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Sir Sly Ry
05-30-2012, 07:29 PM
Sorry, I know this thread is dumb. But one of the homework questions has me baffled. It asks how utilitarianism is a consequentialist moral theory, and how it's a teleological moral theory. And for the life of me, I can't see the difference between consequential and teleological. I thought they were the same thing, they're about the consequences. Google is not helping any.

Epithet
05-30-2012, 07:43 PM
HIGH SCHOOL PHILOSOPHY STUDENT COMING THROUGH

I'm not quite sure myself, but I think it would be that it's consequentialist because it assumes that the consequences are the only things that determine an action's morality, while it's teleological because it deals with the telic cause or final purpose of ethical behavior, which with utilitarianism would be to produce happiness. Sort of like this: an action's consequences determine its rightness, and it is an ethical action if it promotes the final cause of humanity, happiness, by creating happiness.

Now I'm kinda confusing myself, but whatever.

Alex Scott
05-30-2012, 07:47 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong--and I probably am, since I don't know much about philosophy--but my guess is "teleo" suggests more the goal ("telos"="end") of the action than the consequences. So consequentialist would look at utilitarianism in terms of its results, and teleological in terms of some goal utilitarianism is trying to achieve. Again, just a guess.

*Edit* Epitheeeet!

Sir Sly Ry
05-30-2012, 07:47 PM
So if it is consequentially a right thing to do, then it's necessarily right in the teleological sense as well.
Yeah?

edit: Alex, yeah, I think you're right on. Now that I look at the text again, it does use the word "goal" in relation to actions, but it also uses the word "end" which I would have assumed to be the same as consequences. However your distinction seems to stick out so I will run with it. Thanks.

Comb Stranger
05-30-2012, 07:49 PM
From what I gather consequentialism deals with the immediate result of any actions, while teleology concerns the ultimate result. But I hate philosophy, so don't take my word for it.

Pajaro Pete
05-30-2012, 07:49 PM
Philosophy is the talk on a cereal box.

Comb Stranger
05-30-2012, 08:02 PM
I've designed cereal boxes. I take offense to that.

Issun
05-31-2012, 01:40 AM
Philosophy is wonderful. The way it's taught in schools and universities is atrocious. Sly's homework is proof.

Luana
05-31-2012, 02:29 AM
Isn't teleology when something is done for a particular cause/end point/goal, whereas consequential...ism? (cut me some slack, it's 1:30, I'm sleepless, and I'm relearning this whole "internet" thing) is... well, more that the end result isn't necessarily what you had been working toward all along, but the actual byproduct of all actions before that?

Oh my god, my brain is not supposed to do higher-level thinking this late. 1:30 am for Luana is like 4:45 am for regular human beings.

JDS
05-31-2012, 02:59 AM
i'm glad we have academe-speak otherwise people could easily learn and apply useful concepts to their own lives

Klatrymadon
05-31-2012, 05:46 AM
Yeah, being anti-intellectual has always had such soaring emancipatory power.

JDS
05-31-2012, 05:55 AM
disliking academic jargon doesn't imply anti-intellectualism any more than disliking florid legalese implies contempt of law. i want it in plain speech because it should be discussed more. you're part of the problem.

VorpalEdge
05-31-2012, 06:31 AM
Right, because there are so many useful conclusions philosophy has come to that aren't mutually exclusive or just plain arbitrary.

JDS
05-31-2012, 06:37 AM
Right, because there are so many useful conclusions philosophy has come to that aren't mutually exclusive or just plain arbitrary.

there are many songs that are bad, let us dispose of music

Klatrymadon
05-31-2012, 06:37 AM
I was just pulling your leg, but the point I was implying was that we should prioritise the democratising of education and the raising of people's consciousness, rather than merely trying to put everything in terms my grandad could understand. There's a lot to be said for plain speaking, obviously, but you also have to acknowledge the risk of making nuanced concepts facile and one-dimensional. Better to have the big word explained to you than cast aside in favour of a condescending summary of some related concepts, no?

Making things less intimidating and more accessible just doesn't have to involve evacuating them of any of their content, is all I mean. That's part of the problem.

ThornGhost
05-31-2012, 06:40 AM
Philosophy is the talk on a cereal box.

But if that's true, then religion would have to be a smile on a dog.

Sir Sly Ry
05-31-2012, 08:00 AM
Let the philosophers have their fancy words if they want to, I just wish they wrote in a way where their meaning was clear. I'm sure a lot of the problem is the use of English from two or more centuries ago is way different than it is today. I hate reading philosophy from that time because their sentences are almost a paragraph long and it's hard to understand what the hell they're trying to say.

Klatrymadon
05-31-2012, 08:48 AM
Oh aye, there's definitely a lot of (sometimes deliberately) unclear and opaque writing to contend with, and it can be particularly difficult to read if it's been translated from German, for example. Hegel and Adorno can, quite famously, be almost impenetrable. I certainly wouldn't argue in favour of more of this; it's definitely a good thing that a lot of 20th-21st century writers seem to be possessed of slightly more of a willingness to be understood.

Sir Sly Ry
05-31-2012, 09:10 AM
But see, just the way you phrased that makes it sound like they're deliberately making themselves hard to understand. And that's just silly. Use the words you have to use, but everyone should be making efforts to make their ideas understood.

If your ideas are hard to understand because of the way you express them, it doesn't make the theory any more intellectual.

Not that I'm saying philosophers deliberately try to be a pain in the ass. Then again, I wouldn't be surprised if some of them do.

Klatrymadon
05-31-2012, 09:51 AM
Yeah, I agree, mate. I was just highlighting that as another (separate?) problem from the 'jargon' thing - that there were/are some who just don't write very lucidly, in their mother tongue or otherwise, and generally don't care. I was reading Guy Debord's Society of the Spectacle the other day, and that's a pretty good example of this - shot through with flashes of incredibly astute and politically useful observation, but probably too dense and ponderous for anyone to get to the good stuff. I might not hold "plain English" as a particularly high virtue, but certainly clarity and concision are!

Sir Sly Ry
05-31-2012, 09:53 AM
Word. We are now in cahoots. Also you are much more knowledgeable about this topic than I am. I am a total novice. But I at least kind of enjoy the subject.

Klatrymadon
05-31-2012, 09:58 AM
Oh, I'm only a casual reader of critical theory and philosophy, really (although I suppose if you read this stuff "casually" you're already too far gone). ;)

Sir Sly Ry
05-31-2012, 10:00 AM
Crazy as a lark, you.

Oh and I get to learn about Kant today! 20 pages of reading in the textbook, so...that will probably take me four hours at least. Then homework questions and a quiz. I'll be working until 10:00 I bet!

Sir Sly Ry
05-31-2012, 04:13 PM
Impenetrable writing, point in case
But if reason of itself does not sufficiently determine the will, if the latter is subject also to subjective conditions (particular impulses) which do not always coincide with the objective conditions; in a word, if the will does not in itself completely accord with reason (which is actually the case with men), then the action which objectively are recognised as necessary are subjectively contingent, and the determination of such a will according to objective laws is obligation, that is to say, the relation of the objective laws to a will that is not thoroughly good, is conceived as the determination of the will of a rational being by principles of reason, but which the will from its nature does not of necessity follow.

The fuck did Kant just say?

Mightyblue
05-31-2012, 04:29 PM
It's a dissemination on the difference between rational objectivity and subjective thinking and action; where rational thought and action is concerned with the objectively optimal answer/solution to a problem (let's say), subjective thinking is based on impulses (emotions, reflexive action/thought) and any actions taken by reason of subjective thought are only optimal in view of that original subjective thought and not necessarily the objectively optimal solution to that same problem.

Sir Sly Ry
05-31-2012, 04:33 PM
The fuck did mightyblue just say?

Epithet
05-31-2012, 04:44 PM
The will is influenced both by objective reason and subjective ideas and prejudices. The idea that actions need to be performed based on what's thought of as objective fact is often influenced by subjective ideas, so when a a person has the will or desire to do something it does not follow that they are doing so thanks to objective necessity, since that's not the nature of the human "will."

Or at least that's what I'm getting from the quote. It's pretty impenetrable and there's probably more to it.

Dizzy
05-31-2012, 04:44 PM
The fuck did mightyblue just say?

Yeah, that passage requires some careful thinking about each clause and each sentence for people not familiar or used to reading this kind of stuff. It also probably requires you think about the context since this was written by a German from a time before yours and his vocabulary and concepts are foreign to you.

But then you should at least put some effort into finding coherence out of what at first seems incoherent or impenetrable. (This is a college class, right?)

If that doesn't work then you should bug your teacher about it, I'm sure they can help. They should.

Mightyblue
05-31-2012, 05:44 PM
The will is influenced both by objective reason and subjective ideas and prejudices. The idea that actions need to be performed based on what's thought of as objective fact is often influenced by subjective ideas, so when a a person has the will or desire to do something it does not follow that they are doing so thanks to objective necessity, since that's not the nature of the human "will."

Or at least that's what I'm getting from the quote. It's pretty impenetrable and there's probably more to it.

Yeah, that's part of it.

The fuck did mightyblue just say?

Let's go with an example for this one:

Let's say you have two guys, X and Y, who want to go from point A to point B (and is all they want to do). X wants to go straight from A to B with no detours as fast as he can (the objectively optimal response to the situation). Y, on the other hand is fascinated by the scenery of the trip between A and B and thus slows down to better appreciate the scenery (thus fulfilling both his subjective response and his objective response..but not in the rationally ideal fashion because he let himself be distracted by his subjective impulses).

Sir Sly Ry
05-31-2012, 05:48 PM
But is that in any way supposed to be wrong, that Y took his time?

Büge
05-31-2012, 05:50 PM
But is that in any way supposed to be wrong, that Y took his time?

You Kant understand Y.

Sir Sly Ry
05-31-2012, 05:52 PM
Meow.

Mightyblue
05-31-2012, 05:57 PM
It depends. If all that's important is that they reach point B, then yeah. If it's not, then maybe not. Keep in mind that Kant isn't really trying to assign moral values (right/wrong) in that quoted statement, he's trying to get at the reasons why people act the way they do. Whether something is a right or wrong response to a given situation depends on that given situation and not on the philisophical underpinnings. All Kant is concerned with is getting at why a person's subjective thoughts and feelings get in the way of the rational and optimal actions.

Klatrymadon
05-31-2012, 06:00 PM
But is that in any way supposed to be wrong, that Y took his time?

No, since it's "optimal" in terms of what he wants to do, but he'd be wrong if he thought it was objectively the best way of simply getting to point B. (Not to speak for MB or anything.)

Ed: oops, too late anyhow! :p

Sanagi
05-31-2012, 07:12 PM
The fuck did Kant just say?
I was already thinking of Kant before I got to this post. In my recollection, he was one of the worst for tangled verbiage that, once deciphered, amounts to unworkable ideals.

It was a relief for me to get to utilitarianism, simply because it actually gives straight answers, even if there are still some trouble spots(like how to compare present happiness/suffering to potential future happiness/suffering).

Mr. Patrick Henry Cheryl
05-31-2012, 07:29 PM
The bigger beef for me is coming up with a happiness unit to calculate with that works between people. It's possible for an individual ("I'm very happy" is better than "I'm sorta happy"), but how the heck do we measure one person's satisfaction against another's? One person's "sorta" could be bigger than another person's "very." There's no indicator. Additionally, the vagueness of maximizing happiness left me wondering: average or total? One doesn't necessarily follow the other, and either alone comes with its own set of problems. These should both be huge objections, shouldn't they?

I may just be venting at having a bad business ethics teacher who danced around them.

Dizzy
05-31-2012, 07:35 PM
Just based on that passage alone, Kant does not seem as migraine-inducing as Thomas Aquinas.

Sanagi
05-31-2012, 08:01 PM
The bigger beef for me is coming up with a happiness unit to calculate with that works between people. It's possible for an individual ("I'm very happy" is better than "I'm sorta happy"), but how the heck do we measure one person's satisfaction against another's? One person's "sorta" could be bigger than another person's "very." There's no indicator. Additionally, the vagueness of maximizing happiness left me wondering: average or total? One doesn't necessarily follow the other, and either alone comes with its own set of problems. These should both be huge objections, shouldn't they?

I may just be venting at having a bad business ethics teacher who danced around them.
Yeah, it's a lot trickier than just punching some numbers on your hedonic calculator. You need to figure in some pretty touchy-feely stuff like quality of life and self-actualization. It's easier than defining "good" but it's still a briar patch.

Conveniently, though, you can sweep most of these problems under the rug by saying "let's focus on relieving suffering for now, there's plenty of that to work on."

Sir Sly Ry
06-06-2012, 10:00 AM
Hey so, according to Locke, how does the state of nature provide a basis for the law of nature?

The question is based on a short reading but I just can't figure it out. The best I can come up with is that reason teaches men what laws of nature are.

Zarathustra
06-06-2012, 12:10 PM
Xenogears/saga has all the answers!

Dizzy
06-06-2012, 12:54 PM
I think Locke says the law of nature teaches people to respect each other's liberties because they are naturally free in the state of nature. So the conditions of the state of nature provide the basis for the law of nature. That is my half-assed reading of Ch. 2, Sec. 6 from his Second Treatise.

Sir Sly Ry
06-06-2012, 02:14 PM
Hmm. Aight, thanks for taking a crack, Dizz.

estragon
06-06-2012, 02:31 PM
If you're struggling with an introductory philosophy class and not already referencing the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (http://plato.stanford.edu/) when you have questions, you might want to start.

It's probably too much detail for your class, so just do a text search for key terms.

Here's a relevant excerpt from its entry on Locke: (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/locke/)

If God's purpose for me on earth is my survival and that of my species, and the means to that survival are my life, health, liberty and property — then clearly I don't want anyone to violate my rights to these things. Equally, considering other people, who are my natural equals, I should conclude that I should not violate their rights to life, liberty, health and property. This is the law of nature. It is the Golden Rule, interpreted in terms of natural rights. Thus Locke writes: ”The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges everyone: and reason which is that law, teaches all mankind who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions…“ (II, 6) Locke tells us that the law of nature is revealed by reason. Locke makes the point about the law that it commands what is best for us. If it did not, he says, the law would vanish for it would not be obeyed. It is in this sense, I think, that Locke means that reason reveals the law. If you reflect on what is best for yourself and others, given the goal of survival and our natural equality, you will come to this conclusion. (See the section on The Law of Nature in the entry on Locke's Political Philosophy.)

When Locke comes to explain how government comes into being, he uses the idea that people agree that their condition in the state of nature is unsatisfactory, and so agree to transfer some of their rights to a central government, while retaining others. This is the theory of the social contract. There are many versions of natural rights theory and the social contract in seventeenth and eighteenth century European political philosophy, some conservative and some radical. Locke's version belongs on the radical side of the spectrum. These radical natural right theories influenced the ideologies of the American and French revolutions.