Tuesday, October 4, 2011

PHILOSOPHY WEEK!!! ethical theories

Knowing for some time now that I was going to be doing a PHILOSOPHY WEEK!!! this fall, I had been doing a little bitta Googling philosophy-related words, icons and ideas. You know, in the hopes that I might find a real nugget.

Quick little disclaimer: I want to make clear that I'm not professing to be an expert in philosophy.

Anyway, in this scientific research, I came across a couple main ethical theories I'd like to talk about today, ones that you are most likely to be familiar with, however consciously: Deontology, Utilitarianism and Pragmatic Ethics.


Note: not to be confused with Dianetics.

Please allow me to break it down for you: "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law." Most obvious example, and being religious is not a prerequisite for deontology, is obeying a word of a chosen God or religion.

Basically, following duties or rules, like the ten commandments, is moral, without worrying so much about the consequences.

Like, take the tenth commandment - do not covet your neighbor's wife...or any stuff your God has bestowed upon your neighbor, or friend, or coworker, or whatever, you get it. But in the literal case of the the dude banging his neighbor's wife, the immoral deontologist asks, "wait, is it still coveting if I think she's ugly and I was kind of drunk and she was totally DTF?"


John Stuart Mill explains that Utilitarianism is simply the act that produces the most good for the most people. He also famously said to the two drunk chicks that just stumbled into the bar at his bachelor party: "Blowjobs for everybody!"

Clearly he gets his own philosopheez.

What's in it for you? Dude, if you look at Utilitarianism, under the Consequentialism tree, climb just one branch over and you'll find Egoism. Climb yet another branch over and you'll find another weirdo playing with his pud. Egoism, that's what's in it for you. Read on.

Basically it's the most good for either you (egoism) or everybody involved (utilitarianism). Let's look at the example of Mr. Mill's bachelor party from before, you know, to really drive the point home.

So John (Stuart Mill) is chillin' at the local watering hole with a couple (nine) of his closest philosobros, just bachelor partyin' it up, when those wayward drunk slores stumbled in. Being the good utilitarian bro that he is, he orders a round of Beej's for his friends, on the slores' human capital dime.

The egoist says, from Mill's perspective, "fuck yeah", homeboy get's a sloppy one from a chick, and all his crusty-ass pals do too. #winning

The utilitarian sees a whole lot of good for the most (ten bros), however unfortunately, at the expense of the least (two hos). Whoever said "bros before hos" just may be a utilitarian.

Pragmatic Ethics

John Dewey is the name most associated with Pragmatic Ethics. What does it mean? It means that ethical pragmatists believe that much like science, the morals of a society are constantly in flux, never quite complete. As the society moves forward, their ethics and morals will be updated.

Why should you give a shit? Because it's the ultimate "you're wrong, suck a fat one." While I can't think of many things that are more subjective than philosophy and ethics and morals 'n shit, it's hard to argue with lab-tested S.C.I.E.N.C.E. And dropping science references, or even just saying the word "science" in arguments is a surefire way to win.

Let's look at a common real-life sitch: your college girlfriend of six months won't indulge your scat fetish? Easy, take the philosophical high road, and gently explain to her that while yeah, right now shawtie ain't down with the brown, her opinion on the matter is incomplete and just hasn't quite evolved to where it's supposed to be.

So baby-girl that's hardly a solid reason for you to not let me dump all over you.

Think PHILOSOPHY WEEK!!! sucks so far? I don't think tomorrow's PHILOSOPUMP is going to do anything to change that!

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