Monday, July 13, 2015

D Davies in two comments in 2009.  My comments were deleted, but archived. I always remembered the exchange but missed something in his exchange with others. I should have been much tougher.
I, in fact, don’t think that there are “tragic dilemmas”, if this is to mean anything other than that there are situations in which one wants to have one’s cake but also (tragedia!) to eat it. There are questions of fact, upon which it is possible to be right and to be wrong, and with the perspective of six years, it is actually pretty easy to see who was right and who was wrong. I must confess that all this talk about “tragic dilemmas” looks an awful lot like relativism to me, and I know how much you hate that.
"However, one mark of crass consequentialism is to ignore the possibility of tragic dilemmas, yes?"
A “tragic dilemma”, as I understand it, is a situation in which consequentialism gives a clear answer about which alternative is better, but the answer in question is unpalatable. I don’t see why, in such a situation, consequentialism should be described as “crass” rather than, say, “jolly sensible”.
A tragic dilemma is the choice between food for your children or cancer medicine for your wife.

That helps to explain his obliviousness.

Quiggin. Not the post, the comments.

Wiesenthal: Greece's new deal rests on an privatization scheme that's already been tried once and failed.
Sell the airports, the bridges, the islands and the Parthenon.

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