Thursday, March 22, 2012

note taking/posted elsewhere.
On the "Doctrine of Double Effect"
All repeats.
The right answer on a case by case basis is not necessarily the right answer for society. Evidence deemed inadmissible in a court of law, due to the way it was obtained, may be otherwise salient or even dispositive. Formal philosophy, as formal logic, simply ignores this, which is why the implicit politics of formalism ends in anti-democratic barbarism.
The man who swings the axe is called the "Executioner"; the man who gives the order is called only "Governor". Officers send enlisted men to almost certain death but may not befriend them. Stanley Milgram’s 1963 experiments showed that physical proximity, of authority to subject and subject to “learner”, was the main factor in affecting the level of obedience to the command to cause harm.

Every subset of human society that has "solved" the trolley problem, has done so by separation and orders of taboo. Common sense morality is the morality of equals. Abstract logic will not succeed in changing that.

"The trolley problem has morphed to include many variations, and even its earlier forms included discussion of “the doctrine of double effect” and of intentionality, treating the act of killing to save lives as an unintentional consequence of a moral act. Utilitarianism doesn’t need to nit-pick about intention; it’s simple enough to say “I chose to kill 3 people to save 10”. But the focus on intention denies full moral existence to those who’ve been killed, and I know of no study asking people to imagine themselves as the fat man and asking if they’re able to intuit a moral difference between being pushed by a man’s hand or by a turnstile with someone’s finger on the switch."

Logicians are not very observant. Observation is empiricism, not rationalism.
The quote is from the paper (still linked on the right of the page)

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