The Problem with Teleological Ethics
Teleological ethics (i.e. do whatever will produce the best outcome) is inherently impossible. The total outcome of an action is not determined until the action no longer effects anything. If, after that happened, you then totaled all the affects and finally decided if it was a good idea, that knowledge would begin ti affect things. As a result, the original choice is again influencing the world, an so we do not know all the outcomes after all. If we don't know all the outcomes, there may be some big result coming that will out-way everything before.
This provoked an interesting debate:
I (on about 2012-12-02) thought of an objection to my original post. A deist god could apply strict consequentialist ethics. He/she/it/whatever-deist-gods-are would be able to evaluate the total consequences without invalidating the result because deist gods don't take actions.
So, your argument is that because you can't perfectly predict an action's outcomes, you should not even attempt to use logic to act in ways that are likely to lead to good and moral outcomes? Rather, God should tell you what to do, because you are more perfectly aware of God's prescriptions for behaviour?
You can't perfectly predict or execute anything. Life is about reasoning in the face of uncertainty.
Once you start saying things like "In cases like X, do Y", you aren't really doing direct teleological ethics any more. You are using reason and logic to develop a general set of principles that you hope will usually achieve your goals. Broadly speaking, however, I think your point is good; my statement seems to only apply to a strict form that I don't know of anyone actually using. However, there are often medium-term consequences that people often overlook. For example bending (or ignoring) rules to achieve the greater good could lead people to try to ensure that what is best for them is in the greater good. This sounds harmless until you realize that it would include threatening to blow up a building if you don't get your way.
I'm not sure whether to like that comment or not. I like the first 5 sentences, but think your last one is a bit of an overstatement.
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