Friday, June 12, 2009


Somewhere on Up Turned I got accused of being a utilitarian. Not being sure of all the historical ramifications of agreeing or disagreeing, I ignored the statement. Having had a chance to refresh my memory, I have to completely agree with whoever said it.

Not that we agree on the meaning of utilitarian - in context, I believe the author of that accusation meant that I exist somewhere in the hedonist/moral relativist spectrum. What I mean is something entirely different.

What I mean is that I treat each person as equal in value to me. That can be seen a relativistic, but I kind of assume that I have too high an opinion of myself, so if anything, I err on the side of too much value. :)

I also mean that "pleasure" in the JS Mill sense is not simply, or even mostly, pleasure in the senses, but pleasure in doing right, in caring about others, in being a true friend.

Autonomy, caring about others, explicity arguing for the good of all - yeah, I can get behind the utilitarian smear.

It's kind of funny, but everything social conservatives argue for is implicitly utilitarian - everybody would be better off if only they would do things the socon way!!!! But of course, everyone would not be better off. Just the socons - for a while, until things came tumbling down around their ears, 'cause, you know, that's already happened once or twice?


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