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Old Oct 19th 2014, 07:34 PM
Abishai100 Abishai100 is offline
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Lightbulb Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is a theory in normative ethics holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes utility, usually defined as maximizing total benefit and reducing suffering or the negatives. This theory is an economic analysis that is human-centered (or anthropocentric) and has a moral foundation. Classical utilitarianism's two most influential contributors are Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill (source of summary: Wikipedia).

Utilitarianism can be differentiated from Consequentialism (the theory or philosophical view that methods to ends must be measured and judged simply in terms of all costs) and Nihilism (the theory or philosophical view that sentiment and meaning can be subtracted from condition evaluations in favor of a simplified cost-benefit analysis) in that it favors an analysis of cost based on resource availability rather than resource demand.

Utilitarianism is in some ways very strict and in some other ways, oddly, relatively charitable.

We can use Utilitarianism to analyze financially challenged socialist states and monopolistic capitalist states.


Utilitarianism is useful in modern age analyses of consumerism-based culture exposure (i.e., Taco Bell).






Utilitarianism (Wikipedia)

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Old Oct 20th 2014, 02:35 PM
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Daktoria Daktoria is offline
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Default Re: Utilitarianism

Capitalism aside...

...the problem with utilitarianism is it dismisses:

a) The subjectivity of people's utility preferences (what's painful or pleasurable to some isn't the same to everyone, and the quantity of pain and pleasure isn't the same), and

b) Administrators' calculation of utility preferences is no different from users' in the system. Administrators are dissociating from the system they're coming to utilitarian judgments over as if they're supernaturally different from those they're judging.

In fact, many capitalists use these excuses themselves. They claim that others in society are useless, that they're utopians who don't look out for folk community common sense in terms of maximizing society's pleasure or minimizing society's pain, and that they're not team players because they seek to usurp the traditional way of doing things which is smooth sailing.

Furthermore, many capitalists claim that consumer culture is a sign of collectivism in terms of people wanting to be lazy bums who aren't productive members of society.
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Old Oct 21st 2014, 09:59 PM
Tom Palven Tom Palven is offline
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Default Re: Utilitarianism

Philosophy Professor John Rawls preached utilitarianism as the top philosophy professor at Harvard for decades.

Imho utilitarianism amounts to a philosophical underpinning for Marxism, advocating the greatest good for the greatest number, the details to be determined by The State, and the noble desired ends justify any means deemed to be required.

The bottom line is if the powers-that-be decide that the greatest good for the great number could be attained by exterminating the Jews, or war resisters, or billionaires, or homosexuals, then the state should pursue that effort.

It is diametrically opposed to allowing spontaneous order and individual liberty to prevail.
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Old Oct 22nd 2014, 08:04 AM
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Default Re: Utilitarianism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daktoria View Post
Capitalism aside...

...the problem with utilitarianism is it dismisses:

a) The subjectivity of people's utility preferences (what's painful or pleasurable to some isn't the same to everyone, and the quantity of pain and pleasure isn't the same), and

b) Administrators' calculation of utility preferences is no different from users' in the system. Administrators are dissociating from the system they're coming to utilitarian judgments over as if they're supernaturally different from those they're judging.
That pretty much captures it. One could reasonably argue that everyone believes in utilitarianism...they just have different views of what is and isn't "useful," or rather, different conceptions of what a thing should be useful for.

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It is diametrically opposed to allowing spontaneous order and individual liberty to prevail.
One might reasonably ask 'Why bother about achieving "spontaneous order and individual liberty" if not for the sake of achieving "the greatest good for the greatest number"'?

If the purpose of securing individual liberty is to bring many good things to lots of people, then isn't that just another flavor of utilitarianism?

And if that isn't the purpose...well, then what is? Would you still be in favor of individual liberty if it turned out that having it made humanity wretched and awful?
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Old Oct 22nd 2014, 12:38 PM
Tom Palven Tom Palven is offline
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Would you still be in favor of individual liberty if it turned out that having it made humanity wretched and awful?
That's a good question, and I'd have to give it some thought.

But, imho, it is free people who end up creating the greatest good for the greatest number.

And that includes the freedom to cross any governmental borders and to live and work anywhere anyone wants to without being confronted by misguided, short-sighted, provincial, authoritarian, luddites and statists egged on by demagogic political hacks and idiotic radio commentators.
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Old Oct 22nd 2014, 08:19 PM
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Default Re: Utilitarianism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daktoria View Post
Capitalism aside...

...the problem with utilitarianism is it dismisses:

a) The subjectivity of people's utility preferences (what's painful or pleasurable to some isn't the same to everyone, and the quantity of pain and pleasure isn't the same), and

b) Administrators' calculation of utility preferences is no different from users' in the system. Administrators are dissociating from the system they're coming to utilitarian judgments over as if they're supernaturally different from those they're judging.
Actually, capitalism does a fair job of addressing both issues by the mechanism of the market.

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Furthermore, many capitalists claim that consumer culture is a sign of collectivism in terms of people wanting to be lazy bums who aren't productive members of society.
And that only proves that many capitalists are idiots. Consumer culture is their fucking bread and butter!

It is a common joke at my place of employment that if our customers weren't so lazy and stupid, we'd be out of business and have no jobs!
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Old Oct 22nd 2014, 08:26 PM
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Default Re: Utilitarianism

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Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
That pretty much captures it. One could reasonably argue that everyone believes in utilitarianism...they just have different views of what is and isn't "useful," or rather, different conceptions of what a thing should be useful for.
Hence the popularity of free markets and democratic elections.

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One might reasonably ask 'Why bother about achieving "spontaneous order and individual liberty" if not for the sake of achieving "the greatest good for the greatest number"'?
How does one achieve spontaneous order? That seems like a rather artificial or abstract theoretical concept. Order is usually the result of either timeless forces or human endeavor - both seem to be temporary.
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Old Oct 22nd 2014, 09:56 PM
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How does one achieve spontaneous order? That seems like a rather artificial or abstract theoretical concept. Order is usually the result of either timeless forces or human endeavor - both seem to be temporary.
I have no idea. But you could plug whatever system or objective you want into that sentence and the question(s) would still stand.
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Old Oct 24th 2014, 05:15 PM
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I have no idea. But you could plug whatever system or objective you want into that sentence and the question(s) would still stand.
I guess I'm just objecting to the idea that "order" is a natural state of affairs.

Order comes from organization and organization comes from laws and power.
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Old Oct 25th 2014, 11:49 AM
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Dominick Dominick is offline
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Default Re: Utilitarianism

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I guess I'm just objecting to the idea that "order" is a natural state of affairs.
Practically all order in the natural world, i.e. the universe, is self-organized.

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Order comes from organization and organization comes from laws and power.
Self-organization is also organization.
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