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What is your fundamental moral compass?

 
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:12 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
Interesting question. I guess mine is something like, do one's best to figure out how others would like to be done unto, then act accordingly. While marshalling resources. Balance.


Can you answer the streetcar dilemma with this (serious question, it might work)?

My American wealth thread is poisoning this well too much I think as most of the responses are about generosity, but I'm looking for something more general and something that can apply to all ethical dilemmas.

I think this one might be able to work but also have my doubts about its universal applicability.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:15 pm
@Ionus,
Ionus wrote:
Perhaps if you gave an ethical dilemma to use as an example ?


Ok, how about the streetcar dilemma. Let's assume there is 1 kid on the left and 10 on the right. How would that maxim guide you through this?

I like your maxim, and there's nothing wrong with it except I suspect it will only cover a subset of ethical dilemmas.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:16 pm
@Ionus,
Old lady versus kids is confusing the issue, I should have made it 1 person versus 10 people.

I agree with the choice you made, it checks out with my moral compass, but don't see how your moral compass explains why.

I think you need a new one dude, take mine, it's cool and shiny!
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:26 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
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.


All very laudable Bob but notice that you are doing the deciding on the basis of some guess you are making. This belief in assertions is one giant mess.

The difference between European thought on these matters from American thought, at the official level, was brought out when the German government announced that it would not order the shooting down of a hi-jacked airliner which was threatening to crash a football stadium during a match.

American thought was presumably based upon the belief in the assertion that the plane would crash the stadium. Which it had no way of proving.
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:31 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
Ok, how about the streetcar dilemma. Let's assume there is 1 kid on the left and 10 on the right.
There is more weakness in 10 kids to protect and more requirement for strength then there is in 1. I guess that 1 is about to have a bad day.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  0  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:32 pm
@spendius,
It is very noticeable Bob that you are not responding to my posts. Can you not face the fact that if push comes to shove you are no different from the rest of us assholes? As Orwell demonstrated.
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:34 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
I can answer any ethical dilemma on the basis of my moral compass on the basis of my core ideal: least suffering possible.
I think this is like the heat death of the universe, it inexorably leads to nothing. Who says suffering is a bad thing ?
0 Replies
 
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:42 pm
@spendius,
Quote:
As Orwell demonstrated.
Orwell didnt demonstrate he highlighted.
Quote:
Can you not face the fact that if push comes to shove you are no different from the rest of us assholes?
You are not an arsehole spendi. You have a good point though, morality goes out the window pretty quickly. The world wide nazi movement had people people pretending they didnt know about the concentration camps, and when they were forced to admit they were real, they then blamed only germans. I response to it, fire bombings and many other evils were justified.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:50 pm
@Ionus,
But there were Germans who refused to work in concentration camps and were sent to the Russian front for their stance. Not many survived.

We must not forget them.
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:54 pm
@spendius,
Quote:
But there were Germans who refused to work in concentration camps and were sent to the Russian front for their stance. Not many survived. We must not forget them.
Yes, we must always remember that a few have a moral compass no matter how bad things get. The rest of us wave around a lot, depending on the direction of the breeze. I wonder if any of their families were killed in the fire bombings ?
0 Replies
 
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:57 pm
An example of where moral compasses go wrong is the allied fire bombings of Dresden and Tokyo. Roads out of the city were bombed with high explosives to cut off escape routes, then incendiaries were dropped to start the fires, and time bombs to hamper rescue efforts.

Revenge is an important part of morality, a natural part that is often ignored.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 06:40 pm
@Robert Gentel,
My moral compass is the maxim: "Do as much evil as you can get away with, but no more."

Does it work for me in practice? Yes, actually. I'm good at pretending that I'm charming, agreeable, and convivial, so I get away with pretty much.
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 06:54 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

My moral compass is the maxim: "Do as much evil as you can get away with, but no more."

Does it work for me in practice? Yes, actually. I'm good at pretending that I'm charming, agreeable, and convivial, so I get away with pretty much.


All i can reasonable deduce from that is that lying for the purposes of humour does not violate your moral compass.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 07:01 pm
@dlowan,
Humor? Obviously an Australian sing. Ve Chermans don't practice it.
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 07:05 pm
@spendius,
spendius wrote:
It is very noticeable Bob that you are not responding to my posts.


I'm not responding to you because your posts are vapid, that is all. If you had anything edifying to contribute you'd probably find more interlocutors.

Quote:
Can you not face the fact that if push comes to shove you are no different from the rest of us assholes?


Whether or not I am no different from whatever "assholes" you are talking about is not germane to this topic. Nobody's claiming that having a moral compass makes anyone perfect, or even "moral". It's a simple matter of logic, 'what fundamental logic does your moral code boil down to' is the question.

Your ramblings do not even bother to try answering the topic, so I ignore.
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 07:14 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Tough one Robert, because my every attempt to come up with something so sweeping leaves me a little schizophrenic in practice. Least suffering is best, in a general sense, but requires a somewhat complicated order of whose suffering, and what kind I find most compelling including but not limited to my own. In general, I take care of myself first, those I care about second and everyone else after that. But, helping others brings me major satisfaction so the $100 I pledge to some kid’s bike-a-thon brings me as much pleasure as the $100 I spend on something more directly for me. While I’m ranked number one in theory; various situations will put my loved ones well in front of my own interests; and if something strikes me as sufficiently unjust; a total stranger’s plight might become more important than my own (I’ve forfeited lots of potential earnings and eaten more than a few punches on behalf of virtual strangers.) At the same time; I feel no guilt when I indulge in a fine bottle of wine, or ponder the need for both a relatively useless convertible sports car and a motorcycle in a relatively cold climate.

Clipping the one guy instead of ten is easy enough, and killing the proverbial child to end all the world’s disease is a no-brainer. But these things get complicated when you consider your loved one being the one. I’d like to think I’d choose the cliff over the crowd if alone, but what if my family was in the back seat? I’d probably run over 2 of your kids before 1 of my own (example chosen with the knowledge neither of us have any.)

I think as close as I could come to a simple answer would be: All things being equal, the least suffering is the best; providing you weight woman and children double and understand that my selfish interests (and occasionally my reactionary instinct for justice) will frequently tip the scales. Does that clarify anything? I guess I’m a mess.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 07:29 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Humor? Obviously an Australian sing. Ve Chermans don't practice it.


You have to practice to get good.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 07:50 pm
@OCCOM BILL,
I totally understand what you say about helping people to make yourself feel good. It's pleasurable enough that I find it self-indulgent.

OCCOM BILL wrote:
At the same time; I feel no guilt when I indulge in a fine bottle of wine, or ponder the need for both a relatively useless convertible sports car and a motorcycle in a relatively cold climate.


I want to steer this away from charity to be honest. A better way to help people understand the core logic I'm trying to get at and away from personal mottos would be to ask for a moral compass that you can apply to the moral dilemmas of others to determine what is the ideal.

Quote:
Clipping the one guy instead of ten is easy enough, and killing the proverbial child to end all the world’s disease is a no-brainer. But these things get complicated when you consider your loved one being the one.


The logic isn't complicated, the emotions are. I'd probably let the emotions win myself but that doesn't make the logic tough for me. It just means I am not a sociopath.

Quote:
I’d like to think I’d choose the cliff over the crowd if alone, but what if my family was in the back seat? I’d probably run over 2 of your kids before 1 of my own (example chosen with the knowledge neither of us have any.)


I probably would as well, and may not even be able to employ any reasoning at all in an instinctive reaction. But that doesn't make the logic tough, it makes it tough to follow.

Quote:
I think as close as I could come to a simple answer would be: All things being equal, the least suffering is the best; providing you weight woman and children double and understand that my selfish interests (and occasionally my reactionary instinct for justice) will frequently tip the scales. Does that clarify anything? I guess I’m a mess.


Your caveats are mainly saying that you aren't perfect, I don't think you should codify it into your ideal, it's understood that you can't be the ideal.

But why women and children first? Longer life and capacity to bear life? Personally I buy the children one much more than the women one. Don't get me wrong, it's one of the things where I'd likely act as you advocate despite not subscribing to the logic, but I can't really justify elevating female life over male life logically myself (capacity to bear life isn't logically consistent to me given how I treat sperm for just one example).
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 07:50 pm
@dlowan,
But sometimes you need government funding in order to become truly silly.
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 08:37 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:
But why women and children first? Longer life and capacity to bear life? Personally I buy the children one much more than the women one. Don't get me wrong, it's one of the things where I'd likely act as you advocate despite not subscribing to the logic, but I can't really justify elevating female life over male life logically myself (capacity to bear life isn't logically consistent to me given how I treat sperm for just one example).
This one's so imbedded in my core, I can only hypothesize as to why. Children are the personification of innocence so that's the easier explained. I've been questioned on the women portion by many a woman who seemed to find the women and children first mantra almost demeaning. I suspect it's the product of reading about the inequality of treatment historically and around the globe to this day, and behind so damned many closed doors. This bothers me and I guess I instinctually try to offset the injustice at most every opportunity. Sort of like my decision to vote for Obama even before he had won me over on the merits, if only to cancel out a bigot's vote. I guess I have a threshold for injustice and become reactionary when that point is reached... and there seems a constant influx of unjust information coming through on the fairer sex front.
 

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