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utilitarianism

Started by billy rubin, April 23, 2020, 08:48:08 PM

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billy rubin

utilitarianism is the philosophy that a lot of people assert is optimum:

what society should do is seek the greatest good for the greatest number.

so we work towards maximum net happiness, maximum net prosperity, maximum net health, maximum net human potential, and so on.

sounds good.

but there's a catch.

maximum good for the maximum number means that some people's good will be sacrificed for the greater good of more people.

in practice, this absolutely and specifically means that if five sick people can be saved by killing one healthy person to harvest organs from to distribute to the sick, that that is what the decision should be.

ursula k leguin explored thi once long ago

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ones_Who_Walk_Away_from_Omelas

it has relevance now in an time and place where we are sacrificing aspects of people's lives to benefit aspects of other people's lives. for example, we are driving people's businesses into financial ruin in order to reduce the health risks to other people.

there are other tradeoffs that come to mind.

where should we place the balance point in this? how many financially ruined familes balance a family saved from death from the virus? does physical health overbalance economic health? after all, you can't be prosperous if youre dead.

but most people will not be seriously impaired by the disease, although they can transmit it. how many of those people should be economically isolated to protect how many who are physiologically vulnerable?

how many of these gun-toting morons clamoring to free the country from tyranny shoul;d we take seriously, if any?

just wondering here



more people have been to berlin than i have

Old Seer

#1
Quote from: billy rubin on April 23, 2020, 08:48:08 PM
utilitarianism is the philosophy that a lot of people assert is optimum:

what society should do is seek the greatest good for the greatest number.

so we work towards maximum net happiness, maximum net prosperity, maximum net health, maximum net human potential, and so on.

sounds good.

but there's a catch.

maximum good for the maximum number means that some people's good will be sacrificed for the greater good of more people.

in practice, this absolutely and specifically means that if five sick people can be saved by killing one healthy person to harvest organs from to distribute to the sick, that that is what the decision should be.

ursula k leguin explored thi once long ago

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ones_Who_Walk_Away_from_Omelas

it has relevance now in an time and place where we are sacrificing aspects of people's lives to benefit aspects of other people's lives. for example, we are driving people's businesses into financial ruin in order to reduce the health risks to other people.

there are other tradeoffs that come to mind.

where should we place the balance point in this? how many financially ruined familes balance a family saved from death from the virus? does physical health overbalance economic health? after all, you can't be prosperous if youre dead.

but most people will not be seriously impaired by the disease, although they can transmit it. how many of those people should be economically isolated to protect how many who are physiologically vulnerable?

how many of these gun-toting morons clamoring to free the country from tyranny shoul;d we take seriously, if any?

just wondering here
What you're describing is, or is akin to Marxism. That process is already underway. On the right (conservatives) they refer to the media (MSM main stream media) as cultural Marxist media. This process has been underway for the last 40 or more years. It looks as though they chose this time to give it a hard push. Marxim relies on the attachment to fascism, where corporations became government, and what was government is representative of corporate operators. In Europe this idea has already failed. The EU is on the way out as countries are reclaiming their sovereignty. A "one size fits all system cannot work as such a system requires all to be put in a mental straight jacket. The EU is run by Billionaires that are never elected but represented by those in the EU parliament. It seems to be another attempt at Utopianism, but that has to fail because the very idea of utopianism is counter to nature, and there is no provisions in nature for such an idea. The natural forces existing on and within the planet can instantly destroy any utopia. In a little more time we'll see.

Be aware, an evil person will work harder doing evil because he has something to gain. A good person has little or nothing to gain by doing good.
The only thing possible the world needs saving from are the ones running it.
Oh lord, save us from those wanting to save us.
I'm not a Theist
https://sites.google.com/site/oldseers

billy rubin

maybe so, but utilitariansim iz way older than marxism.

jeremy bentham, who iz currently mummified somewhere in britain, was an early proponenr.


more people have been to berlin than i have

Asmodean

Quote from: billy rubin on April 23, 2020, 08:48:08 PM
utilitarianism is the philosophy that a lot of people assert is optimum:
This depends on where you are. In some areas, people largely put the individual before the collective. Those are the "free societies."

Quotebut there's a catch.

maximum good for the maximum number means that some people's good will be sacrificed for the greater good of more people.
That's not even a deal-breaker to me. The top of the "catch" pile as I see it, is the level of collectivism required.

Quoteit has relevance now in an time and place where we are sacrificing aspects of people's lives to benefit aspects of other people's lives. for example, we are driving people's businesses into financial ruin in order to reduce the health risks to other people.
Yep. That's what collectivist processes do. "Calculated" (or otherwise) sacrifices for that mythical "Greater Good." That said, it is common, and not necessarily "wrong" to turn more collectivist in times of crisis.

Quotebut most people will not be seriously impaired by the disease, although they can transmit it. how many of those people should be economically isolated to protect how many who are physiologically vulnerable?
I find it interesting that at least in my country, the rights of special interest groups often seem to supersede the rights of the general population or the individual. I can often understand it, even see how it can be necessary for a "highly civilized" society to remain as such, but as a matter of principle, I disagree with that philosophy, and my voting history thus far mirrors that fact to the point of pride.

Quotehow many of these gun-toting morons clamoring to free the country from tyranny shoul;d we take seriously, if any?
Don't take a man with a gun seriously at your own peril, but I think the greater danger to your own person than a "redneck freedom fighter" comes from people with Molotovs, bricks and suicide vests, and even that is small compared to people with cars.

Still, I take them all seriously - be they Antifa, terrorists for Allah, "From my cold dead fingers'" or drivers coming towards me on a high speed road.
Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on July 25, 2013, 08:18:52 PM
In Asmo's grey lump,
wrath and dark clouds gather force.
Luxembourg trembles.

Old Seer

Hey, I finally found the reply button. I'll be goda heck! That's what happens when one is highly logical, simple things are overlooked.  ::)
It seems utopian ideas end up killing a lot of people to get such a society established. I can't imagine how any ant hill society can work with cognizant beings. Any one (at least over time) can recognize being in a slave society. There's always reason in ones life to be free of coercion. If the idea is to create universal happiness at the expense of others, then the other side has to make it possible, as there would have to be acceptance of universal sadness on one side to create the other. Most people on the happy side over time would see the inhumane process and be disturbed by it. Universal law dictates that there must be both sides that all are subject to.
Sargon of Akkad on youtube has a very applicable analysis of Demolition Man I found interesting.
The only thing possible the world needs saving from are the ones running it.
Oh lord, save us from those wanting to save us.
I'm not a Theist
https://sites.google.com/site/oldseers

Asmodean

#5
Quote from: Old Seer on April 24, 2020, 01:18:09 PM
It seems utopian ideas end up killing a lot of people to get such a society established.
...While failing to establish said society and broadly oppressing the survivors.

QuoteI can't imagine how any ant hill society can work with cognizant beings. Any one (at least over time) can recognize being in a slave society. There's always reason in ones life to be free of coercion. If the idea is to create universal happiness at the expense of others, then the other side has to make it possible, as there would have to be acceptance of universal sadness on one side to create the other. Most people on the happy side over time would see the inhumane process and be disturbed by it. Universal law dictates that there must be both sides that all are subject to.
Thus, I advocate maximizing freedom in stead, and letting people work out their own happiness. (I am not a Libertarian nor an Anarchist. The maximization of freedom I speak of applies within the confines of the trends of the (significant) majority. Basically, if killing people makes you happy, but 2/3 of the population don't want to let you, then you don't get to do it)

By the way, and in the spirit of learning, it's a little finicky, but if you want to respond the way I just did, it works as follows;
[quote author=Old Seer link=topic=16554.msg400494#msg400494 date=1587730689]
Your original message with link. This appears automatically if you use the "quote" button or "insert quote" function when replying.
[/quote]
My response to you

[quote]
Your next point
[/quote]
My next response to you

[quote author=Asmodean Prime]
Asmodean Prime's point without link to post
[/quote]
My response to Prime


For ease of use, I usually put some spaces in the text where I want to insert a point (In the reply window, after having quoted the post) then start at the top and insert the quote tags as needed. The one without the slash starts the quote, the one with ends it. You can think of them as code equivalents to "".
Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on July 25, 2013, 08:18:52 PM
In Asmo's grey lump,
wrath and dark clouds gather force.
Luxembourg trembles.

Old Seer

#6
I'm going to have to practice the process, only don't actually post. I'm not highly forum literate. (no jokes now).  :)

The proponents of such societies don't take into account "they" may be the ones dropping grapes into another's mouth while laying on a couch. It takes servitude for such to exist---no one wants to be the servant. What we have now is a mutual servitude system, and I don't say anything's wrong with it. One is always going to be a slave in one way or another. (just a religious note) An apostle points to, serving your fellow man is serving God.
The only thing possible the world needs saving from are the ones running it.
Oh lord, save us from those wanting to save us.
I'm not a Theist
https://sites.google.com/site/oldseers

Asmodean

Mmh... I'm not convinced.

Who/what am I a slave to? I have a job, going to which is a voluntary exercise (Although money is a good incentive, I largely don't just quit because I like doing what I do where I do it), I rent a home, which is also a voluntary exercise. I can pack my bags and fuck off, though again, I like it here. The bank doesn't own anything I have. I don't subscribe to "taxation is theft," because I see paying taxes as my lease for living in a nice country. I do have some obligations here and there, which I did not bring upon myself or necessarily agree to, but they don't amount to servitude, let alone slavery.

While probably true of many people, how does your point apply to someone like my own sweet self?

Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on July 25, 2013, 08:18:52 PM
In Asmo's grey lump,
wrath and dark clouds gather force.
Luxembourg trembles.

Old Seer

On the first count we are all enslaved to each other via money. You must serve someone to acquire it. I have no quarrel with that. In our (Old Seers) studys we asked. If times change to a personal life, (On your own land in you own house) where does my auto come from. So, it's back to horses. Having horses on the farm, I don't want horses. They have to go to work for me----------------I have to go to work for them. They help me grow my food for me, I have help them grow their food for them. Inter enslavement, can't get around it. The universe enslaves me to do it's ways. I have to walk (work) over to the apple tree to get the apple.

Self sufficiency is a very sparse material existence. The body type we have requires to much maintenance.  We can't sleep out in the snow bank like the Deer. So, figuring all that out why not come up with a hamlet economy of about 100 persons or families. Everyone takes on something, so I volunteer to grow all the Corn for everyone in the hamlet. To cut it short--- I agree to be enslaved for my own good. I cannot (known from experience) have enough time to make a comfortable existence on my own. So, you take it from here.  :D
The only thing possible the world needs saving from are the ones running it.
Oh lord, save us from those wanting to save us.
I'm not a Theist
https://sites.google.com/site/oldseers

billy rubin

not ignoring you, folks. just waitin for the weekend to reply here.

i cant think straight enough during the work week. what i come up with is often shallower than usual


more people have been to berlin than i have

Davin

#10
I always feel like these "do the maximum" "cause the minimum" types of philosophies sound entirely tiring.

Also, I think they are incredibly unrealistic and unreasonable. "But," I've heard defenders say, "you're only supposed to try for it, no one is expected to actually achieve it." Great, add that to the actual philosophy then. No? Then this criticism stands.

It's like all the great object oriented philosophies in software development, if you try to follow all of them 100%, they start to get in the way of each other and tend to make things kind of bad. But if you follow them 90-95%, they all work together beautifully and makes development and maintenance easier and faster, as well as making things easy for other developers to get into. Which is why I tend to not follow many philosophical concepts 100%. Also part of why I find most self described philosophers tedious to deal with.

Anyway, what I like about utilitarianism is the focus on utility. In that morality isn't merely navel-gazing, mental masturbation, but something meant to provide utility to the decisions and actions. That is something I can get behind.

I guess that's why I can't follow any of these fancy philosophical moral frameworks and have none of my own. Because I think while they are nice and most presented have some things worthy of consideration and have a thing or two to offer, the real world that we live in isn't simple enough to be handled by any of them.

Edit: cleaning up some bad grammar that made things unclear.
Always question all authorities because the authority you don't question is the most dangerous... except me, never question me.

Ecurb Noselrub

The general tension is between utilitarianism (a teleological approach to ethics/philosophy/politics) and a deontological approach (focusing on duty and obligation).  Bentham v. Kant.  The US Constitution, in the political realm, took a bit of both: utilitarianism in the sense of "majority rules", but tempered with a deontological approach in the Bill of Rights (majority rules, but it can't remove these rights from the minority, like free speech, etc.).  In ethics, a deontological approach looks at principles and deduces action from these without respect to outcomes, while utilitarianism looks at the greatest good.

It's rarely one or the other - like most things, it's a combination of both. Which in and of itself is a bit utilitarian - whatever works best.

Asmodean

Quote from: Old Seer on April 24, 2020, 06:02:03 PM
On the first count we are all enslaved to each other via money.
But "we" are not. I'm in a voluntary, consensual relationship with my employer, who exchanges money for my services. Money here is a means to and end, as are my services. My and my employer's ends may differ, but there is no threat of force involved at any stage of this relationship.

QuoteYou must serve someone to acquire it.
To serve is not the same as to be a slave.

QuoteInter enslavement, can't get around it.
Ah, but you can. Call it symbiosis - mutual reliance, one you can unilaterally break if you so choose.

QuoteThe universe enslaves me to do it's ways. I have to walk (work) over to the apple tree to get the apple.
This just thins out the term "slavery" to mean practically any interaction. I do not accept the scope of your definition.

QuoteI agree to be enslaved for my own good.
Then you are not enslaved.
Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on July 25, 2013, 08:18:52 PM
In Asmo's grey lump,
wrath and dark clouds gather force.
Luxembourg trembles.

xSilverPhinx

These moral questions result in moral judgments, and it makes more sense to think that moral judgments come from the brain and not some objective framework created by a divine external force. Therefore, you can't divorce these moral questions from the psychological and/or social contexts in which they find themselves. And people are more emotionally than rationally driven in their decisions.

For instance, you could resort to a more or less utilitarian solution to a moral problem depending on how emotionally invested you are in the outcome. To make my point clear, if you found yourself faced with the Trolley Problem and you had to decide which person or people have to die, your answer could vary if a loved one was in either group. Because emotions are not rational, if a loved one was on one track by him or herself odds are way greater that you would sacrifice 5 strangers on the other track in order to save him or her.
I am what survives if it's slain - Zack Hemsey


billy rubin

hey asmo

Quote from: Asmodean on April 24, 2020, 11:28:42 AM
Quote from: billy rubin on April 23, 2020, 08:48:08 PM
utilitarianism is the philosophy that a lot of people assert is optimum:
This depends on where you are. In some areas, people largely put the individual before the collective. Those are the "free societies."

i live in a so-called free society, maybe one of the most outspoken, and the general belief here is cooperation for the general good, even at individual cost. at least at first. but as individuals become more and more disadvantaged, they are beginning to clamor for a balance point more in their direction.

this implies that collectivism isn;t very deep. but is it very deep anywhere? societies like china and india have adopted coillectivist responses to the pandemic, but they have generally been forced by a n authoritarian government, may the marxist system old seer has pointed out.  im nbot sure what to make of new zealand.

Quote
Quotebut there's a catch.

maximum good for the maximum number means that some people's good will be sacrificed for the greater good of more people.
That's not even a deal-breaker to me. The top of the "catch" pile as I see it, is the level of collectivism required.

so youre saying that no there is no general philosophy that you regard as better or worse than another?

what is the measure of value that you use to determine "the level of collectivism required" in a pandemic?

required for what?

- maximum number of lives saved?
- maximum number of healthy people?
- maximum number of people saved who will save other people?
- maximum value of people saved-- artists, politicians, virologists?


more people have been to berlin than i have