Brave new world

And then there’s this whole idea that we can make morality a science by basing it on universal desire for well-being.

One problem with that is that we don’t all have the same view of what constitutes well-being, to say the least. We don’t agree on what constitutes well-being in general and we certainly don’t agree on what constitutes it for self as opposed to other.

And suppose someone did come up with a survey that found – convincingly – that aggregate well-being was higher when women were more or less forced, by the lack of opportunity to do anything else, to be wives and mothers and nothing else, and lower when they had wider opportunities and correspondingly more freedom. Suppose there is such a survey, that shows aggregate well-being higher and women’s well-being lower. Suppose a world where women are distinctly a minority, as they are in India and China because of selective abortion. Would that outcome – a less happy minority but a happier total – be moral?

No; not in my view at least. But the idea that we can make morality a science by basing it on universal desire for well-being seems to mean that it would be.

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