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Old 04-15-2007, 12:37 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by tk102
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.
That's where the summation comes in (∑ δxyKy).
Fair enough. Thanks for clarifying.

Originally Posted by tk102
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?
This seems to assume that the family and/or the doctor should feel distress over his actions (assuming the "dead" scenario and not any of the others).

EDIT: I just re-read this section and realize that we may have missed each other slightly here. You appear to be looking at this from the perspective of the negative social consequence for the hospital, the deceased person's family, etc. This assumes that the action itself in inherently immoral and should be viewed negatively. My argument (which was vague) is such judgments should be the result of process, rather than part of the process itself.

To restate my point without posing it as a question:

I believe that it would be absolutely moral for a doctor to "part out" a corpse to save 5 lives because this would maximize social happiness (the other patients, their families, and loved ones, etc) with absolutely no impact to social (or individual) suffering. The patient is dead, so his or her rights and freedoms aren't violated because they are no longer applicable. In some cultures, the deceased person's family would feel the act is immoral, however if the deceased was a organ donor, they would not. This tells me that the act itself is not immoral, rather the how the act is perceived determines its "morality". In other words, this moral stance is relative, rather than absolute.

There, I think I got it all that time.

Originally Posted by tk102
Hmm, I don't see how the equation would take that into account. There's no factor for something like a categorical imperative.
The categorical imperative is what I had hoped to highlight.

Originally Posted by tk102
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).
Which is tricky. Certainly we would be providing the maximum social benefit with minimum social suffering by parting out the sore ankle guy, but we would still be murdering a healthy man. Thank goodness the categorical imperative prevents us from doing so.

However there might be a case for deceased/vegetative state scenarios. The reason that I brought up will is that I think it should be reduced to 0 in some cases and such an equation would need to factor that in (unless this is accounted for/agreed upon in the part that accounts for categorical imperative).

Originally Posted by tk102
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.
No, I agree, but my point was we don't point to one line of logical symbols and claim that it represents all of mathematics (at least I assume that we don't). In other words, there is no one equation that perfect encapsulates all of the study of mathematics, so why should that be the case for something equally complex?

Then again, it might be that I'm not understanding your point as well as I think I am.

Thanks for your reply.

Last edited by Achilles; 04-15-2007 at 03:10 PM.
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