Saturday, December 11, 2010

(EA) Utilitarianism: Brief Arguments For and Against




  1. Aside from their brevity, these two accounts of Utilitarianism's merits and demerits leave much to be desired. Has the opponent not heard of Bentham or Singer, who do indeed extend the calculus to non-humans? Has the proponent ever met a critic of Utilitarianism who was not made of straw? Have I asked enough rhetorical questions?

    Surely, as our old friend Eric Moore used to observe, our duties include maximizing utility -- which we need to balance against other duties, some of which cut in different directions. Moral life is complex, and not reducible to any single theory or principle.

  2. Matt writes, "Moral life is complex, and not reducible to any single theory or principle."

    I've been thinking and writing a lot on morality recently, and have noticed that my biggest struggle is to speak to multiple moral theories simultaneously. In doing so, I feel that I am cluttering my writing. In not doing so, I feel that I am limiting the scope of my arguments to one perspective, leaving out a lot of readers. It adds a whole new dimension to "moral dilemmas!"

  3. Kyle: interesting observation. I suppose it's true that multicriterialism multiplies moral conflict along with complexity.