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Old 11-06-2006, 07:06 PM   #90
Spider AL
@Spider AL
A well-spoken villain...
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Help, help, I'm stapled to my workstation.
Posts: 2,162
Okay, Windu's a darned troll. In my considered opinion, and based on considerable evidence, he is consistently hijacking threads. He is then self-consciously ranting on about insane drivel, in order to attract some sort of ire or attention... or whatever trolls desire.

Look, if I'm totally wrong, he's still incoherent and more than a little unhinged. If I'm right, then he's actively malicious.

Please, please please, do something about this person, mods.

Originally Posted by Ray Jones:

However, these two questions lead me to the conclusion that whoever is aware of the fact that he can act in a way that will "destroy" life, or will be harmful or affect other lifeforms in a somewhat negative way, has responsibility to avoid doing so.
Couldn't agree more. A surfeit of intelligence doesn't just confer the ability to be moral, it also confers the responsibility to be moral. And I think that's mainly due to the fact that opportunity equals responsibility. The rich have a greater responsibility to use their money morally than do the poor. The strong have a greater responsibility to use their strength morally than do the weak. And the intelligent have a greater responsibility to be moral people than do the muppets.

If you CAN be moral... you MUST be moral. Or... erm... you're immoral.


Originally Posted by tk102:

So we must only use objective tools to measure the suffering of others. In some cases it is pretty simple to do this. This action kills a frog that action does not. A computer program could be written around that logical determination. We can use our reasoning, logic, calculations, forecasting and all other traits that a computer might use to make a decision. But we're missing something…something human.

Oh here it is. In the quote above, "quality of empathy" plays a role in determining the amount of suffering. That's quite human. But can "empathy" be considered objective in its measurements? Doesn't familiarity and love skew the amount of empathy felt towards a person, an animal, or even a species? If so that would make empathy a subjective quality (eg. I love different people than you do). Is it immoral to allow love into the equation? If we disallow such emotions, doesn't that make empathy "empty"? We might as well use a computer (or be a Vulcan).
Wrongu! That quote of mine doesn't say anything of the sort. The quoted paragraph has- quite clearly- contained within it the phrase: "We apply our reasoning powers to discern what will cause suffering and death to others, and then we strive to the best of our ability not to engage in such actions."

Empathy doesn't play any sort of role in "determining" the amount of suffering that another creature is enduring. I've made it very clear in my previous posts that sense and reason are the only tools for determining whether a creature is suffering, and to what degree. Empathy is the ROOT of morality. Not the totality of morality. I'll go through my statements once more:

Empathy leads us to realise that others suffer and that the lives of others have value. (Not merely our own life.) Logic and reason are then employed to determine:

1. What actions will cause a creature suffering or death (so that we can avoid those actions);
2. Whether we are currently causing any creature suffering or death (so that we can desist.)
3. Whether we have caused suffering or death in the past (so that we can make amends.)

Logic is also employed to come to the inevitable conclusion that morality must be a universally applied standard, or it is not morality.

Empathy is the beginning of morality. Without empathy one has no REASON to become moral. Without empathy there can be no sense that other creatures have intrinsic worth. But since morality must be a universal standard, it must be a set of principles that are logically arrived at.

Originally Posted by tk102:

Let's say we have a scenario that is not a simple either-or situation, but one that's more continuous in its shades of possible choices. If we look at the second assertion (morality is objective), we should expect any third party to arrive at the same moral conclusion as ourselves if we all have the same objective evidence and understanding of that evidence.
Exactly. And the reason that two people- with the same desire to be moral- may arrive at two different conclusions, one more moral than the other, is that one of them has a lesser comprehension of the available evidence.

Originally Posted by tk102:

But also, somehow, we must all have this same quality of empathy irregardless of whatever predispositions we arrived with so that the factors in our equation will be the same. That is, you must love the same people, animals, and plants as I do and to the same degree and vice versa. I think it suffices to say that we have no way of knowing whether emotional states are identical between two people, much less controlling them to become so.
You're confusing "love" with "empathy". Love is feeling affection for another creature. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of another creature. Very different. I don't have to "love" a snail to feel empathy and a sense that its life has intrinsic value, because its life is like my own life. One can empathise with creatures one dislikes very much, in fact.

Originally Posted by tk102:

If we allow that, then it follows that two individuals even with the most powerful abilities of cognition and desire for morality, when faced with the same circumstances may arrive at different choices because they bring with them different sets of emotional ties to the targets of their action.
Any man who wishes to be moral but allows his emotional baggage to affect decisions which should be logical and sensible... isn't being moral. As I've said a dozen times at least. It may be understandably human to allow your emotions to rule you... but it ain't moral.

Originally Posted by tk102:

Aside: Spider AL, I am impressed by your post, by its consistency and its entirety. Your arguments can stand on their own, so it isn't necessary to point your language in second person quite so often. It detracts from what would otherwise be a pleasant argument.
I get a sense that you have some grievance that you wish to make me aware of, but I really think you could be clearer. After all, if I am to address your arguments directly, (and distinctly from the arguments of others,) it is most expedient to refer to "you".

[FW] Spider AL
Hewwo, meesa Jar-Jar Binks. Yeah. Excusing me, but me needs to go bust meesa head in with dissa claw-hammer, because yousa have stripped away meesa will to living.
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