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By Paul Ziff

This essay is the made from years of distaste for, and dissatisfaction with, the efforts of ethical philosophers. it may be tiresome to take care of information, to spell out the most obvious, yet ethical philosophy is such an abysmally tricky topic that speedier than a creeping slug is breakneck reckless velocity. One easily needs to content material oneself with a sluggish slimy path painfully drawn and carefully restricted. commonly talking, philosophy, and, specifically, ethical philosophy, is just too not easy fot philosophers. even supposing publishing is spitting within the ocean, or even notwithstanding my bitter candy spittle won't regulate the ocean's salinity, i'm in some way susceptible to post this essay. Acknowledgments: i started this essay in 1956. throughout the years, i've got mentioned a number of the subject matters during this quantity with a very good many philosophers. i'm indebted to them all, specially people with whom I disagreed and people who disagreed with me. One learns not anything from contract, while war of words provokes one to seem extra heavily and extra conscientiously at what's at factor: if a thinker is to learn from dialogue, a person needs to be disagreeable.

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A maxim of chess is to avoid doubled pawns: whether I adhere to this or not, I would still be able to play the game. Alternatively, a maxim, unlike a rule, is not constitutive of a game. A maxim may be thought of as an avowedly weak form of an inductive generalization. Like any advice, it may sometimes be best to ignore it. 119. As far as I am concerned, with respect to my own idiolect, there are moral principles and moral maxims but there are no moral rules. 120. One must, in moral philosophy, contemplate and appreciate the character of conceptual conflicts.

But what makes such a preference irrational? 191. Suppose one again conceives of oneself as a series of persons through time: thus, again, I am the set {PI whose members are PI, n, ... , Pm, ... , Pe. ) If I then opt for Gi+li over Gj+lj, I am, in effect, then giving preferential treatment to Pi over Pj. But what if I opt for Gj+1j? Then, in effect, I am then giving preferential treatment to Pj over Pi. In the first case, Pi acquires Gi, in the second case, Pj acquires Gj. Either way, I am committed to, and cannot possibly avoid, an inegalitarian treatment of Pi and Pj.

Again, consider the immediate loan of a small Cezanne sketch as against a later loan of a great Cezanne oil. In MORALITIES 45 such a case it seems clear that GkGj. Does it then follow that (Gi+li)«Gj+lj)? Not for a follower of Humpty Dumpty who prizes the immediacy of matters: not for one, perhaps such as Bentham, who is committed to the principle that propinquity enhances value. 206. Is it, or would it be, irrational to be committed to the principle that, discounting nons patio-temporal considerations, and letting 'f and its superscripted indices now represent not merely temporal but spatiotemporal intervals relative to one's own spatio-temporal position, if Gi=Gj then (Gi+li»(Gj+lj)?

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