Category: Utilitarianism

Abortion, Sex, and the Limits of Morality - Part II

Lessons for moral theory taken from the morality of abortion
Utility and women
In the realm of ethics, the notion of rights is little more than three centuries old, that of utility less, that of virtue two millenia. But that of care we must assume is pre-historic.
There seem to be very few utilitarian philosophers who are women. […]

Moral terrorism, aka supererogation

Posted by luno in motherhood, philosophy and sex, sex differences, Deontology, Utilitarianism, Moral Theory (Wednesday October 3, 2007 at 11:31 am)
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In this classic paper in the literature on the idea of supererogation (acts above and beyond moral duty), Urmson argues for recognition of a special class of moral acts that, while clearly moral, cannot be required—at least not generally. In the course of his argument, he makes explicit a masculine assumption about the feminine relation to morality. Susan Wolf reacts to this paper. Together, Urmson’s seemingly off-handed remark and Wolf’s response, are symptomatic of the deep rift in moral perspective between women and men. The underlying clash of principles were first clearly examined by Otto Weininger a century ago. Luno picks up where Weininger left off, using Urmson and Wolf as philosophical occasions.

Types of integrity

Posted by luno in sex differences, Moral Consciousness, Deontology, Utilitarianism, feminism, Moral Theory (Thursday January 4, 2007 at 1:18 pm)
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Notes on Cheshire Calhoun,“Standing for Something.”
[Against the background of some contemporary conceptions of integrity as a virtue, Calhoun will argue that this virtue, whatever private merit it may have, is in the end a “master” social virtue not only because of its deployment of so many other virtues but because of its critical role in […]

An affair of honor and the darkness of hell

Posted by luno in motherhood, philosophy and sex, abortion, sex differences, Utilitarianism, Deontology, Kant (Thursday December 21, 2006 at 12:41 pm)
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Notes on Immanuel Kant, The Philosophy of Law (1796)
There are, however, two crimes worthy of death, in respect of which it still remains doubtful whether the Legislature have the Right to deal with them capitally.
And since they cannot be dealt with “capitally,” they cannot, on Kantian terms, quite be seen as murder.
It is the sentiment […]

A world too small for the two of us…

Posted by luno in capital punishment, Utilitarianism (Monday August 22, 2005 at 12:32 pm)
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Bedau argues that opposition to the death penalty cannot be utterly unconditional.1 He asks us to imagine a world where the execution of a murderer would miraculously bring back to life the innocent victim. Could we still oppose the penalty on principle?
I don’t know, could we? I find it somehow easier to imagine a world […]

When it’s ok to kill a person

Posted by luno in capital punishment, Deontology, Utilitarianism, male criminality (Saturday August 13, 2005 at 3:31 pm)
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If you are going to have capital punishment, this is how the logic of retributivism requires it should be done.


Posted by luno in capital punishment, Deontology, Utilitarianism, male criminality (Saturday August 13, 2005 at 3:14 pm)
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Capital punishment and barbarization

Suicide as prevention

Posted by luno in Utilitarianism, Weininger, General (Monday March 7, 2005 at 10:44 pm)
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To live a comfortable, even luxurious life it is not necessary to kill anyone; but it is necessary to allow some to die whom we might have saved…
[Peter Singer, Practical Ethics]
If only morality’s demands could be so modest. Rather, to live at all … and then moreover in the realization of a biological imperative to […]

A political theory

Posted by luno in Utilitarianism, General (Thursday February 17, 2005 at 10:47 pm)
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Rawls reminds us in a footnote to his classic paper, “Two Concepts of Rules”:
It is important to remember that those whom I have called the classical utilitarians were largely interested in social institutions. They were among the leading economists and political theorists of their day, and they were not infrequently reformers interested in practical affairs. […]

Equal but…

Posted by luno in Utilitarianism, Mill, J. S., Moral Theory (Thursday January 20, 2005 at 9:57 pm)
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Mill and I gloss Bentham’s dictum, “everybody to count for one, nobody for more than one”:
All persons are deemed to have a right to equality of treatment, except when some recognized social expediency requires the reverse. And hence all social inequalities which have ceased to be considered expedient, assume the character not of simple inexpediency, […]

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