...[T]he objection which I have to the current utilitarianism is, that it recognizes no more developed form of morality–does not see that it has reached but the initial stage of moral science.Spencer says that morality can be a science if acts and their consequences are studied with regard to their benefit or harm - short-term, long-term, short-range and long-range. People are studying these things, even now, but they do so haphazardly in narrow fields (e.g. all of the social sciences, business management, finance, environmental sciences), never bringing their findings together in any systematic way. Particularly with regard to promulgating their findings to the masses.
Doubtless if utilitarians are asked whether it can be by mere chance that this kind of action works evil and that works good, they will answer no; they will admit that such sequences are parts of a necessary order among phenomena. But though this truth is beyond question; and though if there are causal relations between acts and their results, rules of conduct can become scientific only when they are deduced from these causal relations; there continues to be entire satisfaction with that form of utilitarianism in which these causal relations are practically ignored. It is supposed that in future, as now, utility is to be determined only by observation of results; and that there is no possibility of knowing by deduction from fundamental principles, what conduct must be detrimental and what conduct must be beneficial.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
See the link in previous post. This is from p. 53 (Sorry, I've been reading other things for a bit):
Posted by Al at 1:17 PM
Monday, September 10, 2012
Similarly of the education given to them, or provided for them. Goodness or badness is affirmed of it (often with little consistency however) according as its methods are so adapted to physical and psychical requirements, as to further the children’s lives for the time being, while preparing them for carrying on complete and prolonged adult life.
Herbert Spencer, Principles of Ethics (1887), Vol. I, p. 33.These ethical judgments we pass on self-regarding acts are ordinarily little emphasized; partly because the promptings of the self-regarding desires, generally strong enough, do not need moral enforcement, and partly because the promptings of the other-regarding desires, less strong, and often overridden, do need moral enforcement. Hence results a contrast. On turning to that second class of adjustments of acts to ends which subserve the rearing of offspring, we no longer find any obscurity in the application of the words good and bad to them, according as they are efficient or inefficient. The expressions good nursing and bad nursing, whether they refer to the supply of food, the quality and amount of clothing, or the due ministration to infantine wants from hour to hour, tacitly recognize as special ends which ought to be fulfilled, the furthering of the vital functions, with a view to the general end of continued life and growth. A mother is called good who, ministering to all the physical needs of her children, also adjusts her behavior in ways conducive to their mental health; and a bad father is one who either does not provide the necessaries of life for his family or otherwise acts in a manner injurious to their bodies or minds.
Posted by Al at 4:42 PM