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DeadYorick
03-11-2008, 02:07 AM
Since there was a lot of off-topic stuff in the Sterilization thread I thought of this. Basically move your entire debate about Morality here.

Anyway Morality in my opinion is used in all of our actions every day and without Morality we would not be able to function as a society

Arcesious
03-11-2008, 02:02 PM
I can tell this will be quite a firefight. Hopefully, unlike the other thread this was first debated in, we can be more civilized about it in this one.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morality

We should all read this first before continuing in this debate.

*Don*
03-11-2008, 03:28 PM
Morals is a controversial topic at best.

One man's code of conduct will not necessarily be equal to another man's.
Hence, there can be many interpretations of a person's actions.
It is quite confusing if u think about it.

patient_zero
03-11-2008, 03:35 PM
Morals are the principles which we believe a "good" person should believe in and act on. They are based on a person's own view of the world, and are thus coloured by the personal experiences of them and the people closest to them, and thus it can't be expected that everyone will agree on what actions are moral and what are immoral. Even then, some people don't even follow their own moral principles to the letter.

In my own personal principles I believe that motivation is accountable as well as the action itself when thinking of morality, but that's a subject for another day.

Inyri
03-11-2008, 04:53 PM
No no no, morals are not "good principles" -- they're just principles. You can have bad morals just as easily as good ones; they're not innately one way or the other. Considering something you do as 'good' is a moral value. Consider something a politician does as 'bad' is also a moral value. The term 'immorality' is simply a qualification of morality. Immorality is innately bad because we've defined it that way. Morality is not, however, the opposite.

You see, only we see in terms of good and bad. The morals can't be bothered about which they are one way or the order. But here I am anthropomorphising... :p

Pho3nix
03-11-2008, 04:58 PM
I don't believe there's a universal moral that everyone has embedded in their mind.

Society shapes us, our environment shapes us and most importantly our lives shape us.

A 100 years ago no one would have thought twice about having a slave, much less questioning why they shouldn't have the same rights as for example the upper white class.

in b4 Hitler-card.

Arcesious
03-11-2008, 05:58 PM
Hmm... Interestign points have been made here... Morals can generally relate to common sense, which is a set of principles. Not everyone has the same veiws of morality, and a lot of times people's moral veiws are different, making them have different veiws on principles and common sense. Humans are sentient beings.

We have emotion. Animals have emotion too, but our emotions are more developed. We are able to express our emotions more distinctly. Because we are sentient beings with a more highly developed state of mind than animals,(As far as we know as we're not sure if other animals are at the same level of cognitiveness as us), we need morals, just as animals need instincts. We have instincts too, but we tend to have morals take the place of our instincts.
Now, Animals have moral instincts too, as I'll explain later.

For example, a four-year-old boy sees another four-year-old boy fall of his bike. As of yet, his parents have taught him nothing of morals. His natural response is either to help him, or to make fun of him. This is a moral reasoning tied to instincts. Due to the treatment he recieves from his parents, this will dictate whether his moral instinctive response is 'good' or 'bad'. If he's treated well, he will want to help the other boy, if he's treated badly, he will make fun of the other boy because that's how he thinks he's supposed to act based on how others treat him. Experiences from one's surroundings will dictate whether a person's moral instincts are good or bad.

With animals, they also have moral instincts. They just don't have as developed of a sense of right and wrong as we are capable of attaining. For example, a mother lion has two cubs. She is unable to provide for them for a certain reason. She either chooses to provide for herself only, or to sacrfice her life so that they may live. Based on the mother lion's life experiences, her instincts have developed in a specific way. Base don how her experiences dictate her moral instincts she will either provide for them and sacrifice her life, or leave them to die without food. Same thing with we humans and things like abortion. If the pregnancy can kill the mother, the choice will be to either save the baby or for the mother to live and the baby die. These things tend to be dictated by the experiences that influence their instinctive moral responses.

Basically, I think animals and humans have moral instincts, but those instincts develope upon experience. Morals ar enot innately right or wrong. Without moral instincts, we would have trouble deciding certain things that require a moral veiwpoint, which can be either 'good' or 'bad', based upon our experiences in life.

However, we humans also have a chaotic instinct. For example: a boy is treated well his whole life, and has a great life. normally, this experince would make him want to be kidn to others, however, there is a chance that he could be a very mean and hateful person, despite having a great life. I think cases like these are due to either the instinctive nature of greed and selfishness, or a rogue, chaotic instinct.

Edit: However, as InyriForge pointed out, there are things in this post I cannot prove, so don't veiw me as arrogant, i just tend to like to voice opinion in a way that makes it seem like I make it factual, which tends to be a bad habit of mine I can't seem to break. Sorry.

patient_zero
03-11-2008, 06:03 PM
No no no, morals are not "good principles" -- they're just principles.

Well, perhaps "good" was the wrong word. I meant that when something is described as "moral" by someone it means they think it is the "correct" thing to do, though whether "correct" to that person is the "empathetic", "narcisstic" or otherwise depends on the individual.

Inyri
03-11-2008, 06:04 PM
For example, a four-year-old boy sees another four-year-old boy fall of his bike. As of yet, his parents have taught him nothing of morals. His natural response is either to help him, or to make fun of him. This is a moral reasoning tied to instincts.You don't have an 'instinct' to laugh at someone. The child you described is 4 years old; he didn't just emerge from the womb. The way he responds is based on what he perceives to be appropriate, otherwise known as the morals he's learned from his parents/friends/neighbors. Remember that morals and behaviors don't need to be taught, they can easily (and often are) learned from simple observation.

I'm not really going to bother with the rest of your post as it seems like you're just trying very hard to pass off a lot of information as fact (avoid the word IS so much when talking about this stuff; it makes you sound a bit arrogant). For instance you can't possibly know that animals have emotions. I personally believe they do, but there is no factual basis for that belief other than observation, which isn't really a reputable factor.

And for god's sake, WALL O TEXT. It hurts; use a line break once in a while.

Well, perhaps "good" was the wrong word. I meant that when something is described as "moral" by someone it means they think it is the "correct" thing to do, though whether "correct" to that person is the "empathetic", "narcisstic" or otherwise depends on the individual.It's an improper use of the term either way.

Arcesious
03-11-2008, 06:08 PM
Sorry about that InyriForge.

Edit: Now that I think of it, perhaps our emotions are actually instincts too.

*Don*
03-11-2008, 06:17 PM
Experiences from one's surroundings will dictate whether a person's moral instincts are good or bad.


I gotta agree with u on that.
I would say that 85% of our morals come from our environment.

I recently witnessed an example of this on television.
A kid from a gang ridden area was compared to a kid from Beverly Hills.
When someone got shot, the kid from the gang didn't call the cops because he knew one of his friends would go to jail. This kid placed his moral of loyalty over his moral of logical thought.
When someone else got shot in Beverly Hills, the kid called the cops and put his friend in jail. In his mind, the moral of Justice was over the moral of loyalty.

Keeping this in mind, I think that almost everyone subconsiously "ranks" and assigns priorities to each of their morals and executes them out in that order.

Jvstice
03-11-2008, 08:05 PM
Sorry about that InyriForge.

Edit: Now that I think of it, perhaps our emotions are actually instincts too.
Some of what you'd said before I'd agree. Though I'd argue that emotions are internal senses rather than instincts. Sadness or depression tell you that something is wrong in your environment. They aren't a good indicator of what is wrong in and of themselves, or what the solution is, but they are an effective heads up to start experimenting or thinking about what needs to be changed.

Sort of example from the animal kingdom that also applies: It was discovered that if you gave an electric shock to rats through the floor to a cage, they would blame whatever other of their kind was nearby to them and immediately attack. I've had periods of time where I have flare ups of pancretitis, and I'm a bit of a grouch, verbally attacking friends, family and loved ones for things that either are blown out of proportion or really aren't their fault in retrospect.

Some of group morality is what what made civilization possible. Example: If a boulder is falling for an animal's loved one, they merely have to look at thier child or mate in trouble, then they often put themselves in danger to save one which can't protect themselves as often as not. Some times we do that too, but we are the only beings I know of who make rules to force ourselves over ride our instincts. Monogamy (or at least serial monogamy like most western nations actually have) reduces jealousy and makes it possible to live together in groups. Valuing life and property make it possible to pass laws that a vast majority accept and make enforcable on the small minority that don't agree.

Arcesious
03-11-2008, 09:40 PM
That makes sense.

Ray Jones
03-12-2008, 06:53 AM
Excerpt of a conversation about the issue of (relative) morality in the Senate Chambers, to be found here (http://lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=171819&page=1&pp=40).

Here's a topic that might cause as many potential headaches as abortion, religion, war, etc. Where do you come down on the issue of moral relativism and why?

Morality is, in the final analysis, about right and wrong. It is about having a moral standard which applies both to oneself, and to all other people. To be moral one must not do what one WANTS to do, but instead what one feels is morally right. Therefore for morality to function at all, it must contain starkly drawn lines between "right" and "wrong".

If we believe that our course of action is moral, it is because we believe it to be morally right, instead of morally wrong. Therefore we believe that we know right from wrong, and that there is a clear distinction between the two. The moral ideal therefore, is to use reason and logic to determine what is morally right, and then go and do it.

However, we are human and therefore fallible. Someone may believe that what they are doing is morally right, but they may be incorrect. This does NOT mean that morals are in some way "subjective". It just means that when a person who considers themselves to be moral does something immoral, they got it wrong.

Therefore morality is an absolute. There is a right way to do things, and a wrong way. A moral way, and an immoral way.

But our execution of morality may be flawed. Our "rating" of morality as individuals is limited by our ability to determine right from wrong, in short, our reasoning ability, our capacity for logic, our capacity to put ourselves in the shoes of others, our sheer intelligence and empathy.

Morals are not relative. Some people are better at being moral than others, that's all.

I'm just curious, AL: Where is this moral standard supposed to come from?I'm glad you asked. Morality first starts with empathy. I will explain:

People have claimed that morality is based on not doing anything to others that you wouldn't want done to yourself. This is incorrect. It is insufficient, and subjective. A masochist doesn't mind pain, because he likes pain. But it's clearly not right on that basis for him to go around inflicting pain on others, because they won't like it the way he does.

So we start, not with "do unto others as you would have them do unto you", which is subjective. Instead, we start with the quality of empathy, which you will possess if you are not a psychopath. It is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of another, and to realise that others feel pain and distress just as you do.

So empathy shows us that people other than ourselves have feelings. Then we mix the "do unto others" principle with our innate empathy, and we get... "Every organism feels distress, just as we do. Therefore, we must not inflict anything onto other organisms that causes them distress, unless absolutely necessary for our own self preservation". (I have a right to live, too.)

Thus, through the quality of empathy, we arrive at the first basic principles of morality. That others have as much value as we do. That we all feel distress.

In short, morality stems from empathy.

Who determines what is moral and what is not?Ah, no "person" determines what is moral, morality is an absolute, independent of individual opinion. I will explain:

We started with empathy, the desire not to inflict distress on others, and the universal value of life.

But now, in order to define what is SPECIFICALLY MORAL, we must use our reasoning power, and logic. Remember, this isn't about "creating" our own morality, it's about uncovering the truth that already exists independent of us.

My logic tells me that in order to behave morally towards another lifeform, I have to first determine what will cause it distress. Then, I must not do such things.

If I am already causing a lifeform distress by accident, I must determine what it is that I am doing that is causing the distress, and desist from that action.

If I have caused distress in the past, I must make what reparations I can.

For all animals the basic stuff is easy. Don't wound, don't frighten, don't kill. Don't steal their stuff, don't threaten them, don't cause distress, in other words.

Let's take an issue like abortion. In order to behave morally to the foetus, ideally we would have a method of determining on a case-by-case basis whether the foetus can feel pain and distress. From that point on, we would not abort. But in order to behave morally to the mother who doesn't want to have a child, we should abort before that critical time.

However, case-by-case tests are not currently available, so as moral people we look to experts to give us a rough time frame in which we can act.

That's functional morality. We use our reason and logic to determine the most empathic way to act, and then we do it.

But as I said before, we are limited in our perception of morality by our intellectual limits. If we're unable to reason out the truth, then we will be immoral unintentionally. Thus the moral man exercises his reasoning faculties regularly, so that he can always do the very best he can.

What one person thinks is moral, others will not and so on, so what is the absolute standard?What individuals think is irrelevant. Morality is an absolute. But we as humans are fallible and may, as I stated earlier, sometimes accidentally do the wrong thing. But it's up to us to always TRY to do the right thing. That too, is basic morality.

Darth InSidious
03-12-2008, 07:08 AM
^I must disagree, Ray.

Morality is the concept of a method of action by which we may achieve eudaimonia.

Spider makes an argument for a moral system, but cannot answer the fundamental meta-ethical questions, so instead starts from the assumption that morality stems from empathy.

Ray Jones
03-12-2008, 08:48 AM
^I must disagree, Ray.I must punch you then? :D

Morality is the concept of a method of action by which we may achieve eudaimonia.Not denied.

Spider makes an argument for a moral system, but cannot answer the fundamental meta-ethical questions,Which question would that be?

so instead starts from the assumption that morality stems from empathy.A very logical assumption, as I see it, giving a good setup to explain why morality is an objective thing.


I also think that morality is bull**** and that all people decide things based on their own self-interest and not the morals they claim to have.True because no decision is ever based on morals. It's always based on a subjective, personal (hence self-)interest.

Eudaimonia, dear Mr. InSidious, is also such a self-interest.

I think the actions in which these decisions end up are moral or immoral, however. :)

Arcesious
03-12-2008, 09:04 AM
True because no decision is ever based on morals. It's always based on a subjective, personal (hence self-)interest.

Eudaimonia, dear Mr. InSidious, is also such a self-interest.

I think the actions in which these decisions end up are moral or immoral, however.

Decisions are not always in the self-interest of the people who make them. For example, a very good and nice person sees another person about to get run over by a car. He runs and pushes him out of the way, with no concern for his own well-being, and dies saving the other. Same sort of thing in many other situations. a person is going to be shot, a person jumps in the way and saves him. His friend is guilty of a crime. His moral loyalty leads him to take the fall for his friend and get himself arrsted. If it is self interest to help someone, I can hardly see that as a selfish action, even if it is done to make the person feel good.

Ray Jones
03-12-2008, 10:37 AM
Decisions are not always in the self-interest of the people who make them. For example, a very good and nice person sees another person about to get run over by a car. He runs and pushes him out of the way, with no concern for his own well-being, and dies saving the other.(A) It is not important that the the guy that saves another is a "good and nice person" to determine whether a certain act of that guy is moral or not. (B) It's that guy's own personal decision (and thus self-interest) to save that other guy for whatever reasons, which might be selfish, or not. Moral or not.


If it is self interest to help someone, I can hardly see that as a selfish action, even if it is done to make the person feel good.I think you mix action with decision here. And no one talked about selfish actions. We were at decisions out of self-interest. The decision to help someone is always based on self-interest, maybe just because you feel better then (in other words: it makes you happy), maybe you don't want your friend to die (makes you also happy), or you get paid for it (in other words: you want to pay your bills, that's why you have a job), etc.

Even if you want to act moral, that decision is based on self-interest, because you want to.

Jae Onasi
03-12-2008, 10:50 AM
Arcesious, most emotions are not instinctual, i.e. they are not hard-wired physical responses to a particular event. For instance, some people will cry at a sad movie, others will not.

Ray, how does Spider determine that it's empathy that is the ultimate basis for morality? Isn't that making a moral judgment to start with? How does the evolutionary process, which is always changing, allow for an absolute, unchanging morality?

Ray Jones
03-12-2008, 12:13 PM
Ray, how does Spider determine that it's empathy that is the ultimate basis for morality? Isn't that making a moral judgment to start with?Hm. I'm not quite sure what you mean by "moral judgement". Is that that when you deem your following course of action to be moral?

However, all morality starts with the notion to err...act moral. When you don't intent to act moral, you won't do so, no matter what you do. In other words, to be moral, one must have the desire to be moral. This then leads to the point that you to need decide how to act moral. And to find the (most) moral path of action, Spider suggests using empathy to determine how much (negative) stress your act would cause to others. That means basically: distress down = moral up. :D

How does the evolutionary process, which is always changing, allow for an absolute, unchanging morality?How does it contradict an unchanging morality? What do you mean?

JediMaster12
03-12-2008, 12:31 PM
True because no decision is ever based on morals. It's always based on a subjective, personal (hence self-)interest.
So wouldn't one say that morals are subjective as well?
Think about this:
In general we have cultures. Culture as defined in anthropological terms is a system of ideas, behaviors and moods that are shared, learned and dynamic. Within culture are the morals that every society has, the proper things and the taboos. Interestingly enough there are rules for breaking taboos. Morals and soceital norms are subjective since, if you think about it, someone had to come up with these rules and such. So if decisions are made on a subjective level, therefore the formation of morals is also subjective. The question comes down to How do you know what's right and wrong?

Ray Jones
03-12-2008, 12:50 PM
So wouldn't one say that morals are subjective as well?No. :)

Think about this:
In general we have cultures. Culture as defined in anthropological terms is a system of ideas, behaviors and moods that are shared, learned and dynamic. Within culture are the morals that every society has, the proper things and the taboos. Interestingly enough there are rules for breaking taboos. Morals and soceital norms are subjective since, if you think about it, someone had to come up with these rules and such. So if decisions are made on a subjective level, therefore the formation of morals is also subjective.What certain cultures deem morally right or wrong or how they came to that conclusion is utterly irrelevant. With objective morality, stoning, female mutilation, death penalty etc will never be morally right, no matter how much is is accepted and considered to be right in whatever culture.

The question comes down to How do you know what's right and wrong?Basically it's like this: will that, what you are going to do, effect other lifeforms in a negative way (stress, pain, death), it is morally wrong, except it ensures your own survival.

Totenkopf
03-12-2008, 01:31 PM
But your problem, Ray, is determining what is the basis for this "objective morality". If the reasoning behind your version of absolute morailty doesn't jive with someone else's, who determines what the "true absolute morality" is to begin with? DI was right in pointing out that SA merely builds his concept of absolute morality around the idea of empathy, but that he doesn't actually prove that his is the correct answer. I could build a system around using truth as the "stress" (ie more truth =good. less =bad) to determine the ultimate morality of actions. So, "absolute" morality is arguably ultimately subjective in the eyes of those who don't agree with its underpinnings. You say tomato, they say tamahto. If every "moral" act is based on self interest, morality can only be subjective. Sort of reminds me of the whole situational ethics approach they tried to use in school.

Jvstice
03-12-2008, 03:24 PM
Ray: Very Kantian of you.

Totenkopf: There's also the question of whether good is opposite of evil or bad. Historically different groups of people have used either spectrum as a moral spectrum, but both have been around.

Arcesious
03-12-2008, 09:18 PM
I have to agree with what people have said in this thead since I last posted in this thread... If, anything, this discussion/debate has helped to clarify a few things about ethics and such for me.

Samuel Dravis
03-12-2008, 10:21 PM
DI, Totenkopf:

I don't think that the fact that there exist different objective moral systems makes those views any less objective -- it's clear that a particular moral rule can be arrived at by different people as long as they use the same system. That there are multiple systems does not take anything away from the objectivity of these moralities.

"But all these different moralities give me different answers!" You were expecting something else? Different equations are sure to give different answers.

"But," you might say, "why should I follow one of them and not the other?" I'm not sure what is meant here. Perhaps it's like saying, "There is more than one way to get the result '42' out of a math operation, therefore it's ambiguous which is the RIGHT way to get 42." Now that's a curious opinion.

Some types of morality are more suited for some tasks than others. Virtue ethics, for example, might be suited to someone wanting to conduct their personal lives morally, but it becomes hard to use in other situations. Utilitarianism would be useful to legislators because it is precisely the consequences of laws that they are concerned with. Why shouldn't you use different approaches in different situations?

"Isn't it true that there are truly evil people in the world?" Perhaps, but this is unclear. You need to clarify what is meant by that. "Isn't it true that there truly evil (defined in the Christian sense) people in the world?" Yes, of course there are such people. "But I meant in an ABSOLUTE sense, not just Christian!" But now you must define what is meant by 'absolute' in objective terms.

"But why should I be moral?" If you're asking that question, you're not interested in morality. You're interested in the material benefit of your acting morally...

Totenkopf
03-12-2008, 11:05 PM
Actually, I was addressing the point that if one asserts that there is ONE absolute morality, who determines what it is and how. The problem with asserting different moralities for different situations opens you up to a regular pandora's box of ethical dilemmas. Once again, who becomes the arbiter of what is moral and what's not? You can ask why you should act morally all you want, but without some kind of moral code you're only running in place, and blindly at that. One of the problems with spider's posts was his assumption that his was the only self evident basis for a universal absolute morality, yet failed to demonstrate how others COULDN'T come up with a competitive absolute and objective morality system based on a different set of principles. I also suspect that the term "objective" means different things to different people, perhaps notsomuch in what it is but at how such a concept is derived (or put more simply, objectivity is apparently subjective). ;)

Samuel Dravis
03-12-2008, 11:56 PM
Actually, I was addressing the point that if one asserts that there is ONE absolute morality, who determines what it is and how.I agree, that does seem to be a problem.

The problem with asserting different moralities for different situations opens you up to a regular pandora's box of ethical dilemmas. Once again, who becomes the arbiter of what is moral and what's not?Well, quite simply: whatever method you're using 'decides' what is moral and what's not. You can't separate the morality from the system by which you determine it.

You can ask why you should act morally all you want, but without some kind of moral code you're only running in place, and blindly at that. One of the problems with spider's posts was his assumption that his was the only self evident basis for a universal absolute morality, yet failed to demonstrate how others COULDN'T come up with a competitive absolute and objective morality system based on a different set of principles.Sure, I agree.

I also suspect that the term "objective" means different things to different people, perhaps notsomuch in what it is but at how such a concept is derived (or put more simply, objectivity is apparently subjective). ;)It could be. I define objective here as "that which is the same for everyone." An objective fact can be that a length of wood is this long, regardless of what particular system of measurement is used to give a name to that length (1 foot, .3048 meters, etc). In objective morality, for example, it's an objective fact that if you take this situation and apply this reasoning to it, you'll end up with this result. Subjective morality would not have this chain of reasoning-->result; i.e., two people would not necessarily agree on what the right course of action is in a particular situation.

Arcesious
03-13-2008, 12:44 AM
There still seems to be an instinctive difference in personality every human has, so the same experiences by two humans, living exactly the same lives, can end up not fully dictating their moral standards.

So, genetically Identical humans. Each live exactly the same life, with absolutely no difference sin either of their lives. They are later presented both with some identical question that is quite complex with many different moral subcategroies to think about when answering it, that require a moral veiw to answer. They each answer differently, even though they are identical in ever aspect of their lives. Why? Not by chance. It's because every single human has a different inborn personality, which has certain traits and characteristics that make thier morals different, even if they are identical in every other way. This pretty much agrees with the other posts said, so it's not a debating post, but rather one to add to the discussion. I'm open to corection about this, however. As there are things I don't think I've thought about in making this post that other people will think about.

Inyri
03-13-2008, 01:11 AM
It's because every single human has a different inborn personality, which has certain traits and characteristics that make thier morals different, even if they are identical in every other way.Proof?

Stop saying things are facts when you have nothing to back it up but your opinion. It's not only annoying, but it takes away from the thread when you make assumptions and pass them off as truths.

Arcesious
03-13-2008, 01:25 AM
Okay, I was wrong about that.

But isn't it true that every human being has a different personality, and therefore at least slightly different morals, at least?

Inyri
03-13-2008, 01:31 AM
I don't know every human being, so I couldn't say.

Arcesious
03-13-2008, 01:34 AM
That's a good point. I can't really be sure of that can I? (Rhetorical)

Jvstice
03-13-2008, 02:16 AM
Morals arise from values. Values are decided by those who are alive. Even in deciding whether life is worth living or not, a value is placed on life. Those who decide that life is not worth living, quickly take themselves out of the debate. So you can say that there are certain universals.

I don't believe that anyone under any moral system in any part of the world would disagree that murdering small children without any provocation or danger to oneself or ones loved ones, or greater society is morally wrong. Or that they'd try to reject it within any moral framework. Of course I was trying to take into account every possible ends justifies the means arguement I could think of. lol

On the other hand I took a psychology of religion class in 1998 I think. One thing I remember is that education level had a lot to do with what people decided was immoral. The less educated you were, no matter your religion or world view, the more likely that you were to say that if something disgusted you, then it was immoral. As people got more educated, they were likely to point to more abstract principles of right and wrong.

In the first case, if its' down to disgust, that's a very subjective measure. If it's abstract principles I could see the reasonings comparing different equations to get the same answers. Not so much if it's compared to whims of over 6 billion individuals.

DeadYorick
03-13-2008, 02:40 AM
Okay, I was wrong about that.

But isn't it true that every human being has a different personality, and therefore at least slightly different morals, at least?

Morals stem from how people were raised. But Arcesious I guess you are right in a simplified way. Since every human being is unique on how their emotions and personality are displayed they have different morals and different views on right and wrong

Totenkopf
03-13-2008, 02:56 AM
Sam:

Well, quite simply: whatever method you're using 'decides' what is moral and what's not. You can't separate the morality from the system by which you determine it.

Yes, but who decides which method for any given situation or circumstance? That becomes the dilemma.



It could be. I define objective here as "that which is the same for everyone." An objective fact can be that a length of wood is this long, regardless of what particular system of measurement is used to give a name to that length (1 foot, .3048 meters, etc). In objective morality, for example, it's an objective fact that if you take this situation and apply this reasoning to it, you'll end up with this result. Subjective morality would not have this chain of reasoning-->result; i.e., two people would not necessarily agree on what the right course of action is in a particular situation.

Perhaps, but that is much easier when using physical measurements. I agree that objective morality makes things clearer, but what if my system of objective morality conflicts with yours? The problem with subjective morality (aka relative) isn't merely that there are 2 or more sets of conflicting objective moralities, but that all are equal. Hence all manner of arguable atrocities can be indulged in and the relativist is powerless to condemn them. Sure it may not work for him personally, but it's fortunately not his problem (until/if it becomes so).
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In the first case, if its' down to disgust, that's a very subjective measure. If it's abstract principles I could see the reasonings comparing different equations to get the same answers. Not so much if it's compared to whims of over 6 billion individuals.

What abstract principles appeal to you may not to others, making even "educated" approaches to morality potentially very subjective.

Jvstice
03-13-2008, 03:26 AM
Sam:

What abstract principles appeal to you may not to others, making even "educated" approaches to morality potentially very subjective.


True too. Also there are differences whether you are talking about personal morality and something to apply on a larger societal scale. On the larger scale I'd also say that measures are subjective to a great degree and would tend to personally err toward noninterference where there are disagreements rather than erring towards tyrany. Every society faces a choice of which to err towards.

On the whole though but I'd rather live under laws that at least try to be based on reason even if the starting assumptions are very different than ones I'd have made or even agree with. I think most people would if they themselves were not the ones making the rules or 100% agreed with their rulers on the things that their rulers/leaders are disgusted about. At least if your leaders are applying reason to decide what's just and fair there is a basis for discussion, and if necessary reform and change when you see what the principle being defended is.

Ray Jones
03-13-2008, 05:12 AM
If the reasoning behind your version of absolute morailty doesn't jive with someone else'sHow could it, it's absolute. There are no different "versions" like we have in relative morality.

who determines what the "true absolute morality" is to begin with?No one certainly. Again, the idea is there is a clear point to start from. From there on you'd have to walk. How moral you act depends on how good you are at using empathy to find out how much you'd put distress unto other lifeforms, and of course on which route you'll take finally.

While the outcome might be individual-dependent (what else :p), the most moral way to go is *always* that one where the least amount of stress is caused.

Of course that automatically "creates" commonly known morals like don't kill, don't steal, etc.

DI was right in pointing out that SA merely builds his concept of absolute morality around the idea of empathy, but that he doesn't actually prove that his is the correct answer. Just because he didn't prove anything to be correct it doesn't automatically make other concepts more correct. The idea to use empathy to see how moral my actions may be is sound logic to me, and while I assume no one can prove it to be the correct idea, I find it to be quite precise and universal.

I don't know exactly how Spider thinks about this, or why, I just think what he said in that thread in the Chambers makes sense (to me at least), and gives a good base to start off to develop a common sense of morality which can be applied anywhere among humanity (and beyond that) since I also think we won't get any further using subjective morals instead.

Of course, I know that having so many cultures out there in the real world, there are many subjective, or localised standards of morality out there, deeming different things to be moral (around a common base of equal morals). But again, just because something is a local (morally acceptable) custom, doesn't make it absolute right (or wrong) automatically, just like death penalty is acceptable here and here but not there and there. I don't want to render any set of different morals invalid, either.

I think at the end of the day (and in case I want to act moral) I cannot do wrong considering any local set of morals when I use "objective morality", like when I'm not going to use death penalty at all. In case nowhere it is deemed immoral not to use death penalty, that is. But hey, I cannot be moral all the time. :p

I could build a system around using truth as the "stress" (ie more truth =good. less =bad) to determine the ultimate morality of actions.I'm not sure how you abstract this. Truth and stress are two different things. How you want to use truth to determine whether an action is moral or not is unclear to me. :confused:

So, "absolute" morality is arguably ultimately subjective in the eyes of those who don't agree with its underpinnings.Irrelevant. Everything is perceived subjectively. Tell me one thing that isn't. But just because every brain sees a unit circle in a different way, or maybe someone even dislikes the idea of calling it a circle and names it a "special ellipse", doesn't mean there are any different versions of it.

If every "moral" act is based on self interest, morality can only be subjective. Every moral act is based on the same self-interest: the desire to act moral. Every moral action is determined using the same scheme. Hence objectivity.

Totenkopf
03-13-2008, 01:48 PM
How could it, it's absolute. There are no different "versions" like we have in relative morality.
Yet relative (to you/the indivdual) at the same time. Funny that.

No one certainly. Again, the idea is there is a clear point to start from. From there on you'd have to walk. How moral you act depends on how good you are at using empathy to find out how much you'd put distress unto other lifeforms, and of course on which route you'll take finally.
While the outcome might be individual-dependent (what else :p), the most moral way to go is *always* that one where the least amount of stress is caused.
Of course that automatically "creates" commonly known morals like don't kill, don't steal, etc.
Just because he didn't prove anything to be correct it doesn't automatically make other concepts more correct. The idea to use empathy to see how moral my actions may be is sound logic to me, and while I assume no one can prove it to be the correct idea, I find it to be quite precise and universal.
I don't know exactly how Spider thinks about this, or why, I just think what he said in that thread in the Chambers makes sense (to me at least), and gives a good base to start off to develop a common sense of morality which can be applied anywhere among humanity (and beyond that) since I also think we won't get any further using subjective morals instead.
Of course, I know that having so many cultures out there in the real world, there are many subjective, or localised standards of morality out there, deeming different things to be moral (around a common base of equal morals). But again, just because something is a local (morally acceptable) custom, doesn't make it absolute right (or wrong) automatically, just like death penalty is acceptable here and here but not there and there. I don't want to render any set of different morals invalid, either.
I think at the end of the day (and in case I want to act moral) I cannot do wrong considering any local set of morals when I use "objective morality", like when I'm not going to use death penalty at all. In case nowhere it is deemed immoral not to use death penalty, that is. But hey, I cannot be moral all the time. :p

This may be all nice and fine for an empathy based system, but otherwise irrelevant.


I'm not sure how you abstract this. Truth and stress are two different things. How you want to use truth to determine whether an action is moral or not is unclear to me. :confused:

Easy, the point is that there may be competing sets of first principles that underly competing morality systems. You trumpet an empathy based system here, but anyone could pick a whole other series of issues to start from. One could choose beauty, truth, efficiency, ad nauseam. You might not be able to relate to those systems, but (like spider) you don't show how those systems are invalid, rather that you are fixated on concepts of pain in constructing your system of absolute morality.



Irrelevant. Everything is perceived subjectively. Tell me one thing that isn't. But just because every brain sees a unit circle in a different way, or maybe someone even dislikes the idea of calling it a circle and names it a "special ellipse", doesn't mean there are any different versions of it.

Here you seem to be intentionally confusing things. Just because I want to call blue red, doesn't make it so. Things can be percieved objectively, even given limitations. Maybe I'm color blind, but I know the order of traffic lights is an alternative system of telling me when to stop/wait/go. Once everyone is basically on the same page, no matter what personal affectations you wish to introduce to the equation, things can then be perceived objectively. It's more often the hows and whys, rather than the whats, that cause much of the consternation.


Every moral act is based on the same self-interest: the desire to act moral. Every moral action is determined using the same scheme. Hence objectivity.

Interesting. How do you explain the amoral/immoral person? Most of whom either think that morality is a fiction or who actually revel in doing evil things.

Samuel Dravis
03-13-2008, 02:14 PM
Sam:

Yes, but who decides which method for any given situation or circumstance? That becomes the dilemma.I don't think that is a moral dilemma, however. At most it's amoral which one you pick. Saying "When I use system 1 and it gives me X result, and I use system 2 and it gives me Y result, then which one is better?" presupposes another objective moral system over the ones you're deciding between. However, if you've already 'hit the limit' on objectivity in moral systems then there is no such overarching system by definition. If that's the case, then none of the individual but equal (in objective status, anyway) systems can be called subjective because there would be no alternative 'objective' moral system to make that distinction meaningful.

Edit: To make this clearer, these objective moral systems do not lack anything that would make them more objective.

As for why someone would follow one and not another, I imagine it's the way they live. People create moral systems - I've never known the body of a dead person to demonstrate that killing is wrong - and those systems are necessarily shaped by who they are. By virtue of being human, we all live similarly, so some ideas will be more universal than others-- and thus have more "moral weight." Lying vs. murdering, for example.

Perhaps, but that is much easier when using physical measurements. I agree that objective morality makes things clearer, but what if my system of objective morality conflicts with yours? The problem with subjective morality (aka relative) isn't merely that there are 2 or more sets of conflicting objective moralities, but that all are equal. Hence all manner of arguable atrocities can be indulged in and the relativist is powerless to condemn them. Sure it may not work for him personally, but it's fortunately not his problem (until/if it becomes so).As I replied to your main objection in the above, I'd like to comment on your statement that the relativist is powerless to condemn other's actions. While this is true of the relativist, this is not true of someone following an objective morality, even if there are other objective moral systems. A Kantian can argue that stealing is wrong, and the only way you could object to that is to say that there is no reason to follow Kant, not that the result the Kantian got is wrong according to his system. While some people might not care (moral weight, again) about Kant's moral theory, that is irrelevant to the universal applicability of those ideas.

Totenkopf
03-13-2008, 03:39 PM
To your first point, it still presents a dilemma (moral or otherwise) in that a system will be chosen for the purposes of order or in asserting a universal system. Dilemma being which one (of however many) gets picked and how it will impact all affected.

To your second point, we're pretty much in agreement. Whether your absolute system is "correct" or not, it is in place and doesn't equivocate. The relativist refuses to be nailed down on anything and thus approves (by default if nothing else) all things.

Ray Jones
03-13-2008, 04:20 PM
Easy, the point is that there may be competing sets of first principles that underly competing morality systems. You trumpet an empathy based system here, but anyone could pick a whole other series of issues to start from. One could choose beauty, truth, efficiency, ad nauseam. You might not be able to relate to those systems, but (like spider) you don't show how those systems are invalid, rather that you are fixated on concepts of pain in constructing your system of absolute morality.Err, what? Why do *I* have to show preemptively that *your* silly ideas are invalid when you didn't even show at least one serious attempt to prove them to be valid?

There is a reason why it is empathy that is used and not beauty, or whatever poppycock you'd like to submit here for whatever reasons as "tool" to "find" moral.

Spider explained how he defines morality and why he thinks using empathy is a valid method find this morality, I can do the same if you'd like to.
Mind to explain how beauty, truth, efficiency, w/e are valid "methods" to find a course of action that is moral, and maybe what this morality means which you find using beauty?


Here you seem to be intentionally confusing things. Just because I want to call blue red, doesn't make it so. Things can be percieved objectively, even given limitations. Maybe I'm color blind, but I know the order of traffic lights is an alternative system of telling me when to stop/wait/go. Once everyone is basically on the same page, no matter what personal affectations you wish to introduce to the equation, things can then be perceived objectively. It's more often the hows and whys, rather than the whats, that cause much of the consternation.This is leading nowhere, and even less it shows in any way that objective morality is relative.

Interesting. How do you explain the amoral/immoral person? Most of whom either think that morality is a fiction or who actually revel in doing evil things.Again, he who doesn't want to be moral simply isn't.

Totenkopf
03-13-2008, 06:49 PM
Well, Ray, half the time it's hard to follow your train of thought b/c it's so awkwardly worded. I know what spider thought, so your reproducing it here is just pointless repitition. You were apparently once again answering a question that wasn't asked. You have to show that other moralities are baseless since you're asserting that yours, however *silly*, is essentially THE correct one (not one of many possible ones that might be internally consistent). The problem that he ran into, and that you haven't remotely solved here, is showing why your empathic based system is THE system, not merely one that can be applied universally. He basically argued that his empathic system was self evidently THE universal system (not merely one that COULD be applied) but failed--as have you--to show that it truly is. Your statements at the end of that post are completely nonsensical. Because people arrive at a decision they think is moral doesn't make it objective b/c you think their processes are somehow the same. You appear to be throwing around the word objectively a little too loosely here. Hell, by that line, even subjective decisions have objectives in mind and must apparently be considered objective. :rolleyes:

Jae Onasi
03-14-2008, 01:35 AM
Ray, if I use truth as the defining basis for morality instead of empathy, it alters some of the decisions I could make--there are situations where being truthful is not always the empathetic choice, but it could still be the right choice to make.

I'd also like to know how empathy, which is fundamentally based on how someone feels subjectively, can be the basis for an objective system. Some people are more empathic than others, and at best all you could do is come up with a consensus on what most people feel is the best empathic response--but that wouldn't make it universally 'right'. If you base your system on what causes the least distress, how are you going to handle masochists or sadists? It causes the sadist far more distress not to cause pain. The masochist is in distress unless he's receiving pain. Extreme examples to be sure, but those problems crop up with an empathy based system.

Ray Jones
03-14-2008, 05:29 AM
Well, Ray, half the time it's hard to follow your train of thought b/c it's so awkwardly worded.This might also be due to the fact that my thought of train is hard to follow when you focus on twisting words instead and stumble over your own creations then.

I know what spider thought, so your reproducing it here is just pointless repitition.This is a thread on the topic of morality, and yours in the Chambers is too. I thought introducing some of its ideas here would be somewhat contributive, because in case you might not notice, there are others who do not know about your thread in the Chambers, so chances are I did not do it to annoy *you* with pointless repetition.

You were apparently once again answering a question that wasn't asked.Which question? Why you cannot use beauty instead of empathy? Firstly, I explained why I don't need to answer it, and secondly, please, PLEASE, think for yourself.

You have to show that other moralities are baseless since you're asserting that yours, however *silly*, is essentially THE correct one (not one of many possible ones that might be internally consistent).I never said it is THE correct one. N-e-v-e-r. In fact I said I would know there are a lot other moral systems working and I don't want to render any of them invalid. I just said I think it is also a good way to determine morality of an action.

The problem that he ran into, and that you haven't remotely solved here, is showing why your empathic based system is THE system, not merely one that can be applied universally.Again, I'm not proposing it as THE system, merely as an objective one that can be universally applied. Hm. Hm. So far you now jumped from deeming it subjective in any possible way to accusing me of proposing it as THE moral system, so I must prove it.

Yet you left out to explain how you want to use "beauty" to maintain an objective moral system, what you said would be an equal alternative to empathy.

And you know what: you simply can't. All you did is you used this trying to trick me to dive into nonsensical rhetoric about why you can't use your "example". Semi-optimal attempt.

Your statements at the end of that post are completely nonsensical. I don't think so. It makes as much sense as your question how I would explain immoral persons.

Because people arrive at a decision they think is moral doesn't make it objective b/c you think their processes are somehow the same.You seem to be completely missing the point. It's not about what people think is moral.

You appear to be throwing around the word objectively a little too loosely here. Hell, by that line, even subjective decisions have objectives in mind and must apparently be considered objective.I didn't throw anything. So far I "presented" an idea, you tried to **** it whatever way, but failed blatantly.



Ray, if I use truth as the defining basis for morality instead of empathy, it alters some of the decisions I could make--there are situations where being truthful is not always the empathetic choice, but it could still be the right choice to make.But you don't use empathy to define morality. Just because you attempt to use empathy doesn't make your actions moral. Regardless of any morality you use empathy to determine how your action is going to influence someone else. You can't use truth to do that, can you?

I'd also like to know how empathy, which is fundamentally based on how someone feels subjectively, can be the basis for an objective system. Some people are more empathic than others, and at best all you could do is come up with a consensus on what most people feel is the best empathic response--but that wouldn't make it universally 'right'.The idea is that the quality of your empathy is directly connected to your ability to act moral.

If you base your system on what causes the least distress, how are you going to handle masochists or sadists? It causes the sadist far more distress not to cause pain.The moral thing to do is not causing distress to others. It is not immoral to cause distress to yourself. When the sadist uses empathy he will find that when he inflicts pain to someone non-masochistic, it will cause them distress. If not, he's is unable to act moral in that case. In case you're into pain, it'd be a moral act of you when you let him hurt you. He's acting moral too, since his action doesn't cause you any distress. You don't act immoral if you don't let him hurt you simply because your not into pain. You'd act immoral if you don't let him hurt you with the intention to cause him distress.

The masochist is in distress unless he's receiving pain.When the masochist wants to be hurt, it'd not be immoral if you do so. (in consensus with his likings, that is) It is immoral for the masochist to force someone to hurt him when that someone doesn't feel comfortable doing so (=distress). It is not immoral not to do anything to the masochist then. It is immoral when you're not going to hurt the masochist with the intention to cause him distress.

So, if you, in any of both cases, intent to cause any distress, you're acting immoral, regardless whether you're into S/M or not.

Extreme examples to be sure, but those problems crop up with an empathy based system.No one said it's easy. It's working pretty well though.

How would the sadist/masochist scenario work for let's say Christian morality?

Darth InSidious
03-14-2008, 09:03 AM
Which Christian morality?

I'll write a fuller response when I have a minute.

Jae Onasi
03-14-2008, 09:09 AM
I'd like to nip in the bud right now the tendency for this subject to get caustic. Focus on the talking about the ideas and not saying or implying 'you're an idiot for thinking this'. I don't want nasty insinuations to develop here.

Your statements at the end of that post are completely nonsensical.
There are much better ways to word this, if it needs to be said at all.
All you did is you used this trying to bait me into nonsensical rhetoric about why you can't use your "example". Fail.
If you think it's baiting, then please report the post instead of making a comment like 'Fail.'

Ray Jones
03-14-2008, 09:50 AM
No, Jae. Not baiting. Baiting. As in "no need to involve report buttons".


I rephrased, however. ;

SilentScope001
03-14-2008, 01:40 PM
"But why should I be moral?" If you're asking that question, you're not interested in morality. You're interested in the material benefit of your acting morally...

Hey, Samuel Dravis. Two questions, since, erm, you seem to be on the side of there being some sort of objective moral, or at least creating a moral system by which you can evaulate moral systems. I think. This debate is a tad confusing.

1) I was going to ask you why I should be moral, but then you state that I am merely interested in the material beneift of me acting morally. Which may be true.

So, let us start. What is the material benieft of me acting morally? Why should I do something moral when it may be in my best interest of me not to be moral?

2) Also, let us suppose we have a secular moral system, and I break it. Now, in a religious moral system, I can ask for forgiveness to the Intelligent Designer/God/Gods/etc., and volia, everything is right again. But I broke the secular moral system, and therefore, I would be immoral unless I set it right. But I can't set it right, see, because to my knowledge, the secular moral system, has no redemeption mechanism. I cannot pray to the Kantian god after I made an innocent mistake and lied in order to save someone's life (as lying is morally wrong).

So, basically, how do I redeem myself in a secular moral system? Is it possible to be redeemed? Or are you cursed forever?

Ray Jones
03-14-2008, 02:49 PM
Why ask for forgiveness? Anyway you are deemed to live with the knowledge about what you've done, and hopefully you learn for your future. No need to go somewhere to get redemption. I case you are a man of high moral, you're not interested in doing an "immoral mistake" twice.

*not Samuel*

Samuel Dravis
03-14-2008, 03:37 PM
So, let us start. What is the material benefit of me acting morally? Why should I do something moral when it may be in my best interest of me not to be moral?It's just things like this: it may be immediately in your interest to steal something, and you might be able to get away with it at the time. However, if you do steal, people might find you to be a thief later on and that would impact your ability to do other things that you might want to do (prison, barring you from voting, etc).

2) Also, let us suppose we have a secular moral system, and I break it. Now, in a religious moral system, I can ask for forgiveness to the Intelligent Designer/God/Gods/etc., and volia, everything is right again. But I broke the secular moral system, and therefore, I would be immoral unless I set it right. But I can't set it right, see, because to my knowledge, the secular moral system, has no redemption mechanism. I cannot pray to the Kantian god after I made an innocent mistake and lied in order to save someone's life (as lying is morally wrong).

So, basically, how do I redeem myself in a secular moral system? Is it possible to be redeemed? Or are you cursed forever?Like Ray says, you can't undo what has been done. Your past actions are fixed, and nothing will erase mistakes that have been made... the interesting part is, you're your own judge here. You're only as cursed as much as you follow Kantian morality. Of course, this is no different than religious belief - atheists are completely unconcerned about someone telling them they'll burn in hell - but that applies to any moral system. Some people simply don't care.

SilentScope001
03-15-2008, 03:14 AM
It's just things like this: it may be immediately in your interest to steal something, and you might be able to get away with it at the time. However, if you do steal, people might find you to be a thief later on and that would impact your ability to do other things that you might want to do (prison, barring you from voting, etc).

But what would happen if the 'people' approve me of being a thief? Say, I am a person who is called upon by my people to rob from outsiders? And that if I don't, or worse yet, speak out against it, I would basically lose my rights. But if I do rob from outsiders, I would be honored.

This is actually going to be a big problem. If people are motivated to follow the rules that society has set down in order to avoid punishment and to gain their sastification, then it could lead to the society doing something another society may see as immoral. I just want to see how you would handle it, altough, erm, I do think I can foresee your answer...

Anyway, the thing is, we aren't discussing adding in a punishment system for the morality yet. The punishment system get added in to ENFORCE the morality code already approved by the people. What I am wondering is why do the population even think they need a morality system? Once society get a consesus about which morality to follow can they then start enforcing it, but until then, what can cause each individual to submit to this morality and obey its enforcing mechanism?

Samuel Dravis
03-16-2008, 01:43 PM
But what would happen if the 'people' approve me of being a thief? Say, I am a person who is called upon by my people to rob from outsiders? And that if I don't, or worse yet, speak out against it, I would basically lose my rights. But if I do rob from outsiders, I would be honored.Well, then there just wouldn't be any social deterrent for stealing.

This is actually going to be a big problem. If people are motivated to follow the rules that society has set down in order to avoid punishment and to gain their satisfaction, then it could lead to the society doing something another society may see as immoral. I just want to see how you would handle it, although, erm, I do think I can foresee your answer...It could be a source of conflict between the two societies, but it's not a problem with the universal application any moral rules. The western world places a great deal of emphasis on original content in written papers (avoids plagiarism like the plague). Not all societies are like that, though, and some find it acceptable to plagiarize-- but that doesn't mean that the arguments we can make about how plagiarism is bad are invalid.

Anyway, the thing is, we aren't discussing adding in a punishment system for the morality yet. The punishment system get added in to ENFORCE the morality code already approved by the people. What I am wondering is why do the population even think they need a morality system? Once society get a consensus about which morality to follow can they then start enforcing it, but until then, what can cause each individual to submit to this morality and obey its enforcing mechanism?Many things, I suppose. What caused me to have my (slight! :p) accent? Why do I call any type of soda "coke"? Acquiring a sense of morality, a conscience, is not like putting on a set of clothes, where you can pick and choose which ones you like best. Before Kant reasoned out his moral system, he knew the kind of thing he was looking for...

SilentScope001
03-17-2008, 11:53 AM
It could be a source of conflict between the two societies, but it's not a problem with the universal application any moral rules. The western world places a great deal of emphasis on original content in written papers (avoids plagiarism like the plague). Not all societies are like that, though, and some find it acceptable to plagiarize-- but that doesn't mean that the arguments we can make about how plagiarism is bad are invalid.

What it does mean however is that you cannot enforce that moral standard onto that other society, meaning the other society can still plagarize and commit great wrongs. If you believe in a universal moral rule, you have to enforce that rule UNIVERSALLY. And that cannot truly be done with that second society who has a seperate rule.

If you cannot enforce that rule in a universal manner, then it's almost a 'suggestion'. You are going to have to rely on your arguments, but words are cheap. It is actions that decide. And if you do nothing to enforce a universal law, well, aren't you basically breaking the universal law yourself? By letting someone plagarize (through action or inaction), aren't you responsible for their plagarism as well?

Would you be seen as breaking your universal moral law if you merely making arguments to stop plagarism that fall on deaf ears instead of taking more 'forceful' actions that would in fact stop plagarism?

Samuel Dravis
03-17-2008, 12:49 PM
What it does mean however is that you cannot enforce that moral standard onto that other society, meaning the other society can still plagiarize and commit great wrongs. If you believe in a universal moral rule, you have to enforce that rule UNIVERSALLY. And that cannot truly be done with that second society who has a separate rule.Cannot? I don't think I would go that far. If history has shown anything, it is that people most certainly can enforce their moral codes on other societies. And they have.

Also, the enforcement of a universal moral rule has absolutely no bearing on whether that rule has been broken or not; you can apply a rule without having to enforce it.

If you cannot enforce that rule in a universal manner, then it's almost a 'suggestion'. You are going to have to rely on your arguments, but words are cheap. An absolute moral judgement is not a suggestion, it is a description. If the person you're talking to accepts the meaning of your words, then they must also accept the judgment they imply.

It is actions that decide. And if you do nothing to enforce a universal law, well, aren't you basically breaking the universal law yourself? By letting someone plagiarize (through action or inaction), aren't you responsible for their plagiarism as well?But don't we act? I don't plagiarize nor have I helped people do so. I think it's perfectly reasonable to give people who plagiarize a big fat F, or even harsher punishments if the situation warrants. There was a big furor in academic circles a while back over some people from the middle east plagiarizing large portions of their papers and passing it off as their own. Isn't acting outraged doing something? Isn't not trusting those universities as much anymore doing something? For I do think that their actions have resulted in real consequences for both the school and the people who did the deed.

Why don't we force them to be honest? Go over there, force them to comply with strict regulations, check every paper, etc. Maybe the same reason you ask someone nicely to do something. Maybe the same reason we would deny them the ability to do the same to us. And maybe, just maybe, we have actually already done all the 'forcing' we need to. If the university recognizes plagiarism as a problem and starts to work on fixing it, haven't we accomplished what we wanted to?

Would you be seen as breaking your universal moral law if you merely making arguments to stop plagiarism that fall on deaf ears instead of taking more 'forceful' actions that would in fact stop plagiarism?I don't think that is necessarily so. There are other rules at work here as well; for example, we value our internal affairs as being ours, and no one elses, and we are willing to accept that others have the same rights. Perhaps a good solution is: tell them to either do it our way, with no plagiarism, or we just don't let them publish their papers in the leading journals.

SilentScope001
03-17-2008, 01:29 PM
Cannot? I don't think I would go that far. If history has shown anything, it is that people most certainly can enforce their moral codes on other societies. And they have.

Also, the enforcement of a universal moral rule has absolutely no bearing on whether that rule has been broken or not; you can apply a rule without having to enforce it.

It is true, but I was assuming however a society that tolerates another society's existence that has a different view. The invasion of one society by another society would mean that the second society would be destroyed, and just one society rules over all.

An absolute moral judgement is not a suggestion, it is a description. If the person you're talking to accepts the meaning of your words, then they must also accept the judgment they imply.

Okay.

But don't we act? I don't plagiarize nor have I helped people do so. I think it's perfectly reasonable to give people who plagiarize a big fat F, or even harsher punishments if the situation warrants. There was a big furor in academic circles a while back over some people from the middle east plagiarizing large portions of their papers and passing it off as their own. Isn't acting outraged doing something? Isn't not trusting those universities as much anymore doing something? For I do think that their actions have resulted in real consequences for both the school and the people who did the deed.

I heard of that situation. I actually think that those people in Turkey, I believe, claimed that they were being framed, and their works were in fact original, that the only things that may be seen as 'borrowing' would be the Intro and the Conclusion, the actual experiment was not copied. Even then, according to that same article, one professor stated that those people might have plagrized not becuase they didn't know the material, but because they couldn't write English correctly, and so had to borrow English words.

Still, regardless of the truth of the matter, the people in Turkey were in fact punished for that crime, and got expelled from the universty.

...As for the actions, feeling outraged does sound too cheap, and it doesn't seem like a good detterent. What happens if we are 'maxed out' by our outrage? What if there are thousands upon thousands of moral violations out there? If we present every single moral violation to me, I may either drive myself insane due to the anger, or just express resigination, or even only focus on one or two violations, and not care about 'lesser' crimes.

((I guess I focus more on enforcement of a moral code rather than the actual moral code itself. I'm betting it's part of my moral system that if you got some sort of law, you have to enforce it, otherwise it's not worth the paper it's printed on.))

Why don't we force them to be honest? Go over there, force them to comply with strict regulations, check every paper, etc. Maybe the same reason you ask someone nicely to do something. Maybe the same reason we would deny them the ability to do the same to us. And maybe, just maybe, we have actually already done all the 'forcing' we need to. If the university recognizes plagiarism as a problem and starts to work on fixing it, haven't we accomplished what we wanted to?

Well, the reason I brought up the 'force' thing is the possiblity of guilt and responsiblity. By doing nothing to stop plagrisim, by allowing the plagarism to happen, are you responsible for the plagrisim? I'd assume "No", if you believe in Free Will, but since I do have doubts about its existance, I do wonder if you believe the same thing.

But we haven't done all the force we needed to in order to stop Plagarism once and for all back in our own society, so I am not so certain that the 'force' we currently apply to other societies who may actively tolerate it would be effective.

I don't think that is necessarily so. There are other rules at work here as well; for example, we value our internal affairs as being ours, and no one elses, and we are willing to accept that others have the same rights. Perhaps a good solution is: tell them to either do it our way, with no plagiarism, or we just don't let them publish their papers in the leading journals.

Yeah, that was what I thinking. Some moral rules will end up trumpting others.

All I desired to do with that example, however, is try to lay a groundwork for why wars between different moral systems sometimes have to happen. For much more serious affairs than just mere 'plagarism'. Since if a person does nothing to help stop the violation fo the moral code, it could be exactly the same as that person actively assisting in violating the moral code, and therefore, a person who is moral has to act against an immoral person. Though, maybe I failed in that respect? Do you have any way of explaining why wars between moral systems exist?

Jvstice
03-17-2008, 03:11 PM
Yeah, that was what I thinking. Some moral rules will end up trumpting others.

All I desired to do with that example, however, is try to lay a groundwork for why wars between different moral systems sometimes have to happen. For much more serious affairs than just mere 'plagarism'. Since if a person does nothing to help stop the violation fo the moral code, it could be exactly the same as that person actively assisting in violating the moral code, and therefore, a person who is moral has to act against an immoral person. Though, maybe I failed in that respect? Do you have any way of explaining why wars between moral systems exist?

Actually, I don't believe there's ever been a war that's truly been fought because of conflicting moralities. I'd argue that probably most of them are justified publically by moral or religious conflict to get the every day people on the side of the leaders, but actually occur because of different economic interests and mutually exclusive claims of soveriegnty.

Example: Slavery is usually wrongly given as the reason for the U.S. civil war. I have no doubt that it was A reason. And it's existence was a monsterous thing that shouldn't ever be justified, because there is no justification. But that was not why primarily why the civil war was fought.

Grant and other northern generals are on record as saying that they went to war on the side of the North because the United States could not survive having a foriegn power in control of the Mississippi river. Also, Lincoln who is so widely praised for his Emancipation Proclamation, did not actually free slaves from states that didn't actually seceed from the union (like Maryland and Kentucky), only from the 12- 13 states that actually left the union who already considered him to have no authority over them.

As far as the political stability in the southern states, they weren't. Less than 1 in 10 southerners owned slaves, and slaves outnumbered free people even more than that. When they got over their fear, they would have revolted and rebelled against their oppressors. And there would have been no way the southern state governments or plantation owners could have stood up against that many angry people sucessfully.

The whole serbia /Kosovo situation is a whole fight over who owns land. Irish independence from Britain? Again the question of whether england or ireland owns ireland, even though its' all dressed up as a protestant / catholic war. US occupation of Iraq? Again its' about oil on the U.S. side (it's sold about being about safe trade and commerce for us, and freedom from tyrany and fear to Iraquis), and about being occupied by a foriegn power to the Iraquis, and having local soveriegnty over their own country.

Darth InSidious
03-17-2008, 05:58 PM
I'd like to point out that while his ethical system functions (just) without, Kant's Groundwork does presuppose a deity.

Jvstice
03-18-2008, 01:54 PM
Actually, if you want to get technical Kant's system assumed a deity was controlled by morality just like everyone else, not the arbiter or morality.