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« The politics of objectivity IV | Main | Issues vs. Character »

October 12, 2006

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dr. zeuss

"Unattainable standards are problematic. If people can't be good, then they will have considerable inclination to just turn their back on morality, either actively ignoring it or taking the view that they're evil and there's nothing they can do about it. "

Based on this and the whole line of argument that stems from it, it sounds to me as though you're arguing not that act utilitarianism is false but that we shouldn't be act utilitarians, which is something else entirely. It's quite possible for a moral theory to both be true and recommend that we adopt some other theory.

"I don't know if being a rule utilitarian is any different from being an act utilitarian; I'm still somewhat inclined to think not"

Agreed. If the universe is finite and has discrete smallest particles, in theory one could construct a version of rule utilitarianism that told us what to do in every possible universe-state and it would be exactly the same as act-utilitarianism in every possible way.

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