Tyndmyr wrote:Well, it judges goodness differently. According to your system, if everyone else took slaves...and you did too, but treated them better than average, you would be a good person.
That's...problematic for many. It does end up looking rather a lot like relativism, so it's going to share it's flaws.
That's not what it would mean at all. Taking/buying slaves is an explicit action, not inaction and it's morality is not effected in the slightest.
I'm not saying that all actions are to be judged relative to other people: only inaction. that the default isn't nothing getting done, the default is the most likely outcome would have been had you not existed.
not acting when most others would can mean a worse outcome than had you never existed. that you existing and being a useless lump can make the world a worse place for others.
inheriting slaves might be problematic if you stuck to inaction and continued to own slaves but then that's problematic in your own "doing nothing can never be immoral" approach.
Not having a distinct person to pin it down to is basically going to make any such projection undefined, because the variation between human action is pretty great.
You can't say anything explicit about what any one person would do. you can however say things about probabilities. You have no idea exactly who would have bought your house but you can take a fairly reasonable guess about whether they'd be more likely to act or not.
Suzaku wrote:On the other hand, if you mean to say that you should try to be better than the current average on some fixed scale, then I completely agree and the only remaining discussion is what scale should be used.
My post only deals with his argument about inaction never being anything except morally neutral. it says nothing about actually taking actions.
I argue that inaction isn't always morally neutral when the majority would actually do something good because the basis of the argument is that had you not existed then they'd be no better off.
He uses a comparison to the null case: him not existing. but then he doesn't actually compare it to him not existing but rather with a void filling the space he does in life excluding others.
Under a comparison to you never existing :If the guy next to you on the bus collapses and you think "screw him, not my problem" and sit quietly letting him die that isn't morally neutral when the most likely outcome had you never existed is that whoever took the seat instead would have raised the alarm.
I don't actually subscribe to the belief that comparison to the null case should be the basis, I believe inaction can be morally wrong beyond that point but I'm just pointing out the hole in the argument that inaction can only be morally neutral on the basis that it's equivilent to you not existing.
Give a man a fish, he owes you one fish. Teach a man to fish, you give up your monopoly on fisheries.