what could have gone wrong between locke and bentham

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what could have gone wrong between locke and bentham

Post by retroactiveman on Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:13 am

Treesitter in his comment to my post on Penny Widmore indicated that Christian Shepard has usurped Jacob, has convinced Locke that someone was to erroneously move the island...all this in order to rid the island of Ben. The island is being controlled by evil forces. As treesitter writes "Now, that [Ben] is gone, it´s no surprise that „... some very bad things happened.“

I dont necessarily disagree with this theory (actually I do think that Ben was operating on his own orders, no one made him move the island), I want to think about what bad could have happened. To me it is not enough to merely say evil/good. It is not even worth it to ask questions of whether or not this or that (plane crash) was planned or not. The show is unravelling a historical narrative. It was inevitable that the utilitarians would be introduced, because the show or island for that matter doesnt care about why, but that it has happened...hence the absolutley ridiculous introduction of a frozen donkey wheel to accomplish revolution (from divine right monarch to representative democracy) on the island. In our world the utilitarians have been introduced.

When it was first revealed that Locke's new name was Jeremy Bentham, I was suprised, but wasn't shocked. In a sense, it seemed natural that Locke could change personas, after all Ben did it a number of times, (with every mask that I am thinking of being of the mastermind mold (Henry Gale, Dean Moriarty, even Ben Linus as Jazprof has suggested on another website fits that mold). It seemed natural that Locke could morph into Bentham, Bentham being a natural successor to Locke's empricism. The show indicated as much when Alpert had the young empiricist choose between among other things the knife and the book of laws. Locke with his bizarre defense of inalienable property rights constituting a limit on government would choose the knife, Bentham, who held the common law in disdain and who advocated political change through an instrumental appoach to law (ie revising the common law into a code based system) would naturally choose the law. When Locke choose the knife, Alpert's response was something along the lines of "your not ready yet", the empiric approach was still in its infancy; later it would later take on the rational characteristics, the legal adoption of the average man that would be its hall marks.

While in some sense it does seem natural that Locke is succeeded by Bentham, their is a large difference between Bentham and Locke. (I won't deal with the issue of whether Bentham is the natural successor of Locke or more properly Hume, which the show doesn't appear to be addressing).

Whereas Locke's relationship to the island is self involved as I tried to suggest in my mind body dichotomy post, utility is a socially maximizing approach. Whereas Locke's approach incorporates fundamental concepts that cannot be violated (life, liberty, property) indicating a kind of natural law underlay to empiricism; utilitarianism (especially per Bentham (and Austin, but less so Mill)) is resolutely a-moral; asking as its fundamental question what brings the most happiness--what causes more pleasure, how do we lessen general pain? While utilitarians offer ingeneous ratonales for why some seemingly purely moral laws exists (the prohibition of lying while seemingly purely moral is given a utilitarian gloss through the rationale that human's as a whole benefit from the prohibition of lying), utiliatrianism could potentially accept an immoral policy if the policy was determined to increase the pleasure of society generally.

What does this have to do with what could go wrong?

Depending on who was determining on what constitutes pain, what constitutes pleasure, the direction that society could take could disagree with Locke's fundamental character. The potential result could produce disagreement with Locke, and result in things going very wrong for Locke.

In fact, if the moving of the island means that the island moves back in time, the utilitarian approach, could produce a world that the oceanic six live in, or the world that we live in.

For example pre crash, Kate was in the process of being brought to justice. Post crash, sovereign Kate Aust(i)n (the namesake of English jurisprude John Austin) is above justice (the accusation of guilt shouted by the man in the street is said in reverse [see Seany B's eggtown recap on youtube]), justice is backwards. Superstar, (OJ) style, justice is avoided...maybe the utilitarians have gained control of world's mind, the island... and maybe this movement has changed the body of the society tied to it.


Last edited by retroactiveman on Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:31 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : changed utiliatrians in 2nd paragraph from historians -- wrong word)
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Re: what could have gone wrong between locke and bentham

Post by Smokette on Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:30 am

So, what's the deal the the Bentham name anyway? Is it an alias? Is it an alternate dimension??
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Re: what could have gone wrong between locke and bentham

Post by Veefre on Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:06 am

I dunno. Maybe he taught a college philosophy course or sumthin.
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Re: what could have gone wrong between locke and bentham

Post by AngeloComet on Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:45 am

Big ideas.

Has the "world's mind" and its justice system been changed as a result of the Island going back in time?

I think not.
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and

Post by retroactiveman on Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:18 pm

why not?

Excuse me for trying to make the show mean something.

You can go back to looking up the effect of certain physical forces on wikipedia.
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Re: what could have gone wrong between locke and bentham

Post by SunburnedPenguin on Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:42 pm

I like it. I like the idea of a "world mind" and that the actions on the island, being the mind, can influence society. Isnt that what the Valenzetti equation hints at?

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Re: what could have gone wrong between locke and bentham

Post by MollyCocktail on Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:23 pm

I REALLY enojoyed reading this Retro!
Nice work!

If I'm understanding correctly, it seems that Utilitarianism leads to hedonism which fosters apathy which leads to society turning icky-poo, hence justice is obscured.

Perhaps the "lot of bad things" that occured after Jack left the island were a direct result of this apathy.
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Re: what could have gone wrong between locke and bentham

Post by MyStarbuckHatesLost on Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:42 pm

Justic and morality are very fluid things, in Lost and in theis world.

This was a good read Retro...and I'm gonna have to read it again before I can make any more comments

+1
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Re: what could have gone wrong between locke and bentham

Post by vincentthedog on Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:26 pm

I`m both impressed and confused.
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Re: what could have gone wrong between locke and bentham

Post by retroactiveman on Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:51 am

Vincent: I would like "Impressed and confused" written on my tombstone one day

starbucks: I eagerly await your criticism

molly: utiliarianism asks what would bring the most pleasure, but its take on pleasure is nuanced, and better translates into benefits, therefore it is progressive; but the empiric part of the process observes the world, asks in what way could we experience the most pleasure, and then prescribes via policy or legislation...the thing is though, who makes the call on what brings the most pleasure/benefit? if benefit is determined on an economical model (say the free market, or the plus minus system for determining theory worth on the old L-T website) the result is rule of the masses, if someone was to try to control the system say THE ECONOMIST, then that party would do as it wants with the system...this could lead to hedonism, or it could be immoral leading to icky poo society...[im just an idiot talking over my head mind you!]

m. penguin: thank you for your comment: let's see Valenzetti equation...maybe, are there six figures in numbers? so say that each of the six represent a number...plug the numbers back into the equation on the island toward an end and reverse the course of the world? maybe maybe

angelo's comet: you are a total bore, thanks for your time

veefre: no im a law student

smokette: I really like your suggestion of bentham being the economist, notice that shambala co-opted it in the theory he/she recently posted...I only know a little about bentham, and what I do is his epistemology and jurisprudential aspects...bentham could be the economist I guess, but the economist could be above it all, dictating the bad things that the utilitarian cannot refuse to do


Last edited by retroactiveman on Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:53 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)
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Re: what could have gone wrong between locke and bentham

Post by Irocz28 on Wed Jun 04, 2008 6:06 am

Sorry, but I didn't get this one retro. You are obviously really smart and know your history. But, you might be overthinking it.

"Maybe the utilitarians have gained control of world's mind, the island... and maybe this movement has changed the body of the society tied to it." Maybe, but probably not.

Call me a bore if you want. Actually, if it puts me in the same class as AC I will take it as a compliment.
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Re: what could have gone wrong between locke and bentham

Post by retroactiveman on Wed Jun 04, 2008 6:19 am

no iroc, the word that describes you is sycophant, which is an entirely different category

but Angelo Comet is right, maybe world mind is not the right phrase to use, maybe the word to use is dialectic,

more on this to come, be ready to devalue that post as well

and keep making those territorial marking posts like your prognostication of Jack's death
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Re: what could have gone wrong between locke and bentham

Post by SunburnedPenguin on Wed Jun 04, 2008 6:29 am

Retro, next time could you leave the insults at the gate before coming in? Thank you.

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Re: what could have gone wrong between locke and bentham

Post by Irocz28 on Wed Jun 04, 2008 6:38 am

Thanks SP.
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