Re: Volitional Morality and Action Judgement

From: Michael Roy Ames (
Date: Thu May 13 2004 - 22:01:00 MDT


>> You seem to be arguing that a being's volition should
>> not be respected if another being has more
>> information, or a better model of reality. I would
>> strongly object to this argument.
>No, this is not what I'm saying. I probably wasn't
>clear enough.

Okay. Sometimes it is tough to get a point across. Thanks for tying again.

> [snip]
> My point is simply that to say that what is in a
> person's interests is what the person presently wants
> is not a sound criterion, for it ignores the person's
> future wants, which are also *her* wants.

I agree that what-is-in-a-person's-interests cannot always be equated with
what-the-person-presently-wants. But I think that you omitted mentioning
the cases where a person understands that their future wants will be
different, and factors that into their decision-making process. I do this
all the time, and I'm sure you do also. Eg: Though I desire an espresso
now, I know that if I drink one I'll have trouble falling asleep later, so I
make myself a warm milk instead.

I suggest that it is irrelavent to the application of volitional morality
for third parties to consider what-is-in-a-person's-interest. We should
respect the volition of what-the-person-presently-wants regardless of
whether or not it is in their interest, present or future. Eg: I desire an
espresso, and even though I'll have trouble falling asleep later, I really
love my strong coffee so I make a double.

Now, don't get me wrong, if I saw someone about to do something I considered
really detrimental to themselves (present or future), I would try warning
them against it. But I wouldn't go so far as to violate their volition and
attempt to override their decision by main force. Eg: If I go to make my
double espresso and a friend warns me against it, that is morally positive;
but if that friend physically prevents me from making my espresso, that is
morally negative.

Michael Roy Ames

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