A thought experiment on consequentialism

If Jim refuses to kill anyone then he is therefore responsible for the deaths of the others. Here, the relevant question is not whether or not the man understands Chinese, but more broadly, whether a functionalist theory of mind is correct. Jason Kuznicki argues the reverse is true. In philosophy[ edit ] In philosophy, a thought experiment typically presents an imagined scenario with the intention of eliciting an intuitive or reasoned response about the way things are in the thought experiment.

In one moment Jim goes from being a tourist in a foreign country to becoming a murderer for the sake of morality.

The Consequences of Accepting Consequentialism Katy Baker on the demands of consequentialist theories of morality. Again, consequentialism forces us to put our commitments second, regardless of how strongly we are connected to them or how much pleasure we derive from them.

Consider the system of criminal justice present in the United States today, and in most modern societies. Regardless of their intended goal, all thought experiments display a patterned way of thinking that is designed to allow us to explain, predict and control events in a better and more productive way.

Obviously most convicts would prefer not to be imprisoned, but we do so regardless. So, if Oliver had a wide network of adoring cat lovers because of his friendly, playful nature, unlike Benjy who prefers a life of peaceful solitude I should save Oliver as this would cause the least pain and produce the most pleasure for the people that know him.

It then involves an imaginary moving backwards in time, step-by-step, in as many stages as are considered necessary, from the future to the present to reveal the mechanism through which that particular specified future could be attained from the present. Gualeni's argument is that the history of philosophy has, until recently, merely been the history of written thought, and digital media can complement and enrich the limited and almost exclusively linguistic approach to philosophical thought.

Sam has plenty of time to visit his aunt because he has no close friends, no pets, and no houseplants. Please improve this article by removing excessive or inappropriate external links, and converting useful links where appropriate into footnote references.

Thought experiment

If we consider that everyone has equal rights, then we would be doing something wrong in sacrificing one even if our intention was to save five. You might think you should try to drive as fast as possible because then you can get lots of miles driven within a given amount of time.

Smart and Bernard Williams, Consequentialism is the theory in moral philosophy that says our actions should aim at producing the best consequences.

Thompson and other philosophers have given us other variations on the trolley dilemma that are also scarily entertaining. Immanuel Kant — is the central figure in modern philosophy.

Imagine you are standing on a footbridge above the tram tracks. To this objection, the consequentialist can protest that alienation can be a virtue. If this is demanded of all moral agents, then general unhappiness is likely to ensue rather than the opposite. Messenger Imagine you are standing beside some tram tracks.

You are a good utilitarian. What matters in this example is saving the highest number of lives, and how this is attained is unimportant. Scientists also use thought experiments when particular physical experiments are impossible to conduct Carl Gustav Hempel labeled these sorts of experiment "theoretical experiments-in-imagination"such as Einstein's thought experiment of chasing a light beam, leading to special relativity.

This helps to explain the extremely wide and diverse range of the application of the term "thought experiment" once it had been introduced into English. In response to criticism of the unappealing idea that by doing nothing Jim is as responsible for the deaths of the twenty Indians as the captain, the consequentialist can choose to bite the bullet by accepting the idea of negative responsibility; that is, to accept that we can be held morally responsible for not acting.

The Consequences of Accepting Consequentialism

This is the crux of the classic thought experiment known as the trolley dilemma, developed by philosopher Philippa Foot in and adapted by Judith Jarvis Thomson in Using the example of Jim and the Indians, Williams successfully illustrates that consequentialism fails to respect the integrity of the individual because in deciding what is wrong or right what really matters is not the action but the outcome of it.

In one moment Jim goes from being a tourist in a foreign country to becoming a murderer for the sake of morality. According to Kuznicki, this proposed justification negatively affects society, because people's demand for equal payment for life's pain creates these utility monsters.

It just so happens that the sadists are very unhappy if they are not able to inflict pain on others, and they are very unhappy experiencing pain themselves. Legal ramifications and other peripheral matters disregarded, it morally right to do so.

The response to the imagined scenario is supposed to tell us about the nature of that notion in any scenario, real or imagined.

The trolley dilemma has since proven itself to be a remarkably flexible tool for probing our moral intuitions, and has been adapted to apply to various other scenarios, such as war, torture, drones, abortion and euthanasia.

On this episode of the podcast, we continue our discussion of Kant, this time focusing on ethics. We begin with a thought experiment that calls into question whether or not lying is morally justifiable if it results in preserving human life. Consequentialism the value of an action (the action's moral worth, its rightness or wrongness) derives entirely from its consequences to evaluate an action, look at its consequences; if they are "good" (or the best Famous Thought Experiment: LIFE BOAT: has 4 spots, who do you pick?.

The thought experiment. A hypothetical being, which Nozick calls the utility monster, receives much more utility from each unit of a resource they consume than anyone else does. For instance, eating a cookie might bring only one unit of pleasure to an ordinary person but could bring units of pleasure to a utility monster.

If the utility monster can get so much pleasure from each unit of. PHLA11H3 Lecture Notes - Thought Experiment, Experience Machine, Penicillin by Ahmad OS.

4 Pages Views Winter School. University of Toronto Scarborough. Department. Philosophy Course Code. PHLA11H3 welfare consequentialism is about increasing the total number of ha ppiness. 1. » Downloadable RTF of this piece. One of the most commonly-posed objections to the moral doctrine of hedonistic utilitarianism (read: principle of greatest utility, principle of greatest happiness, or whatever label pleases), the consequentialist prescription that advocates actions only which increase pleasure and decrease pain for all affected, is a thought experiment sometimes referred to.

Bernard Williams Analysis Of A Thought Experiment Philosophy Essay. Print Reference Thought experiments are a good way to provide us with a way of producing knowledge by stepping out of the domain of the real and day to day affairs. Consequentialism will not recognize the difference between George not taking the job offer and.

A thought experiment on consequentialism
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Episode 58 – Kant pt. 3 – Deontology vs. Consequentialism – Philosophize This!