A limit of hypothetical reasoning (2)

Hypotheses don’t just involve belief but also praxis, and praxis sometimes effects belief.

Say we have an objective stance O toward hypothetical possibilities A and B. As hypothetical, O has detachment from A and B. But assume that A is evil and B is good and we are testing this by doing one or the other. The basic problem is that O won’t stay the same throughout repeated praxis.

Long term, whatever we do habitually we tend to see as good. This is not a problem if we choose B since B is good. If we choose A, however, we become less and less able to see things as they are, which is the whole point of hypothetical reasoning. Even short term choosing A makes us less able to choose well.

Of course, the whole point is for O to change, since detachment or indifference in the face of A and B is, at best, moral immaturity. Immaturity is not as good as attachment to B and better than attachment to A, but the need to make moral choices is unavoidable and continuous, and so O vanishes into one of the alternatives by necessity and to this one as opposed to that one by moral choice, the social pressures of law, and the various spiritual forces of our moral environment.


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