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Old 03-19-2009, 07:27 PM
atropos atropos is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 14
Default Re: Do utilitarians have to support colonialism?

To Tyler's question with respect to the benefits of colonialism and whether or not a utilitarian has to argue that colonialism was good:

Utilitarianism always has a horizon problem. In terms of numbers of lives saved up to this point, is it likely that that African nations would have suffered less under colonial powers? Probably. But that doesn't mean the answer to Tyler's question is a simple 'yes.' For one thing there is, as in every utilitarian question, no way to tell what the future will bring or what the very long term effects of colonialism might have been.

Additionally - Tyler assumes that the correct utilitarian metric is number of lives saved... many utilitarians would, I think, pick a more complex metric.
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