MTGandP wrote:What sorts of intermediate steps might I offer him?
RyanCarey wrote:I'd take a lot of convincing to call these people 'shallow' utilitarians, with all the negative connotations that come with that term, rather than 'inactive' utilitarians...
I agree about giving them something like these Peter Singer books as a sort of call to action
I assert that nearly every sane person is already a utilitarian with respect to his or her self.
Where do people falter when applying utilitarianism more globally:
Ubuntu wrote:I seriously doubt that most utilitarians are ever going to consistently apply utilitarian reasoning to either their judgments when it comes to practical ethical issues or their behavior.
Ubuntu wrote:This is one reason why I don't consider myself to be a utilitarian (wouldn't want to hold myself up to a higher standard than I can meet)
Ubuntu wrote:and have no interest in promoting utilitarianism.
Ubuntu wrote:I'd prefer to identify as a value hedonist because I'd only be making a claim about what is objectively true
Ubuntu wrote:not presenting myself as an ethical role model
Why do you think utilitarians won't consistently apply utilitarian reasoning?
I don't think anyone on this forum is truly an ideal utilitarian -- its an impossible-to-meet standard where you can just continually be "better". So if you do sincerely think it better to reach the utilitarian ideal and work toward it yourself, I think you can consider yourself a utilitarian.
Why not? Though, if you're bad at it, then of course it might not maximize utility to do so!
What is value hedonism? Why do you think it is objectively true?
I don't think people here consider themselves ethical role models; nor is that what utilitarianism is about.
Me: Why do you think utilitarians won't consistently apply utilitarian reasoning?
Ubuntu: I'm basing this mostly on some of the posters I've encountered on this site and online generally.
Ubuntu wrote:to be clear, my concern is with the ratio of actually felt pleasure to pain in the universe and not the number of beings who feel it
That's a view I used to hold, though I ended up ditching it in favor of total utilitarianism through the conversation I had here in the thread on "Utilitronium Shockwave".
Thus I'm interested in what leads you to this intuition.
Also, how do you feel about future people?
How do you feel about the idea that we should voluntarily end the population now and spend all our resources, because in doing so we could make everyone happier (at the expense of all future generations who don't matter in a person-affecting way)?
Simon Rosenqvist wrote:Since I'm a "shallow" utilitarian, I feel I should explain myself.
Simon Rosenqvist wrote:Similarly, it is not self-evident that if people are act utilitarians this leads to more pleasure minus pain in the world than if people followed some other morality. Of course, it might still be more efficient to become an act utilitarian. But to simply assert this is not enough. We need an argument for why act utilitarianism is the best decision procedure.
Simon Rosenqvist wrote:Even in a perfect world, it is wholly unclear why it would be more efficient to have people try to do what would be best, rather than blindly following simple principles designed on a utilitarian basis. The human brain uses up to 20% of our available energy, and even with this calculative power we struggle to make correct and rational calculations even on such matters as what to buy for dinner. We are afflicted with psyhological biases, rationalization, and research has shown that we are even less rational in our decision making than previously thought. Add to this that the challenge for calculating consequences is many times more difficult for utilitarians than for egoists, since utilitarians need to consider all the consequences for all people that will ever live, while the egoist considers merely her own life.
Simon Rosenqvist wrote:Assumption: Common-sense morality is the so far most effective way of increasing total pleasure minus pain
Simon Rosenqvist wrote:Once again, the point is not that act utilitarianism is worse than all other moral systems. It is surely not the worst moral system. But as utilitarians, we should ask ourselves, is act utilitarianism the best system? It seems likely that it is not.
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