Social rules and morality

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Re: Social rules and morality

Post by Metacrock » Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:53 am

mdsimpson92 wrote:Rule utilitarianism is the less radical one. Classical utilitarianism or act utilitarianism is the one that has the more radical implications.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/conse ... lism-rule/
OK that's what I was thinking. I also can never keep straight which is modus ponins and which is modus tolens. I know what they are I just don't know which is which. maybe it's dyslexia.
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Re: Social rules and morality

Post by mdsimpson92 » Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:17 pm

Well, somewhere I read that gradually John Stuart Mill himself probably shifted towards a kind of rule utilitarianism, finding the classical utilitarianism too open to abuse that was also shown in the negligence of classical liberalism (another reason he started to lean towards socialism).
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Re: Social rules and morality

Post by Metacrock » Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:56 am

mdsimpson92 wrote:Well, somewhere I read that gradually John Stuart Mill himself probably shifted towards a kind of rule utilitarianism, finding the classical utilitarianism too open to abuse that was also shown in the negligence of classical liberalism (another reason he started to lean towards socialism).
There was a point at which he denied that his utilitarianism would make him happy. He had an affair with a married woman after a life time of the ivory tower and he realized how cut off form life he was.
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Re: Social rules and morality

Post by mdsimpson92 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:18 pm

Metacrock wrote:There was a point at which he denied that his utilitarianism would make him happy. He had an affair with a married woman after a life time of the ivory tower and he realized how cut off form life he was.
Wierdly enough according to my Western Civ. teacher it was a chaste affair. . . . for all his emphasis on pleasure and utility Mill certainly did not know how to deal with the more base pleasures. Very intelligent man, but as you said, way to cut off from relationships. Didn't Nietzsche refer to Mill as a blockhead?
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Re: Social rules and morality

Post by Metacrock » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:43 am

mdsimpson92 wrote:
Metacrock wrote:There was a point at which he denied that his utilitarianism would make him happy. He had an affair with a married woman after a life time of the ivory tower and he realized how cut off form life he was.
Wierdly enough according to my Western Civ. teacher it was a chaste affair. . . . for all his emphasis on pleasure and utility Mill certainly did not know how to deal with the more base pleasures. Very intelligent man, but as you said, way to cut off from relationships. Didn't Nietzsche refer to Mill as a blockhead?
I don't know about that, but it just goes to show you can't spend all your time in the ivory tower. It reminds me of the story of Thales falling in the well.
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Re: Social rules and morality

Post by mdsimpson92 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 3:00 pm

The fact that these rules are endorsed by rule-consequentialism makes rule-consequentialism attractive. For, intuitively, these rules seem right. However, other moral theories endorse these rules as well. Most obviously, a familiar kind of moral pluralism contends that these intuitively attractive rules constitute the most basic level of morality, i.e., that there is no deeper moral principle underlying and unifying these rules. Call this view Rossian pluralism (in honor of its champion W. D. Ross (1930; 1939)).

Rule-consequentialism may agree with Rossian pluralism in endorsing rules against physically attacking the innocent, stealing, promise breaking, and rules requiring various kinds of loyalty and more generally doing good for others. But rule-consequentialism goes beyond Rossian pluralism by specifying an underlying unifying principle that provides impartial justification for such rules. Other moral theories try to do this too. Such theories include some forms of Kantianism (Audi 2001; 2004), some forms of contractualism (Scanlon 1998), and some forms of virtue ethics (Hursthouse 1999; 2002; Foot 2000). In any case, the first way of arguing for rule-consequentialism is to argue that it specifies an underlying principle that provides impartial justification for intuitively plausible moral rules, and that no rival theory does this as well (Urmson 1953; Brandt 1967; Hospers 1972; Hooker 2000).

This first way of arguing for rule-consequentialism might be seen as drawing on the idea that a theory is better justified to us to the extent that it increases coherence within our beliefs (Rawls 1951; 1971, pp. 19–21, 46–51; DePaul 1987; Ebertz 1993; Sayre-McCord 1986; 1996). [See the entry on coherentist theories of epistemic justification.] But the approach might also be seen as moderately foundationalist in that it begins with a set of beliefs (in various moral rules) to which it assigns independent credibility though not infallibility (Audi 1996; 2004; Crisp 2000). [See the entry on foundationalist theories of epistemic justification.] Admittedly, coherence with our moral beliefs does not make a moral theory true, since our moral beliefs might of course be mistaken. Nevertheless, if a moral theory fails significantly to cohere with our moral beliefs, this undermines the theory's ability to be justified to us.

The second way of arguing for rule-consequentialism is very different. It starts from a commitment to consequentialist assessment, and then argues that assessing acts indirectly, e.g., by focusing on the consequences of communal acceptance of rules, will in fact produce better consequences than assessing acts directly in terms of their own consequences (Austin 1832; Brandt 1963; 1979; Harsanyi 1982, pp. 58–60; 1993; Riley 2000). After all, making decisions about what to do is the main point of moral assessment of acts. So if a way of morally assessing acts is likely to lead to bad decisions, or more generally lead to bad consequences, then, according to a consequentialist point of view, so much the worse for that way of assessing acts.

Earlier we saw that all consequentialists now accept that assessing each act individually by its expected value is a terrible procedure for making moral decisions. There is widespread acknowledgement that agents should decide how to act by appeal to certain rules such as “don't physically attack others”, “don't steal”, “don't break your promises”, “pay special attention to the needs of your family and friends”, and “be generally helpful to others”. And these are the rules that rule-consequentialism endorses.
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Re: Social rules and morality

Post by mdsimpson92 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 3:00 pm

The fact that these rules are endorsed by rule-consequentialism makes rule-consequentialism attractive. For, intuitively, these rules seem right. However, other moral theories endorse these rules as well. Most obviously, a familiar kind of moral pluralism contends that these intuitively attractive rules constitute the most basic level of morality, i.e., that there is no deeper moral principle underlying and unifying these rules. Call this view Rossian pluralism (in honor of its champion W. D. Ross (1930; 1939)).

Rule-consequentialism may agree with Rossian pluralism in endorsing rules against physically attacking the innocent, stealing, promise breaking, and rules requiring various kinds of loyalty and more generally doing good for others. But rule-consequentialism goes beyond Rossian pluralism by specifying an underlying unifying principle that provides impartial justification for such rules. Other moral theories try to do this too. Such theories include some forms of Kantianism (Audi 2001; 2004), some forms of contractualism (Scanlon 1998), and some forms of virtue ethics (Hursthouse 1999; 2002; Foot 2000). In any case, the first way of arguing for rule-consequentialism is to argue that it specifies an underlying principle that provides impartial justification for intuitively plausible moral rules, and that no rival theory does this as well (Urmson 1953; Brandt 1967; Hospers 1972; Hooker 2000).

This first way of arguing for rule-consequentialism might be seen as drawing on the idea that a theory is better justified to us to the extent that it increases coherence within our beliefs (Rawls 1951; 1971, pp. 19–21, 46–51; DePaul 1987; Ebertz 1993; Sayre-McCord 1986; 1996). [See the entry on coherentist theories of epistemic justification.] But the approach might also be seen as moderately foundationalist in that it begins with a set of beliefs (in various moral rules) to which it assigns independent credibility though not infallibility (Audi 1996; 2004; Crisp 2000). [See the entry on foundationalist theories of epistemic justification.] Admittedly, coherence with our moral beliefs does not make a moral theory true, since our moral beliefs might of course be mistaken. Nevertheless, if a moral theory fails significantly to cohere with our moral beliefs, this undermines the theory's ability to be justified to us.

The second way of arguing for rule-consequentialism is very different. It starts from a commitment to consequentialist assessment, and then argues that assessing acts indirectly, e.g., by focusing on the consequences of communal acceptance of rules, will in fact produce better consequences than assessing acts directly in terms of their own consequences (Austin 1832; Brandt 1963; 1979; Harsanyi 1982, pp. 58–60; 1993; Riley 2000). After all, making decisions about what to do is the main point of moral assessment of acts. So if a way of morally assessing acts is likely to lead to bad decisions, or more generally lead to bad consequences, then, according to a consequentialist point of view, so much the worse for that way of assessing acts.

Earlier we saw that all consequentialists now accept that assessing each act individually by its expected value is a terrible procedure for making moral decisions. There is widespread acknowledgement that agents should decide how to act by appeal to certain rules such as “don't physically attack others”, “don't steal”, “don't break your promises”, “pay special attention to the needs of your family and friends”, and “be generally helpful to others”. And these are the rules that rule-consequentialism endorses.
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