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Old 03-11-2008, 03:07 AM   #1
DeadYorick
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Morality

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


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Old 03-11-2008, 03:02 PM   #2
Arcesious
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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.


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Old 03-11-2008, 04:28 PM   #3
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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.


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Old 03-11-2008, 04:35 PM   #4
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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.
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Old 03-11-2008, 05:53 PM   #5
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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...

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Old 03-11-2008, 05:58 PM   #6
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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.

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Old 03-11-2008, 06:58 PM   #7
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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.


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Last edited by Arcesious; 03-11-2008 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 03-11-2008, 07:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InyriForge
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.
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Old 03-11-2008, 07:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcesious
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by patient_zero
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.

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Old 03-11-2008, 07:08 PM   #10
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Sorry about that InyriForge.

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


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Old 03-11-2008, 07:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcesious
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.


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Old 03-11-2008, 09:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcesious
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.


"If force is the game, the murderer wins over the pickpocket." Ayn Rand

"Justice is the midpoint between being treated unjustly, and treating others unjustly." Aristotle
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Old 03-11-2008, 10:40 PM   #13
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That makes sense.


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Old 03-12-2008, 07:53 AM   #14
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Excerpt of a conversation about the issue of (relative) morality in the Senate Chambers, to be found here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf (OP)
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?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qliveur
I'm just curious, AL: Where is this moral standard supposed to come from?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qliveur
Who determines what is moral and what is not?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qliveur
What one person thinks is moral, others will not and so on, so what is the absolute standard?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
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.


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Old 03-12-2008, 08:08 AM   #15
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^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.



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Old 03-12-2008, 09:48 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth InSidious
^I must disagree, Ray.
I must punch you then?

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

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

Quote:
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.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jmac7142
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.


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Old 03-12-2008, 10:04 AM   #17
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Quote:
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.


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Old 03-12-2008, 11:37 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcesious
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.


Quote:
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.


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Old 03-12-2008, 11:50 AM   #19
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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?


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Old 03-12-2008, 01:13 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
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.

Quote:
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?



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Old 03-12-2008, 01:31 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Jones
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?

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Old 03-12-2008, 01:50 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JediMaster12
So wouldn't one say that morals are subjective as well?
No.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.


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Old 03-12-2008, 02:31 PM   #23
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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.


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Old 03-12-2008, 04:24 PM   #24
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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.


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Old 03-12-2008, 10:18 PM   #25
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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.


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Old 03-12-2008, 11:21 PM   #26
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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...


"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein
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Old 03-13-2008, 12:05 AM   #27
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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).


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Old 03-13-2008, 12:56 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Totenkopf
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.

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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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.


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Old 03-13-2008, 01:44 AM   #29
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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.


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Old 03-13-2008, 02:11 AM   #30
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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.

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Old 03-13-2008, 02:25 AM   #31
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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?


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Old 03-13-2008, 02:31 AM   #32
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I don't know every human being, so I couldn't say.

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Old 03-13-2008, 02:34 AM   #33
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That's a good point. I can't really be sure of that can I? (Rhetorical)


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Old 03-13-2008, 03:16 AM   #34
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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.


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Old 03-13-2008, 03:40 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Arcesious
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


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Old 03-13-2008, 03:56 AM   #36
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Sam:
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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.


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Originally Posted by SD
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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Originally Posted by Jvstice
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.


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.---Teddy Roosevelt

I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception.---Groucho

And if you all get killed, I'll piss on your graves.---Shaman Urdnot

How would you like to own a little bit of my foot in your ass.---Red Foreman
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Old 03-13-2008, 04:26 AM   #37
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Quote:
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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.


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"Justice is the midpoint between being treated unjustly, and treating others unjustly." Aristotle
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Old 03-13-2008, 06:12 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
If the reasoning behind your version of absolute morailty doesn't jive with someone else's
How could it, it's absolute. There are no different "versions" like we have in relative morality.

Quote:
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 ), 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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

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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.

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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.


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Old 03-13-2008, 02:48 PM   #39
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Quote:
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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.
Quote:
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 ), 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.
This may be all nice and fine for an empathy based system, but otherwise irrelevant.

Quote:
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.
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.


Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.---Teddy Roosevelt

I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception.---Groucho

And if you all get killed, I'll piss on your graves.---Shaman Urdnot

How would you like to own a little bit of my foot in your ass.---Red Foreman
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Old 03-13-2008, 03:14 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
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.

Quote:
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.


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