Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Deontology

A Critique of Just War Theory

Today I had a seminar on just war theory, the theory of when it is justifiable for one state to go to war with another. Throughout the seminar, it continued to strike me that just war theory in and of itself is a mistaken concept. Let me show you what I mean.

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What if God Exists?

When confronted with right wing social conservatism, the left usually adopts one of two strategies. On the one hand, it can argue for tolerance of differing viewpoints, but this argument is only persuasive for those who themselves are not so certain of what they believe as to legislate it. In other words, the tolerance argument only works for people who were already susceptible to accept social progressivism.  Alternatively, the left sometimes approaches this problem by rejecting the existence of god so as to undermine the foundation of the conservative belief system, but in order for social conservatives to exist in the first place, their level of confidence in their belief in a god must be very high. These arguments, in many cases, are doomed to fail. So what else can the left argue? Well perhaps the left can seek common ground with the right by accepting, for the purposes of argument, the existence of god.

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Who Deserves What?

One of the central questions of distributive justice is desert–what determines the size of one’s claim to the economic pie. The conservative right often maintains that certain inherent virtues or positive qualities justify desert. A hard working person is said to deserve more than a lazy person, a smart person is said to deserve more than a dumb person, and so on. This amounts to sort of a virtue ethic, a deontology–these things are inherently good, and consequently those who possess them deserve more. The liberal left has a different answer to this question, one grounded more in consequences and less in arbitrary virtues and vices, and I think there’s a strong case for saying that it more closely reflects reality.

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Moral Absolutism: The Detriments of Deontology

Today I’d like to discuss deontological ethics, the notion that an act or behaviour is right or wrong in and of itself, irrespective of the consequences of that act. Deontological ethics are illiberal and come at the expense of free thought and human autonomy. Here’s why.

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