normative judgements part 2

and clearly even if you thought about things and arrived at no definite answer, there seems to be something about acting after you have thought through something which is better than not thinking about it at all i.e. wilful ignorance.

even if international relations, philosophy, economics provides no good predictors of the way we live, apart from clearing up the confusion of thinking about things, it just allows people to think things through.

reflective equilibrium: how can we use the way we currently do things to justify how things should be done in the future? this is another criticism of this method of morality, and even economics in general. are we just being squeamish in not killing this group of people to save a larger amount? hey, maybe all this being nice and polite to people and going to church on sunday is just slave morality, foisted on us by all these disgruntled slaves? and maybe we like economics so much because it is the justification of a system which makes people rich, and continues to make them richer.

i do find it dangerous, though, to think that we can throw off whatever influences we have, however far back they go, and say, hey morality is not working out for a group of us. let's fuck it. i think an explanation is still owed, similarly, if you wish to change the structure of the world economy, and if you believe that third world countries are being screwed over by richer ones, i like to think that you have to make a good case for it.

but why? why do people like to think things through before making a choice, even in less clear cut cases? clearly they would have to perform a first evaluative judgement in weighing up the things of value on both sides of the questions. the argument will be then on what is of value, and what weights we assign to them, and that would be tricky, as Hume correctly points out. How are we to be sure that our emotions of not interfere with our weightings? but surely it's important to know in the first place what these factors are. and it is only because we are doomed to think and wonder anyway, that we attempt to act rationally (if we do) to try to pre-empt regret which is basically thinking things through ex-post.

so i think it is still important to think about things like medical ethics and morality and why the "ethics as justification" argument makes sense. if you have to do something, it would be nice for a start if you knew why you were doing it. it would help you act according to consistent principles.

abstraction. reading a poem, or watching a film where everyone overcomes the odds, it's so unreal. not everyone can be a rocky balboa. not everyone is persistent and 100% hardworking, but of course, the premise is to give you something to hope for, to do better in, to have that one ideal or dream you can fight for. for every rocky, there's the person who didn't train as hard and got beat by him.

and it is so easy to be a specialist, and be the captain of your soul, to overcome physical hurdles but it is difficult and seems to be slightly different in this world, in this world maybe it is difficult simply to will things to be so and coherent in one principle, in all its messiness, maybe success involves things like sleeping around if you have to or learning how to lie, flatter or deceive. you would not like to think it so, but i am sure a case can be made for it, and where are these success stories in rocky balboa shows? how does the second place guy feel, knn, you think he never train? all this stuff about being the best is bullshit. not inspiring, so shouldn't be a model for our success? but if that's the case, then behaving ethically or in a noble way is not a prerequisite even helps success, but seems to be an added constraint. so if you act noble and succeed, then you get 2 points, instead of 1.

deep down, i feel an urge to be the best in what i do. but i know in many areas i settle for being good enough, even average. what is wrong with good enough (well, because people doing the best strive for human progress and the world moves and everything), but the more i see, i seem to feel that competition makes me unhappy. i enjoy better environments where people are less competitive, perhaps its a lack of drive thing, but maybe i also feel it changes part of me to be a less nice person. i feel changed by the people around me, i feel it is necessary to do well in micro 2 etc etc, or have a good job, or whatever status. i wish i was just good enough. so all this propaganda about making in to the top, for every top, there is an asswipe down there who resents having to clear your trays for minimum wage. and then the only thing to live for is, well, make sure i'm not one of them. that is why cashiers at tesco bug me so and why i am glad they introduce auto-cashiers at tesco. go tesco.

that is why i think hard work, though important, neglects many other variables. and why people always settle for one of the other points, relative failure or ethical failure.

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