Combining Philosophers

Ideas for Michael Burke, Gordon Graham and Yale Kamisar

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2 ideas

22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 1. Goodness / g. Consequentialism
Negative consequences are very hard (and possibly impossible) to assess [Graham]
     Full Idea: Negative consequences make the extension of the consequences of our actions indefinite, and this means that it is difficult to assess them; it may make it impossible, since there is now no clear sense to the idea of THE consequences of an action at all.
     From: Gordon Graham (Eight Theories of Ethics [2004], Ch.7)
     A reaction: The general slogan of 'Do your best' covers most objections to the calculation of consequences. It is no excuse for stealing a wallet that 'at least I wasn't committing genocide'. How easy were the alternative actions to do?
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 1. Goodness / i. Moral luck
We can't criticise people because of unforeseeable consequences [Graham]
     Full Idea: It is unreasonable to say that people have acted badly because of consequences which were not merely unforeseen but unforeseeable.
     From: Gordon Graham (Eight Theories of Ethics [2004], Ch.7)
     A reaction: Interesting, and it sounds right. A key question in moral philosophy is how much effort people should make to assess the consequences of their actions. We must surely absolve them of the truly 'unforeseeable' consequence.