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Monday, March 08, 2004

"some sites are like porno mags
others like dictionary
and some like a bloody film

yours is like a school publication

its .......... just not meant to be commented upon "

Gee.


"Too often, we are told that virtue lies in sacrifice, meekness, service to some good or authority higher than ourselves. When writers and directors try to create a character who embodies such virtues, they almost inevitably come up with a simpleton like Forrest Gump.

By contrast, consider the Iliad and the Odyssey. Those works present many characters who meet Hibbs' call for complex, realistic, and attractive portraits of virtuous men (and, on occasion, women). But those works upheld an ethical framework that valued cunning, pride, and self-interest as well as honor and bravery. When greed, sensuality, and self-interest are considered vices, it stands to reason that only the villains will display those traits. And maybe that attitude, not a fascination with evil per se, is one reason the bad guys in film and TV are often much more interesting than the good guys."

More Than Zero (review of Shows About Nothing: Nihilism in Popular Culture From The Exorcist to Seinfeld)


Utilitarianism is based on two premises... The first premise is the belief in consequentialism. Specifically, that morality is concerned with the effects of actions on the happiness of individuals. The second premise is a belief in a maximization principle. Specifically, the right action is the one which has as its consequence the greatest happiness of the greatest number. It is not easy to realize in today's society what a radical departure the first premise was from the conventional wisdom of its time. The second premise is a foundation of todays ubiquitous use of cost-benefit analysis.

Deontological theories of morality take as their premise the belief that human beings have an intuitive knowledge of right and wrong. Associated with this approach is the belief that human beings have certain rights, and that actions which adversely affect such rights are morally wrong. Historically, one immediately thinks of the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; currently, one is aware of the demands for woman's rights, gay rights, and a variety of economic rights. Since most of us do have strong feelings of right and wrong, there surely is a psychological basis for the deontological approach to morality.

Social contract theory... takes as its premise that there is an agreement between an individual and society in which the individual agrees to submit to the authority of the government and its laws in return for the government's protection of the individual's life and property. These theories were primarily concerned with the moral obligations of citizens and governments.

The deontologist believes that individuals have certain moral rights which cannot be sacrificed for the benefit of others; the consequentialist believes that morally correct action depends on its effects. The primary objection to the deontological view is that, in the absence of religious authority, its adherents provide no alternative basis for their choice of moral rights. Their final appeal, as expressed in many papers, is to "moral intuition" or "what we know is right".

History shows that moral rules evolve over time. A most striking example is slavery. It is now almost universally agreed that the institution of slavery is immoral. Yet almost up to modern times citizens who considered themselves to be highly moral owned slaves. At present only "animal rights" advocates, a small minority, consider it immoral to kill animals for food or use them in medical research. In future times will the present majority who disregard animal rights be considered to be as immoral as those who formerly accepted slavery? The morality of slavery and animal rights is fundamentally related to the question of who are members of the social group to whom the rules of morality apply. One way in which the evolution of morality can be viewed is as the expansion of the concept of society-defined as the group to whom one's moral rules apply-from family, to clan, to city, to country, to all persons, and (perhaps) to animals.

The premises we propose as a basis for moral choices are: What is morally correct depends upon consequences; the desired consequences are those leading to happiness; moral rules should be choices made to promote happiness.

Source: Morality/Ethics - A Philosophical Discussion of the Basis for Contemporary Moral Choices
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