Their Morals and Ours by Leon Trotsky

By Leon Trotsky

Partaking within the innovative employees circulate "with open eyes and an extreme will--only this may supply the top ethical pride to a pondering being," Trotsky writes. He explains how morality is rooted within the pursuits of contending social sessions. With a answer through the pragmatist thinker John Dewey and a Marxist reaction to Dewey through George Novack.

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Remember that I have been discussing welfare independently of morality, so that you might accept Mill's views on welfare or something like them even if you do not in the end believe utilitarianism. We have seen how Mill's hedonism provides a response to a particular problem in views such as Bentham's, and how Mill's own view, with its unexplained notion of 'pleasurableness' and the role played by non-hedonistic properties in 42 determining goodness (if only via pleasurableness), seems to point in a direction away from hedonism.

The purely summative view suffers from the same sort of fault as did the present desire view: narrowness of focus. The present desire view relativized judgements about a person's welfare to particular times in that person's life. The purely summative view allows one to make judgements about a whole life; but those judgements themselves may well in certain cases be based only on short-term desires. The global view makes allowances for the fact that people have preferences about how their lives go as a whole, suggesting that my greatest welfare consists in the fulfilment of my desire to live in the way I most prefer.

Like many people, Bina probably does desire not to be living a dream life. As Robert Nozick puts it, 'we want to do certain things, and not just have the experience of doing them' (Nozick 1974: 43). Our naturalist presumably had a strong desire to further human understanding of the natural world. The fact that this desire is fulfilled explains why we think his life goes better for him when he does succeed, even though he may be unaware of his success. A desire account might also be taken to provide a uniform explanation of the sources of welfare, which were beginning to appear quite disparate after the rejection of the disjunctive view: what is valuable about certain experiences, about certain enjoyments, and about certain activities and states is that they fulfil people's desires for them.

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