This is jacobs2k's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following jacobs2k's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Recent Activity
To a philosophical amateur of highly questionable competence such as myself... It would seem that the strict summation of benefits associated with each element of the conjunctive comprises the “reason to do some (any?) conjunctive act …” The accumulation of negative utiles from ‘component’ acts (D1 + D2) form the reasons not to take the conjunctive act. Humanly speaking, it seems we run into two flavors of problem. First, even though the scenario was posed as “assume that these are the only effects of these actions and that the timing of the effects is irrelevant,” we still tend to cognitively weigh the earlier positive heavier than the later negative. This looks like a form of the availability heuristic that creeps up so often in studies of decision making and cognitive bias. The benefits of X sound so good, we really want them to triumph over the downsides of D1 and D2 that are also a part of the conjunctive act. Second, as the illustrious Doug Portmore seemed to imply, the difference between the conjunctive act and the non-conjunctive act (and treating the net utiles of each act separately) is a tricky one for our minds. We want to be able to separate the positive yielding component act (X giving us B1) from its negative siblings. Even though the definition of the conjunctive says they all come together or not at all, I believe we mentally start wishing/seeking for a disjunction that would allow us to separate their consequences (reminiscent of the fable that concludes ‘and maybe the horse will learn to sing’). We are time-oriented sequential and experiential for the most part, and it is tough to move away from that. This points back to the challenge of the utilitarian premise. If our value structure has truly been normalized (so that 1 positive utile is exactly = to 1 negative utile), the net value leaves us stuck with forsaking the highly desirable X because of its inescapable Y and Z siblings-in-conjunction. But suppose the values were reversed (leading to a net gain), then if we have a value structure that forbade us to ever dip below an even level. We would have to forgo the good net (of +1 in this case) for fear that the unknowably sequenced X+Y+Z might occur in a way that caused us to have a temporarily negative balance. Thanks for the thought provoking post. Please excuse my comments if they are in any way unwanted.
Toggle Commented Nov 2, 2011 on Reasons and Conjunctive Acts at PEA Soup
jacobs2k is now following The Typepad Team
Nov 2, 2011