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March 1, 2013 / compassioninpolitics

How can we compare ethical systems, worldviews, and arguments?

As one who has dabbled in philosophy since high school, I would suggest potentially 19 criteria:

1. Views of human nature
2. Purpose of life
3. Its core values (does it protect what we believe to be important)
4. Types of scenarios in which it applies (flexibility & usefulness)
5. Effectiveness (Flexibility/Usefulness/Resolving Conflicts)
6. Intrinsic versus extrinsic value
7. Individual versus societal
8. Historical understanding
9. Scenario based comparisons
10. Thought experiment
11. How it interfaces with our ideas of responsibility, duty, and ought-ness.
12. How it balances concerns for Human dignity & rights…fairness & justice…..with survival.
13. Assumptions about reality (on multiple levels)
14. How it squares with reality (and other disciplines)
15. How it deals with the emotional & rational components of humanity
16. How it integrates objections & the issues around postmodernism
17. How it integrates multiple insights about ethics from the history of philosophy (ie the ancients around virtue)
18. How it deals with non-humans
19. Rational & Logical consistency (doesn’t require major cognitive dissonance). This is a modernist & rationalist criteria. Its probably one of the more optional–but still generally helpful.


Leave a Comment
  1. spiritualsavant / Mar 1 2013 3:39 pm

    Good stuff! It seems to me that the question for a worldview is, “Does it work?”

  2. compassioninpolitics / Mar 25 2013 9:23 pm

    I think there is some intersection between pragmatism, experiential knowledge, and perhaps theory and history which might point the way.

    I think its hard to underplay this multi-dimensional aspect as a way to approach questions like this. It helps integrate perspectivalism into a coherent whole which might seek universal truths or at least truths which approach universal.

  3. compassioninpolitics / Mar 28 2013 2:55 am

    1. Value, Purpose
    2. Reality/Truth (Multi-dimensionality–multiple perspective)
    3. Benefit/Utility/Pragmatism
    4. Ethics/Responsibility
    5. Disconnects
    6. Disadvantages

    I probably should just draw a line down the page so that this list becomes 4 long.

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