Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Me, Myself, and I, part 3

{Part one here}

{Part two here}

If one has a good moral theory, it seems that it should be pronounced. Taught to others. Publicized. But if Ethical Egoism is true, it would seem that its adherents, those who have grasped and understood its truth, shouldn't teach it to others. It would seem that if most people were taught the ethics of altruism, this would be the best situation for the egoist. Thus it would seem that if Ethical Egoism were true, its adherents should teach that it is false and that Altruistic Ethics is the correct theory. But this seems to undermine a feature of morality. Moral principles serve as action guides that inform us how to act in situations. Moral precepts should be teachable. Teach others how to act (this would be a necessary but not sufficient feature, character/virtue ethics and teleological ethics would also need to be included). Publicized so that others are morally informed agents. But if Ethical Egoism were true, not only would it be unwise for me to teach it, it just might be immoral for me to teach it. Teaching others to be egoists could easily turn out to be not in our best interest. And, principles should be taught since moral principles serve as action-guides to help resolve (among other things) interpersonal conflict. Furthermore, since Ethical Egoism isn't so crass as to say that we should do what benefits us in the here and now, but is a long-term plan, spanning across all of our future selves, it might not be in our best interest, considering all our selves, to promulgate Ethical Egoism to ourselves. Thus we shouldn't teach Ethical Egoism to ourselves. And, if we should, what is the morally relevant reason that allows us to discriminate between ourselves and others? This is one reason why ethicist Russ Shafer-Landau has pointed out the Ethical Egoism seems to imply that we should discriminate against people. Treat ourselves as special over against other humans. But this radical prejudice seems unfounded. If a moral principle P cannot be universalized, then I shouldn't teach it to myself even. If it can't be universalized, it doesn't even seem like a moral principle.

7 comments:

  1. YappleDapple11/28/2007 6:54 AM

    whoop dee do

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Teaching others to be egoists could easily turn out to be not in our best interest."

    That's right - the ethical egoist wants his neighbors to try to benefit from his efforts... Yeah, right.

    Another Triabonehead... keep trying.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I said...

    "Teaching others to be egoists could easily turn out to be not in our best interest."

    That's right - the ethical egoist wants his neighbors to try to benefit from his efforts... Yeah, right.

    Another Triabonehead... keep trying.

    **********

    That's right. You can be pretty sure that if a moral agent S acted atruistically, for example, S would do things in your best interest. If he held to egosim, he would do things in his best interest, which is probably not your best interest, in most cases.

    And, for future reference, saying, "Yeah, right. Uh-huh, right. Nice one, bone head." isn't usually considered an argument as far as I can tell. Though I may have missed the argumentum ad yeah suuuure you're right bonehead in one of my books -- I'll stick to my intuitions for now -- it's not usually considered good argument strategy to employ that line. It's similar, but not as devastating, to the argumentum ad neener neener neener you don't have a weener, that I've also read you employ in expert fashion from tiem to time. Best to stay away from both for now.

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  4. Teaching egoism certainly doesn't make sense, yet many persist both in practicing and teaching it. The teaching may not be overt, but when a society begins to incorporate egoism, it becomes a required ethic for otherwise non-egoists to practice in order to compete. Perhaps your caveat about grasping and understanding it's truth makes it well evident that many do NOT understand the implications of the ethic they practice.

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  5. Ego said:

    "Except that according to you everybody's actions are already preordained by God so in your system, what someone teaches can't affect someone else's actions unless God foreordained them to teach it and the other to follow it."

    You moron. That doesn't make the teachings false. That just means the person has no real choice in the matter.

    Big diff.

    ReplyDelete
  6. EgoMakarios said...

    Except that according to you actions are already preordained by God so in your system, what someone teaches can't affect someone else's actions unless God foreordained them to teach it and the other to follow it.

    **********

    Ego, I asked you to refrain from posting in my comboxes unless what you said was relevant to the point of the thread. I see you don't care to lead a morally virtuous life. I see that respecting other's wishes isn't part of your moral principles. I see that restrain isn't one of your virtues.

    Anyway,

    (i) I was giving an internal critique. So, the critique stands even if what you say is true.

    (ii) God could uses teachings as means to propel actions.

    (iii) Yes, no one could bring about an action that God didn't ordain. You muts believe actions pop out of non-existence from nothing. Uncaused events. That's absurd.

    Further comments by you will be deleted.

    ReplyDelete