All that matters in life is our desires and how our desires alter the desires, and their reachability, of others’.
Morality should be a decision-making system that maximizes the desires of all who have the capacity to desire, with included, those who are affected by the decision of moral question. Every question that alters the desires of anyone other than yourself, is a moral question. Moral decisions are not intended to only benefit the individual who decides.
Those who are affected by the decision of the moral question, should have their desires factored into the decision. The degree to which each individual is factored should correlate to the ratio that the decision alters their desires.
The desire to not die, outweighs all other desires because desires cannot be held without survival. The desire to reproduce, leads to increase in individuals that have a capacity to desire. It also prevents extinction of desire altogether. Excess reproduction doesn’t aid in the survival of desires and may harm the desires of many.
The potential impact that an individual has on the desires of other creatures, increases moral value of that individual. Desires are all that matters. The concept of “what matters” is based and defined by desires. If we desire to eat meat, it eliminates the desires of the animals of meat. This erases all potential for future desires in that animal. Including equivalent desires such as eating food. If you decide that your desires matter more than another for an arbitrary reason, then others may decide and deem your values as lesser also for arbitrary reasons. A reason is arbitrary when it has no logical connection to the value in question.
Your desires can matter more than another, if your desires have increased the quality of life for more people, or to a greater degree than the other has.
Conflict of desires can actually exist both internally with the self and externally in a socialized decision making way. Our own decision making on an individual level is similar to our decision making on a social level. Internally we may want to finish watching a TV show and simultaneously want to use the bathroom for relief. We cannot choose both under normal circumstances so we choose one of our conflicting desires.
If someone socially wishes someone dead, we must at least factor the human who dies and the human who is desiring to kill. If the human who desires the other dead doesn’t face death as a consequence of not killing the other, then it is immoral to kill them.
Death abolishes all potential desires. We cannot desire food while dead. So we must factor the quantity of desires that the individual who dies will miss out on and contrast it with the quantity of desires that the killer misses out on if it doesn’t fulfill its desire to kill. The killer would only lose out on whatever reason he desires to kill. Let’s say it wants to kill for food for the taste pleasure. It loses out on taste pleasure, but still can experience sexual joy and many potentially fulfill-able desires. Losing temporary taste euphoria vs all potential temporary taste euphoria, sexual euphoria, and every possible desire, since being dead doesn’t allow for any desires to be met or even had.
So if these two individuals exist mutually, they must weigh which loss is worse, and only have bias towards the one who has more moral potential.
Another issue, is that we also tend to favor our own well-being more than a stranger’s well-being. For example, most people will favor their family over strangers. Favoring your family has many biases and selfish intention though, especially on a global scale. We are selfish. and we mutually agree about being selfish. But selfishness isn’t really a moral factor. Because morality is almost entirely about how we interact with other conscious creatures. If we are alone on the planet, with no other conscious entities to interact with, it doesn’t matter what our behavior is, we simply act as we desire.
Morality could be objective. We can place moral value on subjective feelings of individuals and not so much the causes of them. The causes can be manipulated in order to alter the feelings of individuals. For objective morality we simply look at the objective feelings of each person individually and choose who’s feelings matter more based on how the outcome of that individual’s feelings impacts the feelings of other people, so we must favor the most impactful individuals over the lesser impactful, especially if we can predict the individual to fully utilize their moral power. Morality can be a system of socialized feeling management.
1. The first moral claim: Safety and happiness are all that matters. Safety is more valuable than happiness, because happiness will cease to exist if safety is not achieved. In essence, you cannot be happy if you are dead.
I do not value all life (animals, humans, plants, fungi, bacteria) equally. I would say we should consider the consequences of each living creature on the whole system of living creatures, measuring happiness, safety, and possibly progression of society (which is still just happiness and safety really). The ecosystem would become of very high value, if most of all living creatures safety and happiness depend on the ecosystem. In this system, animals and humans are not equal. Humans and humans are not equal. It would be hard to make a case that twins are equal even. The equality of things arises more as you abstract away from the details of the reality. The quality of our moral actions is reduced as we abstract the details of reality.
So, you could make a case that many humans may be a detriment to other humans and other animals happiness and safety. Not all humans are equal. For example, what if a human is consuming an amount of resources such as food and technology, but this human’s existence is not adding an equal value for the cost of resources. It is important to note, that cost in this context, is not money. Instead, it is the cost to other living organisms safety and happiness. Technology and food are likely the steepest costs that are influenced in your life, if you are reading this. A human who consumes very much of these things, should not be supported by the other creatures and humans involved in the totality of the system. And very often, power and money is used to immorally force those in less power, to create the technology or food as well, so this issue is very morally direct in many contexts.
The humans who consume technology and food sources without outputting higher moral value or at least neutral, could be deemed as parasitic to the system. This essentially benefits no one except for the self. It tributes the safety and happiness of those lower in power, to increase the safety and happiness of those higher in power. This largely refers to issues of the first world to the third world. However, the issue goes beyond this, where the highest powers, in the first world, also act similarly to those lower in power, in the first world.
From the idea of safety and happiness being the core of moral value, I would say that the right to life, should be based on the desire for safety and happiness, which requires life, and this means they deserve to live to some degree. This argument would support animal liberation.
Can invoking death against the will of a subject be moral?
Death can be permitted as moral when death of a more valuable being or the total additive value of beings affected outweighs the value of the subject threatened with death. Hitler for example, would be eliminating happiness and safety for many. If his death ends this value reduction, I’d say killing Hitler, in this case, is morally acceptable. But if there are alternatives, such as persuading Hitler to stop, and then also allowing Hitler to reach personal happiness and safety, I would argue that killing Hitler is more immoral than converting him to a more valuable way of life.
This basically ensures that each action will be the most moral, and that strange loopholes for immoral actions do not exist. So for example, someone might create an immoral solution, like Hitler did, that might have a net positive effect on the total value of biological systems, where value (safety and happiness) is increased, but at a sharp cost, and people may justify this intensely negative solution and not look deeper for an alternative solution that is less costly. People may assume that a net positive is good enough to take action and ignore other possible solutions.
2. The second moral claim: If we measure hypothetical solutions to increase value, we must not stop at a single solution where the change of value results in a net positive, but analyze many solutions and find the most efficient one, especially if the cost is deep. So it is immoral to settle for a net positive gain, if there are alternatives that cost less. To use hypothetical solutions, we must treat hypotheticals as if they all exist and weigh their moral value against each other, rather than solely weighing them against the concrete reality that is present.
Before continuing, I must state that I do not think Hitler’s actions were morally justified, even compared with the concrete reality of his present moment. For the sake of argument, I will assume that somehow it may have been, simply to show a case, where deep costs to moral value, must be weighed against alternate hypothetical solutions and not solely the concrete reality that is the present.
So for example, Hitler may have had a plot to end conflict in the world, by enacting the holocaust. If the holocaust is compared to the present, there may be an argument that the results lead to a net gain to value, where more humans benefit than the humans who’s lives are lost during the holocaust. This becomes more grey, the further in time that you analyze the value changes. Some may claim that Hitler ended economic struggles and that the future results extend to many generations of humans, and only costs a set of individuals that existed in a small time frame of human history.
This may be an argument that Hitler’s actions were morally beneficial compared to the concrete reality that is the present.
But it is likely that alternate hypothetical solutions would have less of a cost to value in the system. If we do not weigh hypothetical solutions against a series of alternate hypothetical solutions, moral agents, such as humans, such as Hitler, may justify their hypothetical solution and make it a very costly reality.
This addresses the common fear that morality systems like the one proposed here, can be used to justify horrid actions.
RANDOM ETHICAL DISCOURSE
On the trolley problem:
Furthermore, the increasing level of aversion deals with self-wellbeing, which becomes increasingly prone to immoral decision-making. It may not be that people’s ethics differ, but instead that they would rather be selfish than moral.