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Old 04-15-2007, 11:27 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Achilles
Would it be inaccurate to interject that what we're looking for is a creature's capacity for suffering as compared to its capacity for happiness? A bee has relatively diminutive capacity for suffering or happiness especially when compared to the highly allergic human that it is about to sting, correct? So it wouldn't be immoral to kill a bee that was trying to attack you. Conversely, a cat has a relatively higher capacity of suffering and happiness, therefore it would not be moral for an allergic person to randomly kill cats.
That is the whole concept of Ky above. A person has a high Ky and a bee has a small Ky. An person allergic to bees also would have a high δy.

Also, we would then have to somehow show individual suffering/happiness as compared to social suffering/happiness (e.g. deontology). For instance, is it moral for someone to throw oneself onto a grenade in order to save a group of complete strangers? How about to save a hive of honey bees?
That's where the summation comes in (∑ δxyKy).

Lastly, I'd like to inquire about the component of will. If I'm a doctor and I have 5 patients that will all die within an hour if they do not receive organ transplants and I have a patient that just died that happens to have matching organs, would it be ethical to perform the transplants if the deceased is not an organ donor?
I think we're talking about the distress that would be caused to society (eg. families affected, the hospital, etc.) to know that doctor disregarded the will of the deceased. But what if no one knew and the doctor felt no distress over his action? Hmm, I don't see how the equation would take that into account. There's no factor for something like a categorical imperative.

What if the potential donor were not dead but in a persistent vegetative state? Unconscious from a head wound, but expected to make a full recovery within hours? Fully alert and there to see about a sprained ankle?
Again, forgiving the lack of categorical imperative... assuming society knew about the doctor's action, there would be increasing δsociety for each of those scenarios. Since the donor would is still, there would be some factor δpatient to account for, especially since organ donation would likely result in his death (assumed to be the maximum distress for an organism).
I think my point is that you can have a completely objective set of morals that are not represented by one equation. Mathematics is objective, yet we do not try to nail the study down to just one rule, rather we accept that there are a wide variety of rules.
Similarly, just as "math" represents arithmetic, algebra, calculus, geometry, finite mathematics, etc, "morality" might not be reducible to a single line of logical statements.
The idea that there exists objective morality suggests there should be a definable function of variables that defines morality. The assertion is that morality can be arrived at by logic. If we cannot apply logical symbology to morality then we cannot make this assertion. And if we cannot say morality is based on logic, we cannot say it objective. If there are many various theories and fields describing the origins of morality, then morality indeed is subjective.
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