Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Good Youtube lecture on flaws of social constrct theory

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J.S. Mill: major exponent of
social contract theory: Utilitarianism

On my message boards someone clued me in to this excellent lecture. It's an youtube lecture on flaws of social contract theory of ethics. The person who told me about it said that the guy talks like I do. I wish I was as clear, coherent, well ordered as this guy. I wish I was insightful and cogent. He was use a lot of my terminology, so apparently he's probalby been educated in a liberal seminary. Social contract theory is one of three major types of ethics toward which atheists tend to gravitate. Not to say that social contract is automatically "atheist" but it was developed in the enlightenment as an alternative to Christian based ethics, a secular alternative.

Social contract theory assumes that ethics is a mutual packed among members of society and is designed to offer maximal survive value for the greatest number, without any messy connections to the "great beyond" or "here after." It's just a naturalistic and supposedly logical way to have an ethical belief system without references to God or over arching ideas or anything transcendent. There are many kinds of social contract theory. Utilitarianism is one such kind, the greatest good for the greatest number.

Atheists tend toward three kinds of ethical theory:

(1) feeling based

I don't wish to harm people, I feel better than that. That's for people with bad feelings, I have good feelings.

(2) Genetically based

The founding assumption here is that survival is the basic point of ethics, everyone has to get along and maximize gene frequency. So that means certain behaviors that are genetic and we do because they are part of our genetic endowment are the roots basis of ethics. After that social contract theory is the only rational chosen part of ethics.

(3) Social Contract

We make a compact between members of a society that will be mutually beneficial and maximize survival so we don't' go around bashing each others heads in.

there are problems with these three:

(1) feelings can conflict, between people and within the same person. How do we sort out completing feelings? What is the basis of feelings.

(2) Just being an evolutionary behavior does not make something ethical. When we take the moral thinking out of ethics it's no longer ethics.

(3) There are many problems with social contract theory, not the least of which is a society can maximize survival for the greatest number at the expense of the individual or a minority.

listen to the lecture on the youtube linke above to hear a really good, clear, though understanding of the problems.


7 comments:

coltrane02 said...

I like the content of your blog but must say that the numerous spelling and grammatical errors that invariably occur in each post distract me from the actual post. I suggest running your posts through Microsoft Word really quickly and fixing all of those before you post them on your blog. I find that this is also the case with your website. The errors tend to detract from the weight of the arguments or presentation you are making.

Metacrock said...

I do that now. I think my eyes are not as good as they used to be. Maybe I miss the underline.

Metacrock said...

looking back over this post I find only one misspelling I accidentally put an e on link. "linke." I don't find anywhere underlined words.

are you actually making this comment based upon one word?

the website is a different matter. that stuff is old. I did that years ago before I had firefox.

btw I'm doing a new website called 'the religious a priori and I'm using firefox.

coltrane02 said...

"He was use a lot of my terminology, so apparently he's probalby been educated in a liberal seminary." Spelled probably wrong and I don't really know what "He was use..." is about. Perhaps you meant "has used." No, I did not nitpick over one word, but rather having read a good dozen posts of yours I have come to this conclusion. Also: "Social contract theory assumes that ethics is a mutual packed among members of society..."
I believe you meant to say "pact." Again, nothing against the blog or the content, so no need to get defensive here. I'm just saying if I was a skeptic and I encountered a site with as many glaring grammar and spelling mistakes then I would be turned off.

Metacrock said...

If you can make out what I'm saying why are you so picky about it? why is your generation so hung up on typos and things?

I went all the way to eight years in a Ph.D. program five years with a 4.0 even with dyslexia and I didn't have a computer until three years.

why is so important now that every word be correct when it wasn't then?

there were professors to whom I had to explain about dyslexia but in all those years only one gave me any real trouble about spelling.

did you know that spelling is not intelligence? did you know that it can't be taught? Dyslexia can't be outlined. You can't learn enough to stop having it.

coltrane02 said...

In at least half the instances it takes me a while to make out exactly what you are trying to say and so it does distract from the ideas being presented. It's a shame you have dyslexia, surely, although I don't see how that affects certain types of mistakes that I've noted. Regardless, I couldn't have known that you had it, nor is it really an excuse but perhaps you could have someone proofread your posts? I can't answer for my entire generation, I just happen to be someone who is used to seeing these kinds of mistakes from people who aren't very intelligent and so it turns me off when I see them. I was not calling your intelligence into question because I could tell from your posts that you were making solid points, however again I feel that someone coming to this blog might be turned off by all the mistakes. Perhaps our generation is "hung up" on typos (although if you had seen the things my peers post on Facebook you would probably think the exact opposite). If I had dyslexia I imagine I would ask a friend to proofread my papers, etc. but that's just me. I realize it's just a little blog but it could potentially have more followers if not for the mistakes. Just my two cents...carry on.

Metacrock said...

In at least half the instances it takes me a while to make out exactly what you are trying to say and so it does distract from the ideas being presented.

That's really bogus because in the last few posts I count only two or at most three spelling problems by the spell check. I know my grammar is not bad. It would probably be better if I put more time into it but it's better than most. Maybe it's just your ability to comprehend what you read?



It's a shame you have dyslexia, surely, although I don't see how that affects certain types of mistakes that I've noted.


Yea I'll choose not to have it in the next life. It turns out it was poor deicsion. You can't see how seeing words backwards and letters out of order would affect spelling?



Regardless, I couldn't have known that you had it, nor is it really an excuse but perhaps you could have someone proofread your posts?

Do you know anything about it?