Monday, June 18, 2007

Task List

I suppose that a part of getting back to work means drawing up a task list. In addition to my daily essays on Atheist Ethicist, there are a number of things that I hope to accomplish this week. Hopefully, by writing them down, it will be easier to get them done.

(1) Edits to the Wikipedia Scratchpad version of Desire Utilitarianism.

(a) Explain the history of desire utilitarianism - that its principles can be found in the writings of:

David Hume - morality is concerned with the evaluation of character traits, which are good or bad according to whether they are agreeable or useful to self or others).

J.S. Mill - morality evaluates desires, many of which are learned by associating them with things that are pleasant, or inhibited by associating them with things that are unpleasant. These desires have value according to the degree to which they make the individual noxious to society, or a blessing to society - where 'noxiousness' and 'blessingness' involve contributing to the happiness of others. Happiness, in turn, is defined in terms of fulfilling desires (the parts of happiness) in others.

R.M. Hare - morality is best described as a form of rule utilitarianism with two levels of moral reasoning. Level 1, 'the archangel' picks the rules according to the principle of maximizing utility. Level 2, every-day actions are evaluated according to the rules. Change 'rules' to 'desires' and much of Hare's writing describes desire utilitarianism.

R.M. Adams - in an article on 'motive utilitarianism' Adams expresses many of the principles whereby 'right action' can be described in terms of 'the act that comes from the best motives' where 'motives' are evaluated on utilitarian grounds. However, Adams still ends up with an 'act and motive utilitarianism'.

(b) In the normative ethics section of the entry, explain in greater detail the types of utilitarian theories and how desire utilitarianism fits into that taxonomy.

(c) Remove most of the references to my own blog posts from the article. The article should simply state the facts of the matter in desire utilitarian terms - references to my other writings would be unnecessary.

(2) I also would like to start the project of writing this essay fit for 12 year olds on intelligent design. I would like to make this a collaborative work, much like the wiki page. So, I suppose, my first assignment is to see how I can set something like that up.

(3) By the end of the week, I want to get my home site caught up to date.

That's it for now.

Have a productive day.


Hume's Ghost said...

I don't know if its fit for a 12 year old or not, but here's the essay I wrote on intelligent design a couple of years ago. Feel free to use anything in it (or not).

Intelligent Design is not science

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Hume's Ghost

You have provided me with an excellent set of resources. Thank you.