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Consequentialism

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Puzovesky
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#1

Posted 22 December 2011 - 12:43 AM

I think that a lot of moral debates often get to the point where philosophy is argued. There seems to be two major ideologies that people get behind: Deontology and Consequentialism. I'd like to focus just on consequentialism because it seems like a big enough topic for one debate.

Your thoughts?

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#2

Posted 22 December 2011 - 02:11 AM

Its not a bad way to look at things. If you hit someone in the face, they hit you back, you don't like the pain so you might feel reluctant to start a fight in the future. It seems this is one of the first lessons we learn in life. As children we are told not to touch the stove because it is hot, so some of us do it anyway since we might not understand and we get burned. Lesson learned. I'm probably oversimplifying this concept from a philosophical standpoint but I don't know much about it from that discipline.

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#3

Posted 22 December 2011 - 03:31 AM

QUOTE (Jeeebuuus @ Thursday, Dec 22 2011, 02:11)
Its not a bad way to look at things. If you hit someone in the face, they hit you back, you don't like the pain so you might feel reluctant to start a fight in the future. It seems this is one of the first lessons we learn in life. As children we are told not to touch the stove because it is hot, so some of us do it anyway since we might not understand and we get burned. Lesson learned. I'm probably oversimplifying this concept from a philosophical standpoint but I don't know much about it from that discipline.

That's not consequentialism.

Consequentialism is an "ends justify the means attitude" whereas deontology is the belief that the act itself is what matters. For example a consequentialist would say that murdering one person to save two people is okay but a deontologist would reject that on the basis that murder is always wrong.

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#4

Posted 22 December 2011 - 04:02 AM

Why do you join a GTA forum to start a debate about Consequentialism?

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#5

Posted 22 December 2011 - 04:20 AM

QUOTE (goin-god @ Thursday, Dec 22 2011, 04:02)
Why do you join a GTA forum to start a debate about Consequentialism?

It's a middle ground. It's not like the pretentious writing forums, and it's more intelligent than most video game forums i've been to.

I do like GTA though.

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#6

Posted 22 December 2011 - 04:23 AM Edited by Jeeebuuus, 22 December 2011 - 06:16 AM.

QUOTE (Puzovesky @ Thursday, Dec 22 2011, 03:31)
QUOTE (Jeeebuuus @ Thursday, Dec 22 2011, 02:11)
Its not a bad way to look at things. If you hit someone in the face, they hit you back, you don't like the pain so you might feel reluctant to start a fight in the future. It seems this is one of the first lessons we learn in life. As children we are told not to touch the stove because it is hot, so some of us do it anyway since we might not understand and we get burned. Lesson learned. I'm probably oversimplifying this concept from a philosophical standpoint but I don't know much about it from that discipline.

That's not consequentialism.

Consequentialism is an "ends justify the means attitude" whereas deontology is the belief that the act itself is what matters. For example a consequentialist would say that murdering one person to save two people is okay but a deontologist would reject that on the basis that murder is always wrong.

Oh. I guess I did get it wrong. For me it would probably depend on the situation. Though I lean towards Gahdhi's outlook since I think it is what will further our evolution towards universal peace. I know I know. I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one. wink.gif

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#7

Posted 22 December 2011 - 04:25 AM

I may be a political liberal, but I tend to always go for the ends justify the means argument. Do I think that torture is wrong? Yes. But if it could save thousands of lives, I'd be for it. The reason I am against torture is because it is grossly ineffective and a bigger threat to national security than the terrorists themselves. But that's not the topic of the argument. The death penalty, I find myself with the deontologists because I think that it is inhumane to punish murder with murder, but also, I view it from the pragmatic sense that it costs more than live imprisonment, and that it doesn't lower murder rates. This is one of the deeper arguments and I'd like to keep breaking it down.

Puzov, you're right. This is probably the most intelligent forum I know of period.

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#8

Posted 22 December 2011 - 05:32 AM

QUOTE (Irviding @ Thursday, Dec 22 2011, 04:25)
I may be a political liberal, but I tend to always go for the ends justify the means argument. Do I think that torture is wrong? Yes. But if it could save thousands of lives, I'd be for it. The reason I am against torture is because it is grossly ineffective and a bigger threat to national security than the terrorists themselves. But that's not the topic of the argument. The death penalty, I find myself with the deontologists because I think that it is inhumane to punish murder with murder, but also, I view it from the pragmatic sense that it costs more than live imprisonment, and that it doesn't lower murder rates. This is one of the deeper arguments and I'd like to keep breaking it down.

Puzov, you're right. This is probably the most intelligent forum I know of period.

I agree with the torture example, however not necessarily the death penalty one. Hypothetically, if everyone on death row could be proven 100% without-question guilty, then I think there are sometims when the death penalty would be appropriate. There are some times when someone is so evil that death should be inflicted upon them; maybe the ends don't justify the means in a tangible way, but one could argue the justice that results does justify it.

Another interesting example that I've heard of is when doing something bad will result in an ends that would justify it 100s of years later. It's interesting because while the people around at the time of the negative act won't reap its benefits, future generations will.

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#9

Posted 22 December 2011 - 10:25 AM Edited by sivispacem, 22 December 2011 - 10:27 AM.

My view- ends can justify means, but means can also justify ends. At the end of the day, ideas of "good" and "bad are, in my view, based only on logical reasoning and instinctive survival drive on both an individual and a species level. Essentially, a good act "gone bad" can (and often is) equally as morally valuable as a bad act that has a good result. Oh, not to mention that perceived morality is an entirely personal and subjective notion.

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#10

Posted 22 December 2011 - 09:22 PM

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Thursday, Dec 22 2011, 10:25)
My view- ends can justify means, but means can also justify ends. At the end of the day, ideas of "good" and "bad are, in my view, based only on logical reasoning and instinctive survival drive on both an individual and a species level. Essentially, a good act "gone bad" can (and often is) equally as morally valuable as a bad act that has a good result. Oh, not to mention that perceived morality is an entirely personal and subjective notion.

Of course it's subjective. You can't debate clear cut fact.

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#11

Posted 23 December 2011 - 10:26 AM

QUOTE (Puzovesky @ Thursday, Dec 22 2011, 22:22)
QUOTE (sivispacem @ Thursday, Dec 22 2011, 10:25)
My view- ends can justify means, but means can also justify ends. At the end of the day, ideas of "good" and "bad are, in my view, based only on logical reasoning and instinctive survival drive on both an individual and a species level. Essentially, a good act "gone bad" can (and often is) equally as morally valuable as a bad act that has a good result. Oh, not to mention that perceived morality is an entirely personal and subjective notion.

Of course it's subjective. You can't debate clear cut fact.

Granted, but much discussion in the area revolved around morality as if it were some objective construct that is uniform amongst individuals- the "moral code", as it were. I'm merely expressing my view that moral and ethical objectivity extends to not only the views of every individual, but also to circumstance. Why narrow one's self with "means before ends" or "ends before means" when the actual moral or ethical value of a decision can be independent of either?

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#12

Posted 26 December 2011 - 08:42 PM

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Friday, Dec 23 2011, 10:26)
QUOTE (Puzovesky @ Thursday, Dec 22 2011, 22:22)
QUOTE (sivispacem @ Thursday, Dec 22 2011, 10:25)
My view- ends can justify means, but means can also justify ends. At the end of the day, ideas of "good" and "bad are, in my view, based only on logical reasoning and instinctive survival drive on both an individual and a species level. Essentially, a good act "gone bad" can (and often is) equally as morally valuable as a bad act that has a good result. Oh, not to mention that perceived morality is an entirely personal and subjective notion.

Of course it's subjective. You can't debate clear cut fact.

Granted, but much discussion in the area revolved around morality as if it were some objective construct that is uniform amongst individuals- the "moral code", as it were. I'm merely expressing my view that moral and ethical objectivity extends to not only the views of every individual, but also to circumstance. Why narrow one's self with "means before ends" or "ends before means" when the actual moral or ethical value of a decision can be independent of either?

Means justifying the ends should never be accepted over ends justifying the means, because the ends are what the world is left with so as long as the world gets more than it started with how you got there doesn't really matter.


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#13

Posted 26 December 2011 - 08:48 PM

QUOTE (Puzovesky @ Monday, Dec 26 2011, 21:42)
Means justifying the ends should never be accepted over ends justifying the means, because the ends are what the world is left with so as long as the world gets more than it started with how you got there doesn't really matter.

That entirely removes the idea of purpose and intention, though. If you're discussing the objective impact of an event or decision, then it's perfectly fine to ignore the means as they are irrelavent, but if you're discussing subjective ideas of "good" or "bad" then both effect and intention have significance.

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#14

Posted 26 December 2011 - 08:58 PM

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Monday, Dec 26 2011, 20:48)
QUOTE (Puzovesky @ Monday, Dec 26 2011, 21:42)
Means justifying the ends should never be accepted over ends justifying the means, because the ends are what the world is left with so as long as the world gets more than it started with how you got there doesn't really matter.

That entirely removes the idea of purpose and intention, though. If you're discussing the objective impact of an event or decision, then it's perfectly fine to ignore the means as they are irrelavent, but if you're discussing subjective ideas of "good" or "bad" then both effect and intention have significance.

Purpose and intention? Forgive me if I'm wrong but those seem like more or less the same thing. If I do something with the intent of X then I do it for X purpose.

The motive of the person may reflect on ones pysch but not on the morality of their actions. For example if I kill someone with the intent of taking their money, but it turns out that me killing that person saved two people, then it would show that I'm not the best of people, but nonetheless my actions are justifiable.

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#15

Posted 26 December 2011 - 10:15 PM

QUOTE (Puzovesky @ Monday, Dec 26 2011, 21:58)
Purpose and intention? Forgive me if I'm wrong but those seem like more or less the same thing. If I do something with the intent of X then I do it for X purpose.

I don't think they are, personally. Purpose is the general reasoning behind something- the state of mind in which someone approaches a situation, and the end-game/overall outcome. Intention relates primarily to the action itself- in what way that action is designed to meet the overall purpose.

I would argue that, in your example, you may have done a measurable, objective, statistical good by killing someone who was to kill two more people, but as your intention was to kill that person for another purpose, and you had no foreknowledge of their likelihood to kill, then the action you commit is not good, nor is it justifiable. It's justifiable with the benefit of hindsight, but the lack of foreknowledge and selfish personal intent makes the act immoral regardless of actual consequence, as the intended consequence is negative and it's pure luck that the "target" selected happens to be a "bad" person.

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#16

Posted 27 December 2011 - 12:40 AM

You said your self that it did "measurable, objective, statistical good" therefore it is good. This in no way makes the person, on a whole, a good person. They shouldn't be rewarded for their act, but the motive behind the act doesn't change the act itself.

All actions are done to benefit the one who does the action. Whether it's done for greed, or done for the good feeling you get after you do something good, you do it for yourself. So at it's base, all actions have the same motive.

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#17

Posted 27 December 2011 - 08:13 AM

Well...

The difference is in perspective of commiting said means.


The end you envision might not be justifiable, but the means by which you are supposed to reach it might give you an agreeable end which would be justifiable. Its sort of like taking a step back and looking at the general picture of all the consequences the means brought.

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#18

Posted 27 December 2011 - 10:52 AM

QUOTE (Puzovesky @ Tuesday, Dec 27 2011, 01:40)
You said your self that it did "measurable, objective, statistical good" therefore it is good. This in no way makes the person, on a whole, a good person. They shouldn't be rewarded for their act, but the motive behind the act doesn't change the act itself.

All actions are done to benefit the one who does the action. Whether it's done for greed, or done for the good feeling you get after you do something good, you do it for yourself. So at it's base, all actions have the same motive.

I did, but that doesn't exclude other kinds of good. The result of an action or decision is impossible to predict with absolute certainty when that action is still underway, or before it starts, so how are we to judge good before an action is completed? Does that mean actions that are to be taken, or are still being taken, are completely devoid of any moral value until their results are seen? No, it does not- or at least, it should not in my view. With regards to motive, whilst I agree on a larger scale, on a smaller scale there are other significant contributing factors. Personally, I believe that if a rational thought pattern leads up to a harmful action, and that no harmful intention is meant, then the perpetrator absolves a degree of their responsibility for the harmful nature of the result as their train of thought was rational and just, but circumstance conspired against them.

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#19

Posted 28 December 2011 - 12:12 AM

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Tuesday, Dec 27 2011, 10:52)
QUOTE (Puzovesky @ Tuesday, Dec 27 2011, 01:40)
You said your self that it did "measurable, objective, statistical good" therefore it is good. This in no way makes the person, on a whole, a good person. They shouldn't be rewarded for their act, but the motive behind the act doesn't change the act itself.

All actions are done to benefit the one who does the action. Whether it's done for greed, or done for the good feeling you get after you do something good, you do it for yourself. So at it's base, all actions have the same motive.

I did, but that doesn't exclude other kinds of good. The result of an action or decision is impossible to predict with absolute certainty when that action is still underway, or before it starts, so how are we to judge good before an action is completed? Does that mean actions that are to be taken, or are still being taken, are completely devoid of any moral value until their results are seen? No, it does not- or at least, it should not in my view. With regards to motive, whilst I agree on a larger scale, on a smaller scale there are other significant contributing factors. Personally, I believe that if a rational thought pattern leads up to a harmful action, and that no harmful intention is meant, then the perpetrator absolves a degree of their responsibility for the harmful nature of the result as their train of thought was rational and just, but circumstance conspired against them.

Look at it this way- right now, we already look at an actions morality by what we believe its ends to be. Murder is wrong because it leaves someone dead. Lying is wrong because it leaves someone deceived. Assault is wrong because it leaves someone hurt. So right now we look at it through a narrow lens, but if we expand it to see more consequences it becomes better and better even if we don't have the full picture- because we have more of it then we started with. Murder might be okay because it can leave more people alive then dead. Lying might be okay because it deprives someone of knowledge that might lead to more harm. Assault might be okay because it hinders progress of another to a worse end.

So really consequentialism is just expanding how many ends we see so we can judge our actions morality more effectively.

About the motive, some deeds turn out to be bad or good and the one committing said deeds may not know. That's why the action may be bad or good, but it doesn't necessarily reflect the doer.

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#20

Posted 07 January 2012 - 04:42 PM Edited by sivispacem, 07 January 2012 - 05:50 PM.

Why has the OP been banned?

-He's a previously banned member. Please do not bump threads unless you are contributing positively to them-




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