Thursday, October 14, 2010

note taking/ posted elsewhere
The doctrine of double effect that includes intent is Catholic in the same sense that pity is Catholic. Both are concerned with the emotions of the actor only, not the victim or the starving poor. Someone once remarked that Mother Teresa followed the morality of the 12th century Church in maintaining that the wretched of the earth were here so that the great could learn the nobility of pity.

The use of trolley problems for “research”[sic] in philosophy as opposed to human psychology, is nil. Like the poor in the eyes of the old church, the “intuitions” of the other are ignored. Ask the fat man if he sees a moral difference between being killed by hand or by push-button. Ask the man about to be executed if he sees a moral difference between the guillotine the garrote and someone’s fingers. The difference is physical and thus emotional proximity; and that’s the only thing that had any effect on the actors in Milgram’s experiments.

The “intuitions” given in response to versions of the trolley problem are identical to the “intuitions” that allow me cry over the death of my lover while merely offering condolences to you over yours.
I’m told Montesquieu covered that one.

The only thing interesting in the article was that conservatives made no distinction between “Tyrone Payton” and “Chip Ellsworth III”, while liberals were more willing to give Chip a push. For whatever reason, that was amusing.

Also of course every military officer in battle makes the equivalent of trolley problem distinctions. The military is run by the numbers. But officers and enlisted men are not allowed to “fraternize”. You can not order your friends into battle. Again the rule: proximity.
Also again: the focus on the actor or the "I" alone.
"History is like foreign travel. It broadens the mind, but it does not deepen it." Descartes
History is the foreign, is the other.

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