In response to @ juvyjabian on the topic of ethics

in ethics •  last year  (edited)

How I analyze different approaches to ethics

  • Following your gut to determine a decision is ultimately doing whatever you feel like doing. If someone asks you why you did something and you respond "because I felt like it" then how do you actually know it's right or wrong beyond your internal emotional response?
  • Following rule based ethical system ultimately is to do as you are told. That is if you follow any kind of divine command from God or from a human who commands you then you ultimately are just taking orders and following them. It is also possible that you can come up with your own rules but then you're following the divine command of yourself as a sort of self sovereign. If someone asks you why you did something it's because you were following orders, rules, or laws.
  • Following a consequence based ethical system is to focus not on what you are but on how you are likely to be treated in response to your actions. Right and wrong is ultimately determined by the expected (or actual) consequences which are the results of your actions. If you take on this perspective then whenever someone asks you why you did something you'll always have a very reasonable explanation about why you thought it was best at the time.
  • Following a virtue based ethical system is about who you are. The concept of integrity, of being a good person, of do onto others as others would do onto you. If you ask a person who follows virtue ethics why they did something it's because it's who they are and they would have a problem looking at themselves in the mirror if they did something else.

Additional thoughts on the mechanics of these approaches

My own thoughts are that out of all of these examples the following your gut simply cannot be considered morality at all. It's not a coherent system, it's not an approach to ethics. In fact, if you ask a child why the child stole the candy from another child and they claim "because I felt like it", who would consider this to be ethics at all?

The rule based deotologist could say stealing is wrong because God says so and because it's illegal. In other words God or law enforcement might think of them as an evil person or criminal.
The consequentialist could think it through and figure out stealing is wrong because to be labeled a thief is bad for reputation (may result in being treated negatively). In other words, other people might think of them as a bad person.
The virtue ethicist could determine stealing is wrong because they'd think of themselves as a bad person.

But a person who follows their instincts can do anything and feel pretty good about it. This behavior will lead many directly into prison, onto paths which lead to really dangerous situations and consequences. Why? Because if we look at what happens to truly impulsive people who do exactly what they feel like it then it's just not very good. Of course I have the consequence based perspective here in that I don't really focus so much on how I feel about me but more about the results of my actions or impact on others (and myself).

Questions for anyone who adopts the follow your gut (intuitive) strategy of decision making

  • What are the chances (probability) that your gut could be wrong? Is it 1 in 50? Is it 1 in 10? Is it 1 in 5? Is it 1 in 2? What do you think the probability really is?
  • If your life were on the line or other people's lives were on the line would you still have faith in your gut?
  • How do you distinguish between innate intuition and classical conditioning? How do you know your decisions are not coerced or the result of "psychological manipulation" by others?
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I believe the virtue ethicist to be an outgrowth of consequential and rule based conditioning.

I believe all people default to their gut past their own subjective tolerance, unless they've been deeply conditioned against their self-preservation mechanism to be a martyr or masochistic.

I consider myself mostly self-principled. Those principals are based on wisdom through my own experiences. In other words, I've invented my own personal constitution. And it's not absolutist. It can change based on new evidence. I believe that to be the fundamental core of being a learning individual.

If you've acknowledged something and not adapted to it, then you have not learned— according to my logic.

Essentially, my gut wins (like everyone) past my point of tolerance.

If your gut is aligned to fit in with society, because you value social acceptance, then the gut may often choose in favor of that value.

I prioritize my own wellbeing above social acceptance. I'm an introvert and perfectly okay with total isolation forever— given I could survive..

Because when people perceive themselves as too different, they demonize and war, ethic evolved to keep the peace so as the population grew people could coexist in smaller spaces.

If we go back in history and study the ethics of smaller cultures when the globe was less populated, we see greater differences in definitions of right and wrong.

Gut instincts are subjectively right all the time. They're based on each individual unique traumas and experiences. So, essentially, what your gut says may not be right for everyone— but it's right for you.

If your life was on the line, your gut will protect you. It will never prioritize others, unless you perceive others as critical to your homeostasis. For instance, a mothers instinct tends to extend a sense of self over her offspring in most larger mammals.

Innate intuition is based on that which we are coded for. Most people that are not damaged are coded for things like self-preservation, mating, attaining resources, and other biological functions.

One is who not aware of methods of manipulation cannot typically identify when they're being manipulated. In general however, if you have well established personal boundaries and knowledge of yourself; one becomes quite aware of when their boundaries are being attacked or when someone or something is causing them or provoking them to deviate from their core self.

My guts could be societally unacceptable. Ethics is considering the societal values and upholding them. When you do as you wish and base judgement in your mind then the actions exhibited will completely be out of tune, except if the guts accidentally falls in within the ethical standards.
Ethics is so that we do not mislead the weaker fellows. Upholding it is key

What's really gut feeling? Mind over heart? I would say it's better to evaluate before knocking doors.

If your life were on the line or other people's lives were on the line would you still have faith in your gut?

First of all, i will laugh, not to undermine my gut, but to give myself a little courage to believe in myself, one thing i hate most is to fail to follow my guts and eventually see that my gut was right from the beginning. I go with all faith with my guts

What are the chances (probability) that your gut could be wrong? Is it 1 in 50? Is it 1 in 10? Is it 1 in 5? Is it 1 in 2? What do you think the probability really is?

I will sadly say 9/10, and sadly because, if my guts had hands it will slap me right now for not saying 10/10, my guts have never been wrong actually but my problem is following it 10/10 of the time.
If we could follow our guts 10/10 we might become supermen

How do you distinguish between innate intuition and classical conditioning? How do you know your decisions are not coerced or the result of "psychological manipulation" by others?

My gut is usually the purest and most ethical, and its the least i listen to, thats how i know its my gut, mostly when every other thing says go here, my gut will say another thing, ive realised this as a shortcoming for me but ive begun to work on it, to be better with my guts

Im glad i came across this post, this was a nice discussion. Thank you

Hello @dana-edwards, nice post I must say.
Ethics and guts are two different things yet similar in action.
Ethics is something which is right according to society, whereas guts is something right according to your own inner believes.
I thank you for your time and efforts, I like the way you portray your thoughts. Would love to see more posts from you and learn from you, hence I will follow you.
Thank you

Ethics is a matter of perspectives. From an acceptability perspective, a rule or consequence based perspective is what we follow. It may, however lead to contradicting feelings and a sense of emptiness in us. I think we have to find ways to combine the various types of ethics including following our guts and come to a reasonable understanding of what we stand for