Happiness, what is it really?

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EmperorNero
 
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 05:45 am
@hue-man,
hue-man;59540 wrote:

I don't see how virtues can be justified under deontology. Give it a try if you like.


Ok, so we take the right choices by themselves and not by their consequences.
What is the right choice? Its the choice that builds our virtuous character.
What is a virtuous character? I don't know yet.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 07:20 am
@EmperorNero,
EmperorNero wrote:
Ok, so we take the right choices by themselves and not by their consequences.
What is the right choice? Its the choice that builds our virtuous character.
What is a virtuous character? I don't know yet.


That still sounds like teleological ethics to me. You're still basing the virtue on an end to be achieved (building a good moral character).

Criticism of Deontology
 
EmperorNero
 
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 07:43 am
@hue-man,
hue-man;59587 wrote:
That still sounds like teleological ethics to me. You're still basing the virtue on an end to be achieved (building a good moral character).


Yes, but I always used the term consequentialism, not teleological.
I don't see how anything being teleological matters.
The question is whether virtue ethics depends on consequentialism, or if we could use it with deontology.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 08:37 am
@EmperorNero,
EmperorNero wrote:
Yes, but I always used the term consequentialism, not teleological.
I don't see how anything being teleological matters.
The question is whether virtue ethics depends on consequentialism, or if we could use it with deontology.


Teleological ethics is not the same as teleology in the metaphysical sense, but if you want to call it consequentialism then fine. Once again, I don't think that deontology is compatible with virtue ethics. Moral conduct is never truly separate from its consequences.
 
EmperorNero
 
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 08:54 am
@hue-man,
hue-man;59594 wrote:
Teleological ethics is not the same as teleology in the metaphysical sense, but if you want to call it consequentialism then fine. Once again, I don't think that deontology is compatible with virtue ethics. Moral conduct is never truly separate from its consequences.


With consequentialism I mean the ethical position that the consequences of actions are what define their morality as opposed to the actions themselves.
It might be teleological, but that is not the point. This might all be telelogical, but that's not important. The question is what a "better" character is, and there virtue ethics can amend one of the other main ethical positions.

And on another point, you made earlier. I don't think virtue ethics is making a come back, its all about consequentialism these days.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 09:07 am
@EmperorNero,
EmperorNero wrote:
With consequentialism I mean the ethical position that the consequences of actions are what define their morality as opposed to the actions themselves.
It might be teleological, but that is not the point. This might all be telelogical, but that's not important. The question is what a "better" character is, and there virtue ethics can amend one of the other main ethical positions.

And on another point, you made earlier. I don't think virtue ethics is making a come back, its all about consequentialism these days.


What exactly are you thinking of when you use the word teleological? Virtue ethics is making a comeback in academia. Virtue ethics deals with the outcomes of conduct, and so it is classified under teleological ethics or consequentialism.

Conventional ethics
 
EmperorNero
 
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 09:45 am
@hue-man,
hue-man;59598 wrote:
What exactly are you thinking of when you use the word teleological?


That's the thing. You started using the term. I used consequentialism, I don't know if that is the same as teleological, which rather seems to be something along these lines: teleological definition | Dictionary.com
"There being a final cause."

And thanks for the links, they showed to be quite interesting.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 10:45 am
@EmperorNero,
EmperorNero wrote:
That's the thing. You started using the term. I used consequentialism, I don't know if that is the same as teleological, which rather seems to be something along these lines: teleological definition | Dictionary.com
"There being a final cause."

And thanks for the links, they showed to be quite interesting.


"There being a final cause" is the point of using the term to define an ethical approach. Final cause can be seen in the same light as a consequence or outcome. It is not the same thing as metaphysical teleology. A virtue ethicist by the name of G.E.M. Anscombe used the term consequentialism to describe utilitarianism, which she believed was an ethical theory based on the belief that the ends justify the means.
 
EmperorNero
 
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 11:19 am
@Seriost,
Now what stands against combining virtue ethics and deontology?
From earlier post:
We can define right choices by themselves and not by their consequences.
What is the right choice? Its the choice that builds our virtuous character.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 11:36 am
@EmperorNero,
EmperorNero wrote:
Now what stands against combining virtue ethics and deontology?
From earlier post:
We can define right choices by themselves and not by their consequences.
What is the right choice? Its the choice that builds our virtuous character.


EmperorNero,

I don't want to seem rude but I have already explained to you why deontology is invalid and incompatible with virtue ethics. Read the link I gave you with the arguments against deontology. A moral duty or obligation is never truly separate from its consequences. When you say that it builds our virtuous character you are saying that having a virtuous character is the end to be acheived, and that makes it teleological or consequential.
 
EmperorNero
 
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 11:52 am
@Seriost,
You're not rude. I'm reading the link right now.
So building a virtuous character is a consequence. I can see that.
But isn't everything a consequence then? Isn't making the right choice for the sake of being moral a consequence too?
 
hue-man
 
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 11:56 am
@EmperorNero,
EmperorNero wrote:
But isn't everything a consequence then? Isn't making the right choice for the sake of being moral a consequence too?


Exactly! That's the problem with deontology. It forgets the fact that the reason why a moral duty or obligation is considered to be such is because of the consequences of the moral rule. The only way people try to salvage this problem is by saying it's right because God said so, and I wont even go into the problems with that.
 
EmperorNero
 
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 12:01 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;59641 wrote:
Exactly! That's the problem with deontology. It forgets the fact that the reason why a moral duty or obligation is considered to be such is because of the consequences of the moral rule.


Isn't that a bit of a wordplay? What if the universe is deterministic, then actions themselves and their consequences become the same thing.
Distinguishing action from consequence will never have a clean and clear distinction.
Should the alternative be that we embrace that the ends justify the means?
 
hue-man
 
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 12:46 pm
@EmperorNero,
EmperorNero wrote:
Isn't that a bit of a wordplay? What if the universe is deterministic, then actions themselves and their consequences become the same thing.
Distinguishing action from consequence will never have a clean and clear distinction.
Should the alternative be that we embrace that the ends justify the means?


We do live in a deterministic universe, but actions and their consequences are separated by one thing -- time. Time is the coordination of events into past, present, and future. So the action comes first and then the consequence follows. The same way that causes come first and then the effects follow.

The ends do not always justify the means. That is utilitarianism. For example, let's say that in order to save five people I had to sacrifice another persons life by throwing them in front of a car. By utilitarian standards this would be right because it would result in the happiness for a greater number of people. However, by the metaethical standards of universality and impartiality, this would not be a morally justified end. By the normative ethical standards of virtue ethics, this would be unkind and unfair.
 
EmperorNero
 
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 01:11 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;59646 wrote:
We do live in a deterministic universe, but actions and their consequences are separated by one thing -- time. Time is the coordination of events into past, present, and future. So the action comes first and then the consequence follows. The same way that causes come first and then the effects follow.


Yes, that is right. But if a consequence is bound to happen, and you know it, when is it part of the action itself?
Is pushing someone off a building not immoral, because that person hits the ground later in time?

hue-man;59646 wrote:
The ends do not always justify the means. That is utilitarianism. For example, let's say that in order to save five people I had to sacrifice another persons life by throwing them in front of a car. By utilitarian standards this would be right because it would result in the happiness for a greater number of people. However, by the metaethical standards of universality and impartiality, this would not be a morally justified end. By the normative ethical standards of virtue ethics, this would be unkind and unfair.


Then deontology is consequentialism in disguise, and virtue ethics is deontology-light.
If virtue ethics counts consequences, how is sacrificing five people to save one justifiable? Can't you ever do anything that is immoral by itself? Where does the line go?

*

This oddly reminds me of the democracy vs. republic debates. A democracy is 51% of the public vote deciding anything, even killing the other 49%. A republic is setting up some rules that limit what the democratic process can decide upon.
If you will, one could say that the rules of the republic, that limit democracy, themselves must be accepted by the ones who follow them. Hence a republic is only a damper on democracy. That works until people figure out that those rules are only made by men and find reasons to abolish them.
In the same way deontology, when not resorting to divine revelation, is a damper on deontology. It is the republicanism of ethics. Admittedly it is a somewhat incoherent system. But that doesn't dismiss it.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 02:04 pm
@EmperorNero,
EmperorNero wrote:
Yes, that is right. But if a consequence is bound to happen, and you know it, when is it part of the action itself?
Is pushing someone off a building not immoral, because that person hits the ground later in time?


The consequence is not the action. Pushing someone off a building is immoral because it results in a bad consequence for that person.


Quote:

Then deontology is consequentialism in disguise, and virtue ethics is deontology-light.
If virtue ethics counts consequences, how is sacrificing five people to save one justifiable? Can't you ever do anything that is immoral by itself? Where does the line go?


Some do argue that deontology is just bad consequentialism that has forgotten the fact that resulting consequences make an action right or wrong. Virtue ethics is not deontology-light, whatever that means. One does not practice a virtue without considering the result of such conduct.

When did I say that sacrificing five people for one person is justifiable? It is just as unjustifiable as sacrificing one person for five. Both examples go against the metaethical standards of universality and impartiality, and the virtues of kindness and fairness.
 
EmperorNero
 
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 02:28 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;59651 wrote:
The consequence is not the action. Pushing someone off a building is immoral because it results in a bad consequence for that person.

Some do argue that deontology is just bad consequentialism that has forgotten the fact that resulting consequences make an action right or wrong.


What I'm saying is that distinguishing action and consequence at some point doesn't make sense. One can't criticize deontology as bad consequentialism, because there is no clear distinction between action and consequence.
So consequentialism means just acting morally.

hue-man;59651 wrote:
Virtue ethics is not deontology-light, whatever that means. One does not practice a virtue without considering the result of such conduct.

When did I say that sacrificing five people for one person is justifiable? It is just as unjustifiable as sacrificing one person for five. Both examples go against the metaethical standards of universality and impartiality, and the virtues of kindness and fairness.


But you have to chose one of the two options, sacrifice one or sacrifice five. If virtue ethics does not allow to choose the lesser of two evils, most decisions can't be made. If virtue ethics does allow some justification of evil, where is the line?
 
hue-man
 
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 02:49 pm
@EmperorNero,
EmperorNero wrote:
What I'm saying is that distinguishing action and consequence at some point doesn't make sense. O one can't criticize deontology as bad consequentialism, because there is no clear distinction between action and consequence.



But you have to chose one of the two options, sacrifice one of sacrifice five. If virtue ethics does not allow to choose the lesser of two evils, most decisions can't be made. If virtue ethics does allow some justification of evil, where is the line?


Actions and consequences are connected like two points on a straight line, but the points are separated by time. There is a clear distinction between action and consequence when you adhere to an absolutist stance. Many deontologist would say that lying is always wrong no matter the consequences. I called deontology bad consequentialism because one of the popular arguments against it is that it is just consequentialism in disguise. The point is that the system is incoherent. Let's move on from that.

Actually, if you're not responsible for the situation then you have no obligation to save those lives, especially if saving those lives puts your own life in danger. If you're able to save those people without sacrificing yourself, then by all means you should. I'm not saying that a person should never sacrifice themselves for other people. I'm just saying that it's not an obligation if your not responsible in the first place. You either find a way to save those five people without killing another or you don't save them at all. It's not evil if you choose to save the five and kill the one, I just think it's wrong. Evil is sadistic behavior, and so wrong is not always evil, but evil is always wrong.

The train track example of sacrificing one person for five is a good example. The best thing to do would seem to be saving the five people, but what if the one person was your parent or child? If I couldn't save all six of the people, I personally would let the train stay on its original course. I would feel like I valued those other people's lives over the one person, and I would feel like I personally killed them. If it was my mother or my child I would save the one person. Why? Simply because I'm emotionally attached to them. It wouldn't be evil (sadistic), but I guess it would be morally wrong because the act was not impartial.
 
EmperorNero
 
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 03:19 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;59662 wrote:
Many deontologist would say that lying is always wrong no matter the consequences.


Actually that's only what a fringe minority of absolutists say.

hue-man;59662 wrote:
Evil is sadistic behavior, and so wrong is not always evil, but evil is always wrong.


I didn't differentiate between the two, lets call it wrong from now. With that I mean behavior that goes against morality.

hue-man;59662 wrote:
Actually, if you're not responsible for the situation then you have no obligation to save those lives, (...) I'm just saying that it's not an obligation if your not responsible in the first place. You either find a way to save those five people without killing another or you don't save them at all.


You stand in front of rail tracks, five people are tied up on the tracks and the train is rolling towards them. You can save the five by pushing one other person in front of the train. You are not attached to any of them.
There are only those two potions, doing nothing will result in the death of the five. And you know this will happen.
So the action, that means being passive, is morally better than the one that kills more people?
 
hue-man
 
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 09:26 pm
@EmperorNero,
EmperorNero wrote:
You stand in front of rail tracks, five people are tied up on the tracks and the train is rolling towards them. You can save the five by pushing one other person in front of the train. You are not attached to any of them. There are only those two potions, doing nothing will result in the death of the five. And you know this will happen.
So the action, that means being passive, is morally better than the one that kills more people?


Yes, I would say that doing nothing is better than killing the one person to save the five people. The act would be unfair, and it would negate the metaethical criteria of universality and impartiality. However, if you can do something to save them all, and it doesn't demand your own sacrifice, then I would say that it is nearly obligatory to do so.
 
 

 
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