Joan, I've heard of two things philosophers do:
1. they describe easy-to-understand problems in hard-to-understand words, and
2. no matter where they start, they stop when they get to themselves.
Joan, no problem. I suppose I could've used a bit less jargon. Utilitarianism is the ethical philosophy that the value of all actions, the utility, could be calculated, for example to maximize happiness and minimize suffering, such that an ideal course of action can be made. The problem is it is, as I posited, impossible to know the utility of each of your actions to the distant future and the utility of every alternative action.
"a priori" is Latin for "before" and is basically used to mean innate, rational knowledge that originates from the mind, whereas "a posteriori" meaning "after" is used to refer to empirical knowledge gained through observation.
A person does not know the utility of actions without experimentation, and certainly not innately, so it should be impossible for him to act according to Utilitarianism, or make claims about some ideal course of action.
We get to this picture of a vulture and an African child, which seems cruel at face value, but we really don't know, and it's impossible to calculate for, the eventual consequence of this event, whether the child lives or dies, thus I cannot find it within me to logically reject the platitude "Everything happens for a reason." on the account of perceived cruelty.
Some may choose to call this perspective psychopathic, but I beg to differ. It isn't that I don't sympathize with the human condition but that I also recognize the irony.
Joan, the last I heard, Utilitarians found at least one problem they have not yet resolved.
Imagine one of America's Republican billionaires. He has his money stashed away in foreign banks and/or investments. He also has several adult kids who would like very much to have his money.
They will get it when he dies, unless he meets and marries a Playboy centerfold type and then dies.
His kids have studied Utilitarianism. They want his money to do the greatest good for the greatest number (for them), and not for one (his widow).
They have him killed in a way no one can trace to them. They get his money and Utilitarianism scores a victory.
A bit of psychopathy there?
Maybe just pragmatism (If something succeeds, it has value.)
Magniloquent ! eh.....
~regards to 'sick'.. yikes!?
Arkansas can bite it w/abortion; lame... turning their backs on women...
Why more people do not see the utter impossibility of "God" with examples like this is completely beyond me. The photo screams out an argument from evil. We are asked to believe in a God who creates vultures so that they may devour a starving child? Sure, sure. And the moon is made of blue cheese. You photo is sickening to say the least.
I remember a story I once read about the hunger situation in the Sudan. It was common for families to march long distances in packs, in search of food and water. When the children got weak, the pack had no option but to leave the child by the side of the road and keep moving on. Those kids were eventually eaten by wildlife. Every time I hear the phrase "god works in mysterious ways", I think of that and I mysteriously want to kick that person in the teeth.
I so agree with you. Such remarks reflect sociopathic tendencies.
One of the reasons I have concerns about mission relief is the underlying causes of this scene do not change, individuals get a morsel of food that prolongs their suffering, and missionaries come home telling how many bowls of gruel they served, how many cops of water, how many blankets, and stand in front of a congregation bragging about their achievements.
The real heroes are those who bring about lasting change, politically, economically and religiously. "Feed the poor" needs to be transformed to "End poverty".
James, in Catholic schools nuns and priests sank that religion's hooks into my mind and into my emotions.
Those hooks had barbs and pulling them out hurt and took a while. With them out, Catholicism and other religions lost their hold on me.
In that photo I see an abandoned infant and a hungry vulture. I see what happens in the world.
I couldn't believe in anything that allows this, among other things, to happen.