Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Back with the thought of the day

Been having trouble with blogger and the censors so haven't been posting but still thinking. But a recurring thought has been occurring to me that the type of society one lives in may affect what kind of ethics one chooses in this way and this has implications for meta-ethics. Perhaps living in less violent societies where people are more considerate to each other in daily contact will have people who are more utilitarian in their outlook on life. My reasoning for this prediction is that people will be more utilitarian in their moral reasoning in these types of societies is that they will expect the same from others such that when they sacrifice benefits to their own or their loved ones for the better of the group, they may expect that favors will be returned. There is thus both reasonable expectation and demand for more selfless behavior benefiting the whole but perhaps harming some individual. These considerations seem to favor more utilitarian ethics for that society but not for others.

In less considerate societies, people may be more deontological or virtue centered because the expectation and demand for reciprocity in moral decision making is less pronounced and a moral system that protects the just from being patsies is more preferable. But now we make morality socially relative and real moral dilemmas thus become relativized (think trolley problems or other classics such as involuntary organ donation). How can we decide these cases objectively and do real moral debates today hinge on such contingent factors? It seems that at least sometimes objectivity can be seriously undermined for morality though I still am not buying a complete anti-realist case for morality.