Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Remarks on Virtue Ethics

I just posted my thirty page paper I wrote almost a year ago.  I think I've developed quite a bit since then.  I'd hope at-least my writing style has improved but you never know - honestly I think I wrote better things stylistically in that same time period.  I'd like to draw attention to this point I make in the paper:
If anything is “good” it must be A) certain phenomenogical states of being and B) those material conditions, specifically social and mental circumstances, which create such phenomenogical states of being.  For if anything in this Universe is to be valued by humans, it must follow that first-and-foremost the subjective states of the mind must be valued, for they are all Man has immediate access to and can appreciate in-themselves. 

This was my grounding for a later scientific code of materialist virtue-ethics that I now rebuke.  For I still profess the previous paragraph to be true (more-so than any scientific truth) but no longer think that Virtue Ethics or even necessarily Materialism can help the project of Negative Utilitarianism.  People may or may not be material things in this world, but whether or not they are is, like all other things, secondary to the fact they are beings capable of suffering.  Materialism in a way works well with Virtue Ethics, because look at a human being and say first and foremost "how can we help this thing reach its proper end?"  when a Negative Utilitarian will ask, "why is it reaching its natural end good?"  One of my critiques of Virtue Ethics is it is implicitly pro-natal.  At-least an Aristotelian version would necessarily be for the following reason.  Just as the seed grows into a tree, according to its telos so a woman becomes impregnated and has child - that however in no way means it is a good thing.  Many things which happen according to the telos are awful and wretched.  Female spiders devour their lovers after copulating with them.  Wasps paralyze their victims and lay their eggs in them to have the larva burst out and devour its incubator.  Nature is wrought with cruelty and ugliness.  Just because something has a "natural end" in no way whatsoever means that end is good or right.  Pain is always bad.  And can only be justified if it prevents more pain from occurring.

There were some essays in which I did some interesting things with Virtue Ethics.  One of them was A Short Note on Our Fundamental Essence in Regard to Morality, Learning and Virtue Ethics which I believe I posted on here.  I'm not entirely sure I can say the same of my essay examining the difference and similarities between Bakunin and Aristotle which I know almost completely revoke.  It was written in haste and out of a passive speculation I had, rather than out of serious deliberation.  Bakunin in no way is a Virtue Ethicist if a Virtue Ethicist is different than a Consequentialist.  If Virtue Ethics is a form of Consequentialism, it is debatable; but I have found Virtue Ethics to be in a important way distinct from Consequentialism and therefore to be in error.  It is concerned with virtue for its own sake - or if not virtue for its own sake flourishing of life for its own sake.  I have already shown how life can never be a good for itself - that it is not its own justification.  Only pleasure, pain and lack of pain have intrinsic worth.

I may be changing my mind on Moral Sentiment Theory but this is something to be explored in depth at a later time.  Re-examining Hume may be a point of interest - we'll see.

No comments:

Post a Comment