yet utilitarianism allows the unjust for the greatest hapiness. So it would allow me to kill 1 sinless person as opposed to 30 murderers on an island because it will have the greatest happiness for those 30.
Well, I would argue that nobody is sinless, and I don't see why the interests of 30 murderers matter any less just because they're murderers.

We could apply this logic to other acts that are generally immoral too: do the interests of a burglar have less value than the interests of a non-burglar? Do the interests of somebody who tries and succeeds to take a train without paying for a ticket matter less than someone who hasn't commited this act? Applying "justice" to the interests of others leads, in my view, to absurdity.

Also, "justice" seems to me to be a subjective concept. To a slave who has stolen from his master, he may justify the act on the basis that the master isn't paying him anything, which is unjust, so it's just for him to acquire his own compensation. To the master, it's unjust for his slave to steal from him. Similarly, today, a low-skilled worker on the minimum wage may steal from his company, and state that it is just to do so because the minimum wage is not allowing him to meet his basic living standards. The owner of the company may argue that it is unjust, though, because he should be able to pay his worker a low wage as he's a hard-working, educated person whereas the worker is not.

Furthermore, I don't see why you couldn't kill one of the 30 murderers instead in your scenario. In fact, under utilitarianism, it would probably be best to kill one of the 30 murderers, instead of the non-murderer, to reduce the risk of everyone being murdered by the murderer.
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Melancholy
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Be nice.
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Falcatas
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The initiation of force is evil.
(Non aggression principle)
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Juichiro
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(Original post by TheTruthTeller)
As the title states.

Been looking at philosophers like Bentham and Kant recently and I've noticed there is really little point in subscribing to any of their viewpoints since every situation is different. For now I would say I don't subscribe to any particular philosophy but treat every situtation differently as I don't think we can apply something absolute such as morality to each situation equally...

So what do you subscribe or partially subscribe to?
Do you find it difficult to be consistently moral with your views?
Philosophically, moral relativism. Pragmatically, utilitarianism. I am happy to elaborate on this.
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TheTruthTeller
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(Original post by Falcatas)
The initiation of force is evil.
(Non aggression principle)
Physical force I presume? In all circumstances?
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TheTruthTeller
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(Original post by Juichiro)
Philosophically, moral relativism. Pragmatically, utilitarianism. I am happy to elaborate on this.
Enlighten us
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Falcatas
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(Original post by TheTruthTeller)
Physical force I presume? In all circumstances?
The initiation of force against someone of their property yes.
So it includes theft and fraud etc.

Defensive force however or punishment is fine are not violations however.
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TheTruthTeller
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(Original post by Falcatas)
The initiation of force against someone of their property yes.
So it includes theft and fraud etc.

Defensive force however or punishment is fine are not violations however.
What about rapists, serial killers... If you had a younger sibling and they were raped and you saw the rapist walking in a shop would you not justify using force against them? It may not be defensive but I view it as justice.
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Andy98
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Dunno to be honest, make it up as I go along.

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Falcatas
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(Original post by TheTruthTeller)
What about rapists, serial killers... If you had a younger sibling and they were raped and you saw the rapist walking in a shop would you not justify using force against them? It may not be defensive but I view it as justice.
There would be nothing wrong using violence to defend against aggressors or to punish people for crimes.

An aggressor has the obligation to by the very least make amends (if possible) for the wrongdoing. It is morally permissible to force them against their will to make amends for their evil aggressive actions.
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TheTruthTeller
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(Original post by Falcatas)
There would be nothing wrong using violence to defend against aggressors or to punish people for crimes.

An aggressor has the obligation to by the very least make amends (if possible) for the wrongdoing. It is morally permissible to force them against their will to make amends for their evil aggressive actions.
What if in the scenario that I made up the rapist has been to jail, yet is not sorry. He has paid for their crime, yet is not sorry about it. Using force would surely not be for defensive purposes (in this scenario assuming he no longer is a rapist) yet isn't violence justified against him because they were not sorry for such a heinous act despite paying jail time?
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Falcatas
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(Original post by TheTruthTeller)
What if in the scenario that I made up the rapist has been to jail, yet is not sorry. He has paid for their crime, yet is not sorry about it. Using force would surely not be for defensive purposes (in this scenario assuming he no longer is a rapist) yet isn't violence justified against him because they were not sorry for such a heinous act despite paying jail time?
Oh being sorry or not doesn't matter. Jails are a terrible excuse of justice. How is it right that a rape victim is victimised yet again by being forced to pay for her rapists upkeep in prison?

The rapist could have all his money taken from him and give to the victim.
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darthentantius
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i donb;t believe in morals.
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Implication
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(Original post by TheTruthTeller)
What about rapists, serial killers... If you had a younger sibling and they were raped and you saw the rapist walking in a shop would you not justify using force against them? It may not be defensive but I view it as justice.
(Original post by TheTruthTeller)
What if in the scenario that I made up the rapist has been to jail, yet is not sorry. He has paid for their crime, yet is not sorry about it. Using force would surely not be for defensive purposes (in this scenario assuming he no longer is a rapist) yet isn't violence justified against him because they were not sorry for such a heinous act despite paying jail time?
Sounds more like revenge than justice :holmes:

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TheTruthTeller
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(Original post by Implication)
Sounds more like revenge than justice :holmes:

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An eye for an eye can be seen as justice and revenge at the same time.
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kantianism
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