1. Joined
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    02 Mar '07 22:321 edit
    For anyone who doesn't know an ethical theory attempts to say what is good, bad, wrong right etc etc - basically morality.

    Now, im going to give a little background, if your not interested in this, go to "So, im going to create my own theory".

    (Regrettably) i chose philosophy and ethics for A level, because it looked interesting and the teacher let us eat biscuits.. now in my second year of it i challenged the teacher that all the ethical theories have flaws in, and that those flaws can be spotted by us (a bunch of half ars*d 17/18 year olds) in a lesson, when the professional philosopher who came up with the theory could not see him/her self. The teacher's argument was that its hard to see the flaws when you are immersed in your own theory, which is ridiculous. I then went on to claim that the philosophers do nothing that our class couldnt do, and that they achieve nothing anyway, i then said that if he was to set a homework of "create your own ethical theory" we could come up with a theory as 'good' as any we have learnt about, to which he replied "okay then, thats your homework".


    So, im going to create my own theory.

    Im thinking of something along the lines of the following: can you please spot flaws in it, so i can modify it so its not completely stupid?

    I think that all the matters is intentions; if you intend something to be good then it is the right thing to do. For an analogy (philosophers love their analogies) take sadistic parents, who teach their child from an early age that love means hate and hate means love. He prays to God and says that he hates Him - clearly, his intentions are good and God won't punish him for that, He will punish the parents who's intentions it was to get their child sent to hell. I know this sounds ridiculous but i want to justify the use of intentions and not anything else.
    Now, a lot of theories use intentions, but my point is - it doesn't matter what theory you use to judge what you are doing, as long as you do something and believe it is the right thing, you are right to do that thing. Whether you are employing an ethical theory or just look at a situation and say "i reckon option A is a better action to take then option B" it doesnt matter, as long as you do it for the right reason. Does this make sense?


    It doesnt matter if my theory has flaws in, as long as it isnt dis proveable, and is about as solid as 'professional philosopher's' theories (which by the way is-not very).

    A challenge i can see in the theory is that it justifies Hitler's actions if he genuinly felt what he was doing was right.

    Can anyone help me out with this please? I dont want to gop back with a theory that gets laughed at.

    One last note, although iv never heard of a theory exactly like this, it seems likely there might be one - i tried "intentionism" on wikipedia and got nothing though. 😛
    Im tired writing this so i hope it makes sense, please let me know if it doesnt.
  2. Joined
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    02 Mar '07 23:18
    Originally posted by mazziewag
    For anyone who doesn't know an ethical theory attempts to say what is good, bad, wrong right etc etc - basically morality.

    Now, im going to give a little background, if your not interested in this, go to "So, im going to create my own theory".

    (Regrettably) i chose philosophy and ethics for A level, because it looked interesting and the te ...[text shortened]... red writing this so i hope it makes sense, please let me know if it doesnt.
    I don't know where to start, the notion that philosophers do nothing your class could not is ridiculous. Your claim that 'professional philosophers' make less than solid arguments is also unsupported. Quite apart from that, your initial assessment of 'intensionism' is ambiguous, immature and alludes to a lack of knowledge on the subject of moral philosophy.

    To disprove your theory all I have to do is show that there is a case where the your intended action is morally wrong. Consider this situation: You believe that your country is a matter of great pride and importance (perhaps you live in the Mid-West of America) and when it goes to war you join-up and are sent to invade another country. Whilst there you are ordered to shoot at a man running from the scene of a terrorist attack. You open fire and the man is killed. Upon investigation you realise he was running after a man who stole his wallet. You intended to do the right thing, but clearly your actions were morally wrong (you killed an innocent man).

    Even if you don't like that example, the Hitler one clearly destroys your idea. We haven't even mentioned how insanity, misinformation, accidental action etc. might affect the patient of any such analogy. I suggest you go read up on ethical theory for a few years before you assume you know everything, philosophers don't study it for no reason you know.
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    02 Mar '07 23:32
    Maybe i went a little far, what i mean is - there are flaws in all the moral theories we have studied, and the teacher says there are and other philosophers all say there are. My challenge is to come up with a theory which can stand up as well as theirs can, I.E not be disprovable.

    Now, id say that the Hitler challenge needn't be a flaw. It is an uncomfortable side to the argument, but someone could argue that Hitler was right to do what he did, but only if he trully believed it to be correct. (I dont believe he did think what he was doing was right, but there we go-it could be argued). This is not a flaw, surely? Your argument about the innocent man killed being immoral is wrong in my opinion as the person clearly thought he was doing the right thing, it can be argued that this makes it a correct and moral argument and thus your point remains valid as a challenge but not a flaw.

    Your point about the incapable of rational thought - i would say that these people can be faced with a choice and choose an option we would view as having a bad outcome, however if such a mentally ill (for example) person were to genuinly think he was doing the right thing a God would not punish him for it, and thus it is not wrong. Would God make people who are capable onlt of immoral choices and thus doomed to hell?
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    02 Mar '07 23:37
    Originally posted by mazziewag
    Maybe i went a little far, what i mean is - there are flaws in all the moral theories we have studied, and the teacher says there are and other philosophers all say there are. My challenge is to come up with a theory which can stand up as well as theirs can, I.E not be disprovable.

    Now, id say that the Hitler challenge needn't be a flaw. It is an uncom ...[text shortened]... t wrong. Would God make people who are capable onlt of immoral choices and thus doomed to hell?
    Do you think the killing of the innocent man was morally permissible?

    Your theory seems to presuppose a belief in god, is this the case? I only deal in non-religious morals.
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    02 Mar '07 23:38
    i disagree with your philosophy, strongly.
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    02 Mar '07 23:41
    Originally posted by EcstremeVenom
    i disagree with your philosophy, strongly.
    Its not my philosphy, its a theory which i dont believe necessarily, it just is the best i could come up with. But please, tell me why you do.
  7. Donationbbarr
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    02 Mar '07 23:412 edits
    Originally posted by mazziewag
    Maybe i went a little far, what i mean is - there are flaws in all the moral theories we have studied, and the teacher says there are and other philosophers all say there are. My challenge is to come up with a theory which can stand up as well as theirs can, I.E not be disprovable.

    Now, id say that the Hitler challenge needn't be a flaw. It is an uncom ...[text shortened]... t wrong. Would God make people who are capable onlt of immoral choices and thus doomed to hell?
    Ethical theories that fail to accord with our deepest held first-order moral judgments are, to that extent, defective. Any ethical theory that entails that genocide is permissible is an ethical theory that has been disconfirmed. Your failure to see this point indicates that you think that the only way to disconfirm an ethical theory is to derive a contradiction from the theory directly (without importing other substantive normative assumptions like, say, that genocide is morally wrong). That is, you take ethical theory disconfirmation to be a purely formal affair. This is a mistake on your part, as you will surely recognize as your studies continue.
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    02 Mar '07 23:49
    Originally posted by Starrman
    Do you think the killing of the innocent man was morally permissible?

    Your theory seems to presuppose a belief in god, is this the case? I only deal in non-religious morals.
    Im not religious, but i guess i did.

    But still, i think the accidental killing of an innocent person is not morally wrong. I think the person is excused of any moral responsibility for the action if they genuinely thought it was a good and right action. This does not need a God for, i think i just assumed you was religious in answering you.

    This raises an issue with manslaughter charge i think.
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    02 Mar '07 23:54
    Originally posted by bbarr
    Ethical theories that fail to accord with our deepest held first-order moral judgments are, to that extent, defective. Any ethical theory that entails that genocide is permissible is an ethical theory that has been disconfirmed. Your failure to see this point indicates that you think that the only way to disconfirm an ethical theory is to derive a con ...[text shortened]... affair. This is a mistake on your part, as you will surely recognize as your studies continue.
    You raise a good point, i could bring in fixed rules to make a framework.
    I want the following point to be taken in the knowledge that i do not advocate this theory, i am merely making one up and testing the waters to see if it stands up at all, and modifying it as needed.
    However, could it not be argued that genocide is wrong-obviously, but not the fault of the perpotrator? If the person, Eg Hitler, thought he was doing the right thing then surely the blame of genocide would lie with whatever gave him the wrong impression that it was right and necessary eg traumas or other misdirections that weren't his fault?
  10. Donationbbarr
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    02 Mar '07 23:57
    Originally posted by mazziewag
    Im not religious, but i guess i did.

    But still, i think the accidental killing of an innocent person is not morally wrong. I think the person is excused of any moral responsibility for the action if they genuinely thought it was a good and right action. This does not need a God for, i think i just assumed you was religious in answering you.

    This raises an issue with manslaughter charge i think.
    Suppose I genuinely believe that it is morally required of me to set children on fire. Does this suffice for it being morally required of me to set children on fire? If so, then you have a reductio of your theory. If not, then you need to revise your theory accordingly.
  11. Standard memberjoneschr
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    02 Mar '07 23:592 edits
    Originally posted by mazziewag
    However, could it not be argued that genocide is wrong-obviously, but not the fault of the perpotrator?
    I believe this was the defense of Adolf Eichmann, who was hanged, as well as several other Nazi war criminals. Not that this really answers your question.
  12. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    03 Mar '07 00:04
    Originally posted by mazziewag
    For anyone who doesn't know an ethical theory attempts to say what is good, bad, wrong right etc etc - basically morality.

    Now, im going to give a little background, if your not interested in this, go to "So, im going to create my own theory".

    (Regrettably) i chose philosophy and ethics for A level, because it looked interesting and the te ...[text shortened]... red writing this so i hope it makes sense, please let me know if it doesnt.
    It's not bad, but you hamstring yourself from the get-go by making "good" an a priori assumption. You intend for something to be good. Yet, the entire idea, as far as I can see it, is to define good. That makes it circular. However, if you can break out of that (and evolutionary theory is a good place to start (and end)) then you'll be sound as the proverbial pound.
  13. Donationbbarr
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    03 Mar '07 00:05
    Originally posted by mazziewag
    You raise a good point, i could bring in fixed rules to make a framework.
    I want the following point to be taken in the knowledge that i do not advocate this theory, i am merely making one up and testing the waters to see if it stands up at all, and modifying it as needed.
    However, could it not be argued that genocide is wrong-obviously, but not the fa ...[text shortened]... ssion that it was right and necessary eg traumas or other misdirections that weren't his fault?
    Your suggestion about moral responsibility is equally absurd, unless you are prepared to claim that general ignorance of moral requirements is generally exculpatory.
  14. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    03 Mar '07 00:07
    Originally posted by mazziewag
    Maybe i went a little far, what i mean is - there are flaws in all the moral theories we have studied, and the teacher says there are and other philosophers all say there are. My challenge is to come up with a theory which can stand up as well as theirs can, I.E not be disprovable.

    Now, id say that the Hitler challenge needn't be a flaw. It is an uncom ...[text shortened]... t wrong. Would God make people who are capable onlt of immoral choices and thus doomed to hell?
    I think Starrman makes a valid point, but you both still need to consider why killing an innocent man is a bad thing. Once you get to that point, I think, you'll start to understand how to construct a good philosophy.
  15. Standard memberjoneschr
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    03 Mar '07 00:181 edit
    Originally posted by scottishinnz
    I think Starrman makes a valid point, but you both still need to consider why killing an innocent man is a bad thing. Once you get to that point, I think, you'll start to understand how to construct a good philosophy.
    Why is it?

    I've never taken a philosophy course.

    It's easy to see that it's wrong because it inflicts pain on his family, etc. But the same could be said of killing a guilty man.

    You could say it's wrong because god tells us killing is wrong, but that disregards our assumption that religion is excluded.

    You could say its wrong because the majority of people would consider it wrong, but what about the minority that think it was right? Or, in other moral cases where the determination of a majority would be difficult.

    I remember now why I never took a philosophy course.
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