Objections to Consequentialism

What do you think are the strongest objections to Consequentialism? (By 'Consequentialism' I roughly mean the unconstrained pursuit of the good -- which might be agent-relative, but shouldn't build
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What do you think are the strongest objections to Consequentialism? (By 'Consequentialism' I roughly mean the unconstrained pursuit of the good -- which might be agent-relative, but shouldn't build in intrinsic concern for traditional "side constraints" like promises, fairness, etc.)* Counterexamples: I've previously explained why I'm not impressed by the standard "counterexamples" to consequentialism (transplant, bridge, etc.).  In short, they involve situations where the supposedly "consequentialist" act seems morally reckless, and merely stipulating that it "really is" for the best predictably doesn't undo our intuitive aversion to such irresponsible behaviour.  I think it's a lot harder than most people realize to come up with a real case where an act both (i) maximizes rationally-expectable value, and yet (ii) seems morally repugnant on reflection.  So I wish it weren't so common for people to breezily dismiss Act Consequentialism with a mere hand-wave. . .

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News source: Philosophy, et cetera

The Sharing Economy II: Taxes

In my previous essay on the new sharing economy I discussed the matter of regulation in regards to such companies as Uber and Airbnb. In this essay, I’ll cover the subjects of taxes. As with
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Sheraton Hotel (Photo credit: kevin dooley) In my previous essay on the new sharing economy I discussed the matter of regulation in regards to such companies as Uber and Airbnb. In this essay, I’ll cover the subjects of taxes. As with regulation, some people are quite opposed to taxes. Other people are fine with taxes—at least with imposing taxes on others. In general, though, people prefer to not pay taxes. As such, it is hardly a surprise that the new sharing economy includes various attempts to avoid taxes. One example of this is the case of services like Airbnb. On the face of it, these services are just providing a means by which a person can rent out his spare room, condo or apartment. For example, a person who will be in another state for a few months might use Airbnd to rent out his apartment so he can have some income to offset the rent. Looked at one way, this service is just a more organized version of the old informal economy in which people do a sublease, rent out their. . .

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News source: Talking Philosophy

The Objects of Thought

2014.07.32 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Tim Crane, The Objects of Thought, Oxford University Press, 2013, 182pp., $45.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780199682744.   Reviewed by
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2014.07.32 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Tim Crane, The Objects of Thought, Oxford University Press, 2013, 182pp., $45.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780199682744.   Reviewed by Pierre Jacob, CNRS, Institut Jean Nicod, École Normale Supérieure The specific goal of Tim Crane's elegant and original book is to offer a fresh solution to the problem: how can some of our thoughts about non-existent objects be true and others false? As it turns out, Crane's solution is openly psychologistic: the book purports to offer piece-meal psychological explanations of why and how humans sometimes entertain true thoughts about non-existent objects. Furthermore, Crane's appeal to psychologism (or psychological explanation) shows up in two specific unexpected areas: in his own explanation of what domains of quantification are and in his metaphysical distinction between substantial and pleonastic (or non-substantial) properties and relations. This problem (henceforth, the problem of. . .

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

An approach to modern music

Joe Queenan, who has attended roughly 1,000 classical music concerts, offers a warning: Beware the savage, conscienceless, blue-haired ladies…
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Joe Queenan, who has attended roughly 1,000 classical music concerts, offers a warning: Beware the savage, conscienceless, blue-haired ladies… more»

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News source: Arts & Letters Daily

In Tolkien’s shadow

The Tolkien problem. Hobbits and dragons dominate the popular imagination. The result: We’ve lost sight of actual Medieval history?…
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The Tolkien problem. Hobbits and dragons dominate the popular imagination. The result: We’ve lost sight of actual Medieval history?… more»

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News source: Arts & Letters Daily

Indian Buddhist Philosophy

2014.07.31 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Amber Carpenter, Indian Buddhist Philosophy, Acumen, 2014, 313pp., $24.95 (pbk), ISBN 9781844652983. Reviewed by Christopher
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2014.07.31 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Amber Carpenter, Indian Buddhist Philosophy, Acumen, 2014, 313pp., $24.95 (pbk), ISBN 9781844652983. Reviewed by Christopher Bartley, University of Liverpool This is a closely argued and engaging book discussing the varied and sophisticated Buddhist philosophical traditions. It is an ideal introduction for philosophers wanting to learn about Buddhist thought. Amber Carpenter encourages us to consider the viability as a moral outlook for ourselves a range of ideas stemming from the teachings of Gautama, the enlightened one (the Buddha), who renounced the everyday social life and ritualistic religion of his day in favour of detachment and homelessness. She likens the Buddhist philosophers to the classical Greeks in their belief that, as the late Iris Murdoch put it, metaphysics is a guide to morals where metaphysics means the edifying attempt to understand the world and our relation to it. Furthermore, both. . .

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

Question about Religion - Stephen Maitzen responds

Isn't evil prove that God exist ? 1. Evil exists. 2. Evil is a departure from the way things ought to be. 3. If there is a departure from the way things ought to be, then there is a way things
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Isn't evil prove that God exist ? 1. Evil exists. 2. Evil is a departure from the way things ought to be. 3. If there is a departure from the way things ought to be, then there is a way things ought to be. 4. Therefore, there is a way things ought to be. 5. If there is a way things ought to be, then there is a design plan for things. 6. If there is a design plan for things, then there must be a Designer. 7. Therefore, there must be a Designer. If the universe is the product of chance as opposed to intelligence, then there is no design or purpose built into the universe. Since one can rationally apply a standard of goodness to an object only if that object was designed with the purpose of meeting that standard, isn't evil which itself is a deviation from that standard of goodness prove that God exist? Response from: Stephen Maitzen Thanks for the interesting argument. I'd challenge premise (5) for starters. Not all normative truths require a designer or decree-giver. Consider. . .

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News source: AskPhilosophers.org | "All"

Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics

[Revised entry by Jan Faye on July 24, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] As the theory of the atom, quantum mechanics is perhaps the most successful theory in the history of science. It
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[Revised entry by Jan Faye on July 24, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] As the theory of the atom, quantum mechanics is perhaps the most successful theory in the history of science. It enables physicists, chemists, and technicians to calculate and predict the outcome of a vast number of experiments and to create new and advanced technology based on the insight into the behavior of atomic objects. But it is also a theory that challenges our imagination. It seems to violate...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Question about Art - Jonathan Westphal responds

Can you name an attribute such that all the paintings which have this attribute are good paintings? Response from: Jonathan Westphal You might think that translucency is a good thing in a
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Can you name an attribute such that all the paintings which have this attribute are good paintings? Response from: Jonathan Westphal You might think that translucency is a good thing in a watercolor, but not in gouache. Versimilitude might be good in a portrait, but not in an expressionist landscape. And so on. On the other hand there is a logical (or with a stretch a "metaphysical") attribute that all good paintings have. They meet the criteria for excellence in paintings of that type. Helen Knight on the use of "good" in aesthetic connections is brilliant on this subject.

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News source: AskPhilosophers.org | "All"

Question about Time - Allen Stairs responds

I've read that as we go faster time dilates and so time slows down. So my question is that If suppose a person in a spacecraft accelerates to the speed of light. After sometime (in his prospective)
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I've read that as we go faster time dilates and so time slows down. So my question is that If suppose a person in a spacecraft accelerates to the speed of light. After sometime (in his prospective) he decides to decelerate finally to much much lower than the speed of light. Then during all of this how much time will have passed for everything outside? Will he be able to decelerate at all? I mean for an outside observer, who by some means, is able to see everything that is happening in the spaceship, will the person be frozen (in time) and therefore not able to push the button that decelerates the ship and ultimately travel infinitely in time and space? (again another assumption that the fuel does not run out). And (in the prospective of the space traveler) after pushing the button where will he be in time with respect to the observer? I hope I am able to convey my problem. Thanks in advance. Response from: Allen Stairs A good question. The nub of the matter is this: if something. . .

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News source: AskPhilosophers.org | "All"