Thursday, March 17, 2016

Polling Philosophers on Ethics

Many years ago a poll of philosophers, I can no longer find, indicated most philosophers believe in deontology, virtue or natural law ethics. Another poll suggests they same thing, with only 23.6 percent of philosophers supporting consequentialism, though some philosophers mix intuitive beliefs with consequentialism.

Worse, many consequentialists are deontologists in disguise. Peter Singer and similar philosophers demand Westerners give any income above $30,000 per year to aid agencies (often aid profiteering).

Singer never gets around to making a well-reasoned argument why current aid regimes would have anything other than horrific long term dysgenic and dystopian consequences.

In other words, philosophers act as if their intuitions trump the evidence. This should not surprise. It is a selection effect. Think about the types of people who become a philosophers, people in their teens or young adulthood, who decide they know more about the world than almost everyone else, people who spend much money for degrees in a field with uncertain financial rewards, but know they have to act politically and socially correct to get jobs in that field. Philosophers are genetically and culturally predisposed to intellectual hedonism and verbose blather to arrive at simple, wrong rules. These are not the people you should have teaching logic and ethics. Logic and ethics should be separate fields from the rest of philosophy.

(Preachers, politicians, celebrities, and billionaires are terrible at logic and ethics, too, but preach they do.)

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