It's unfortunate that this thread has seemed to degenerate into squabble. I didn't think that the language I used was terribly confusing, but I'll be sure to make everything explicit in the future.
I think you were explicit enough. The problem is that you are not willing to discuss the ethics involved in your own opening post. What you want is a confirmation of your own assumptions, leading to a circulatory argument, and then use it as 'proof' so you can act in a way your ego wishes you to act and claim it is 'good'. Or am I mistaken and you really do want to discuss the ethics involved in your opening post?
What's even more unfortunate is that you feel that I had the intent to deceive and unnerve you.
I made the remark because because the question was originally asked with the intent I described. I, indeed, think you did it with the same intent because of the fact that it makes no sense and has no bearing on deontology, but on teleology. This is public knowledge, an investigation of the wikipedia page might enlighten you. I have quoted some parts below. If you are denying that you made the remark to upset and unsettle me or any other reader, are you then admitting that you have no knowledge in the field of ethics, which you claim to have got by reading this Baggini?
I ended my brief talk about Kant by explaining that if anyone could point out any errors I've made to please do so--and I meant it. I'm not here to simply win arguments, feel superior to others, and talk down to people. I'm here to hopefully learn and improve myself.
If indeed you wish to 'improve yourself', as you say, are you willing to discuss the ethical topics as raised in this topic, instead of ignore them, deny their meaning or state that they are (quote) squabbels?
Obviously I don't feel that I've ignored a key remark. I thought the language was reasonably straightforward and that people would easily grasp the point of the experiment. Alas, no. We're arguing about things that I have no interest in, and defending myself from misunderstandings every post is exhausting. If these misunderstanding are solely my fault I apologize and, as I said, will make everything explicit in future posts.
I think that the 'problem' is that I have grasped the point of the experiment, but that you haven't. I am very serious in this and I hope you will change your mind and will start discussing it in a real, and not self-confirmatory, manner.
Contrary to my usual behavior I will also comment on remarks made to other members.
I think I see what you're saying. Hope is a tool that we can use to help us endure difficult choices. It's maleable to the point that it adapts to our needs. Great observation! It offers an interesting perspective on the scenario.
Hope is a way of decieving ourselves into denying reality and believeing what we want. It is used to make docile entire populations and to enslave all of humanity. Please, do not fear, nor hope. Both have the same effect: un-consciousness. Consciousness itself is the only way one will ever be able to make ethical judgements and not be decieved......to look not at the act itself, but at what comes after the act and then call the act 'good' because the effect was to your liking for instance...
Do not be decieved and do not decieve yourself!
Thought I was going crazy there for a minute. I'm glad that you understand the point of my original post.
I do not think that you have understood yourself, nor your quote. Please refrain from making such judgements untill after an examination of the ethical questions at hand.
[URL=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categorical_imperative]Categorical imperative (deontology)[/url] wrote:
Further information: Doctrine of mental reservation
Kant asserted that lying, or deception of any kind, would be forbidden under any interpretation and in any circumstance. In Groundwork
, Kant gives the example of a person who seeks to borrow money without intending to pay it back. This is a contradiction because if it were a universal action, no person would lend money anymore as they know they will never be paid back. The maxim of this action, says Kant, results in a contradiction in conceivability (and thus contradicts perfect duty). With lying, it would logically contradict the reliability of language. If it is universally acceptable to lie, then no one would believe anyone and all truths would be assumed to be lies. The right to deceive could also not be claimed because it would deny the status of the person deceived as an end in himself. And the theft would be incompatible with a possible kingdom of ends. Therefore, Kant denied the right to lie or deceive for any reason, regardless of context or anticipated consequences.
[URL=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothetical_imperative]Hypothetical Imperative[/url] wrote:
A hypothetical imperative
, originally introduced in the philosophical
writings of Immanuel Kant
, is a commandment of reason that applies only conditionally: if A
, then B
, where A
is a condition or goal, and B
is an action. Then "A" would be a reaction of action "B". For example, if
you wish to remain healthy, then
you should not eat spoiled food. Thus, a hypothetical imperative is not justified in itself, but as a means to an end; whether it is in force as a command depends on whether the end it helps attain is desired (or required). The opposite of a hypothetical imperative is a categorical imperative
, which is unconditional and an end in itself.
Kant divides hypothetical imperatives into two subcategories: the rules of skill and the councils of prudence. The rules of skill are conditional and are specific to each and every person to which the skill is mandated by. The councils of prudence (or rules of prudence) are attained a priori (unlike the rules of skill which are attained via experience, or a posteriori) and have universal goals such as happiness. Thus, almost any moral "rule" about how to act is hypothetical, because it assumes that your goal is to be moral, or to be happy, or to please God, etc. The only non-hypothetical imperatives are ones which tell you to do something no matter who you are or what you want, because the thing is good in itself.
Allright, if indeed you are willing to discuss ethical issues, and most importantly, the ethical issues as surfaced in this topic, I hope we can step away from the impasse you seem to percieve and start anew.
In my opinion the ethical issues of this topic are:
1) What is teleology and what is deontology?
2) What are the hypothetical and categorical imperatives?
3) What was ment with the (historical) comment on deontology:
This may sound like a ridiculous line of questioning but it has an interesting background... Kant talked about a fictional man who was hiding Jews in his home during WWII.
I have consiously dropped the other comment on Kant. If you want you can take that example. It boils down to the same thing though. The (ethical) example I did go into is very well documented on the internet and will, as a result of that, be much easier to discuss. It also takes less knowledge of other ethical works to understand.
4) Why is the remark (as stated by question (3)) off the mark and concerning teleology?
5) What did Baggini mean with his statement:
But how is it that he is taking the best course of action and doing something terribly wrong?
6) Why is that statement so misleading in any ethical consideration that it causes me to exclaim:
In other words:
The soldier is making the worst possible choice in going along with his commander.
I'd throw out the work of Julian Baggini because he obviously is morally not so well versed. If I may make some suggestions, try Immanuel Kant
or Friedrich Nietzsche
If you understand where I am leading you with 1-4, you might skip those and go straight to 5 and 6. I think the 'problem' lies in 1 and 2 though: the definitions.
PM sent to clarify my intent in the sense that I am trying not to squabble, but am merely very upset over the presentation of ethics in this topic.