[We are] condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, [we are] responsible for everything [we do.] ~ Jean-Paul Sartre
1. Basic Ideas of Existentialism
Could it be that all of the major ethical theories—deontology, utilitarianism, natural law, contract theory—-abstract to speak to an amorphous ethical reality? But perhaps precision in ethics is a chimera. The philosophers known as existentialists generally believed that all the major theories discuss thus far were mistaken—for precisely these reasons.
“To disparage the dictate of reason is equivalent to condemning the command of God.”
~ Thomas Aquinas
The Divine Command Theory
Let us now consider the view that morality rests upon religion. Assuming that a relationship between some God and morality exists, how do we characterize it? A classic formulation of this relationship is the divine command theory which states that “morally right” means commanded by God, and “morally wrong” means forbidden by God.
“… the Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.”
~John Stuart Mill
Utility and Happiness
Jeremy Bentham (1748 – 1832), who lived in London during the Industrial Revolution, was a philosopher and social reformer who wished to alleviate the period’s dreadful living conditions. Poverty, disease, overcrowding, child labor, lack of sanitation, and miserable prison and factory conditions inspired Bentham to be an agent of social reform. Continue reading Summary of Utilitarianism→
In a recent post, I expressed worry that the objective findings of the Mueller investigation won’t matter because right-wing media won’t report them, and instead create their own false narratives. This leads Trump’s followers to actually believe these lies—its Clinton who is connected to the Russians, Mueller is a Democrat, etc.—which then puts pressure on Republicans to act based on these lies, and the politicians, fearing primary challenges, then either pretend to believe the lies in order to get re-elected, or are themselves so crazy that they actually believe the lies. So what do we do? Continue reading What To Do About “Fake News”→
I have to chuckle at President Trump and the Republicans claim that tougher gun laws won’t stop mass shootings. That’s weird, they do so in every other country in the world with tough gun laws. In Japan, England and many other countries almost no one dies of gun violence because … THEY DON’T HAVE GUNS! In the last 50 years, more Americans have died of gun violence in the US than were killed in all the wars America ever fought!Continue reading What If Everyone Had Guns?→