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Axiology as hooey

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henry quirk
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Posted 06/29/09 - 2:08 PM:
Subject: Axiology as hooey
The ubiquitous Wikipedia defines Axiology as, "...the study of quality or value (with) the attempt (being made) to lay out principles regarding value with mathematical rigor."

In short: Axiology is 'the study of values and value judgments'.


Now: over in the 'Dust Bunny' sub-forum, I wrote (as cheeky aside) the following...


There are no 'universals'. Thinker 13 is an autonomous individual with his own, singular, take on the world. His perspective is his alone and may or may not align with yours. The 'rightness' of Thinker's perspective, or yours, is determined solely by his, or your, capacity to assert and defend that perspective. Please note: asserting and defending a perspective has absolutely nothing to do with convincing the other guy of a damned thing (though, that may indeed figure into things), and, everything to do with simply applying one's 'self' as agent.


...this is a position I endorse completely.


I offer the following as example of this position.


There is a large, well-lit, sealed room. In this room are two men of similar age, build, fitness, and (insofar as such things can accurately be quantified) intelligence.

One of these men is a cannibal. The other is not.

The room, as I say, is sealed, and will remain sealed for exactly 30 days.

Other than the men: the room contains a 30 day supply of water sufficient for both. There's nothing else to the circumstance.

Now: both men understand they are, as individuals, stuck. Assuming either man can live for up to (but not beyond) 21 days without food, both men understand one, perhaps two ones, will die before the room is unsealed.

Now: for the cannibal, his comrade is food, and nothing more than food.

It's wholly within his axiological sphere to act accordingly from that perspective. To the cannibal: his position is 'right'.

Of course: the other fellow is likely to disagree. Within his axiological sphere, his value to himself is superior to the cannibal's viewing him as 'food'.

So: we have two competing axiological spheres, that is, we have two autonomous individuals, each believing himself 'right', each willing to do what is necessary to preserve what they each believe is 'right'.

The 'rightness' of either is determined solely by either's capacity to assert and defend their individual perspectives (them 'selves') from the other.

Therefore: Axiology, as, "...the study of quality or value (with) the attempt (being made) to lay out principles regarding value with mathematical rigor.", is hooey because other than examining the individual's axiological sphere for internal consistency, there can be no universally applicable, mathematically rigorous, value-scale.

Value is wholly dependent on the capacity of one (or a group of ones) to assert and defend that value.


Comments?

Edited by henry quirk on 06/29/09 - 2:14 PM
Monk2400
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Posted 06/29/09 - 3:45 PM:

First of all, imo, moral theory can't go anywhere unless it accepts relativism right off the bat. The fact is, all moral judgments, valuations etc, always and necessarily reference discrete individual moral agents and are completely dependent on their perspectives. For any act or state of affairs to be 'good' or 'right' there must be an agent relative to which it is good or right. There is always a standard assumed and a discrete perspective required.

Axiology, then, comes along and looks for the logical structure inherent in the process of judgment itself in order to eliminate random, chaotic caprice from ruling the conditions of evaluation. In other words, axiology is looking to bring order and rigour to the process of making decisions about what moral agents should and should not do in various situations.

And is there such a logical structure? Certainly. Both logic and morals are grounded by the relationship between values. In fact, axiology is more fundamental than logic, because it defines the values that make logic make sense and sets up the initial relationships that make logic Logic and distinguish it as a domain of discourse from, eg, morality, aethetics, metaphysics.

Is it hooey?

No, its the recognition of the principle of identity.

It assumes that objects can be understood in terms of discrete identities, that is, in terms of a list of properties, each of which can be broken down into distinct components, whose relationships can be understood in terms of combinations, permutations, multiplications, divisions, etc.

There is a sense in which the 'real world' admits of no such exhaustive and absolute differentiation. And so, as with language in general, and all manner of sciences, axiology must admit that its subject matter is fundamentally ambiguous at the periphery. But that is why the best axiological systems recognize a continuum of values, the 'fuzzy' nature of values, and explicitly reason in terms of ideal terminal points. The absolute 'good' is, perhaps, impossible to discern; but using the concept 'good', we can make judgments that work in reality and allow us to choose the beneficial and avoid the detrimental.


henry quirk wrote:

Therefore: Axiology, as, "...the study of quality or value (with) the attempt (being made) to lay out principles regarding value with mathematical rigor.", is hooey because other than examining the individual's axiological sphere for internal consistency, there can be no universally applicable, mathematically rigorous, value-scale.


Making the individual agent's process and product of judgment consistent and coherent is the essential task of logic and axiologic.

The range of applicability is always universal because we are talking about logical relationships between elemental components based on the expression of the principle of identity.

The scope of applicability is wholly dependent on the agreement of moral agents in adopting the same standards of judgment.

If we agree that the 'inch' is the measure of choice, and on the ruler we choose to measure with, we cannot fail to agree on any particular measurement using those tools. If we measure the door and I say 'according to this ruler the door is 80 inches high', no other person, using the same measuring tool, should come to any wildly contradictory conclusion. They will not say 'no, no, it's only 46 inches tall'. If they did, we would have to conclude that they simply are not using the same agreed standard or interpreting the ruler in the same way.

That the scope of moral valuation depends on agreement is fitting, since morality is most concerned with the efficacy of interpersonal interactions--how the individual negotiates within the social and ecological landscape, balancing hesh own interests against those of others.

The rigourous logical framework comes into play as soon as we settle on the agreement of some particular standard of measure. Once we make that choice, the actual valuations that our standard will produce are no longer a matter of personal whim, desire, or caprice, but, following the law of identity, will generate consistent and coherent values for each and every situation they are applied to. And, should we dislike any of those valuations, then we are, in fact, rejecting the standard and abandoning agreement. If we wish to hold on to the standard, but reject some valuation it produces, then we are acting irrationally and trying to fit the square peg into the triangular hole to suit our own desires.

Such action is what axiology seeks to correct--the irrational assignment of values based on standards that change minute-to-minute governed by whim, caprice, and arising desires.



henry quirk wrote:

Value is wholly dependent on the capacity of one (or a group of ones) to assert and defend that value.


A value is a judgment. It is dependent on the law of identity holding firm and on the ability of rational agents to make accute and discrete identifications of ever-more specific units of measure (and objects in the world).

For people to assert their values in the world, yes, it's always one (group) taking a stand and re-making reality in their own image. Morality, in this sense, is very much like art.

8)
Nihil Loc
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Posted 06/29/09 - 9:25 PM:

In cases where two agents (parties) are not able to join in rational dialogue due to severe conflict of moral differences and or values, does (or can) a third agent (party) serve as an axiological mediator?

If two conflicting agents can't agree to abide by axiological principles, then what happens?
Monk2400
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Posted 06/30/09 - 1:34 AM:

Nihil Loc wrote:

If two conflicting agents can't agree to abide by axiological principles, then what happens?


Bloody war!

Nihil Loc wrote:

In cases where two agents (parties) are not able to join in rational dialogue due to severe conflict of moral differences and or values, does (or can) a third agent (party) serve as an axiological mediator?


If they're unwilling to entertain each other's views, it's unlikely that they will listen to any third party, impartial as they may be.

In these cases, though, the disagreement is not really a 'disagreement' about some 'fact', but just a brute opposition of wills. One person wants one thing, the other wants something opposite, and neither is willing to compromise.

Otherwise, if it is a matter of facts in dispute, there is, at least, the possibility of resolution through an analysis of facts. Again, there has to be an agreement on the measure.

8)

Thinker13
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Posted 06/30/09 - 12:14 PM:

henry quirk wrote:
Therefore: Axiology, as, "...the study of quality or value (with) the attempt (being made) to lay out principles regarding value with mathematical rigor.", is hooey because other than examining the individual's axiological sphere for internal consistency, there can be no universally applicable, mathematically rigorous, value-scale.


In agreement with the example given by you,still,in disagreement with your interpretation that 'Axiology is hooey'. The very fact declaration that there cannot be a universally applicable,mathematically rigorous value-scale,is,in my opinion,an axiological remit,being dealed by an axiological agent,known as 'henry quirk'. Your hypothetical example above,is also,axiological scenario,being discussed by axiological agent,known as 'henry quirk'(and now by axiological agents known as Monk2400,Nihil Loc,Thinker13 etc)


henry quirk wrote:
Value is wholly dependent on the capacity of one (or a group of ones) to assert and defend that value.


No. Value is prior to its assignment,due to,axiological context of agent. It is,its assignment and making it RIGHT which requires capacity.



Thank You
Thinker13
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Posted 06/30/09 - 12:42 PM:

Hello Monk2400,having read your elegant post,there is not much to disagree with,however,you are welcome to scrutinize any differences,if you will.zen


My perceptions:

a)There are 'agents'.

b)There are 'values'.

c)There are 'contexts' or say 'Axiological Standards'.

d)If I say that there are Axiological Standards,it is evident that there are multiple standards and not a single one.

e)There are,as many standards as agents there.

f)There are 'value-assignments' based on various contexts.

g)Value assignments are 'choices' in the limited sense.

h)All of the 'contexts' are 'tentative' and 'temporary'.

i)Contexts are 'tentative' and 'temporary' because agents are not 'closed value systems' but rather in touch with other agents,as well as subject to new experiences/forces of nature.

j) 'Right' /'Wrong' and good/bad are value assignments,which are decided,for a limited span of time.

k) The value assignments,as said above,are not 'permanent' because 'contexts' are not permanent.

l)Value assignment,is accepted according to the prevailing context,that is,most powerful context has 'final say' regarding value assignment.

m)There is no permanent 'most powerful context' and hence no permanent good/bad.

n)Most powerful context is the context of Mightiest agent(s).

o)The agreement between two agents is the state of affairs when they have certain propositions,in common,in their contexts,or,they are referring to a common context.

p)There is no 'universal context' hence no 'universal value'(i.e. universal good/bad...)

q)'General good' is value assignment to an act(S) depending upon a context which is prevalent,tentative,temporary.

l)Neither mightiest agent is permanent,nor context,hence,no assignment can be final assignment,though,a few of them,tend to be like 'final' because of their consistency with the inherent logic of agents which seems to be 'permanent' because of the way cognition is done.




Thank You

cool
Thinker13
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Posted 06/30/09 - 12:46 PM:

Nihil Loc wrote:
In cases where two agents (parties) are not able to join in rational dialogue due to severe conflict of moral differences and or values, does (or can) a third agent (party) serve as an axiological mediator?


If and only if the context of the third agent is prevailing one OR he has power to assert himself to end brawl.

Nihil Loc wrote:
If two conflicting agents can't agree to abide by axiological principles, then what happens?


They get punished.laughing by the mightiest.


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henry quirk
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Posted 06/30/09 - 1:19 PM:

Bits and Pieces (random and -- I dare say -- wholly out of context)


"...axiology is looking to bring order and rigour to the process of making decisions about what moral agents should and should not do in various situations..."

Insofar as the agent in question is 'me', and not 'you', and, insofar as the order I seek is 'mine', and not 'yours', I agree.


*


"It assumes that objects can be understood in terms of discrete identities..."

No doubt about that. However: things get tricky when talking about the human individual (with his or her pesky penchant for self-definition and idiosyncrasy).


*


"...using the concept 'good', we can make judgments that work in reality and allow us to choose the beneficial and avoid the detrimental..."

Sure. The problem: what works for 99 may not work for the hundredth.

Axiology may be a decent tool for codifying a median, but for those of us outside the median, Axiology can be a noose.


*


"Making the individual agent's process and product of judgment consistent and coherent is the essential task of logic and axiologic."

Agreed: within the context of the 'one'. Not so much within the context of the 'many'.


*


"If we agree that the 'inch' is the measure of choice, and on the ruler we choose to measure with, we cannot fail to agree on any particular measurement using those tools."

Agreed: too bad all esoterica can't be quantified into simple, reliable, measurements.


*


"...morality is most concerned with the efficacy of interpersonal interactions..."

That's one way to look at 'morality'. Here's another: morality (as tool) is a device for the domestication of the human individual. Barring domestication, morality is a fine rationale for exterminating the human individual.

Morality CAN be a useful tool in the hands of one, crafted by one, for one. Living in the minds of many, crafted by a mercenary few: morality can be a noose.


*


"The rigourous logical framework comes into play as soon as we settle on the agreement of some particular standard of measure."

Perfectly reasonable when it comes to 'inches'. Not so much when it comes to, say, deciding 'when does life begin?', or, 'why can't I eat babies?'


*


"...should we dislike any of those valuations, then we are, in fact, rejecting the standard and abandoning agreement..."

Yep: and circumstances then revert to the natural state...WAR!


*


"A value is a judgment..."

Yep: one wholly dependent on one, or a groups of ones, capacity to assert the value, then defend that standard against another, or others, who would impose a different value/standard/judgment.


*


As I see it: "assert and defend" is synonymous with "assignment and making it RIGHT".


*


a)There are 'agents'.
b)There are 'values'.
c)There are 'contexts' or say 'Axiological Standards'.

There is the agent: his or her values/standards/context is intrinsic to him- or her-self. That is: there are no values/standards of value/context without the agent/individual/idiosyncrat/philsophical ego to assert values/standards of value/context, and, defend values/standards of value/context.

Edited by henry quirk on 06/30/09 - 1:29 PM
Thinker13
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Posted 06/30/09 - 1:50 PM:

henry quirk wrote:
There is the agent: his or her values/standards/context is intrinsic to him- or her-self. That is: there are no values/standards of value/context without the agent/individual/idiosyncrat/philsophical ego to assert values/standards of value/context, and, defend values/standards of value/context.



Indeed. As said earlier,context of mightiest agents becomes prevalent context and hence decides RIGHT/WRONG.


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henry quirk
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Posted 06/30/09 - 3:16 PM:

Yeah: I figured you and me were 'same paging' it.

My concern was with the sequence...

a)There are 'agents'.
b)There are 'values'.
c)There are 'contexts' or say 'Axiological Standards'.

...this kinda hints at 'agents', 'values', and 'contexts' existing independent of one another.

Being persnickety: I just wanted to play clarifier...
Thinker13
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Posted 06/30/09 - 3:31 PM:

henry quirk wrote:
Being persnickety: I just wanted to play clarifier...


Oh! It is alright,henry.smiling face The order given was just for grasping the subject matter and none of the propositions is prior to the other one as such.


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Sweet Candor
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Posted 07/04/09 - 1:51 AM:

The very fact declaration that there cannot be a universally applicable,mathematically rigorous value-scale,is,in my opinion,an axiological remit,being dealed by an axiological agent,known as 'henry quirk'. Your hypothetical example above,is also,axiological scenario,being discussed by axiological agent,known as 'henry quirk'(and now by axiological agents known as Monk2400,Nihil Loc,Thinker13 etc)

What is the universally applicable value scale for defining an 'axiological agent', then?

In Henry Quirk's example of the two men, the cannibal had a different definition (axiological value) for food - human flesh, while the other man saw no available food source. In fact, they spoke a different language, because the word 'food' didn't mean the same thing for both of them.

If different axiological agents can see different values which are represented by their differing takes on the english language, then how do you even know the words you are using to discuss and define axiology are even understood in the same way between us all discussing it here? kooky
Thinker13
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Posted 07/04/09 - 2:01 AM:

Sweet Candor wrote:
What is the universally applicable value scale for defining an 'axiological agent', then?


None.

Sweet Candor wrote:
In Henry Quirk's example of the two men, the cannibal had a different definition (axiological value) for food - human flesh, while the other man saw no available food source. In fact, they spoke a different language, because the word 'food' didn't mean the same thing for both of them.


Perspicuously,words are often representation of ideas.

Sweet Candor wrote:
If different axiological agents can see different values which are represented by their differing takes on the english language, then how do you even know the words you are using to discuss and define axiology are even understood in the same way between us all discussing it here? kooky


You have not paid attention to following propositions up-thread:

Thinker13 wrote:
k) The value assignments,as said above,are not 'permanent' because 'contexts' are not permanent.

l)Value assignment,is accepted according to the prevailing context,that is,most powerful context has 'final say' regarding value assignment.

m)There is no permanent 'most powerful context' and hence no permanent good/bad.

n)Most powerful context is the context of Mightiest agent(s).

o)The agreement between two agents is the state of affairs when they have certain propositions,in common,in their contexts,or,they are referring to a common context.




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Monk2400
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Posted 07/04/09 - 2:42 AM:

Sweet Candor wrote:

What is the universally applicable value scale for defining an 'axiological agent', then?


Any rational agent capable of defining and allocating values to events, states of affairs, objects, entities.


Sweet Candor wrote:

In Henry Quirk's example of the two men, the cannibal had a different definition (axiological value) for food - human flesh, while the other man saw no available food source. In fact, they spoke a different language, because the word 'food' didn't mean the same thing for both of them.


No, the concept of 'food' was the same for both beings. However, the range of it's application was different. Whereas the cannibal saw his fellow as potential food, the other did not. Likewise, a man may see a cockroach as food whereas another does not. The fact of the matter is that 'food' is anything that sustains the physical function of the body. And as such, human flesh is 'food' as much as a 'carrot' is.

It isn't a matter of differing concepts, but of ranges of tolerance. 'Would you eat THAT?' Is the question. Some folk may not like to consume certain things just because of taste (really, aesthetics).


Sweet Candor wrote:

If different axiological agents can see different values which are represented by their differing takes on the english language, then how do you even know the words you are using to discuss and define axiology are even understood in the same way between us all discussing it here? kooky


It isn't a matter of language.

Differences of value are a matter of setting standards and following the consequences of judgment. Value is not bounded by any particular language. It is, like mathematics, logic, able to be expressed formally, as a function of intersecting concepts.

The value at stake in the cannibal example is not 'food', but rather, the worth of the sanctity of the life of the Other.

A person who values the sanctity of life will not willingly take the life of the Other, especially when that other is another axiological agent (and not a plant or non-axiological animal). A person who places no worth on the life of others will not be burdened by such a judgment. In this case, the cannibal is equivalent to the psychopath and the wild animal. Neither of which can be reasoned with, and therefore cannot engage in a moral discussion, hence, are not part of the moral domain of the situation.

8)
Thinker13
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Posted 07/04/09 - 7:17 AM:

Monk2400 wrote:
Any rational agent capable of defining and allocating values to events, states of affairs, objects, entities.


I beg to differ,it seems to me that 'universally applicable' means that which is likely to be accepted by 'each and everyone',which is 'impossible' because there are so many contexts. Still,if there is an agent(rational or irrational) who can exercise his ubiquitous might, is capable of, defining 'universally applicable' value-scale,temporarily until and unless he is superseded by another agent. Clearly,it seems to me that it is 'exercise'(assignment) of values which makes them effective,good or bad,instead of their 'conception'.


Monk2400 wrote:
No, the concept of 'food' was the same for both beings. However, the range of it's application was different. Whereas the cannibal saw his fellow as potential food, the other did not. Likewise, a man may see a cockroach as food whereas another does not. The fact of the matter is that 'food' is anything that sustains the physical function of the body. And as such, human flesh is 'food' as much as a 'carrot' is.


IMHO if 'food'=sustenance,then two agents compare a variable(here human flesh,for example) with that standard. For the cannibal,it is clear that human flesh is comparable to the standard(which is borne out of his upbringing and so on...) and hence serves as a 'sustenance' but for the other man,it is not,therefore it can be said that their axiological standard has difference as far as definition of 'food' goes.


Monk2400 wrote:
It isn't a matter of differing concepts, but of ranges of tolerance. 'Would you eat THAT?' Is the question. Some folk may not like to consume certain things just because of taste (really, aesthetics).


May be. As far as I see,aesthetics,morality and everything else added together have contributed in the formation of the contexts of these two agents,in example. Even if you do not eat something,due to taste,you regard it as 'food',means,you can eat it,in some cases,when you are in dire need of 'sustenance' for your survival.




Monk2400 wrote:
Differences of value are a matter of setting standards and following the consequences of judgment. Value is not bounded by any particular language. It is, like mathematics, logic, able to be expressed formally, as a function of intersecting concepts.


Instead of viewing it as a 'body of doctrine' I see it as an 'activity' happening everywhere,every time an agent has to take a judgment. It is prevalent judgment which decides 'morality' rather than a 'body of doctrine'. It may be argued that something may be moral in an age,and becomes,immoral in another age. Take homosexuality,for example(you have a low tolerance,methinksnod )--Is it moral? Is it RIGHT? yes,it is,as far as it is prevalent. As far as society accepts it to be 'tolerable'. So,governing bodies,society,people,the mob,define RIGHT/WRONG and GOOD/BAD in general,which is,always subject to change. There is no permanent standard only zeitgeists,IMHO.

Monk2400 wrote:
The value at stake in the cannibal example is not 'food', but rather, the worth of the sanctity of the life of the Other.


Agreed,still,this value in particular,along with all other values in his context contribute together in his judgment for the question:

What is 'food'(just rephrase 'what is to be eaten?)?


Monk2400 wrote:
A person who values the sanctity of life will not willingly take the life of the Other, especially when that other is another axiological agent (and not a plant or non-axiological animal). A person who places no worth on the life of others will not be burdened by such a judgment. In this case, the cannibal is equivalent to the psychopath and the wild animal. Neither of which can be reasoned with, and therefore cannot engage in a moral discussion, hence, are not part of the moral domain of the situation.

8)



In my opinion,moral or not,both of them are part of our axiological domain. Why? Would you leave insane beings,criminals(psychopaths and sociopaths,in particular) out of your judgment? No,they are,as much bound in our discussion,in axiological standards used by society(group of agents,using common contexts),as any other say 'sane' agent. As far as my view goes,there is no prerequisite of 'sanity' for being an axiological agent,as far as there is not even a single agent who is completely 'sane'.



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smokinpristiformis
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Posted 07/04/09 - 8:25 AM:

henry,

I'd be interested to hear your take on utilitarianism. Can you discover a fundamental flaw in the morality maximisation of happyness ?
I do realise you disagree on quite a fundamental level because you look from the inside out (individual perspective), and if you don't want to, you don't need to elaborate on that. (wouldn't stop you tho)
Rather, my questions is whether you can discover another flaw of reasoning?

wikipedia wrote:
Utilitarianism is the idea that the moral worth of an action is determined solely by its contribution to overall utility: that is, its contribution to happiness or pleasure as summed among all people. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome. Utility, the good to be maximized, has been defined by various thinkers as happiness or pleasure (versus suffering or pain), although preference utilitarians like Peter Singer define it as the satisfaction of preferences. It may be described as a life stance, with happiness or pleasure being of ultimate importance.
Utilitarianism is described by the phrase "the greatest good for the greatest number of people". Therefore, it is also known as "the greatest happiness principle". Utilitarianism can thus be characterised as a quantitative and reductionist approach to ethics. It can be contrasted with deontological ethics (which do not regard the consequences of an act as the sole determinant of its moral worth) and virtue ethics (which focuses on character), as well as with other varieties of consequentialism. Adherents of these opposing views have extensively criticised the utilitarian view, but utilitarians have been similarly critical of other schools of thought. And like any ethical theory, the application of utilitarianism is heavily dependent on the moral agent's full range of wisdom, experience, social skills, and life skills.


This little piece of writing mentions the conflict between consequential ethics and virtue ethics.
Personally, I think the selection of the right action is based on a consequential view (the utility of the action),
whereas judgement of a person with regard to an action should be based on intention.

Finding the right or wrong action is the hard part. Most people are 'good'. In fact, I can't think of many people who intentionally did something that they thought was a bad thing at the time. That does leave the problem of lining up what people percieve as 'good' with that which has the highest utility, ie. what is 'right'.In theory, that would require a thorough understanding of the world as a whole and people as individuals. In fact we'd need to define what we should focuson in order to maximise happiness (for example, quality life years, with quality involving such things -preferences- as health, freedom, food, housing).
Anyway, that's how I would try to solve that conflict.
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Posted 07/04/09 - 10:38 AM:

smokinpristiformis wrote:
henry,I'd be interested to hear your take on utilitarianism. Can you discover a fundamental flaw in the morality maximisation of happyness ?


If I am pardoned for my chutzpah , my good sire,smokinpristiformiswink :


wikipedia wrote:
Utilitarianism is the idea that the moral worth of an action is determined solely by its contribution to overall utility: that is, its contribution to happiness or pleasure as summed among all people. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome. Utility, the good to be maximized, has been defined by various thinkers as happiness or pleasure (versus suffering or pain), although preference utilitarians like Peter Singer define it as the satisfaction of preferences. It may be described as a life stance, with happiness or pleasure being of ultimate importance.


Why an idiosyncrat,an agent,may be indifferent to, Utilitarianism?

Does he not say that happiness is important ?

or

He has nothing to do with 'maximising happiness'?


There is an attempt on my behalf to answer these scenarios:

The stance that 'these actions contribute to overall utility' is strictly based on the notion that there is a context ,which is,'common context'.

An idiosyncrat asks: Do I act so as to increase my happiness only?

Answer: No,I act based on my 'idiosyncrasies',which may or may not lead to my happiness,in end.

Even in case,I believe that worth of my actions lies in their being useful for increasing 'happiness':


An idiosyncrat asks: How do you say that there is a 'common context'?

'Common context',if any,is an imaginary one(nevertheless it may be 'useful').

There are 'individuals' and hence,individual contexts,which are not,imaginary.

Every individual,in his temporary,tentative context,is capable of finding 'actions which contribute to his happiness'.

He realizes ,that,any attempt,to suggest that these actions, can be 'good for everyone' is violating 'sphere of other idiosyncrats'.

Therefore he rejects the notion of Utilitarianism as 'futile'.

If contexts of as many agents as required to run a state by count or by power become 'Utilitarian',it becomes 'useful' otherwise it is 'flawed'.

Again: How do you run a state then?

Answer is: By 'might'.

Might makes right. Utilitarianism or any other 'ism',when becomes,context of might(which may be an agent(dictator) or a group of agents) becomes prevalent and hence exerted for running the state.

There is no LAW of nature which suggests that there should always be 'mightiest context' of Utilitarian type.

Randomness,decides the fate of state because agent(s) in power may find Utilitarianism or any other 'ism' practicable and efficient.

Only if you can persuade each and every agent,to behave in a manner,which serves 'maximum good',Utilitarianism can be effective. But other than 'use of force(might)' by an agent or bunch of agents,who are,themselves,ardent admirers of Utilitarianism,there is no way of persuading 'each and everyone' to behave for 'common good'.


This is flaw in Utilitarian reasoning IMHO.



Thank You
henry quirk
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#18 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 07/06/09 - 10:56 AM:

"What is the universally applicable value scale for defining an 'axiological agent', then?"

As in all things: the definition is one of 'self'. One makes it stick through assertion and defense (or offense if need be).

If I assert myself as autonomous, then I must be willing and capable of defending the assertion. To expect my assertion of autonomy to be 'respected' simply because I assert it is ludicrous.

Fundamentally: if I claim myself and someone challenges my self-possession, then I damn well better be up for the tussle.

*

"If different axiological agents can see different values which are represented by their differing takes on the english language, then how do you even know the words you are using to discuss and define axiology are even understood in the same way between us all discussing it here?"

You don't. Oh the joys of diplomacy using a sledgehammer!

*

"Can you discover a fundamental flaw in the morality maximisation of happyness ?"

The only real flaw, as far as I can see: the happiness of 'you', or, of the group, may be in direct conflict with my own. That is: the circumstances 'you' or 'they' require for happiness may conflict with my own perceived circumstances for happiness.

I know from experience this is the case.

Since I'm a selfish bastard: my own happiness always trumps yours or theirs.

Though: to be honest, I’m no fan of 'happiness'. I prefer 'satisfaction' or 'contentment'. 'Happiness', to me, smacks of base desire. Now: there's nothing wrong with base desire as long as -- as impulse -- base desire remains a function of the individual. That is base desire is fine so long as the idiosyncrat rules it and not the other way around.

*

"Anyway, that's how I would try to solve that conflict."

For me: first, cooperation...failing that: competition...failing that: war, bloody war!

That is: discuss and attempt accommodation, failing that, starve the other out, failing that, kill them.
Thinker13
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#19 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 07/06/09 - 1:43 PM:

henry quirk wrote:
That is: discuss and attempt accommodation, failing that, starve the other out, failing that, kill them.


Nice philosophy.wink

*shrug*
smokinpristiformis
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#20 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 07/07/09 - 12:50 AM:

Though: to be honest, I’m no fan of 'happiness'. I prefer 'satisfaction' or 'contentment'. 'Happiness', to me, smacks of base desire. Now: there's nothing wrong with base desire as long as -- as impulse -- base desire remains a function of the individual. That is base desire is fine so long as the idiosyncrat rules it and not the other way around.


Happiness isn't easy to measure anyhow. smiling face

Personally, I was thinking along the lines of 'quality of life', something that connotates to basic needs, food, clothes, water, health, but also education (!), freedom, etc.
henry quirk
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#21 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 07/07/09 - 1:32 PM:

"...I was thinking along the lines of 'quality of life', something that connotates to basic needs, food, clothes, water, health, but also education (!), freedom, etc."

Even in these: there's the element of the personal.

Sure: we each need food, hydration, shelter, etc., but in all of these the standard of what's acceptable (what's needed versus what's wanted) will vary enormously depending on who's being asked.

Seems to me: either individuals are left to their own devices to strive for what each needs and wants (as the individual sees it), or, the politburo decides for us.

I, for one, can't abide being told what to do, what to consume, etc.

*

>That is: discuss and attempt accommodation, failing that, starve the other out, failing that, kill them.

"Nice philosophy. *shrug*"

HA!
smokinpristiformis
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#22 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 07/08/09 - 4:21 AM:

I, for one, can't abide being told what to do, what to consume, etc.


I was thinking more along the lines of equal opportunity. Each gives their life the shape they want, but give to each person the basic tools to do so.
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#23 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 07/09/09 - 9:34 AM:

Thinker wrote:
Sweet Candor wrote:
If different axiological agents can see different values which are represented by their differing takes on the english language, then how do you even know the words you are using to discuss and define axiology are even understood in the same way between us all discussing it here? kooky


You have not paid attention to following propositions up-thread:

Thinker13 wrote:
k) The value assignments,as said above,are not 'permanent' because 'contexts' are not permanent.

So you are saying that the value assigned to 'axiology' and even 'value assignments' are not permanent, so you are saying the meanings of the english words you are using are changing all the time. There is no reason to even speak with you, Thinker13.

You can't have value assignments for words being impermanent while using words to assign values - you make a snake which eats itself up. It's a waste of time if you don't agree on permanent assignments.

If each context can be given permanent values, then how are those permanent values assigned? By using words with values assigned to them from another (previous) context? How can a specific context even be defined if one needs to use already decided context-specific values for words to define it?

kooky laughing
henry quirk
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#24 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 07/09/09 - 10:36 AM:

"...how are those permanent values assigned?"

They aren't, nor should they be.

Temporary values can be assigned, agreed upon, used and even held, for enormous stretches of time, but, ultimately -- whether for a day or a thousand years -- the value (morality, ethic, etc.) is just a tool, a fiction, a convenience.



"You can't have value assignments for words being impermanent while using words to assign values - you make a snake which eats itself up."

Of course you can! We attack each other with sledgehammers (thinking/beleiving/lieing those hammers are scalpels) all the time! We pretend we understand one another completely when, really, we only get a quarter to half of what anyone says about anything. We each constantly revise meanings and, most of the time, don't bother to tell others of our revisions.

We're all uroboros: self-cannibalizing.
henry quirk
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#25 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 07/09/09 - 10:47 AM:

"I was thinking more along the lines of equal opportunity. Each gives their life the shape they want, but give to each person the basic tools to do so."

And: who decides what the 'basic tools' are?

I say 'I' do, for myself, while a certain absent communitarian would say the community should, for everyone.

As always: war!


Equal opportunity (like equality, justice, fairness, etc.) is a useful fiction but it IS just a fiction. For those who feel incapable of fending for themselves, a structured avenue for getting those 'basic tools' makes sense.

But: what about folks like me? Being more than competent at doing for myself, why should I allow the less competent to ride my tails and hobble me?

Again: the flaw of Utilitarianism is, the circumstances 'you' or 'they' require for self-possession may conflict with my own self-perceived circumstances.
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