Monday, March 25, 2013

An Hour North of Las Cruces, New Mexico

When we here at EE make the case that moral intuitions shouldn't lead to disastrous consequences, this position should not necessarily be construed as an endorsement of Max-U Benthamite-style consequentialism. Rather, consequences are part of a complete trolley-load of legitimate moral considerations. Any analysis of proposed institutional change is incomplete without an evaluation of the likely outcomes.

Likewise, analysis is also incomplete without reference to other moral principles. If Art and Betty are in a loveless marriage and Betty decides to have a fling with Carl, even if Art is never made aware of their tryst, Betty and Carl's (disturbing) dalliance cannot necessarily be justified with a simple appeal to the cheap thrills their tawdry affair hath wrought.

Similarly, it's erroneous to evaluate policies like product bans, naval blockades, anti-gouging laws, mandatory recycling programs, industrial subsidies, drug interdiction, and environmental protection efforts simply by the intent of the policymakers. Consequences are not the only moral consideration, but they are an important one.

And that's the truth.

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Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?