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Unformatted text preview: tion. SLHS Value File Utility (Negative)
NEGATIVE UTILITARIANISM REFLECTS THE BASIS OF MORAL URGENCY Karl Popper, Professor of Philosophy, THE OPEN SOCIETY AND ITS ENEMIES, 1952, p. 508. Although my own position is, I believe, clearly enough implied in the text, I may perhaps briefly formulate what seems to me the most important principles of humanitarian and equalitarian ethics. 1) Tolerance towards all who are not intolerant and who do not propogate intolerance. This implies, especially, that the moral decisions of others should be treated with respect, as long as such decisions do not conflict with the principle of tolerance. 2) The recognition that all moral urgency has its basis in the urgency of suffering or pain. I suggest, for this reason, to replace the utilitarian formula 'Aim at the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number' or briefly 'Maximize happiness' with the formula 'The least amount of avoidable suffering for all,' or briefly, 'Minimize suffering.' Such a simple formula can, I believe, be made one of the fundamental principles (admittedly not the only one) of public policy. (The principle 'Maximize happiness,' in contrast, seems to be apt to produce a benevolent dictatorship.) 3. SUFFERING IS A DIRECT MORAL APPEAL, UNLIKE HAPPINESS Karl Popper, Professor of Philosophy, THE OPEN SOCIETY AND ITS ENEMIES, 1952, p. 570-1. I believe that there is, from the ethical point of view, no symmetry between suffering and happiness, or between pain and pleasure. Both the greatest happiness principle of the Utilitarians and Kant's principle, 'Promote other people's happiness ...,' seem to me (at least in their formulation) fundamentally wrong on this point, which is, however, not one for rational argument. In my opinion, human suffering makes a direct moral appeal, namely, the appeal for help, while there is no similar appeal to increase the happiness of a man who is doing well anyway. 4. SUFFERING IS OF MUCH MORE MORAL CONSEQUENCE THAN HAPPINESS Karl Popper, Professor of Philosophy, THE OPEN SOCIETY AND ITS ENEMIES, 1952, p. 508-9. We should realize that from the moral point of view suffering and happiness must not be treated as symmetrical; th...
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This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.
- Fall '13