Sunday, June 14, 2009

I'm going to blow your mind

For those that know me personally, or have been reading this blog long enough, you probably know how much of a philosophy nerd I am. And being the self proclaimed nerd, I am prone to thinking about the weirdest things anyone could ever imagine.

However, I'd like some input on Consequentialism, more commonly known in the phrase "The ends justify the means," verses that of Deontology, where every action must be morally right.

When using the phrase, "The ends justify the means," a good end for example would be a world without AIDs or HIV; however, is the end still considered right or good if the means to reach that end were to quarantine and shut off those infected from the world?

In Deontology, every single action you are involved in must be morally right, so in a hypothetical situation, if a scared girl running from a maniacle psychopath with a knife comes running to you for proctection, you have to hide her for protection, but if the psychopath comes to you and asks you if you know where the girl is, you can't lie. You have to tell the truth because lying is considered morally wrong. The girl ends up not being saved, however the rules of Deontology state that you have done nothing wrong.

For either side, there are many radical hypothetical situations you can fit in to show all the flaws of each theory, however is one more right than the other?

Is it better to have a good ending or outcome, even if the ways you have to reach that good is bad? Or is it better to treat each action as an end, where everything you do has to be morally right? What if your version of right is my version of wrong?

Just something for your brain to munch on for a while during the time I'm gone for my trip :)


  1. I guess one cannot look at every action as being just one action. We have to carefully weigh all the aspects and consequences of said action.
    If what we do infringes the moral rights of others, then what we do is wrong. (Like in the AIDS example).
    Yeah, it's complicated if you look at it in a purely rational manner.

  2. the best thing would be to NOT live in a neighborhood where this type of thing can just happen!

    but honestly, "morals" are so relative that i often dismiss that i idea and just make sure that everything feels as good as it can feel for all parties involved. "if it makes you happy, then it can't be that baaaaaaad..."

  3. Oh wow... Hmm... I'll have to come back to this :P

  4. O_O


    I say that whatever feels morally right, is morally right. If I wanted to lie to the psychopath, I would because it would morally be right and would be my truth, I suppose? I dunno. I suck at this xD

  5. ... *concept flies over head* Philosophy always gets me tied up in knots; especially theories which are impossible to prove or disprove either way... Anyway, have fun on your trip!

  6. Postmodernism (e.g. Wittgenstein) is bad because there's no way to get out once you stick to it. But I hate moral philosophy so I'm going to use it and attack your question.

    Questions about what's right or wrong depends on words that are dominated by personal experience. Each person has a slightly different definition of what's right or wrong which depends on how they were raised, or taught.

    So your questions are put on standby until you can tell me exactly what you mean by 'a good outcome', 'a bad outcome', or just 'good' and 'bad'.

    There's no sense in discussing an issue when the question is misunderstood.