11
   

Morality has nothing to do with Science.

 
 
dagmaraka
 
  2  
Reply Tue 26 May, 2009 11:49 am
@joefromchicago,
if morality would be up to each individual to decide, it would be meaningless. that would be as if we each developed our own language -- we would not be able to communicate.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 May, 2009 12:12 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:
How would you objectively judge which propositions are "self-evident"?

Let's be clear here: you're the one arguing that it's impossible to have a universal system of morality. It's not my job, therefore, to propose a such a system, it's your job to convince us that you know of some reason why such a system is impossible.

Now, there are two ways to do that: either inductively (empirically) or deductively (logically). I think you're attempting to do the former. In effect, you're saying: "it can't be done because nobody has ever succeeded in doing it." But, as Hume pointed out, the fact that something hasn't been done before doesn't mean that it can't be done. It may mean that it simply hasn't been done yet. We can't prove anything categorically by induction, and that goes for your assertion that there's no such thing as universal system of morality because no one has, so far, come up with a satisfactory system.

My task, then, is not to come up with a universal system of morality. It's to determine if you can establish your claim that such a system is impossible.

ebrown p wrote:
Would you care to give an example of such a self-evident proposition?

All people are equal (in a legal sense of the term "equal").
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 May, 2009 12:13 pm
@dagmaraka,
dagmaraka wrote:

if morality would be up to each individual to decide, it would be meaningless. that would be as if we each developed our own language -- we would not be able to communicate.


I agree, but then that doesn't have anything to do with whether "being better off" has a moral quality.
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 May, 2009 12:25 pm
@joefromchicago,
i didn't say it did. that was a response to something else.

being better off can sometimes be moral and other times immoral, imo.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 May, 2009 08:42 pm
@DrewDad,
DrewDad wrote:
The professor of the ethics course would not agree with you.

1) Perhaps the professor would be wrong. It happens.

2) What alternatives, if any, would the professor suggest? And what evidence, if any, would he provide that his suggestions would be morally superior?

3) In your opinion, would it be reasonable of me to ask the professor for alternatives, and for evidence of their moral superiority?
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 May, 2009 08:44 pm
@dagmaraka,
dagmaraka wrote:
but being "better off" has nothing to do with morality. that's merely being better off.

It has something to do with morality in that what makes you better off affects how I ought to interact with you from a moral point of view.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 06:43 am
@Thomas,
I do not remember the details, but here is what I do remember:

a) Mr. Someone just enticed the woman into breaking the law.
b) Mr. Someone is essentially committing rape, because the woman has virtually no choice in the matter.

So, in addition to rationalizing slavery, you have now also rationalized rape. Congratulations.

Thomas wrote:
2) What alternatives, if any, would the professor suggest? And what evidence, if any, would he provide that his suggestions would be morally superior?

Mr. Someone could assist the family first, and then once the crushing financial need is alleviated, ask the woman out.

Thomas wrote:
3) In your opinion, would it be reasonable of me to ask the professor for alternatives, and for evidence of their moral superiority?

I would not find such an approach unreasonable.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 06:48 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

dagmaraka wrote:
but being "better off" has nothing to do with morality. that's merely being better off.

It has something to do with morality in that what makes you better off affects how I ought to interact with you from a moral point of view.

No, being better off is not related the morality of one's actions. There are lots of activities that will involve financial gain that are also immoral.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 07:07 am
@DrewDad,
DD, i think you're shifting the ground under people's feet with your example from your ethics course, and this is why:

Originally, you wrote:
A single mother is struggling to support her kids. One needs medical attention that she cannot afford. Someone offers her money for performing a sexual act. Is that moral behavior?


But now, we see this:

Quote:
a) Mr. Someone just enticed the woman into breaking the law.
b) Mr. Someone is essentially committing rape, because the woman has virtually no choice in the matter.


Saying that the woman is "enticed" into breaking the law is begging the question, because, that statement apparently assumes at the outset that the law is moral, or that its intent and in the observance, its effect is to assure morality. That begs the question to the extent that it avoids a discussion of whether or not laws prohibiting prostitution are themselves moral, or conducive to morality. Personally, i think the only excuse for anti-prostitution laws would by to promote public health.

But your statement about rape under the head "b)" is completely off the wall. The woman certainly does have more choices that simply having sex with the man, and those choices can be both legal or illegal (finding a job or stealing something of sufficient worth to be fenced for the money she needs). There's no way that anyone can reasonably make a claim that this scenario describes rape, even virtual rape. So, this . . .

Quote:
So, in addition to rationalizing slavery, you have now also rationalized rape. Congratulations.


. . . is nonsense.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 07:12 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
Saying that the woman is "enticed" into breaking the law is begging the question, because, apparently assumes at the outset that the law is moral, or that its intent and in the observance, its effect is to assure morality.

I never spoke to the morality of obeying the law in general, or the morality of the law in question, just that enticing someone to break the law (and thus, expose them to the risk of prosecution) is not moral.

Setanta wrote:
But you statement about rape under the head "b)" is completely off the wall. The woman certainly does have more choice that simply having sex with the man, and those choices can be both legal or illegal (finding a job or stealing something of sufficient worth to be fenced for the money she needs). There's no way that anyone can reasonably make a claim that this scenario describes rape, even virtual rape. So, this . . .

Quote:
So, in addition to rationalizing slavery, you have now also rationalized rape. Congratulations.


. . . is nonsense.

Poppycock. The woman is under duress. It may not be the threat of physical violence, but it is duress nevertheless. Taking advantage of her duress in this manner would be rape, IMO.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 07:24 am
@ebrown p,
Whoa, this seems to be mischaracterization of something I said. I wasn't talking about morality, at all.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 07:26 am
@DrewDad,
Quote:
I never spoke to the morality of obeying the law in general, or the morality of the law in question, just that enticing someone to break the law (and thus, expose them to the risk of prosecution) is not moral.


No, that is not true. You did not "speak" to morality in those terms, although it is an acceptable response to this criticism. This, though, i what i mean by shifting the ground under people's feet in the course of a discussion. Had you said as much at the outset, it would have clarified why one would say that it were immoral to entice someone to prostitution.

Quote:
Poppycock. The woman is under duress. It may not be the threat of physical violence, but it is duress nevertheless. Taking advantage of her duress in this manner would be rape, IMO.


No, once again this is nonsense. It assumes that the woman in question has no other option for attaining her objective. Unless you can show that she has recourse to no other means of getting the money she needs, it can hardly be described as duress. This attempt at analogy is too pat, and you assume too many things, and you continue to shift your position to answer criticism rather than defending your initial thesis on its own merits.

Based on your original statement, i see no reason to assume either that it is descriptive of moral turpitude or that your ethics professor had a sound grasp of logic. Of course, the fault could well lie in your description of his (her?) hypothetical.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 08:13 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
This, though, i what i mean by shifting the ground under people's feet in the course of a discussion. Had you said as much at the outset, it would have clarified why one would say that it were immoral to entice someone to prostitution.

It is not my fault that you are unable to anticipate the course of the discussion. Nor is it my fault that you read more into what I've written than is there.

Setanta wrote:
No, once again this is nonsense. It assumes that the woman in question has no other option for attaining her objective. Unless you can show that she has recourse to no other means of getting the money she needs, it can hardly be described as duress.

If it is nonsense, then why are you here?

Financial stress is financial stress, whether she has other recourse or not. If it were the real world, she could take her child to the emergency room and be guaranteed treatment (in the U.S., at least). It's meant to illustrate a point, not be perfect real-world simulation.

Setanta wrote:
This attempt at analogy is too pat, and you assume too many things, and you continue to shift your position to answer criticism rather than defending your initial thesis on its own merits.

Based on your original statement, i see no reason to assume either that it is descriptive of moral turpitude or that your ethics professor had a sound grasp of logic. Of course, the fault could well lie in your description of his (her?) hypothetical.

Get a grip, Set. It's just a hypothetical situation, designed to prompt a discussion and to show that Thomas' idea that "better off"=moral misses a great many subtleties. I think it has accomplished that purpose.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 10:18 am
@DrewDad,
Quote:
It is not my fault that you are unable to anticipate the course of the discussion. Nor is it my fault that you read more into what I've written than is there.


This is just silly. I was responding (as did others here) to the hypothetical as it was presented. When it is criticized, you respond by adding details and qualifiers which were not implicit in the hypothetical as initially presented. It is you who is reading more into it than was originally there. The hypothetical does not establish that prostitution is illegal in the jurisdiction in which the woman lives. The hypothetical does not state that the man will inform on her to the police after having satisfied his lusts (because, otherwise, where is the risk of prosecution for a crime as you allege?).

No, you're changing the circumstantial details as you are criticized, which hardly qualifies as the mere course of discussion.

Quote:
If it is nonsense, then why are you here?

Financial stress is financial stress, whether she has other recourse or not. If it were the real world, she could take her child to the emergency room and be guaranteed treatment (in the U.S., at least). It's meant to illustrate a point, not be perfect real-world simulation.


I'm here because this discussion interests me. That you present nonsensical arguments does not lessen the interest of the discussion overall.

It can hardly illustrate a point effectively unless one can either compare the circumstances to what is known about the real world, or unless all circumstantial detail is alluded to (such as whether prostitution is illegal in the jurisdiction in which she lives; such as whether Mr. Someone will inform on her to the police; most importantly, such as whether there were other options available to her to solve her problem).

Quote:
Get a grip, Set. It's just a hypothetical situation, designed to prompt a discussion and to show that Thomas' idea that "better off"=moral misses a great many subtleties. I think it has accomplished that purpose.


I've got a grip, and one thing upon which i have a grip is the weakness of your argument from analogy in this case. For a hypothetical situation to be a plausible basis for discussion, it must contain as few flaws as possible. I don't think it accomplishes any purpose whatsoever, precisely because it is such a weak analogy, precisely because so few circumstantial details are known. Once again, i don't know if that is because your instructor constructed such an improbable hypothetical, or because you remember it imperfectly. Whichever is the case, that hypothetical does not in and of itself illustrate the point you seem to think that it does.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 10:51 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
The hypothetical does not establish that prostitution is illegal in the jurisdiction in which the woman lives.

Nor did it specify that prostitution is legal; I don't find it unusual to assume that prostitution is illegal, when that is the case in most (nearly all) jurisdictions in the U.S.

Setanta wrote:
The hypothetical does not state that the man will inform on her to the police after having satisfied his lusts (because, otherwise, where is the risk of prosecution for a crime as you allege?).

Now that's quite a reach. If you wish to present some calculus showing the danger of actual prosecution, I won't stop you, but that doesn't change the fact that it's immoral to entice someone to break the law. (In most instances; there may be exceptions to this general rule, but I don't see any that would apply here.)

Setanta wrote:
No, you're changing the circumstantial details as you are criticized, which hardly qualifies as the mere course of discussion.

Don't blame me because you failed to examine all of the ramifications.


Setanta wrote:
I've got a grip, and one thing upon which i have a grip is the weakness of your argument from analogy in this case. For a hypothetical situation to be a plausible basis for discussion, it must contain as few flaws as possible. I don't think it accomplishes any purpose whatsoever, precisely because it is such a weak analogy, precisely because so few circumstantial details are known. Once again, i don't know if that is because your instructor constructed such an improbable hypothetical, or because you remember it imperfectly. Whichever is the case, that hypothetical does not in and of itself illustrate the point you seem to think that it does.

Do you have a point here, other than simply arguing for argument's sake?

If you don't like the hypothetical that I proposed then that's fine. Nothing to see here, move along.

If you agree with Thomas that the behavior as described is moral and/or ethical then that's fine, too. Would you like to explain why?

Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 12:27 pm
@DrewDad,
Quote:
Nor did it specify that prostitution is legal; I don't find it unusual to assume that prostitution is illegal, when that is the case in most (nearly all) jurisdictions in the U.S.


The point, of course, is that this is just another example of circumstantial detail which is omitted. Given that morality is the subject of this thread, circumstantial detail here is important to determine who is or is not acting morally.

Quote:
Now that's quite a reach. If you wish to present some calculus showing the danger of actual prosecution, I won't stop you, but that doesn't change the fact that it's immoral to entice someone to break the law. (In most instances; there may be exceptions to this general rule, but I don't see any that would apply here.)


It's not a reach at all--you were the one who introduced the "calculus of showing danger of actual prosecution" when you stated that the immorality hinged upon encouraging the woman to break the law, and therefore exposing herself to prosecution. But once again, the point is the paucity of credibility in the hypothetical. If she is exposed to prosecution, the question of how authority learns of her violation of the law becomes an important circumstantial detail. If Mr. Someone is not pimping her on the street, how exactly is anyone to learn that she has broken laws prohibiting prostitution?

The Fugitive Slave Act required people to assist constituted authority and its agents to recover runaway slaves. Are you prepared to state that it was immoral for anyone to encourage another to hide runaway slaves in despite of this law? In Oliver Twist, the fictional character Mr. Bumble famously says: " . . . the law is a ass"a idiot." So i don't accept that violation of the law, or the encouragement of others to violate the law is ipso facto immoral. I think you fail to make this case.

Quote:
Don't blame me because you failed to examine all of the ramifications.


As i've already p0inted out, i don't know whether to blame you or your putative ethics professor. But it is in examining the ramifications that i've come to the conclusion that this hypothetical is implausible. Don't blame me if your ego is wrapped up in attempting to defend the indefensible.

Quote:
Do you have a point here, other than simply arguing for argument's sake?

If you don't like the hypothetical that I proposed then that's fine. Nothing to see here, move along.

If you agree with Thomas that the behavior as described is moral and/or ethical then that's fine, too. Would you like to explain why?


I'm arguing because what is or isn't moral, and its basis is the topic of the thread. How very sad for you that you need to have that explained to you.

I neither like nor dislike the hypothetical, i simply find it implausible, and therefore inoperative as a basis for a discussion of morality.

Now you place yourself in the same camp as E_Brown. I'm not obliged prove that the behavior is moral or ethical--you proposed the hypothetical, it is up to you to prove that it is decriptive of behavior either immoral or unethical. So far, you've failed to do that.
0 Replies
 
Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 02:46 pm
Why, when discussing matters of morality, does one turn to the church or the clergy? Why not the gardener? Members of the church are no more qualified to discuss morality than anyone else.
0 Replies
 
Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 02:50 pm
@dagmaraka,
Actually, for the most part, we do decide our own morality. How else can you explain the fact that some people lie, and cheat and steal, and some people don't? You can't possibly claim that every person who acts ethically in their everyday lives was brought up in the church, and every criminal wasn't. So if religion can't be claimed as the universal moral compass, then it must be something intrinsic in most people. ie. It's up to the individual.
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 05:07 pm
@Wilso,
intrinsic? it would have no meaning if we lived each alone on an island. the code of ethics - how we decide internally what is and what is not moral - comes from somewhere. we don't suck it out of thin air, but largely from the society around us. system of values is built in a constant dialogue with the social environment, thus it is not really intrinsic. ethics without society has no purpose.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 05:33 pm
@DrewDad,
'DrewDad wrote:
a) Mr. Someone just enticed the woman into breaking the law.

... so if the whole thing was happening in Nevada, or Western Europe, or some other place where prostitution is legal, the law professor would have no problem as far as this point is concerned?

DrewDad wrote:
b) Mr. Someone is essentially committing rape, because the woman has virtually no choice in the matter.

So, in addition to rationalizing slavery, you have now also rationalized rape. Congratulations.

By the standard you are suggest here, every employer who offers a job to people, knowing they have to work for a living, is engaged in slavery. The prospective employees, after all, have virtually no choice about having to work for a living.

And thus, by parting with standard usage of perfectly well defined words, and by replacing it with your own ideosyncratic definitions, you have proven you can derive any smear of your correspondents that you want. Congratulations!

DrewDad wrote:
Mr. Someone could assist the family first, and then once the crushing financial need is alleviated, ask the woman out.

In your opinion, would it be morally defensible for Mr. Someone to do nothing? If not, would it be more or less indefensible than offering the money for sex?

DrewDad wrote:
Thomas wrote:
3) In your opinion, would it be reasonable of me to ask the professor for alternatives, and for evidence of their moral superiority?

So your answer to ebrown's original thesis would be that it's wrong -- that moral judgments are, at least in part, judgments about something that's real, that we can learn about through evidence, and that we can meaningfully reason about. Is that fair to say?
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

New Propulsion, the "EM Drive" - Question by TomTomBinks
The Science Thread - Discussion by Wilso
Why do people deny evolution? - Question by JimmyJ
Are we alone in the universe? - Discussion by Jpsy
Fake Science Journals - Discussion by rosborne979
Controvertial "Proof" of Multiverse! - Discussion by littlek
 
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 11/27/2021 at 05:50:33