Sunday, September 28, 2014

Utilitarian Infighting: The Eight Levels


The inspiration for this post is the dismal state of utilitarian-themed discourse that I spot every so often in my YouTube subscription feed. Scattered insertion of this unspecific 'utilitarianism' type of stuff has to go. Pronto.

To get an idea of some basic oversights, here are the three cornerstones of disputation within utilitarian ethics, in chronological order:



Total Utilitarianism vs. Average Utilitarianism



Positive Utilitarianism vs. Negative Utilitarianism



Classical Utilitarianism vs. Preference Utilitarianism


The oft-neglected implications of these internal frictions are as follows:

When someone says they're a 'Utilitarian' they've only revealed 25% of where they stand insofar as the multi-layered disputation is concerned.

When someone says they're a 'Classical Utilitarian' they've only revealed 50% of where they stand insofar as the multi-layered disputation is concerned.

When someone says they're a 'Classical Negative Utilitarian' they've still only revealed 75% of where they stand insofar as the multi-layered disputation is concerned.

I can go on with the labels’ intersections, but I'm sure you've gotten the gist of it by now. The patterns showcase how unavailing all blanket invocations of 'utilitarianism' can be and have been for centuries. To say that the full scope of utilitarianism is scarcely ever taken into account –– even among professed utilitarians –– would be an understatement.