Tag Archives: Moral reasoning

Solve the Right Problem

To remember

  • Define problem right = you’re halfway to a solution.
  • Define problem wrong = you’ll probably never solve it => You’ll waste all your time looking for a solution that doesn’t exist.
  • Flip side of defining the problem wrong = what computer programmers call GIGO: “Garbage in, garbage out.” >>> If assumptions are wrong = if your logic is flawless =your conclusions will be wrong.
  • social problems < base assumptions on optimism rather than realism => go straight from errors in their premises to errors in their conclusions.
  • When you start with incorrect information but make mistakes in thinking, then you might get the correct answer just by blind luck. (it does happen)
  • Why are the great monotheistic faiths – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – chronically unable to fulfill their own self-professed goal of creating individuals infused with moral sensitivity and societies governed by the highest ethical standards? = seems to define problem incorrectly, based on an incorrect assumption about what religion can accomplish.
  • Judaism taught world about universal moral law under God, improving societies and people from ancient times to the present day.
  • Christianity added emphasis on individual conscience + individual rights, helping to develop Western ideals of freedom and personal dignity.
  • Islam = great improvement on earlier practices in the region where it developed, giving at least some rights to women + , in the medieval era, fostering a high civilization to which Jews contributed.
  • << cannot do = make all individuals + societies ethical all the time, + can’t do it because it’s impossible.
  • => limitation imposed by human nature, + fact people are not all alike
  • problem > message must be simple, clear, consistent, + realistic + achievable + allow occasional failures, providing a way to recover from them and get back on the right track.
  • solution = to talk to majority in the middle

The Thousand-Year View

Steve-JobsMy latest blog post for The Jewish Journal:

Define the problem right, and you’re halfway to a solution.

Define the problem wrong, and you’ll probably never solve it. You’ll waste all your time looking for a solution that doesn’t exist. That applies in every area of life, such as religion, relationships, science, and social problems. The best movie mystery of 2008 turned on mis-identifying the problem to be solved.

The flip side of defining the problem wrong is what computer programmers call GIGO: “Garbage in, garbage out.” If your assumptions are wrong, then even if your logic is flawless, your conclusions will be wrong. Garbage in, garbage out.

Ironically, it’s the best and brightest people who are most susceptible to GIGO errors when they think about social problems.

Their kind hearts make them want to believe the most optimistic things, so they often base their assumptions on optimism rather…

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Moral Patterns and Moral Decisions

All human beings were created in the image of the Divine Creator and as such got implanted in them brains which could think or reason. After getting to know good and evil, each one of us has the instinct for knowing the difference and having the choice to choose between good and evil.

Too many christians do think because they are saved they do not have to obey the commandments of God. They are so wrong and deceiving themselves. Still today they have to base their moral reasoning on obeying rules (deontology), on producing good results (utilitarianism), on imagining what a good person would do (ideal observer theory) we daily having to recognize the often heartbreaking difficulty of moral choice, letting us engage both logic and feeling.

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To remember

  • we always want things to be simple =/= just intellectual laziness => Our minds automatically prefer things that are simple + symmetrical
  • 20th century, Gestalt psychology explored how we find patterns in information > Pattern-finding = one reason our memories are often unreliable.
  • moral decision =/= always simple >requires more than just logic => also requires feeling, imagination, + courage.
  • God gave us both intelligence + conscience. => giving us questions => expecting us to figure out the answers

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Additional reading

  1. Framework and vehicle for Christian Scholasticism and loss of confidence

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Related

  1. God is the greatest question
  2. Utilitarianism Discuss the ideologies associated with utilitarianism and deontological ethics concerning human behavior and the ethical or unethical decisions and/or actions of those working in law enforcement
  3. Utilitarianism Utilitarianism (Religion and Ethics 2b) Which two thinkers do you need to know about for the exam? What kind of theory is Utilitarianism? What is meant by the term Principle of Utility?
  4. Is Utilitarianism a thing?
  5. Utilitarianism against Utility
  6. Utilitarianism: John Stuart Mill
  7. An Argument for Utilitarianism: Omelas
  8. Discussion on Bentham’s and J. S. Mill’s Doctrines of Utilitarianism (university paper / philosophy)
  9. The Dangers of Utilitarianism in “The Lathe of Heaven” by Ursula K. Le Guin
  10. How to be happy-according to Jeremy Bentham
  11. Why I became a utilitarian
  12. A Letter to Utilitarianism

The Thousand-Year View

Gestalt-PatternsMy new blog post for The Jerusalem Post:

Some things in life are simple. Some aren’t. In fact, a lot of them aren’t.

That’s a problem, because we always want things to be simple. And if they aren’t, then we still try to see them as being that way.

It’s not just intellectual laziness. Our minds automatically prefer things that are simple and symmetrical, whether they are political ideas, scientific theories, melodies, or geometrical shapes.

In the 20th century, Gestalt psychology explored how we find patterns in information, even if the patterns aren’t really there. Pattern-finding is one reason that our memories are often unreliable. If a past event didn’t make sense to us, then when we remember it, we unconsciously impose a pattern so that it makes sense in retrospect.

Moral situations are often too complex to fit into simple patterns or be solved by simple moral principles. Consider…

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