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It seems like a relation like '<' exists in morality, as most ethical systems view moral actions as more evil/good than other actions.

Has any philosopher tried to quantify this, e.g. how much better a moral choice is to an immoral one?

  • i may up-vote, but feel you need more context. in deciding on a course of action we do seem condemned to weighting alternatives, and not just in utilitarianism. so, i'd be interested in whether perfect duties can conflict in any sense whatsoever. e.g. if we imagine that we don't have one duty (not to lie) in order to work out the situation we face (the fugitive will be murdered) do other duties appear (the duty to save their life)? if so then aren't we saying that the not lying course of action is preferable, more valuable, than the alternative (of saving their life)? – another_name Mar 29 at 13:39
  • i just mean that in that sense performing a perfect duty is not incomparably better than immorality. in deciding to perform it we decide it is more valuable – another_name Mar 29 at 13:48
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    Single utility utilitarianism tried to rank moral choices by their utility, it did not go well. An important lesson from it is that the relation < is only a partial order, i.e. many choices are morally incomparable, so it can not be "quantified", see moral dilemmas. The best we can do is "moral balancing" to rule out improvable choices, see e.g. part 5 of Nozick's Philosophical Explanations – Conifold Mar 30 at 0:30

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