40
   

What is your fundamental moral compass?

 
 
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 08:48 am
I just realised a fundamental moral might be like a fundamental orifice.....everyone has one but they dont like to talk about it. Now....all I have to do is to figure out what either one is going to do with a compass....are we talking about a compass for drawing circles or a navigational aid ?
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 09:16 am
@Ionus,
farmerman's the expert Io. And he does like to talk about FOs. His literary productions are bespattered with them.

He's the man to ask.
0 Replies
 
Pemerson
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 11:17 am
@Robert Gentel,
Isn't there an old book about this? Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach? Or, a real oldy, Magnificent Obsession by Lloyd C. Douglas

Helping others is a privilege, it means you have arrived, that you have a mindset that you can, in some way, alleviate sufferings of others. Therefore, those who need your assistance will simply appear before you, cross your path. It isn't necessary to think you have to choose which way to go, what to do and for whom. Help the one who is trying, who is asking. When the woman touched the hem of Jesus' robe, he felt it, and responded. She was ready and had faith that he could help her, in her agony, so she asked. Could be that person who is in need gives you the power to "help" them.

A moral compass? I would call it a mindset. Dumping food on a bunch of starving people will not only deplete your money source, but won't help those people produce their own food either should they have no mindset that's even possible.
0 Replies
 
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 11:21 am
@joefromchicago,
I always thought this variant was funny: Do onto others, then cut out.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 12:06 pm
@Diest TKO,
Diest TKO wrote:
A field medic in a war may only have enough time and resources to save one wounded soldier. I have a hard time thinking that there is a correct soldier to save.


If you can't imagine a situation where there is a "right" solider to prioritize maybe you need a better moral compass. My moral compass works fine in such a situation.

1) If there are any soldiers who will simply not survive, efforts should prioritize those who will. As an example of how this fits my "suffering" criterion this reduces suffering of their loved ones immensely while you can not do so with the one who will not survive.

2) If there are any soldiers with more acute suffering, efforts should prioritize them. If one has a splinter, and the other a gaping wound it's clear that their care can be prioritized.

3) All other things being equal, the goal should be to minimize as much suffering as possible (spread out the care as well as you can).

Now if you are saying there is a tie in conditions this is not the fault of the compass. If both roads go north the compass is not broken just because it points at both roads.

In that situation no soldier should be given a priority over the others and treating any of them is the right thing to do. But a perfect balance doesn't exist, and this tie scenario is more typically an exception than the rule.


Quote:
I do however think a field medic standing around saving neither while he philosophizes which soldier is more deserving/harder off/more likely to give back to society/etc is more of a moral pet rock than a compass.


False dilemma. You don't need to sit around philosophizing to have a moral compass. My moral compass clearly precludes such a thing. Philosophizing while letting others suffer would clearly be the wrong thing to do.

This is why you should philosophize now, so you have a strong moral compass in tough decisions.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 12:08 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
"Do unto others before they have a chance to do unto you."


Ok, how about an example (one with a sock and lug nuts if possible)? Laughing
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 12:09 pm
@failures art,
failures art wrote:
I say do your best.


Upon what basis do you determine what is best then? This doesn't happen in the complete absence of ratiocination, so what is your ratiocination?
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 12:10 pm
@Ionus,
Ionus wrote:
Strength to protect the weak.


How does your maxim work in practice? I have a hard time imagining how this can guide you through many an ethical dilemma.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 12:20 pm
@tsarstepan,
tsarstepan wrote:
Not to derail your thread but as a kid?! Could you be more specific? Were you a precocious 7 year old having this deep philosophic conversation? Rolling Eyes Or is this just some kind of fantasy based/imaginary opening to an open ended discussion? Razz


I was a young teenager, I was teaching ESL from a book that used medical ethics as a start to spur conversation (it was a conversational English class and the book was full of polemic topics that can be discussed at length) and it spurred good conversation.


Quote:
Good for you. If you can afford the financial and emotional support to end the suffering of both starving foreigner and unemployed American, then all means, spend away. Most everyone I know doesn't not have the financial or emotional or intellectual resources to save everyone in the world so they must limit their generosity to a self determined set of self imposed guidelines.


My moral compass says what is ideal, I am not ideal. Ideally it would be more noble for me to reduce suffering at the expense of mine. Just because you don't always do good doesn't mean you can't know what good is.


Quote:
For the most part, most people who try to save EVERYONE tend to suffer some kind of severe undiagnosed delusional disorder.


What does this have to do with having a moral compass? With trying to better codify your ratiocination about complex ethics?


Quote:
Still, one needs to be realistic. Even if you can personally save 10 people a day for an entire year, there still will be hundreds and hundreds and thousands and thousands of people starving and living in poverty and dying in squalor... out of reach of your help.


So? There are too many roads for you to travel, that doesn't indict the concept of a compass.


Quote:
Tribalism is the proverbial two sided sword. It can be an effective tool in growing a community. It can also be a source of violent opportunism and fear mongering if manipulated by an ambitious and selfish charismatic leader.


I agree. But you can still use a compass dude.

Quote:
I'm afraid I don't understand what you're asking here. Can you give some context to help me start peculating a response to this formula your providing us to formulate? Philosophy ISN'T one of my strengths.


Sure. Depending on your core values all ethical decisions change. It's good to know what your core philosophy boils down to, otherwise you'll just wing it inconsistently.

So if your core value is that every person should act to maximize their own happiness then when you see someone suffering you must be able to derive enough enjoyment from helping them to do so.

If your moral compass says you should minimize suffering then if your suffering from helping them doesn't outweigh the suffering you can alleviate the moral compass points in that direction.

We don't aways navigate these issues perfectly, but it's helpful to understand the basis of your morals.


Quote:
I already given up on the idealist notion that we'll live in a global Roddenberrian Utopia where everyone is deserving of shelter, food, medicine, education, and freedom from fear and intolerance. Sorry for the ubercynical response.


I don't mind the cynical part but I think you miss the concept entirely, you can have a perfectly cynical moral compass if you want. My brother does, his is probably "might makes right" and "better them than us".

Having a moral compass has nothing to do with helping everyone on earth and utopia and all. It's about clearer thinking and better understanding what you are all about.

If you say your moral compass is to get yours that works as a moral compass. I find it immoral based on my moral compass but if you truly believe that it can guide your decisions with consistency of reasoning.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 12:59 pm
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
I certainly do not, rationally, (not sure I can speak fully for the "foul rag and bone shop of the heart") privilege Australian life and suffering over that of any other human's. You know what I THINK of nationalism (but you have pointed out, doubtlessly correctly, that I DISPLAY it, to my horror)....but there sure is a hell here (one that I am currently working with)...can I justify looking beyond the hell in my backyard to that far away?


You tell me. What is your moral compass? If it doesn't answer this then it's not good enough for you.

Mine answers it emphatically and clearly. If my efforts locally can alleviate greater amounts of suffering than my efforts remotely then it is the priority. If my efforts remotely can alleviate more suffering than my efforts locally then it is the priority. The greater need alone doesn't make the priority, maybe you can make more of a difference locally than you can remotely, maybe your own suffering for the local suffering you witness should be taken into account.

However I usually don't need to ignore one to tend to the other, but if that situation arises my moral compass gives me a clear direction.

Quote:
Well, I can help in my backyard hell in other ways than via money, thank heavens (what a privilege that is!)...but I do feel more RESPONSIBLE for that hell. There's a Dickens character who focuses upon the far away hell and neglects her own children to do so (I think it's in Little Dorrit)...I don't want to be THAT stupid.


My moral compass doesn't make me do that. I don't tend to help remotely more than I help locally because I have greater local influence than remote.

You can prioritize first based on need, then on effect. You don't have the same effect remotely as you do locally. Giving money to a foreign charity is not as efficient as the local bum.

Quote:
Do you think we have more RESPONSIBILITY for our own backyard, whoever is in it? Or should we respond to the worst hell?


Depends. Obviously you have more responsibility for your family than the neighbors and for your neighbors than the next town and so on and so forth.

Sometimes you have a social contract with local.

My moral compass does not say respond to the worst hell, it says to maximize the minimization of suffering to the best you are able.


Quote:
I choose to try to alleviate suffering out of OZ via micro-credit...but I also give money to Ozzian hells.


Ain't nothing wrong with giving locally according to my compass.

Quote:
I may well be violating my own principles that way...because nobody in Oz HAS to starve nor do without medical care.


Well, nobody's perfect. And you shouldn't fret too much about inconsistencies (futile really, you are already an Australian). But I do think it's worth knowing what your values are and whether your actions aren't perfectly consistent.

You can't be perfect, but you can try to know what ideal is and strive for it. I'm about to spend more money on lunch than I have to, and I'd be a better man eating less richly (nothing extravagant, my point is that I could eat rice and water now and feed another mouth) but I am not that man.

But what I will not do is lie to myself about who I am and what I do, and my moral compass tells me the more noble thing to do is sacrifice my suffering of not eating a great Brazilian meal so that more people can have a meal. I'm not going to do it today, but I also won't make up moral excuses for it. It's just a bit less noble, and I am an imperfect person (and I won't feel too guilty about it, my moral compass tells me to do the best I can and I can live with that not being the best that can be).
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  0  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 03:15 pm
This is now a dinner party conversation between fat cats. A parade of superior tonalities and nuanced sentimentalities which are satisfyingly rewarding.
0 Replies
 
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 04:52 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
If you can't imagine a situation where there is a "right" solider to prioritize maybe you need a better moral compass.
The problem arises where both soldiers have similar wounds and you only have time to treat one. How do you choose ? Do you save the black man or the white woman ?
Quote:
But a perfect balance doesn't exist,
Oh but it can. I have seen it. The same event can produce the same results. Moral compasses are dependant on choice. Choice depends on differences, and when everyone is equal, do you save a family member or a stranger ?
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 04:54 pm
@Ionus,
I've already answered that above. All things being equal means there is no priority and no right. But he can clearly imagine that already, I'm wondering if he can imagine a situation where they are materially different and whether his moral compass guides him then.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:01 pm
@dadpad,
dadpad wrote:
Mine is probably "Do what you can without hurting yourself"


If the qualifiers are understood to be inherent (e.g. hurting yourself too much) I like it, but don't see how it will help you make a lot of ethical decisions so much as it is a good motto to live by.

Here is an ethical dilemma Joe once posted, I wonder how your moral compass guides you through it:

If you are the operator of a runaway streetcar, and you have the option of diverting it into one old lady versus a crowd of kids what do you do?

With my moral compass, it's clear that killing one person to save many is where my moral compass points. With a moral compass that says it's always wrong to directly cause the harm but not wrong to fail to prevent it then the choice is also clear and points at the opposite conclusion. But I don't know the answer to this kind of dilemma based on your stated moral compass.
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:02 pm
@Robert Gentel,
To me it means the weak have rights. The strong are a natural occurence not to feed on the weak but to protect them. Predators only take what they need. Well fed lions will happily tolerate prey without bothering so much as to chase them for fun. The strong in human society, the rich, will chase prey untill they are fat and bloated and cant run but will still try for more.

Strength to protect the weak is a basis of society. We dont solve problems with shoot-outs, we have law courts. If it turns into a shoot-out, we have the police.

Perhaps if you gave an ethical dilemma to use as an example ?
spendius
 
  0  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:04 pm
@Ionus,
Maybe we should let them have their fun Io. After all, they are not actually making any difficult moral choices. They are merely discussing them abstractly.

How about taking a socialisation and training lasting 22 years and then slipping off to another country for a higher salary which is only available because the 22 years had not had to be paid for.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:05 pm
@Phoenix32890,
Phoenix32890 wrote:
My philosophy? "The right to swing your arm ends at the other fellow's nose".


This is one of my favorite maxims for matters of personal freedom in society. A wise man once put it to me very well: "your right to personal freedom ends where the right of others to peaceful coexistence begins."

But I don't see how this can possibly be a fundamental moral compass for all things, just matters of personal freedom.

For example, how do you answer the streetcar dilemma with this moral compass?

Quote:
I have no interest, ability or inclination in saving the world. As others have said, it is an impossible task, and is best discussed by the young who still have not as yet encountered LIFE in all its various and sundry facets.


This topic really isn't about saving the world, global poverty etc. It's a simple matter of philosophy and logic. Nearly all ethical dilemmas involve value judgments and I a seeking to prod people into thinking about what their value system is based on.

Quote:
I want to be the best person that I can be, to show empathy to others, and honest in all my dealings.


Cool! But do you have a fundamental moral compass? How does this, for example, help you decide if someone else is right or wrong?
0 Replies
 
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:05 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
If you are the operator of a runaway streetcar, and you have the option of diverting it into one old lady versus a crowd of kids what do you do?
Good night old lady. This principle is used everyday in hospitals. A doctor who has a choice between putting an old lady in his last remaining spot in intensive care or a child who is arriving in an ambulance will stall for the ambulance.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:09 pm
@Letty,
Letty wrote:
Robert, I realize that it is quite difficult to define abstract nouns, but would you explain what you mean by "moral compass"? My sense of a literal compass is so poor that I frequently get lost.


Something that is the foundation of all ethical dilemmas for you. I can answer any ethical dilemma on the basis of my moral compass on the basis of my core ideal: least suffering possible.

Most people don't have one, and just wing it. They also usually do a pretty good job of winging it, but having one makes ethical dilemmas clearer and I think they'd do better to codify it.

So here's one way to try to find yours:

Is it right to kill one man to save many?

Think of how you would answer that question, and why. Then try other moral dilemmas (euthanasia, abortion etc) and see how well your reasoning holds up.
spendius
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:10 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
If you are the operator of a runaway streetcar, and you have the option of diverting it into one old lady versus a crowd of kids what do you do?


And then it turns out that Hitler was in the crowd of kids.

You are a real old fashioned sentimentalist Bob. Pulling the kiddie thing on us. Aaaaaahh!!

I would do my best to avoid both and if I failed to achieve what you obviously would approve of I would take my medicine.

It's a fat cat dinner party posturing festivity alright.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

is there a fundamental value that we all share? - Discussion by existential potential
The ethics of killing the dead - Discussion by joefromchicago
Theoretical Question About Extra Terrestrials - Discussion by failures art
The Watchmen Dilemma - Discussion by Sentience
morals and ethics, how are they different? - Question by existential potential
The Trolley Problem - Discussion by joefromchicago
Keep a $900 Computer I Didn't Buy? - Question by NathanCooperJones
Killing through a dungeon - Question by satyesu
 
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 12/15/2019 at 06:40:59