Saturday, August 25, 2012

On Subjective Judgment

Judgments relating to the appropriate action in a particular situation result from an assessment of the specific conditions and consequences. A decision is formed in the interpretation of an event from the perspective of the subject’s values. General moral priorities function to prescribe imperatives in certain circumstances. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012) However, the validity of any moral action is limited by the imperfect consciousness of the subject.

The confidence in a decision is proportional to the metacognitive perception of the scope of the subjective consciousness. (Koriat, 2011) However, the retrospective judgment regarding the appropriateness of an action is correlated with the degree of consensus with the subjective value system. (Koriat, 2011) Discrimination between alternative possibilities is dependent on cues that are diagnostically informative cues that indicate the validity of the various options. (Koriat, 2011) These attributes are valued based on their agreement with previous experience. (Koriat, 2011)

Perceptual phenomena are created by interpreting current sensations in the context of prior knowledge. Novel information is integrated into the subjective consciousness in reference to existing cognitive schemas. The process of conceptualization consists of sequential assessments of perceptual representations. (Koriat, 2011) The accuracy of a perception is progressively increased by successive comparisons. (Koriat, 2011) The final overt decision is a summation of approximations. (Koriat, 2011) The subjective confidence in the selection is proportional to the percentage of assessments in agreement with the subjective account. (Koriat, 2011)

A decision results from relating present information to valuations. The constructed subjective perceptions provide the significant relationship necessary to interpret sensations. This meaning is compared to valuations in order to determine the appropriate response. Values relating to minimal suffering prescribe utilitarian morals. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012) The categorical imperative requirement that moral actions comply with universally valid principles is founded on values relating to justice and fairness. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012) The particular judgment represents the perception of compliance between a selection and subjective ethical priorities.

The perception of some value, either consequential or a priori, commits the subject to a course of action that intended to produce a corresponding end. (Hills, 2008) However, this commitment is appropriate only if the end is in fact valuable. (Hills, 2008) The motivations of conduct must possess rational foundations in subjective valuations in order to be valid. (Hills, 2008) Illogical delusions of nonexistent relations will fail to produce desired results. Since the function of subjective value is dependent on rationality, moral actions must comply with deontological criteria in order to maintain consistency. (Hills, 2008)

Assessing the morality of an action is equivalent to verifying the causal relationship between the instrumental means and the intrinsically valuable end. (Hills, 2008) This assessment is limited by the imperfect subjective foresight resulting from the inaccuracy of phenomenological constructions of meaning. Only in hindsight is the subject able to obtain an objective measurement of the consequences of a moral decision. Retrospective analysis of the appropriateness of an action is a comparison between the ends obtained and those desired.  


Hills, A. (2008) Kanitan value realism. Ratio, 21(2), 182-200

Koriat, A. (2011) Subjective confidence in perceptual judgments: a test of the self consistency model. Journal of Experiemental Psychology: General, 140(1), 117-139

Thiroux, J.P., & Krasemann, K.W. (2012) Ethics: Theory and practice (11th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education Inc.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Politics and Ethics

Politics is the practical application of ethical theories. The principal ethical function of government is the promotion of prosperity. However, utilitarian motivations may conflict with other moral values. (Brulde, 2010) General happiness should only be promoted through morally permissible means. (Brulde, 2010) Moral politics must perform utilitarian actions that are compliant with acceptable ethical principles.

The term ethics refers to the individual attributes of a person. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012) Normative ethics are the values that result in behavioral imperatives. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012) Morality is the function of ethical characteristics in social interactions. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012) The purpose of moral politics is the application of paramount ethical principles. (Brulde, 2010)

If happiness is the supreme human value, political actions should reflect utilitarian motivations that are within the boundaries of moral constraints. (Brulde, 2010) Consequentialist ethical reasoning operates within the confines of certain deontological obligations. (Brulde, 2010) These moral prohibitions represent the ethical priorities of justice and fairness. (Brulde, 2010) Suspensions of utilitarian criteria may be necessary in order to ensure the well being of society. (Brulde, 2010) Happiness may be the ideal that politics aims to achieve, but this is not the only consideration of an action. (Brulde, 2010)

Immanuel Kant categorical imperative defines moral actions as universal. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012) This deontological criterion identifies ethics as absolute rules that must be reversibly applicable in all situations without contradiction. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012) Another moral principle of Kant is the practical imperative prohibition of human exploitation. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012) According to this principle, each individual must be respected as an end in themselves. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012) Many actions motivated by utilitarian reasoning would be prohibited by these restrictions.

The resolution of the conflict between the teleological and deontological prescriptions is inherent in the definition of rights. (Pallikkathayil, 2010) Since interpersonal influence is inevitable, the ideal of autonomy must include egalitarian considerations of the scope of individual discretion. (Pallikkathayil, 2010) Possession of a right necessarily asserts the authority to limit the freedom others. (Pallikkathayil, 2010) Preservation of rights requires the maintenance of equality though restrictions of activity. (Pallikkathayil, 2010)

A formal social contract is a voluntary exchange of some freedom in order to secure essential rights. (Pallikkathayil, 2010) A moral government is constructed to impartially protect the rights of citizens through legislation and enforcement. (Pallikkathayil, 2010) The resulting institution establishes conclusive rights that are merely provisional in nature. (Pallikkathayil, 2010) Moving from the state of nature to the impartial judgment procedures of a civilization requires surrender to the enforcement of government conclusions. (Pallikkathayil, 2010) The social contract authorizes the institution to enforce egalitarian and utilitarian restrictions. (Pallikkathayil, 2010)

The justice as fairness described by John Rawls provides a model for a system that promotes happiness while remaining compatible with deontological requirements. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012) The equality principle provides each individual with the maximum liberty that enables the same freedom for others. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012) Inequalities are permitted only when universally beneficial and acquired from equal opportunity. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012)

Justice as fairness is developed through the original position of the veil of ignorance. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012) Each principle must be adopted from a neutral perspective to ensure equal opportunity to all. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012) This foundation constructs a government that is able to promote a utilitarian agenda using only means that are agreed upon by all members. The political actions of this institution promote happiness for everyone while complying with essential moral principles.

The government is authorized only to interpret and protect ethical principles by means allowed in the constitution of the institution. Individuals who defy the authority of the institution transgress the moral obligations of the community. However, any government that violates the social contract is unjust and must be replaced. The principles that establish an ethical system are paramount and must be protected from perversions.


Brulde, B. (2010) Happiness, morality and politics. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11, 567-583

Pallikkathayil, J. (2010) Deriving morality from politics: rethinking the formula of humanity. Ethics, 121, 116-147

Thiroux, J.P., & Krasemann, K.W. (2012) Ethics: Theory and practice. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education Inc.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Religious Foundations of Morality

The numerous types of moral foundations can essentially be reduced to two systems of justification, objective authority or subjective reason. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012) Morality founded on authority is the result of some external source, while arguments from reason are justifications made within oneself. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012) This distinction reflects the position of the subject in reference to objectivity. Since values are defined by the subjective perceptions, any objective source of morality is an invalid induction. (Millar, 2011) Religious foundations of morality make the logical error of deriving an imperative from descriptions of reality.

Accepting the cultural significance of religion does not require belief in the doctrine. Many individuals and societies have founded their moral systems on religious texts. The consequences of this are disputable. However, the validity of such a foundation is not dependent on the success of any particular context.

If the believers of a religion accept the contents of their canon as absolute truth, it would seem logical to adopt any system of morality present in the sacred documents. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012) However, absolute truth must be applicable in all circumstances. This results in a contradictory consequence as the universal code must then be applied to those who do not accept the truth of the doctrine. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012)

The nature of the contradiction in religious systems of morality results from the fact that subjective perceptions are not necessarily identical to objective reality. (Millar, 2011) The subject constructs perceptions to interpret the meaning of sensory experience. (Flood, 2010) However, this empirical influence on knowledge does not guarantee any truth in the subjective account, as the sensory experience is defined by properties of the subject as well as the object. (Millar, 2011) When constructing the phenomenological account, the subject projects attributes onto objectivity that are really only artifacts of sensory physiology. (Flood, 2010)

The only rational conclusion of this relationship is the nihilistic reduction of supposed objective truth knowledge to mere functional propositions. (Millar, 2011) This epistemic limitation prevents pure subjective consciousness of any absolute truth. (Millar, 2011) Any description of objectivity is only an account of the subjective experience. (Flood, 2010) Meaningful prescriptions must be rationally constructed by the subject and then compared to experience in order to verify accuracy. (Millar, 2011) This unidirectional consciousness is invalid if reversed in the opposite function. (Millar, 2011)

To interpret meaning in reality, the subject must rationally create a universal principle that is then deductively applied to particular situations. (Millar, 2011) There is no rational inductive derivative of universal concepts from isolated examples since it is not possible to verify every instance of the rule’s application. Deductive reasoning can be improved through correction in response to error as in the scientific method of verification. (Millar, 2011) Induction is hopelessly trapped in the antecedence of any individual event. (Millar, 2011)

Religious foundations of morality are always flawed since the induction of a universal principle from a particular example is an invalid derivation of a prescriptive imperative from a descriptive interpretation. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012) Morals are rules of conduct that function to satisfy subjective valuations. Justifying values based on any objective source claims that the perception is equivalent to the object. However, since consciousness is a reference between the subject and the object, the object is unknowable in itself. (Millar, 2011) The only valid foundation of morality is one that can be arrived at through reason. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012) The valuations and perceptions that justify a moral system can be assessed in reference to objectivity only if they are defined by the subject. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2012) Such functional comparisons are not possible if the subject accepts some authority as the absolute source of truth. (Millar, 2011)


Thiroux, J.P., & Krasemann, K.W. (2012) Ethics: Theory and practice, Eleventh Edition. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education Inc.

Flood, A. (2010) Understanding phenomenology. Nurse Researcher, 17(2), 7-15

Millar, B. (2011) Sensory phenomenology and perceptual content. The Philosophical Quarterly, 61(244), 558-576