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I was re-reading freshman philosophy for fun recently and was musing on the second book of The Republic, specifically the Ring of Gyges and moral duty. Being as I've also been actively seeking to understand political stances of those who think differently from me, my recent interactions with conservative thinkers was much on my mind.

It came to me that while neither strain of thought was complete within a comprehensive moral framework, conservative thinking could be best encapsulated as deontology and progressive thinking as teleology.

For those who aren't chuffed to struggle through Philosophy 101, nutshell is that deontological ethics says an action should be judged on whether that action is ethnically correct or not, and not judged on the outcome of that action.

Teleological ethics says that the utilitarian value of the action is the determinant of whether an action is correct or not--that is, outcomes matter more than a judgement of the action.

Yes, this is incredibly simplistic. But it's useful in explaining when people who are politically conservative are willing to back actions that will lead to utter disaster (Iraq war, unilateral trade tariffs, war on drugs, et cetera, ad nauseam) when it's easy to foresee that the action, despite whatever intent attached to it, is going to be a royal cock-up.

It also explains pragmatism on the part of progressives. Backing things like cannabis legalisation, planned parenthood, the ACA leads to incredibly strongly positive outcomes, despite the interim step of shaky ethical ground (kids getting dope. 300,000 abortions per year at PP, lack of choice with ACA, Thanos and his finger-snap, etc, et al).

It turns out that this is not an original thought, of course. But it really frames the difference between the utilitarian nature of my thoughts and the regressiveness of the current strain of Republican support. I tried to think of the opposite of Utilitarianism (greatest good for the greatest number) but could only come up with the most suffering for the greatest number, however appropriate that seems.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02-Dec-18 00:55 by Jock.

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Subject Views Written By Posted
Conservatives vs.Progressives: A Case Study in Deontology vs. Teleology 782 Jock 02-Dec-18 00:55
Re: Conservatives vs.Progressives: A Case Study in Deontology vs. Teleology 92 Jock 02-Dec-18 01:00
Re: Conservatives vs.Progressives: A Case Study in Deontology vs. Teleology 98 Archaic 02-Dec-18 16:09
Re: Conservatives vs.Progressives: A Case Study in Deontology vs. Teleology 85 Jock 02-Dec-18 20:30
Mod Note > Topic Moved 97 Dr. Troglodyte 02-Dec-18 17:10
Re: Conservatives vs.Progressives: A Case Study in Deontology vs. Teleology 79 drrayeye 03-Dec-18 20:02
Re: Conservatives vs.Progressives: A Case Study in Deontology vs. Teleology 85 Eddie Larry 04-Dec-18 00:48
Re: Conservatives vs.Progressives: A Case Study in Deontology vs. Teleology 78 drrayeye 04-Dec-18 12:11
Re: Conservatives vs.Progressives: A Case Study in Deontology vs. Teleology 78 Eddie Larry 04-Dec-18 15:24
Re: Conservatives vs.Progressives: A Case Study in Deontology vs. Teleology 76 drrayeye 04-Dec-18 15:45
Re: Conservatives vs.Progressives: A Case Study in Deontology vs. Teleology 74 Eddie Larry 04-Dec-18 16:35
Re: Conservatives vs.Progressives: A Case Study in Deontology vs. Teleology 73 Jock 04-Dec-18 17:55
Re: Conservatives vs.Progressives: A Case Study in Deontology vs. Teleology 78 Eddie Larry 04-Dec-18 22:01
Re: Conservatives vs.Progressives: A Case Study in Deontology vs. Teleology 82 Dr. Troglodyte 04-Dec-18 17:50
terrific! 76 drrayeye 05-Dec-18 08:12
Re: terrific! 75 Jock 05-Dec-18 17:11
Re: terrific! 79 Eddie Larry 05-Dec-18 17:25
Re: terrific! 73 drrayeye 05-Dec-18 21:53
Re: terrific! 71 Jock 05-Dec-18 22:02
Re: terrific! 106 Eddie Larry 05-Dec-18 22:56


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