Ryan suggests a new foundation for moral judgements
Actions that serve to augment or support the mental health of moral agents are moral, actions that serve to diminish their mental health are immoral, and actions that have no impact on mental health are morally neutral. Applying this evaluative criterion to moral decision-making seems to yield consistently good results.
Certain parts of this formulation are left ambiguous, so in the spirit of inquiry, lets kick the tires a bit
- Is this fundamentally agent based? Which is to ask, is our hypothetical moral agent working to maximize the total global mental health, the average mental health, or only their own mental health?
- If agent based, what advantages do you think Mental Health has over eudamonia in answering giving moral guidance? Is there any circumstance in which self-sacrifice is a virtuous act? Is there any cause or action which you would be justified in taking on behalf of another, even at the expense of your own sanity? To save their life?
- If maximizing an external quality, don’t you run into the same Omelas problem?
- Are there any moral dilemmas you think Mental Health can answer, which any of the existing big three frameworks cannot?
- There are stories of well off, educated classical greeks selling themselves into Roman slavery as a tutor or scribe, so that after a period of time they would be able to buy their freedom, and with it a Roman citizenship. Was this an immoral act, and if so, why?
- Aristotle believed some people, due to circumstance and upbringing, were incapable of virtue. Is a sociopath capable of being a moral agent? If so, is it immoral for a sociopath not to seek to become neurotypical? If not, by what standard should they live?