Saturday, March 3, 2012

Is the "wrong" inherent in the behavior or...

is "wrongness" determined by the recipient or outcome of the behavior? For example, is slavery ("institution based on a relationship of dominance and submission, whereby one person owns another and can exact from that person labor or other services.") wrong in and of itself or is slavery wrong depending on who the slave is or the consequence(s) of the slavery?

Is the unprovoked or deliberate killing (not in self-defense) of another living being wrong in and of itself or is such killing only deemed wrong depending on who is the victim or the consequence(s) of the killing?

Is the infliction of physical pain and/or injury (not in self-defense) on a living being wrong in and of itself or is such behavior only deemed wrong depending on who is the victim or the consequence(s) of the pain and/or injury?

These questions have to do with deontological vs consequentialist notions of morality.

Deontological theories of morality are frequently contrasted to consequentialist theories such as utilitarianism. While deontological moral theories typically hold that certain actions are either forbidden or wrong per se, consequentialist theories usually maintain that the rightness or wrongness of an action depends on the consequences of the act and hence on the circumstances in which it is performed.
As described by John Rawls, the distinction is between the right and the good: under deontology, what actions are right and what things are good are at least partially independent, whereas under consequentialism, an act is right if and only if it maximises the good....(source)
I don't know about you but I tend to go into a sort of mental/emotional 'vaporlock' if I dwell on these sorts of things too much. I have to be content with what I expressed previously in my post on fairness. Ethical veganism is much fairer (enacts greater justice) than any other way of living that I'm aware of.

6 comments:

D.E.M. said...

Yes, you're right about veganism! I have a lot of colleague who work on these morality issues, wringing their hands about atrocities while eating pork and veal and ......

Oh, and thanks for the update today, that the governor signed on. I wonder if this guy ever smelled a foaming manure pit or culled a sow for lameness. Evil. Evil. Evil.

Bea Elliott said...

Oh gosh... Since you're asking - My thoughts is that a "wrong" act is wrong regardless of the consequences. I think it's harm is done to the moral fabric of the wrong-doer. Or in a more abstract sense the harm is done to "good" that has it's own "life-force". I don't really mean karma so much as the love of justice or the "rightness" of a thing.

Even if there was no "victim" - The damage to an inner code of virtue is violated... (yes?)

I think too that it would lead to a slippery slope to a lot of things that we would ask "what's the harm?". Breeding mindless "food animals" would be one such case. Many see this as an eventual way to relieve ourselves from responsibility if we take away the damage... But still (imho) the thought of doing such a "wrong-less" thing is still hideous.

It's a tough one to reason out for sure. It's like victimless crimes - I know people ought to be free to do what they will with their own bodies - But still... Inflicting harm to ones self, although acceptable - Still can't be considered "right". Right?

Okay - Vaporlock has kicked in... I too would rather stick to what I'm 100% certain of in the here and now too. And ethical veganism covers all of that just fine!

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting DEM. I noticed someone on facebook calling for a boycott of Iowa products.

One of the dynamics that often operates with human animals is the greater the repression the greater the risk of rebellion. I hope.

Evil indeed.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Bea. I can see how the academic folks trip out wrestling with this stuff. I sort of enjoyed how thought provoking it is...but...

I sort of have to weave back and forth between the two...up to a point anyway. I liked your notion re the 'life-force' of 'good'. Cool.

Breeding mindless food animals? Ridiculous...gimme a break...some "taste" isn't worth all that...and...I'm totally uncomfortable with fooling around with life like that. Hideous is a good way to describe it.

Ethical veganism...the cure for moral vaporlock! :-)

Annie said...

It gets a bit heady for me as well, but deep thinking has never been my forte ;-). I does makes me wonder of those who turn to veganism how many are moved by emotion and how many by logic.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Annie. I don't know what moves someone...in the end what's important is that they get moved in some way. :-)