Poll: Equal consideration of interests
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View poll results: Equal consideration of interests
I support the idea
11 26%
I don't support the idea
10 24%
I sort of support it, or parts of it / Other
16 38%
Unsure
5 12%
Voters: 42.
#1
I made a thread similar to this a while back, but it wasn't very clear, a lot of people misunderstood what I meant, and I really hadn't been aware of this idea for the thread very long and I myself didn't understand it completely.

So there's this moral principle known as "equal consideration of interests." To sum it up, when calculating the rightness or moral worth of an action, all affected interests should be weighed equally.

This principle obviously is a good criticism of racism and sexism. There's no reason why someone's interests are worth more consideration than someone else simply and only because they have a different color of skin. It gets controversial because the philosopher who first introduced the phrase (Peter Singer. Surprised, right?) also believes it shouldn't just apply to people, rather than all sentient beings, including animals. To give more weight to the interests of humans over animals is viewed as "speciesism." And the idea of equal consideration of interests obviously would apply here, too, because as it goes there's no reason why one's interests are of more value or worth than another simply because of membership in a certain species.

So you can say that there's no reason according to this principle that the suffering of an animal is "less wrong" than if a human being were to go through an equal amount of suffering. So speciesism is viewed sort of in the same light as racism or sexism.

Although I don't think this principle contradicts the idea that it's wrong to treat someone differently with respect to certain characteristics. Ex. Two actors want a part in a movie playing George Washington, and although they can act equally well and all that jazz, one has a much stronger resemblance to how George Washington looked. So obviously it's much more logical to go with the guy that looks like G.W.

Anyways, now for the thread: Do you support this principle of equal consideration of interests? And why or why not?

Anyways, I personally give the idea a massive "Fuck, yes."

"The essence of the principle of equal consideration of interests is that we give equal weight in our moral deliberations to the like interests of all those affected by our actions. This means that if only X and Y would be affected by a possible act, and if X stands to lose more than Y stands to gain, it is better not to do the act." (Practical Ethics, 2nd edition P21)
Last edited by The Madcap at Jun 10, 2010,
#2
Read the thread.

wat?
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#3
It all depends on the situation at hand. Are you trying to use this method to determine if something is morally right or wrong? Cause if you are, there's no guidelines for that.

What is the purpose of this line of thinking? How does it benefit/harm everyone involved.

I personally think, you do take into consideration everyone affected by said choice... you're never going to choose anything, in which you are choosing something by not choosing anything, but everyone and everything is affected by your choice or lack there of. So really it is an impossible ideal.
#4
Quote by SSDaniel105
It all depends on the situation at hand. Are you trying to use this method to determine if something is morally right or wrong? Cause if you are, there's no guidelines for that.

What is the purpose of this line of thinking? How does it benefit/harm everyone involved.

I personally think, you do take into consideration everyone affected by said choice... you're never going to choose anything, in which you are choosing something by not choosing anything, but everyone and everything is affected by your choice or lack there of. So really it is an impossible ideal.
Here's a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_consideration_of_interests

"The essence of the principle of equal consideration of interests is that we give equal weight in our moral deliberations to the like interests of all those affected by our actions. This means that if only X and Y would be affected by a possible act, and if X stands to lose more than Y stands to gain, it is better not to do the act."
(Practical Ethics, 2nd edition P21) - Peter Singer
Last edited by The Madcap at Jun 10, 2010,
#5
Here's a different link on Kant's Categorical Imperative. Singer's idea seems ideal, not actually do able. How far down on the chain do you go of who is affected? Only primary? Secondary? What about physically affected, or does emotionally count also. What about second hand emotionally, hearing it from a friend.

It's good in theory, like a lot of other philosophical ideas, but in actual application it doesn't offer anything more than guilt to the applicator of his idea.
#7
I'm not sure really. Objectively, yes, but self interest is also important. Why is there a moral problem with people putting their interests ahead of others, if one must benefit? Maybe I'm just misunderstanding the principle.
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#8
Self interest is rational. Why should I contemplate the fortunes of others if I stand to gain something from their demise?

So, dear sir who disagrees with me,

What did you have for dinner last night?
#9
I kinda support it, but 'sentience' is a very hard thing to define because different cultures define it differently. So that makes "equal consideration of interests" a very hard thing to define and therefore actualy engage as a workable system.
#13
Sure, in theory giving equal consideration and thought to both sides of an argument is right.

But to provide complete equal consideration would take a long time. Can you imagine how slow politics would be?

The idea is great, I'm not sure whether it's universally practical.
#14
does an animal consider our interests before acting? no. so it seems that this equal consideration of interests is a one-way street in one of the prime issues that it harps upon. the reason for that? i would say its because animals arent conscious beings.

i dont see how we can claim the need for equal consideration of animals when they cannot and do not offer us the same. it just seems to be a contradiction in the theory or a theory that is only applicable under highly constructed and regulated criteria.

as far as considering another person's interests as equal to our own, im all for that in an idealistic way. the world would certainly be better off if that was the case. in a realistic way, most of the time you have to look out for yourself because no one else will.
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Last edited by NoLaurelTree000 at Jun 10, 2010,
#15
I'm all for an equal consideration of interests, so long as my interests are more equal than the others'.
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#17
thinking about how your actions affect other people is ofcourse a good thing overall, but unfortunately all of us have some degree of self-interest whether it be a conscious thing or not.
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#18
In theory I see nothing wrong with the main premise (and I hope nobody does), but some of the things such as the whole species thing is just stupid.
#19
It's a great idea in theory, and I'm all for it to be honest. It'll only ever rarely work in practice though, since there's no means of quantifying the positive/negative impact an action will have on someone.

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#20
Possibly stupid question: What if I'm really really interested in killing all of you and screwing your corpses?

Sounds like a form of Utilitarianism to me, which has it's merits but also pretty hefty shortcomings.
#21
There's a bomb strapped to you and one strapped to a mouse. One has to be detonated for the other to be disarmed.

Yeah, this seems like a great concept.
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#22
Quote by breadstick
There's a bomb strapped to you and one strapped to a mouse. One has to be detonated for the other to be disarmed.

Yeah, this seems like a great concept.
Well in that situation, there's always going to be one suffering and one getting away. If you're looking at this principal, you'd probably go for the route that preserves the general interest more. Since mice don't develop strong emotional relationships, and are generally kept in cages with only one or two other mice for company, I'd say more grief would be caused detonating the human.

The principle works, it just can't be fully applied to all situations.

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#23
Quote by Kilobyte
Well in that situation, there's always going to be one suffering and one getting away. If you're looking at this principal, you'd probably go for the route that preserves the general interest more. Since mice don't develop strong emotional relationships, and are generally kept in cages with only one or two other mice for company, I'd say more grief would be caused detonating the human.

The principle works, it just can't be fully applied to all situations.

Of course you choose the mouse. You don't need to 'consider interests equally'. It's a mouse. It already assumed that a human has a greater interest in not dying than a mouse.

Conversely, if you had a black father of three and a white father of three in the same situation, this concept gets you nowhere.

Tbh, it seems like the long way to a simple-ish decision.
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