Saturday, May 20, 2006

In Mathematical Terms

My reservations towards utilitarianism began with ideas around presumptions on the values of lives, in accordance to democratic values.

The ethics of democracy says that every human life is equal in value. If every human life is equal in value, each life must have a consistent value. This consistency in one life’s value is in proportion to one human. One human - one life.

My assumption is that there is a conflict between this supposition and utilitarianism. The utilitarian theory would, as far as I can understand say that it would be a better deed to save ten lives than one.

My hypothesis though is that, because of the constant value of life, in proportion to each human, ten lives is not more worth than one.

(The fact that one human’s life can enhance the life of another human does not come in to this discussion)

Thinking about this I found it really hard to understand what I was actually after. While trying to understand, I thought maybe it can be explained in mathematical terms … I therefore phoned a friend of mine, whom is very clever with maths, and I explained my problem. He was actually the first one to seem to understand what I meant, and this rather swiftly. He then gave me a mathematical formula for explaining the phenomena: He said we have to start with a constant and this constant being one life. x in the equation is the number of lives.

The equation would be: “The constant times x divided by x equals the constant”

The motivation for this equation is that the life of one human being can not be more worth than a human. This is independent of if you talk of one human being or one hundred human beings it is still one life.

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