Thursday, September 20, 2012

More Spencer

See the link in previous post. This is from p. 53 (Sorry, I've been reading other things for a bit):
...[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.

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.
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.

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