12 January 2008

Philosophical Health Check

From the same site as below, there's a page of similar activities. This one is another check for internal consistency (low means low conflict; high means high conflict):

Out of 30 questions, I had two conflicts. They're below the fold in case anyone wants to take the quiz fresh.

You agreed that:
The environment should not be damaged unnecessarily in the pursuit of human ends
But disagreed that:
People should not journey by car if they can walk, cycle or take a train instead

It's the "can" that I have a problem with. Technically, I can walk to Idaho Falls (fifty miles north), but it's impractical. If it said "if it is reasonable to walk, cycle, etc." I would have agreed with it.

You agreed that:
Severe brain-damage can rob a person of all consciousness and selfhood
And also that:
On bodily death, a person continues to exist in a non-physical form

There are lots of things I could say here, but what bugs me is the underlying assumption that equates "existence" to "selfhood."


John said...

I got a tension quotient of 13%, but I disagree that that the following are in tension:

You agreed that:
There are no objective moral standards; moral judgements are merely an expression of the values of particular cultures
And also that:
Acts of genocide stand as a testament to man's ability to do great evil

These are not in tension. The first says that different cultures can have different moral standards.

The second is a moral judgment I have made based on my cultural upbringing.

For instance, I personally find the genocide in the Old Testament repugnant, but I also recognize that the Israelites of the time may not have.

Qalmlea said...

I have one moral standard that I hold as universal: Do not harm people unnecessarily. Admittedly, "unnecessarily" is not well-defined, but I would take it as, if there's any reasonable way to avoid harming people, take that over the option that would harm people. Oh, and allowing yourself to come to harm counts as "harming people," so there are certainly going to be conflicts.