Posts Tagged ‘praxeology’

I am going to briefly explain three scenarios, as the reader it’s important to remain in the logical mind using the facts to answer a question regarding moral and ethical decision making. There are numerous philosophical doctrines one can use to aid them in making ethical decisions. In order to keep this as simplistic as possible I am going to use Kant’s categorical imperative as our moral compass. When faced with a moral or ethical dilemma is the answer as black and white as in Kant’s categorical imperative, or does morality exist in a subjectively grey area determined by praxeology? 

Let’s examine three ethical dilemmas:

A.) Stealing

B.) Lying 

C.) Murder

I know there are multiple facets and complexitys to Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative, but to keep it simple let’s focus on the question is it ok for someone to steal, lie, or murder you? I imagine our answer would be no, therefore stealing, lying, and murder is universally wrong. In its simplicity there are no variables to alter or justify this outcome. 

When looking at these dilemmas using decision analysis any variable added creates an action axiom where “If a condition holds, then the following should be done.” Decision analysis is based on the maximum expected utility (MEU) action axiom. The action-axiom is the basis of praxeology, and it is the basic proposition that all humans purposefully utilize means over a period of time in order to achieve desired ends. 

Using these two options is morality as black and white as Kant’s categorical imperative, or is it possible that all moral and ethical decisions exist in a grey area where the difference between right and wrong is subjective depending on the situation. Let’s see what happens when variables are added to our three examples.

  • A.) Stealing in order to feed your family. In this scenario does the categorical imperative trump the action axiom?
  • B.) Your partner asks you if their outfit makes them look fat. Are you morally obligated to answer “yes” or would you use praxeology to determine your answer.
  • C.) Due to the nature and complexity of our final example it requires more detailed information than the other two. 

    I apologize if the details are vague so try to stay with me in your logical mind looking at just the facts. 

    Gary is an “associate” of an organized crime syndicate. Gary did or didn’t do something bad enough to warrent a $5k contract on his life. The moment it was decided Gary had to go his fate has been sealed and Gary is a Deadman walking. His end is as unavoidable as our own, so does the means to his end matter? I am going to use a similar variable as the first scenario. What if the future well being of your family is so bleak you are unable to even meet any of Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs.

     The only option in front of you is to accept the 5k and murder Gary. You are just the means to his end, if you didn’t do it someone else would. We can deduce that Gary willing chose to be a part of a criminal organization, therefore accepted the risks associated with his line or work. Gary’s life ended long before the trigger was pulled. Despite my foggy mind and poorly explained variables, where do you stand when faced with being the means to end an already condemned man’s life to save your family.

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