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Moral Subjectivity V.S. Moral Absolutism
Posted: 07 January 2009 12:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 181 ]
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Really not sure where you are coming from here but here is my attempt at responding.

mckenzievmd - 07 January 2009 11:10 AM

means are desirable, ends are desired (or valuable/valued), this is not assumed but is a description of how things already work.

Sorry, I don’t quite understand this. “Edns are desired” makes sense as a simple description of what a desire is-an internal impetus to obtain a goal state or some such.  By “means are desirable” do you mean just that the system you propose is about evaluating the desirability of means, or is there something else I’m missing?

No that is correct but, of course, this treats anyone’s ends as means too in this analysis.

mckenzievmd - 07 January 2009 11:10 AM

Remember this is not done on an act by act basis, if you are thinking in terms of acts then it is better to think that “the right act is the act that a person with good desire would perform”. The context of desires or as I like to say desire-desire interactions is more important that the content, I am unsure if one can always analyse this without knowing the actual desire content but possibly. This certainly helps remove bias (relative or otherwise) over different desire contents.

I’m finding this hard to reconcile with your previous statements. It seems as if your claim to epistemic objectivity for DU was based on not evaluating internal states but their objective effects,

Epistemic Objectivity is how we know in a neutral sense about anything, odd to bring it up here. Not sure what you mean by “internal state” as am only looking at these states externally - a desire is defined in terms of its conditions of fulfilment, these might contain knowledge and satisfaction conditions but if do hey these are still objective facts about such states.

mckenzievmd - 07 January 2009 11:10 AM

by which I assume you mean actions of agents and their effects on the fulfillment or thwarting of the desires of others.

which is one way to infer what the conditions of fulfilment of the desire under examination are.

mckenzievmd - 07 January 2009 11:10 AM

Here you seem to be saying that the approach focuses exclusively on internal desires as good or bad and judges acts based on the evaluation of the desires they stem from.

Where does this “internal state” come from?  Desire exist and we are examining them externally.  Now remember “good” and “bad” are optional or redundant terms a desire is evaluated as to whether it tends to fulfil or thwart other desires, tending to fulfil them is a reason to promote it, tending to thwart them is a reason to inhibit it. Without desires causing actions there is nothing to examine so this does not “focus exclusively” on them, rather this is just the “evaluation focus” - in the jargon - of this approach (compared to rules, actions or decision procedures for example).

mckenzievmd - 07 January 2009 11:10 AM

Isn ‘t this inconsistent, even contradictory?

Sorry what is inconsistent or contradictory?

mckenzievmd - 07 January 2009 11:10 AM

And if we are evaluating only the presence or absence of a desire in terms of its effects on the fulfillment or thwarting of other desire

Yes

mckenzievmd - 07 January 2009 11:10 AM

regardless of whether the desire is enacted by an agent,

Where on earth do you get this idea from? Makes no sense to me.

mckenzievmd - 07 January 2009 11:10 AM

how can we ever apply the system to real interactions?

I completely fail to see how you have arrived at such a conclusion. Please explain.

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Posted: 09 January 2009 10:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 182 ]
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Remember this is not done on an act by act basis, if you are thinking in terms of acts then it is better to think that “the right act is the act that a person with good desire would perform”.

Not sure what you mean by “internal state” as am only looking at these states externally - a desire is defined in terms of its conditions of fulfilment, these might contain knowledge and satisfaction conditions but if do hey these are still objective facts about such states.

Without desires causing actions there is nothing to examine so this does not “focus exclusively” on them, rather this is just the “evaluation focus” - in the jargon - of this approach (compared to rules, actions or decision procedures for example).

Maybe it’s the jargon, but I’m not clear from these statements whether you are evaluating the effects of desires as manifested in actions, are talking about the desires themselves in the abstract. Sometimes it sounds like the one and sometimes the other. I brought up epistemic objectivity because it only makes sense to me if you are evaluating what people actually do. I understand a desire ot be an internal state, a drive or motivation to achieve some goal. So evaluating the effects of a desire in terms of whether it tends to promote the fulfillment of other desires or not only seems possible if you look at the acts that stem from the desire. Again, how does this model interface with the real world and what people do/don’t do, and so on? Is there a normative element to it, or is it purely descriptive? I’m still not sure I see exactly what DU is. I thought I did, but then we went off the rails again.

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Posted: 09 January 2009 02:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 183 ]
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mckenzievmd - 09 January 2009 10:07 AM

Maybe it’s the jargon, but I’m not clear from these statements whether you are evaluating the effects of desires as manifested in actions,

Not quite. A desire specifies the states of affairs in which it is fulfilled. How this specified state of affairs occurs may or may not by due to the agent’s actions although in most of the ethical situations that concern us they do.
 

mckenzievmd - 09 January 2009 10:07 AM

are talking about the desires themselves in the abstract. Sometimes it sounds like the one and sometimes the other.

I am guessing this is due to when I talk of an analysis of a situation I abstract out the salient factors and ignore the rest? This is much like a scientist in laboratory carrying out an experiment design by eliminating confounding factors to discover or test the relation between the independent and dependent variable(s). Then they can update and apply the model out of the lab. (In DU the desire being evaluated is the independent variable, the desires it is being evaluated against are the dependent variables and I often use phrases like “desire to desire interactions” when I am talking about this aspect of analysis).

mckenzievmd - 09 January 2009 10:07 AM

  I brought up epistemic objectivity because it only makes sense to me if you are evaluating what people actually do.

It does, indeed one of the key arguments for DU is that it is based on what people do unlike moral theories (at least that is my position).

mckenzievmd - 09 January 2009 10:07 AM

I understand a desire ot be an internal state, a drive or motivation to achieve some goal.

That is also correct, but we can only know of the desire from an external perspective - from the specification and realization (or not) of that goal and that is what DU uses and that is all we need since it is only the external results that affect other desires.

mckenzievmd - 09 January 2009 10:07 AM

So evaluating the effects of a desire in terms of whether it tends to promote the fulfillment of other desires or not only seems possible if you look at the acts that stem from the desire.

Yes but the same act can come from different desires and many acts might realize the same desire, the significant factor is the desire as that is the basis of intentional action not the action itself. And it is only intentional actions that can be modified by social forces

mckenzievmd - 09 January 2009 10:07 AM

Again, how does this model interface with the real world and what people do/don’t do, and so on?

That is implicit in the whole of DU but IIRC I do not know if I fully explained DU in the past maybe only provided parts of it? Anyway I am now.

mckenzievmd - 09 January 2009 10:07 AM

Is there a normative element to it, or is it purely descriptive?

Both. Why is good desire, good? It is good in virtue of the fact the we have reason to promote it , and a bad desire is bad in virtue of the fact we have reason to inhibit it. The analysis both descriptively discovers whether there reasons to inhibit or promote a desire, but having a reason to promote or inhibit a desire is a prescription. (Note that DU does not take the position that moral reasons are over-riding or that they are a special type of reason with a special type of “ought” or “should” and logic, instead it takes the parsimonious position that reasons and oughts work like anywhere else, differing only by degree and scope not kind).

mckenzievmd - 09 January 2009 10:07 AM

I’m still not sure I see exactly what DU is. I thought I did, but then we went off the rails again.

Understood, hopefully this helps.

[ Edited: 09 January 2009 05:19 PM by faithlessgod ]
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