In this message, I neither want to support the ASSA nor utilitarism. But I will argue that the former has remarkable consequences for the latter.
To give a short overview of the concepts, I remind you that utilitarism is a doctrine measuring the morality of an action only by its outcome. Those actions are said to be more moral than others if they cause a greater sum of happiness or pleasure (for all people involved). Though this theory seems to be attractive, it has to cope with a lot of problems. Maybe the most fundamental problem is to define how 'happiness' and 'pleasure' are measured: In order to decide which action is the most moral one, we need a 'felicific calculus'. However, it seems that there is no chance to find a unique felicific calculus everyone would agree upon. Until today, there is a lot of arbitrariness: - How do we measure happiness? - How do we compare the happiness of different people? - How do we account for pain and suffering? Which weight is assigned to them? - Even maximizing 'the sum of happiness' in some felicific calculus does not necessarily determine a unique action. Maybe it's possible to increase the happiness of some individuals and to decrease the happiness of other individuals without changing the 'sum of happiness'. What is preferable? Most of us have a mathematical or scientific background. We know that such a situation can lead to an infinity of possible felicific calculi each one defined by arbitrary measures and parameters. In the sciences, one would usually discard a theory that contains so much arbitrariness (philosophy however is not that rigorous). The application of the ASSA can help to surmount these conceptual difficulties. Assuming the ASSA, we are able to define a uniquely determined utilitarism. Nonetheless, the practical problem of deciding which action one has to prefer remains rather unchanged. 1st step: Reducing the number of utilitarisms to the number of human beings. The ASSA states that my next experience is randomly chosen out of all observer moments. For the decision of my action, only those observer moments are of interest that are significantly influenced by my decision (e.g. observer moments in the past aren't). Since my next observer moment can be any of those observer moments, I am driven to a utilitarian action. Utilitarism directly arises whenever an observer wants to act rationally while assuming the ASSA. I could say that utilitarism is 'egoism + ASSA'. 2nd step: The unique utilitarism. Starting from the definition that utilitarism is egoism in combination with the ASSA, I argue that all observers will agree upon the same action. At first you might think that the preferred action depends on the individual preferences of the deciding individual. For example, if I was suffering from hunger, I could perform an action to minimize hunger in the world. But this is a wrong conclusion. When I experience another observer moment, I am no longer affected by my former needs and preferences. Directly speaking: Since all observers must expect to get their next observer moments out of the same ensemble of observer moments, there is no reason to insist on different preferences. But there is still one problem left. Different observers have different states of knowledge about the consequences of a potential action. In theory, we can exclude this problem by defining utilitarism as the rational decision of a hypothetic observer that knows all the consequences of all potential actions (of course while assuming the ASSA). It's a nice feature of the ASSA that it naturally leads to a theory of morality. The RSSA does not seem to provide such a result. Though, I'd like to have similar concepts out of the RSSA (according to Stathis, I belong to the RSSA camp). Youness Ayaita --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED] To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED] For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---