alan wrote:Hi Tobes.
I consider Singer's argument to be the final word because I find no flaws in his logic. If you do, please tell.
I've made a few attempts to turn the discussion towards an understanding of morality and ethics and my ideas on this should be clear if you have been reading through. They are similar to the quote you dug up.
Keep the main idea in the forefront. I'll make a statement. Let's see what you think.
"Is it possible to act ethically without being religious"?
This is a direct response to the OP. My answer is yes.
My answer is yes as well, but I think we ought to qualify why
, rather than just stating it.
I suppose I should take it that you are deploying Singer as
I haven't heard the specific lecture posted on this thread, but I have read him before, and heard him speak in public lectures. I find his utilitarian orientation very problematic: not so much that there are flaws in
his logic, but more that his ethics is reduced so much to a logical enterprise.
That is, there is a fundamental premise of rationality on the level of the subject (to be ethical is to act rationally) and a fundamental premise of consequentialism on the level of ethical value (the ethical value of a given act is defined solely in terms of its consequences).
Both of these premises can be important in an ethical theory, but they exclude other accounts of subjectivity (i.e. to be an intuitive and empathetic ethical subject rather than a coldly rational one) and do not grant any ethical value to the intentions of an ethical act.
As a good Buddhist, I think cetana
(intention) plays a critical role, much more critical than consequence.