[extropy-chat] On the Inevitability and Goodness of Superlongevity

Mark Walker mark at permanentend.org
Sun May 29 13:17:57 UTC 2005

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Marc Geddes"

> Just on a side-note, it was interesting that you
> mentioned the ethical debate between what you called
> welfarists (who want to maximize utility in the sense
> of happiness) and perfectionists (who emphasize growth
> as the highest good).  I'm inclined to think that
> ethics is some sort of *combination* of the two (that
> is: I think that both welfarists and perfectionists
> are both half right).
> Note that welfarists emphasize the *intrapersonal*
> (individual internal  positive experiences), where as
> perfectionists emphasize the *interpersonal* (the role
> individuals play in the world, or how they interact
> with the external world and the people around them).
> So welfarists are dealing with *intrapersonal* ethics
> (what personal values to pursue), where as
> perfectionists are dealing with *interpersonal
> ethics*(how we should relate the external world).
> For *intrapersonal* ethics, I think welfarism equates
> to Eudaimonia (which I interpret as a combination of
> health and happiness).
> For *interpersonal* ethics, I think perfectionism
> equates to what I have called Volition (a constant
> striving for perfection requires growth, which amounts
> to a constant expansion of over-all choice or freedom
> - Volition).
> So remember my handy formula for morality.  Here it
> is:
> Morality = Eudaimonia x Volition
> Eudaimonia is welfarism, Volition is perfectionism and
> the multiplication sign indicates that I think ethics
> is some sort of interaction or combination of the two.
I agree about the incompleteness of both welfarism and perfectionism as it 
is traditionally stated. However, I am writing a paper that argues that 
perfectionism can accommodate the sorts of things that welfarism typically 
points to, e.g., the role of pleasure and happiness in the good life, 
whereas welfarism cannot accommodate the insights of perfectionism. So, if 
we opt for a monistic conception of the good, then perfectionism is this 
good. Thanks for you input.

Cheers, Mark

Dr. Mark Walker
Department of Philosophy
University Hall 310
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario, L8S 4K1

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