What Moral/Ethical Philosophy Do You Follow?

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ogden
 
Reply Tue 1 Jan, 2008 02:00 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
I have been reading about Sartre's concept of the alienating and mediating Third (the cretique of dialectical reason), and it seems relevant in this discussion. There is no need for morality in a singular existance. The dyad you/I is affected by the third in an alienating they, and also mediating in us/them. The totality of us/we is destroyed by the them/them.

(I'm new at this stuff so please feel free to tell me when I'm all wet)

The relevance is that individual values/morals are intrinsically tied to the group. Social systems bring funcionality to society by protecting freedoms and imposing restraints to individuals for the general good; in lieu of total anarchy. The desired result should therefore be both utilitarian for the common good and libertarian in support of the individual. I realize this idea is ultimately unatainable because the good of the whole is sometimes at the expense of the individual (and visa-versa).

In this juxtaposed (subjective/objective?) condition, ethics then strives to establish equilibrium of equality betwen the individual and the group they are a part of. One social system (moral philosophy) errs in support of the group, another errs in suport of the individual.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 1 Jan, 2008 02:56 pm
@ogden,
Quote:
I have been reading about Sartre's concept of the alienating and mediating Third (the cretique of dialectical reason), and it seems relevant in this discussion. There is no need for morality in a singular existance. The dyad you/I is affected by the third in an alienating they, and also mediating in us/them. The totality of us/we is destroyed by the them/them.


Reminds me of the Tao-Te-Ching.

Which is interesting. I'm no expert on Chinese thought, but the Tao-Te-Ching doesn't really address moral philosophy. If you want Chinese moral philosophy, Confucius is the place to start, and of course for spiritual questions Confucius sent students to see the Taoists.
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 4 Jan, 2008 11:09 am
@ogden,
ogden wrote:
I have been reading about Sartre's concept of the alienating and mediating Third (the cretique of dialectical reason), and it seems relevant in this discussion. There is no need for morality in a singular existance. The dyad you/I is affected by the third in an alienating they, and also mediating in us/them. The totality of us/we is destroyed by the them/them.

(I'm new at this stuff so please feel free to tell me when I'm all wet)

The relevance is that individual values/morals are intrinsically tied to the group. Social systems bring funcionality to society by protecting freedoms and imposing restraints to individuals for the general good; in lieu of total anarchy. The desired result should therefore be both utilitarian for the common good and libertarian in support of the individual. I realize this idea is ultimately unatainable because the good of the whole is sometimes at the expense of the individual (and visa-versa).

In this juxtaposed (subjective/objective?) condition, ethics then strives to establish equilibrium of equality betwen the individual and the group they are a part of. One social system (moral philosophy) errs in support of the group, another errs in suport of the individual.


I think one essential fact of morals is that it breaks down the barrior between me and thee. Again, if you look at the treatment Jesus gives this subject in the Gospels, you see that he phrases it in terms of familier relations, like the prodigal son, or the good Sameritan (sp), where he answers the question, who is my brother? Those people who feared the material price of ritual defilement, the priests who walked by the injured man could not see the human being through the form of their social positions. Seeing morality in the sense of family, we know that what is good for one is good for the other. People do not have separate moralities, and so moral precepts reflect that fact: Do unto others. To be moral, one must see others as ones self. It is an emotional connectedness, and yes, it is intrusive to be told you are acting wrongly. Some people do not know they have a self until they are made to feel like an outlaw, or outcast. Too often this is a role people take on to enjoy life as a luxury, for the moment, and as a prodigal. What is gained in the self is lost in society. It is that feeling, closeness, love, affection, and good will for others that is morality. Morality does not bear rules, commandments, prescriptions, or proscriptions. Yet, almost everyone knows love, even if that is something they have been long deprived of, each has a sense of it, of what is right in regard to love, of a common being in regard to love, and for that person who grasps that love of others -then individuality seems a gross luxury in the face of wide spread famine of want. How can I deny you your humanity to enjoy my simple pleasures?
 
ogden
 
Reply Fri 4 Jan, 2008 07:19 pm
@Fido,
Fido wrote:
I think one essential fact of morals is that it breaks down the barrior between me and thee. Again, if you look at the treatment Jesus gives this subject in the Gospels, you see that he phrases it in terms of familier relations, like the prodigal son, or the good Sameritan (sp), where he answers the question, who is my brother? Those people who feared the material price of ritual defilement, the priests who walked by the injured man could not see the human being through the form of their social positions. Seeing morality in the sense of family, we know that what is good for one is good for the other. People do not have separate moralities, and so moral precepts reflect that fact: Do unto others. To be moral, one must see others as ones self. It is an emotional connectedness, and yes, it is intrusive to be told you are acting wrongly. Some people do not know they have a self until they are made to feel like an outlaw, or outcast. Too often this is a role people take on to enjoy life as a luxury, for the moment, and as a prodigal. What is gained in the self is lost in society. It is that feeling, closeness, love, affection, and good will for others that is morality. Morality does not bear rules, commandments, prescriptions, or proscriptions. Yet, almost everyone knows love, even if that is something they have been long deprived of, each has a sense of it, of what is right in regard to love, of a common being in regard to love, and for that person who grasps that love of others -then individuality seems a gross luxury in the face of wide spread famine of want. How can I deny you your humanity to enjoy my simple pleasures?


Thanks for this somewhat poetic post:). I totally agree that empathy is a vital mode of thought in anyones morality. I love the bible, and you reminded me of so many ways the bible leads us to become one or meld self with other, as I am sure other religions do also. Sartre was rationalising the unification of the sameness whenever one is in a group. Each individual can not avoid some sort of group.

History points out repeatedly that groups also alienate. Nationalism, culture, religion, race, gender, all set us apart from eachother and can lead to some group rationale that is detremental to others (imoral?). How else could our recent ancestors slaughter the native americans unless they first dehumanized them into "savages"? (This is just an example; i'm not trying to vilify anyones family.) We should also remember that condition pressures (such as servival) can shift moral behavior.

we are all deminished when there are some among us who suffer the most unspeakable want and harm. It makes me want to deliniate a minimum quality of life that no one should live below, and we could take steps to minimize the worst depravity. No, I do not advocate we abolish suffering; I'm just saying it does us all harm when any one of us is starving, infested with parasites, plauged by disease, tourtured, or forced to watch loved ones be mutilated before their eyes!

Likewise, it does us all harm to view ourselves seperate from the enironment, for we are all tied directly to its condition!

sorry to be so long in agreeing with you:D. How though, can you say people dont have seperate moralities? I dont understand that statement.
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 4 Jan, 2008 09:44 pm
@ogden,
ogden wrote:
Thanks for this somewhat poetic post:). I totally agree that empathy is a vital mode of thought in anyones morality. I love the bible, and you reminded me of so many ways the bible leads us to become one or meld self with other, as I am sure other religions do also. Sartre was rationalising the unification of the sameness whenever one is in a group. Each individual can not avoid some sort of group.

History points out repeatedly that groups also alienate. Nationalism, culture, religion, race, gender, all set us apart from eachother and can lead to some group rationale that is detremental to others (imoral?). How else could our recent ancestors slaughter the native americans unless they first dehumanized them into "savages"? (This is just an example; i'm not trying to vilify anyones family.) We should also remember that condition pressures (such as servival) can shift moral behavior.

we are all deminished when there are some among us who suffer the most unspeakable want and harm. It makes me want to deliniate a minimum quality of life that no one should live below, and we could take steps to minimize the worst depravity. No, I do not advocate we abolish suffering; I'm just saying it does us all harm when any one of us is starving, infested with parasites, plauged by disease, tourtured, or forced to watch loved ones be mutilated before their eyes!

Likewise, it does us all harm to view ourselves seperate from the enironment, for we are all tied directly to its condition!

sorry to be so long in agreeing with you:D. How though, can you say people dont have seperate moralities? I dont understand that statement.

If a stranger tells a child to not open a piece of candy in a store, it is not to be nosey, or intrusive, though today it might be taken that way, but to share the common morality. We cannot always say what is right in every hypothetical situation, but situations are never really hypothetical. If you are in a situation where help is needed you might find you are a hero. I have helped people in that situation. People have helped me. I was swapping an axle in a car once and lost it of the jack. There I was with half the weight of that car on my back, on my hands and knees, and half on a tipped over jack. Some one driving by figured out what happened and helped me. I would have helped him. I said thanks, and the guy was gone and if I ever got a good look at him I don't even remember his face. There is a feeling that bonds people, and it take a great deal of socialization to make people hate, or break them from caring. When morality and ethics are reduced to the minimum it is that feeling we have for family projected onto all people. Usually children have to learn that they cannot trust and care for people equally, and that is a shame, and reality. Still, we should do all we can to keep that feeling alive, and revive it if its spirit has been lost.

Now, what you say about groups alienating is very true. There is only one group, humanity, from which none can be excluded reasonably except by their own actions. I can't tell you how I struggled with this same thought, of how to build a group that did not keep its unity by exclusion. And I was trying to concieve of it as structure, of a certain structural dynamic that all groups possess, and on the side I was trying to concieve of a tragedy, unlike all tragedies -which exclude the bad element to achieve unity, and was instead look for a resolution without exclusion. And I was hammering on a key board the way I do when I write hard and as fast as I can- arguing with a democrat because they do not seek a unitary solution and my wife asked: Are you having a relationship with that person? I guess I was giving them a lot of my fingers in their face. But, that was the word I was looking for-Relationship.

That is what all organizations, all groups, and all cliques have, all states, parties, all forms. And people find the form essential. Few can just relate without some formality. They need rules, and they want to feel special, and to be part of an exclusive group. I am like Groucho Marx: I would not want to belong to any group that would have me as a member. Yet, I have been a part of many groups. And all left me unfulfilled, I would say, excepting my own family. So, the problem in a sense is with people, that we want the power to exclude. At the same time most of us have felt left out, and lonely, as well. Looking at my home, the US, I see that it is so many nations, and not one nation as it should be. How can this fractured form support it own weight?

In every form of relationship there is some movement between the poles of formal and informal. Some times the forms are nearly all form, and little relationship, and at that point they are ready for the trash. The ideal in every form of relationship is the relationship, that it be no more formal or exclusive than it needs to be to support the relationship. Long winded hey? Thanks.
 
krazy kaju
 
Reply Sat 12 Jan, 2008 12:13 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Quite true, actually. A libertarian might mention that they think their system will produce the greatest amount of happiness, but even if the opposite were true, none of the libertarian's arguments are done any damage. Libertarianism simply has no basis in utilitarianism. I'm not sure what libertarian literature you have read. Of everything I've read, nowhere are utilitarian arguments used.

At best, it seems, you might try to argue that Bentham's influence on prison reform and utilitarianism represents some sort of connection. Even then; however, Bentham is, at best, an historical note. Again, the libertarian does not use utilitarian arguments. At least not in anything I have ever encountered. If you have some literature that suggests otherwise, I'm most interested.


So you're saying that libertarians don't believe that their system of economics and government will cause the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest amount of people?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sat 12 Jan, 2008 04:46 pm
@krazy kaju,
Quote:
So you're saying that libertarians don't believe that their system of economics and government will cause the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest amount of people?


No, most do accept this. What I am saying is that the matter is irrelevant to the libertarian. The greatest amount of happiness has nothing to do with libertarian arguments.

If you think libertarians are utilitarians, there's not much I can do to help you other than suggest you read a book or two.
 
Billy phil
 
Reply Tue 15 Jan, 2008 09:44 pm
@de Silentio,
de Silentio wrote:
Since I do not follow the categorical imperative all the time (although (I think) I do most of the time), I am not sure I can say that I follow it at all. I think that one cannot call themselves a follower of any moral framework if they do not follow it all of the time.


No one is entirely consistent, and every Deontologist is at least slightly different from the next, just as no two Christians/Jews/Muslims/Hindus believe in exactly the same thing.

As soon as you throw humans into the mix, you get imperfection and variation.

Glad to see some other Deontologists here!! It seems like a tough one in 2008.
 
krazy kaju
 
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2008 03:41 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
No, most do accept this. What I am saying is that the matter is irrelevant to the libertarian. The greatest amount of happiness has nothing to do with libertarian arguments.

If you think libertarians are utilitarians, there's not much I can do to help you other than suggest you read a book or two.


So you're saying that libertarians believe in their ideals not because they believe that libertarianism is the best system but because they believe in the principle of individualism, even if that led to a much less happy society?

Interesting that you say this, as I've never heard a libertarian argue that we should adopt libertarianism for the principle of human rights, individualism, etc. As a traditional conservative who believes in many libertarian ideals, I cannot fathom making a competent argument for libertarian ideals on principle.

Could you suggest any examples of libertarians arguing for their system on principle and not because they believe it would be the best system for the majority of society?

What libertarian books should I read and what books do you mention?
 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2008 08:04 pm
@krazy kaju,
I once wrote a letter to the editor critical of our involvment with Israel, and found I had libertarians in quantity. I felt like I was being recruited, but I have always been more green than seen with a party. I am a square peg in a round world, and I don't accept the organizational solution. I think a whole bunch of changed minds is better than the best organization. What do they think? I mean, what do you think?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Thu 17 Jan, 2008 05:04 pm
@Fido,
Quote:
So you're saying that libertarians believe in their ideals not because they believe that libertarianism is the best system but because they believe in the principle of individualism, even if that led to a much less happy society?


No, they think libertarianism to be the best system because of their principles of individual liberty.

Quote:
Interesting that you say this, as I've never heard a libertarian argue that we should adopt libertarianism for the principle of human rights, individualism, etc.


You could start with the modern economic conservative classic, "Capitalism and Freedom" by Milton Friedman. He is not a hard libertarian, but the bulk of his arguments are based on the notion of individual liberty; he makes a few exceptions for things like parks because he thinks the private sector could not be expected to maintain them.
 
krazy kaju
 
Reply Thu 17 Jan, 2008 06:49 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
No, they think libertarianism to be the best system because of their principles of individual liberty.


So you're saying that libertarians believe in the principle of individual liberty above all else?

Even if this would mean a markedly worse society than today?

Quote:
You could start with the modern economic conservative classic, "Capitalism and Freedom" by Milton Friedman. He is not a hard libertarian, but the bulk of his arguments are based on the notion of individual liberty; he makes a few exceptions for things like parks because he thinks the private sector could not be expected to maintain them.


So does he argue for individual liberty just for the sake of individual liberty, and not because he believes (like most other economists) that individual liberty would result in the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest amount of people?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 18 Jan, 2008 02:19 pm
@krazy kaju,
Quote:
So you're saying that libertarians believe in the principle of individual liberty above all else?

Even if this would mean a markedly worse society than today?


Basically, yes, of course this principle has a number of corrolaries in their eyes, for example, non-violence. And some libertarians take this indifferent directions, having disagreements over what is and what is not naturally the rights of man.
You keep talking about the way libertarians think their system will relate to society, and you miss the point entirely.
Libertarians embrace individual freedom, that's what they promote, because they think it to be the most just way to organize society. That in itself is enough, as evident by the fact that they generally disdain government economic intervention, on principle, even when this intervention amounts to feeding the poor. That the most just system will, at the end of the day, work out better than any other system, is an absurdly evident fact, certainly nothing to debate about. This is a fact almost always introduced to address utilitarian concerns with libertarianism, not a bad idea considering most people probably are utilitarians, even if they make specific exceptions.

If you ever read any utilitarian and libertarian literature, maybe you will understand. Maybe then you will understand why this statment of yours is inaccurate: "Libertarians want to increase the utility of the middle and upper classes". Maybe you would then know that libertarianism is concerned with the individual's rights, utilitarianism is concerned with the greatest happiness of all.
 
Billy phil
 
Reply Fri 18 Jan, 2008 03:06 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
That the most just system will, at the end of the day, work out better than any other system, is an absurdly evident fact, certainly nothing to debate about.


Ahhhh. That's why you hate Randroids. You're a COMMUNIST!!! Hah!

work out better than any other system, for who?

most just, for who?
 
krazy kaju
 
Reply Fri 18 Jan, 2008 06:26 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Basically, yes, of course this principle has a number of corrolaries in their eyes, for example, non-violence. And some libertarians take this indifferent directions, having disagreements over what is and what is not naturally the rights of man.
You keep talking about the way libertarians think their system will relate to society, and you miss the point entirely.
Libertarians embrace individual freedom, that's what they promote, because they think it to be the most just way to organize society. That in itself is enough, as evident by the fact that they generally disdain government economic intervention, on principle, even when this intervention amounts to feeding the poor. That the most just system will, at the end of the day, work out better than any other system, is an absurdly evident fact, certainly nothing to debate about. This is a fact almost always introduced to address utilitarian concerns with libertarianism, not a bad idea considering most people probably are utilitarians, even if they make specific exceptions.

If you ever read any utilitarian and libertarian literature, maybe you will understand. Maybe then you will understand why this statment of yours is inaccurate: "Libertarians want to increase the utility of the middle and upper classes". Maybe you would then know that libertarianism is concerned with the individual's rights, utilitarianism is concerned with the greatest happiness of all.


First, thank you for proving my point.

As a quasi-libertarian (in reality, a paleoconservative), I think it funny how you think I know nothing about libertarianism.

I never disagreed with the fact that libertarians believe in individual freedom.

Do they believe in individual freedom on principle? No. They believe in it because it will cause the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest amount of people.

Economically speaking, I said that most libertarians recognize there will be a "loser" class, and that class is obviously the lower class. Whereas in socialism, the lower class will benefit economically, in libertarianism, the lower class will not benefit economically.

As a side note, many libertarians don't disdain economic intervention on principle, but because we believe that economic intervention doesn't better the economy, but make it worse.

You yourself noted Milton Friedman as someone who believes in individual liberty. As a Nobel laureate economist, do you think Friedman would support individual rights on principle? No, he believed that the strongest economy was the one with as little regulation as possible.

I cannot see how you can make a valid argument claiming that most libertarians are not utilitarians.

Libertarians believe in individual rights.

Most libertarians believe that giving us maximum individual rights, will cause us to be, on the whole, economically better off, and cause the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest amount of people.

Therefore, most libertarians are utilitarians.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 18 Jan, 2008 07:04 pm
@krazy kaju,
Quote:
As a quasi-libertarian (in reality, a paleoconservative), I think it funny how you think I know nothing about libertarianism.
I dont care what you call yourself, if you dont know what you're talking about, you dont know. Either you know very little of libertarianism, or you know very little of utilitarianism, otherwise you would understand that they are different. Perhaps you've read some Bentham, or Mill - they were much closer to libertarians with respect to their view of happiness than JS Mill.

Quote:
I never disagreed with the fact that libertarians believe in individual freedom.
I never suggested you did, only that you might have some confusion over what that means to libertarians with respect to why libertarians reject utilitarianism, ie, the difference between utilitarianism and libertarianism. Perhaps you forget that libertarians reject taxation? You may not, personally, but that is fairly basic libertarian stand - to favor taxes is radical among libertarians.

Quote:
Economically speaking, I said that most libertarians recognize there will be a "loser" class, and that class is obviously the lower class. Whereas in socialism, the lower class will benefit economically, in libertarianism, the lower class will not benefit economically.
Just to remind you, my clarification was: "libertarianism has absolutely no interest in the well being of one class of people as compared to another. They do not seek "to increase the utility of the middle and upper classes"."

Quote:
As a side note, many libertarians don't disdain economic intervention on principle, but because we believe that economic intervention doesn't better the economy, but make it worse.
Sure, there are some who are as you say, but this does not represent the general libertarian perspective. Yes, generally, libertarians would say that economic intervention is harmful, but not just with respect to the strength of the economy, also with respect to the rights of the individual. The latter being the bulk of the argument, the former being introduced more as evidence that their principles are sound than anything else, a sort of 'see, we must be right!' and they make a good point.

Quote:
You yourself noted Milton Friedman as someone who believes in individual liberty. As a Nobel laureate economist, do you think Friedman would support individual rights on principle? No, he believed that the strongest economy was the one with as little regulation as possible.
I'm sure he did, but to remind you I referenced his book "Capitalism and Freedom" wherein he discusses the relationship of capitalism and freedom; capitalism and economic prosperity was not the topic of the book.

Quote:
I cannot see how you can make a valid argument claiming that most libertarians are not utilitarians.
Utilitarians in the tradition of JS Mill have fundamental differences when it comes to the use of the word "happiness" - libertarians would equate this to our amount of individual liberty, while JS Mill had a much more refined notion of "happiness" a la his higher pleasures doctrine. JS Mill is concerned with the proper exercise of our capacities, libertarians with being able to exercise those those capacities as we please so long as we do not disturb another's right to do the same. Remember he said "it is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied"
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 18 Jan, 2008 07:46 pm
@Billy phil,
Billy wrote:
Ahhhh. That's why you hate Randroids. You're a COMMUNIST!!! Hah!

work out better than any other system, for who?

most just, for who?

It is impossible for any system to be just. Those who set up systems always blame people if the system does not work. Systems never work, but people suffer them until they find a better one to suffer.
 
krazy kaju
 
Reply Sat 19 Jan, 2008 11:00 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
I dont care what you call yourself, if you dont know what you're talking about, you dont know. Either you know very little of libertarianism, or you know very little of utilitarianism, otherwise you would understand that they are different. Perhaps you've read some Bentham, or Mill - they were much closer to libertarians with respect to their view of happiness than JS Mill.


Actually, the first text on utilitarianism that I've ever read was Utilitarianism, by JS Mill.

Only because his version of utilitarianism doesn't fit with libertarianism doesn't mean that all forms of utilitarianism don't fit with libertarianism.

Quote:
I never suggested you did, only that you might have some confusion over what that means to libertarians with respect to why libertarians reject utilitarianism, ie, the difference between utilitarianism and libertarianism. Perhaps you forget that libertarians reject taxation? You may not, personally, but that is fairly basic libertarian stand - to favor taxes is radical among libertarians.


I actually reject taxation.

How does this make me a non-utilitarian?

Most libertarians and paleoconservatives will argue that most forms of taxation are not something that is beneficial to most of society.

Quote:
Just to remind you, my clarification was: "libertarianism has absolutely no interest in the well being of one class of people as compared to another. They do not seek "to increase the utility of the middle and upper classes"."


You are right in this regard.

My point was that many libertarians will concede to the fact that the lower classes won't benefit as much under libertarianism as they might under socialism.

Of course, libertarians counter that socialism is not beneficial for the vast majority of society, but only the poorest of the poor, while a libertarian society would benefit almost everyone, economically and socially.

Quote:
Sure, there are some who are as you say, but this does not represent the general libertarian perspective. Yes, generally, libertarians would say that economic intervention is harmful, but not just with respect to the strength of the economy, also with respect to the rights of the individual. The latter being the bulk of the argument, the former being introduced more as evidence that their principles are sound than anything else, a sort of 'see, we must be right!' and they make a good point.


So could you please provide an example where libertarians argue against taxes on principle and not on the fact that they believe that abolishing certain taxes would be beneficial to society?

After all, since you've read so many libertarian books, I think you could provide me with many examples of this.

I think you're confusing this with the fact that libertarians believe in individual rights outside of economics. Either way, both are "utilitarian" in nature, in that they support the idea that individual liberty both inside and outside of economics would be beneficial.

Quote:
Utilitarians in the tradition of JS Mill have fundamental differences when it comes to the use of the word "happiness" - libertarians would equate this to our amount of individual liberty, while JS Mill had a much more refined notion of "happiness" a la his higher pleasures doctrine. JS Mill is concerned with the proper exercise of our capacities, libertarians with being able to exercise those those capacities as we please so long as we do not disturb another's right to do the same. Remember he said "it is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied"



And you do realize that all utilitarians are not machines that believe the exact same thing?

Just as republicans and democrats have wildly differing views among their own ranks (as an example, you could compare the paleoconservative views of Ron Paul with the nonconservative ones of Mitt Romney), there are various schools of thought within utilitarianism, and various philosophers might add their own spin on a specific 'form' of utilitarianism.

After all, there's rule utilitarianism, act utilitarianism, "hedonistic" utilitarianism, ideal utilitarianism, and preference utilitarianism.

I'd wager that there are many other forms that I do not even know of.

Since you do make reference to Bentham, Mill, and Mill "Jr.," I suggest you take a long hard look at Ludwig von Mises. Von Mises was himself an economist and philosopher who was a libertarian and utilitarian.
 
krazy kaju
 
Reply Sat 19 Jan, 2008 11:24 am
@krazy kaju,
To be fair, there are certain "schools of thought" of libertarians who argue that we should believe and protect individual rights for the sake of those rights.

However, many libertarians believe in their ideals not because "we should just have them," but because they believe that following these rights would create a much happier society.

To quote David Boaz:

Quote:
In normal contexts, honesty is the
best policy, even if at times it does not achieve
the desired good results; so is respect for every
individual's rights to life, liberty and property.
All in all, this is what will ensure the best consequences
-- in the long run and as a rule.
In which case one need not be very concerned about
the most recent estimate of the consequences of
banning or not banning guns or breaking up or not
breaking up Microsoft or any other public policy,
for that matter. It is enough to know that violating
the rights of individuals to bear arms is a bad
idea, and that history and analysis support this
principle. To violate rights has, in the main, produced
greater damage than good, so let's not do it

even when we are terribly tempted to do so.
Sounds rule-utilitarian to me.

For further proof how libertarianism could be considered a utilitarian political philosophy, consider this from JS Mill:
Quote:
To have a right, then, is, I conceive, to have something which society ought to defend me in the possession of. If the objector goes on to ask, why it ought? I can give him no other reason than general utility.
 
Fido
 
Reply Sat 19 Jan, 2008 11:36 am
@krazy kaju,
Q: What is the difference between utilitarians and pragmatists?

A: I don't know, but I hope it would make a good joke!
 
 

 
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