Scientific Thinking: "...
• possible limits to deduction. I don't
think much of science is about deduction or proving theorems. Its an inductive endeavor. We create
models to account for data. We try to find the simplest models that are good at predicting phenomena, and
we try to understand their mechanisms. There's no proof that these models are "correct"; they are "verified"
only by showing that they work on data we have seen so far. In short, induction, not deduction, is the way most
Moral Reasoning.....Moral Feeling.....Moral Action
Utilitarianism - John Stewart Mill & Jeremy BenthamIn utilitarianism, the moral worth of an action is determined only by
its resulting outcome, although there is debate over how much consideration should be given to actual consequences, foreseen
consequences and intended consequences. In A Fragment on Government, Bentham says, "it is the greatest happiness
of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong"
Categorical Imperative- Immanual Kant
The capacity that underlies deciding
what is moral is called pure practical reason, which is contrasted with pure reason (the capacity to know without having been shown) and mere practical reason (which allows us to interact with the world in experience). Hypothetical imperatives tell us which means best achieve our ends. They do not, however, tell us which ends we should choose. The typical dichotomy
in choosing ends is between ends that are "right" (e.g., helping someone) and those that are "good"
(e.g., enriching oneself). Kant considered the "right" superior to the "good"; to him, the "good"
was morally irrelevant. In Kant's view, a person cannot decide whether conduct is "right," or moral, through empirical means. Such judgments must be reached
a priori, using pure practical reason.
Veil of Ignorance - John Rawls (allocating
resources & assigning principals to schools) in Mahatma Gandhi's Talisman, given in 1948.
"I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the
step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control over
his own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions?
Then you will find your doubts and your self melt away."
The veil of ignorance is part of the long tradition of thinking in terms of a social contract. The writings of Immanuel Kant, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Thomas Jefferson offer examples of this tradition.