2
   

right or wrong

 
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 08:02 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Fido,

Throughout the history of mankind there have tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of societies. The have had vastly different views on morality from slavery to sex with children to abortion to homosexuality to alcoholic drinks and gambling and stoning adulterers.

How many human societies do you consider to be moral?

The view of morality that each society has is moot... People can no more be objective about their morality than they can about their cultures... They cannot get far enough from them to judge them... Look a Plato through Socrates trying to judge to good by the worthy, and the worthy by their ablility when, at some point, to have succeeded at all they must have been united in a single Moral purpose... Look at the similarity of Ethnic as a word with Ethics... You see in that; the identification and unity of the individual with his kind as the very thing that is broken up and destroyed by inequalities and judgments upon others...

Primitives are universally moral to their own kind, and that is the limit of most morality... By the time any society has reached a point where it wants to examine morality as an abstraction it no longer has morals to examin in situ...One may say, speaking in generalities, say that for all peoples who support nation as opposed to humanity, that what they do for their nation against all other nations is moral... What the Germans did to the Jews is made moral by what the Jews do to the Arabs, and vice versa... But all of the criminal acts of the Nazis against other Germans could not ever be made moral by comparison, and I am certain the Nazis would agree, since virtue, morality, and justice were never their goals...

Morality is community... Morality is the common bond between people that exists pre-reason, and it exists where it exists outside of the bounds of reasonable behavior... Again; generally, it is for the good of the community rather than the individual directly that the makes any action moral... If the individual should be called to sacrifice his goods or life for the community then that is right and fair...No one without a sense of organic attachment to his community will ever be moral... It is an element of Natural Law going back to the Roman Law of Nations, that all nations are equal... And this is moral because it supports community... The more recent notion of all individuals created equal with its fantastic and unacceptable metaphysics is the most immoral statement of rights ever made... We do not have our rights as endowments from God any more than we have our rights from God... We have our rights as much as we can defend our rights as a community from the predations of other communities...We have our lives as a gift from our communities and they come with certain obligations, primarily, to live in a virtuous and moral fashion...
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 08:16 am
@joefromchicago,
My position is not illogical at all.

My point is that morality is subjective based largely on the culture you were raised with. There is strong historical evidence to this case, namely the wide range of conflicting views of morality that have been part of successful societies over human history.

An objective morality means that if you are moral then anyone who disagrees with you on an important point of morality is, by definition, immoral. It is the idea that we are right and anyone who disagrees (significantly) is wrong that I am taking issue with.

My question is a valid one because it raises the key weakness of your argument. Either there is another culture that is in enough agreement agreement with us to be considered moral, or not. I suspect not.

If there is no other culture, then you really are saying that our modern Western Culture that we are living in happens to be the one true moral culture.

If you are not saying that, then explain what other culture fits.


maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 08:18 am
@Fido,
Quote:
I would consider each that lasted any length of time to be moral


That's fine Fido. But this means that you consider slavery, denying rights to women, and killing women who aren't virgins on their wedding night. There have been long lasting cultures that have done each of these things.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 08:31 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
My position is not illogical at all.


Yes it is. This was the progression of posts:

maxdancona wrote:
I am suggesting that either every society is a moral society, or that none of them are.


joefromchicago wrote:
maxdancona wrote:
I am suggesting that either every society is a moral society, or that none of them are.
Why all or nothing? What rules out the possibility that some societies are moral?


You have not logically addressed this question of Joe's. Unless you can adduce a negative qualifier which prohibits some socieites being moral and other societies not being moral, you have failed to answer this objection of Joe's. That's leaving aside the silly issue of whether or not some societies may be more or less moral than others. Joe has asked you why all or nothing, and you haven't responded to that question.

Quote:
My point is that morality is subjective based largely on the culture you were raised with. There is strong historical evidence to this case, namely the wide range of conflicting views of morality that have been part of successful societies over human history.

An objective morality means that if you are moral then anyone who disagrees with you on an important point of morality is, by definition, immoral. It is the idea that we are right and anyone who disagrees (significantly) is wrong that I am taking issue with.


Joe hasn't suggested that anyone who disagrees significantly with our morality is wrong. That you reach the conclusion that this is true, while at the same time employing the qualifier "significantly" is what raises the silly issue of whether or not some societies may be more or less moral than others. Once you introduced that qualifier, you threw your absolute imperative, your insistence that either all societies are moral or none are, right out the window.

Quote:
My question is a valid one because it raises the key weakness of your argument. Either there is another culture that is in enough agreement agreement with us to be considered moral, or not. I suspect not.

If there is no other culture, then you really are saying that our modern Western Culture that we are living in happens to be the one true moral culture.

If you are not saying that, then explain what other culture fits.


See--you're trying to have your cake and eat, too. You have introduced the qualifying clause "in enough agreement" just as you earlier introduced the qualifier "significantly," but you want to attempt to insist on an absolute--you continue to insist that either there are no moral societies, or that all societies are moral, or that only one society is moral (yet another silly complication you've introduced). If you insist on absolutes such as that, you are not entitled to qualify them with "significantly" or "in enough agreement." You want to impose an absolute imperative on Joe's response while you quibble yourself about the degree of agreement between societies to be compared.

That bear no resemblance to logic.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 08:46 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Quote:
I would consider each that lasted any length of time to be moral


That's fine Fido. But this means that you consider slavery, denying rights to women, and killing women who aren't virgins on their wedding night. There have been long lasting cultures that have done each of these things.

Cultures have destroyed themselves by such actions forever, and just as they are under fire for their morality, they suffer much of their poverty because they cannot effectively employ half their populations productively...Relegating women to a status just above slaves destroyed the Greeks better than any other single cause... Women devalued simply refused to reproduce their misery in female children, and many houses fell empty and silent for want of a wife and mother...The Muslims holding women to a very high standard are actually saying something extreme about their conditions and economy...

Many people still live today in honor economies while ours is a money economy... Do not think that our money does not buy a lot of human destruction as well... The fact is that people without money have an extreme need for honor, and women often come to represent that honor, and have the power to pass that honor to their children or to destroy that honor...

In our society it is acepted that people with money have honor since it it necessary to prove their dishonor for the rich to be considered dishonorable... It is the poor who must always prove their honor who are always subject to search and suspicion, and whose virtue is thought available for a triffle... I do not want to argue with what has clearly worked for people from time immemorial... Such societies does not grant honor as a matter of course to the very people who can destroy honor... It does not give equality to the best and most worthy, and because of limited resources, it helps men to achieve at the expense of women denied... I do not think it is ideal, but it is real, and to an extent, their societies work better than our own, with less crime, and usually, less violence...

I do not support female circumcision either; but I recognize in the act a great fear and respect for the power of female sexuality to disrupt and destroy society... The thought that women are wild animals who need to be domesticated to be useful is not all that far from the thoughts of many men... Such a society is already limited by its technology, which is knowledge... They are not much more limited by their unequal treatment of women, judging from a distance... From experience, I would say that women are the more creative and industrious people everywhere, and to limit them is to limit all...
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 09:30 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

My position is not illogical at all.

Did I say it was?

maxdancona wrote:
My point is that morality is subjective based largely on the culture you were raised with. There is strong historical evidence to this case, namely the wide range of conflicting views of morality that have been part of successful societies over human history.

You're not talking about morality, you're talking about mores. That's not philosophy, that's sociology.

maxdancona wrote:
An objective morality means that if you are moral then anyone who disagrees with you on an important point of morality is, by definition, immoral. It is the idea that we are right and anyone who disagrees (significantly) is wrong that I am taking issue with.

But why is that idea wrong?

maxdancona wrote:
My question is a valid one because it raises the key weakness of your argument. Either there is another culture that is in enough agreement agreement with us to be considered moral, or not. I suspect not.

Are you suggesting that the idea of morality depends on some society being moral?

maxdancona wrote:
If there is no other culture, then you really are saying that our modern Western Culture that we are living in happens to be the one true moral culture.

I said no such thing.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 07:00 pm
@Fido,
Quote:
Cultures have destroyed themselves by such actions forever, and just as they are under fire for their morality, they suffer much of their poverty because they cannot effectively employ half their populations productively...Relegating women to a status just above slaves destroyed the Greeks better than any other single cause.


That doesn't make any sense. The Greek civilization went along strong, as the dominant culture of the region, for 600 years. When the Greeks lost power, they lost it to the Romans who also owned slaves and didn't have much respect for women.

Do you have an example of a culture that lasted for this long that didn't have slaves or mistreat women? I doubt there is one.

maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 07:06 pm
@joefromchicago,
Joe, maybe I am jumping ahead. So let me ask you. Where does morality come from? In the many cases where two human cultures, or two human beings, have irreconcilable differences of opinions about what is moral or not, how do you decide who is right?
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 09:44 pm
@maxdancona,
You ask me questions without bothering to answer any of mine? That's not fair. I'll get around to answering your questions as soon as you answer this: why do you exclude the possibility that some societies may be right about morality? Why, in other words, is it either all or nothing?
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 10:02 pm
@joefromchicago,
Quote:
I'll get around to answering your questions as soon as you answer this: why do you exclude the possibility that some societies may be right about morality? Why, in other words, is it either all or nothing?


Because the views of morality of different societies are so conflicting that more than one can't possibly be correct. Some societies believe killing adulterers is immoral. Other societies believe that allowing adulterers to live is immoral. At least one of these two societies must be immoral, unless you can accept the fact that morality is defined on a cultural level and can only be judged within a cultural context.

I propose that the differences in moral views of any two distinct societies is so great that any person going from one two the other will find things that conflict. I am curious if there are any examples of societies that are distinct (i.e. not mixed with 20th century Western society) that did not hold to practices or beliefs that you would find immoral.


* I find the killing adulterers example amusing because it was part of the ancient Jewish culture that created the scriptures that have an impact on modern Western culture. Modern Americans would not be able to accept the morality of Biblical times, and someone from Biblical times would find the morality of modern Americans equally abhorrent.

Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 08:02 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Quote:
Cultures have destroyed themselves by such actions forever, and just as they are under fire for their morality, they suffer much of their poverty because they cannot effectively employ half their populations productively...Relegating women to a status just above slaves destroyed the Greeks better than any other single cause.


That doesn't make any sense. The Greek civilization went along strong, as the dominant culture of the region, for 600 years. When the Greeks lost power, they lost it to the Romans who also owned slaves and didn't have much respect for women.

Do you have an example of a culture that lasted for this long that didn't have slaves or mistreat women? I doubt there is one.


Well; if you look at Greek Civilization, you may be including Macedonian as well; and they conquered the Greeks, but where highly influenced by them... In fact, Athens among other Greek cities pretty much despised women, but this made adventurous and warlike men who had little chance of finding a wife without wealth, and such people fuel the Peloponesian War, but also made whole armies of Merconaries for the Persians, who were the hated enemy of the Greeks...The same thing is happening in China, where the male dominated culture is breeding an over population of males without hope of future wives... In places like India, even today, males are highly prized, and this had some logic when warrior societies were essential to the survival of any society; but now, though women are devalued it is they who carry society... The first class divisions were between men and women, and this was fine so long as women still had a commanding part in their clans, and they decided which man would represent the clan in council... In places Like Afghanistan, where women have no authority, and also no influence in the affairs that affect them, the whole society is robbed of what might prove to be a more sensible influence... Afghan Society can not be shown to have changed much, even with the coming of Islam, which at least gave some rights to women, and tended to moderate the worst of human behavior... In any event, Afghan Society, which is hardly social, and no more one thing than Greek society was one thing has lasted significantly longer than Greek society did, if we exclude the long run of Greek/Roman control of Constantinople... One may argue on sparse, but available evidence that the decline of the Greeks began with the suppression of women, and of women's rights, that in doing that, the suppression of democracy began along with the rise of Oligarchy...Morality is what makes societies work, and nothing is moral which inhibits a society in its quest for survival... To do as others have done in your society before is usally moral...Blood is thicker than water is a moral... Afghan society works even if at a primitive, and sub standard level because it is moral.

Though some logic can be found for most moral behavior, moral behavior cannot be reasoned... Morals are learned before reason in a child's development, and has far more to do with the instinctual bonding of person to person... So, you can say, after the fact, that it is moral for a person to risk their life to save another from a burning building; but no one can say it is reasonable... Reason is self conscious, always considered from a certain perspective of which identity is a predicate... Morality is always un-self conscious, and unselfish... As with Ethnicity, Ethics binds a person, and reminds the person of the center of his life, and its source, and binds him with the natal/natural bond of child to mother with his people...Morality is community because no community can exist without it, and no individual can exist without his community... Certainly, adults can make that choice to be members of their community, but it is never a reasoned choice... People may reason to do wrong; but no one can reason to do right because their is no tangible benefit to doing so...
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 08:09 am
@Fido,
You typed a whole lot of words to not answer my question.

The question was; Do you have an example of a culture that lasted [as long as the Greek culture] that didn't have slaves or mistreat women? I doubt there is one.

My point being that if cultures who mistreat women and have slaves last as long or longer then cultures that don't, then it is ridiculous to blame these things for their end.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 08:21 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Quote:
Cultures have destroyed themselves by such actions forever, and just as they are under fire for their morality, they suffer much of their poverty because they cannot effectively employ half their populations productively...Relegating women to a status just above slaves destroyed the Greeks better than any other single cause.


That doesn't make any sense. The Greek civilization went along strong, as the dominant culture of the region, for 600 years. When the Greeks lost power, they lost it to the Romans who also owned slaves and didn't have much respect for women.

Do you have an example of a culture that lasted for this long that didn't have slaves or mistreat women? I doubt there is one.


Let me try to answer that last part... What we think of as civiliations are always built upon concquest, slaves, and the inequality of women... Cultures, on the other hand, which represent knowledge, have lasted far long without slavery than with slavery and the rest... The qualities like slavery that we associate with civilizations represent an inequality of wealth which is the cause, and driving force is the making of war like and raiding societies... What the last president Bush said of Democracies, that they make peaceful neighbors was true... The breakdown of democracy goes along with the making of war like societies, so that injustice grows out of injustice and immorality grows out of immorality... We would not try to rule the world if we were democratic... A democratic people has justice at their call; but every people knowing injustice will first export injustice and try to import the justice they have taken from others... The Greeks destroyed themselves before Rome could finish them off in constant petty warfare... What was the point??? Democracy is a defensive form of social organization equally able to defend the individual from the mass as to defend the mass from strangers... A democratic society able to give itself justice has no need of conquest or the goods and bodies of strangers, but once they do have these goods and bodies they have inequality of wealth which spoils the democracy, and then the whole society... Civilizations begin to rot as soon as they are ripe because they are born out of rot... Justice is a prize that all the spoils in the world cannot buy... It did not matter how many tribes the Romans turned into slaves because there is no master ever who was not made slave to his slaves and to slavery... Such people never know freedom, or morality... Life to such people is an ever slipping hold on power... That is civilization...
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 08:32 am
@Fido,
Quote:
Cultures, on the other hand, which represent knowledge, have lasted far long without slavery than with slavery and the rest...


Such as?.... Can you name one? ...
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 08:32 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Quote:
I'll get around to answering your questions as soon as you answer this: why do you exclude the possibility that some societies may be right about morality? Why, in other words, is it either all or nothing?


Because the views of morality of different societies are so conflicting that more than one can't possibly be correct. Some societies believe killing adulterers is immoral. Other societies believe that allowing adulterers to live is immoral. At least one of these two societies must be immoral, unless you can accept the fact that morality is defined on a cultural level and can only be judged within a cultural context.

I propose that the differences in moral views of any two distinct societies is so great that any person going from one two the other will find things that conflict. I am curious if there are any examples of societies that are distinct (i.e. not mixed with 20th century Western society) that did not hold to practices or beliefs that you would find immoral.


* I find the killing adulterers example amusing because it was part of the ancient Jewish culture that created the scriptures that have an impact on modern Western culture. Modern Americans would not be able to accept the morality of Biblical times, and someone from Biblical times would find the morality of modern Americans equally abhorrent.


Morality is a form of relationship between an individual and his society, and moral behavior is just behavior between an individual and his own society... It does not have anything to do with relationships between individuals and the individuals of other societies; unless such societies are considered together as one society as well they may be, considered as nations, or linguistic stocks... There is no human society at this moment... Society exists only so long as it can exclude the immoral, and humanity being everyone alive can have no true exclusion excepting the death penalty, and those who self exclude to prey upon the larger body of humanity while pretending to be a friend...Generally, everyone in society is considered human, and all others, especially known enemies are considered at best as objects, and at worst, as animals... No morality is improved by enlarging upon the group, and no nation state would be possible without the enlargement of the group, and as much as Modern Western Law works at the breakdown of community it also destroys the basis of morality...
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 08:49 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Quote:
Cultures, on the other hand, which represent knowledge, have lasted far long without slavery than with slavery and the rest...


Such as?.... Can you name one? ...

Name one??? Not off hand; but considering that slavery was actually a step up from cannibalism, it would be among cannibals that I would first look... The Native Americans had slavery, but few of them... They were more inclined to eat you if they did not adopt you into the family of some one lost to war with your people... The point being, that civilizations have a very short run, and then they are done... Egypt considered as a civilization was actually several in the same place... Rome triumphed as a democracy, but began to fold as a tyranny, and tyranny would not have been necessary if the Senatorial class had not already driven the Roman citizens from the land through the use of slave labor...Their preying upon other populations led to their preying upon their own population, the denial of equal rights in the commonwealth, and the empoverishment, which sometimes meant the actual enslavement of the common people... We have the arguments before us with Plato taking the side of the rich, and the right of the best to rule, and it was with the advent of the stirrup in Europe when cavelry became the equal of foot men that property qualification was tied to the right to govern, and there was the beginning of feudalism, and the end of tribal democracy...As the Norse invasions showed Feudalism offered no defense to a healthy and vital democratic people in a raiding and trading economy... What ever else may be said of Afghanistan, their society works, and has taken on all comers for a thousand years or more, and though they have often been whipped, they have never been wiped out...Such people have a moral attachment to the past, because it worked... Their society works even if conquest is out of the question for them... They have no basis for social unity except at the most basic level, and there, as in all primitive societies, justice, honor, and morality, as tokens of the same regard for virtue reign supreme...
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 09:20 am
@Fido,
You keep writing lots of words Fido, but the point is really simple.

Cultures whose understanding of morality that was closer to the modern Western view haven't fared any better than any other cultures.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 09:45 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

You keep writing lots of words Fido, but the point is really simple.

Cultures whose understanding of morality that was closer to the modern Western view haven't fared any better than any other cultures.

Your point is simple... Mine is admittedly more complex...

All societies have survived to the point of civilization even with a want of technology and resources because they were highly moral, and it was not until morality broke down, and the economy of honor gave way before an economy of wealth that civilizations were possible... Slavery was a primary aspect of all civiliations, because each grew- out of conquest...

Okay; slavery with excess produce bought leisure for the masters, and with it, philosophy, and that led to ever increasing technological improvements with out adding in the least to justice... In spite of better technology civilizations are beat by natural people with healthy societies, and that has occured many times around the world...

It is their immorality that causes immoral societies to consider morals as abstractions as moral people can never do... And it is demoralization that destroys societies from within, and our society to name one, is highly demoralized... If people thought of themselves highly, and prized their honor, they would be in a position to demand justice across the board, and because we have no honor, and think money a fair substitute for honor, we have no basis upon which to deman justice from employers, government, or each other, but must take what is offered as slaves do... Slaves are neither honorable nor moral, and they are incapable of freedom because they are immoral, and demoralized... To be free, one must not only have the ability and will to obey the law, which is usually easy and possible, but must have the ability, and desire to do what is right even when it is difficult, and requires self denial... Freedom requires a united front against enemies, and nothing divides people like immorality and injustice... Individual freedom is a lie... People can only be free within their communities and with the support of their community...And to have community they must be moral...

Ultimately you are confusing material progress with spritual fulfilment... Yes, it is nice to live a long time; but where are the children of the Greeks or the Romans??? Italy is a damned rug where every sort of barbarian has wiped his feet... When civilizations die they take most of their citizens with them because people who do try to look at morals objectively never seem to see their social forms objectively and so cannot change them to meet new needs... We are right there with them; but if you look at Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence, you can see him looking and talking of forms in an objective fashion, and it allowed people like him to transform their society through revolution, even if it was hardly complete before reaction set in...
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 10:37 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
Because the views of morality of different societies are so conflicting that more than one can't possibly be correct.

I agree that contradictory moral codes cannot both be true simultaneously, but then that doesn't foreclose the possibility that one of them is true. You, on the other hand, hold out the possibility that they all might be true, which I find impossible.

maxdancona wrote:
Some societies believe killing adulterers is immoral. Other societies believe that allowing adulterers to live is immoral. At least one of these two societies must be immoral, unless you can accept the fact that morality is defined on a cultural level and can only be judged within a cultural context.

Once you start talking about morality being judged on a cultural basis, you're no longer talking about morality. Again, that's sociology, not philosophy.

maxdancona wrote:
I propose that the differences in moral views of any two distinct societies is so great that any person going from one two the other will find things that conflict. I am curious if there are any examples of societies that are distinct (i.e. not mixed with 20th century Western society) that did not hold to practices or beliefs that you would find immoral.

You're assuming, though, that everyone is right about their moral choices. That's begging the question. If everyone is right, then you're already presupposing a moral relativist position.

earlier, maxdancona wrote:
Where does morality come from? In the many cases where two human cultures, or two human beings, have irreconcilable differences of opinions about what is moral or not, how do you decide who is right?

I make no claim to knowing which system of morality is correct (although I lean toward a Rawlsian original-position system of morality). I do, however, maintain that, if there is such a thing as "morality," it must be an absolute system. Subjective or relative morality, in contrast, is an unworkable contradiction in terms.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 07:43 pm
@joefromchicago,
It seems you and I have a problem with definitions. I think we agree on the meaning of the term "absolute morality".

But making "morality" mean the same thing as "absolute morality" doesn't make sense to me. Arguing over definitions of words is never fruitful, but why is it helpful to make these two terms mean the same thing.

Let's talk reality. In my view, having sex with children is abhorrent, as is sex with animals. I believe slavery is intolerable. I believe that people should be free to find happiness (without acting immoraly toward others) whether this means being married or not or homosexual or whatever thing doesn't hurt others. I believe that life is sacred, that we shouldn't kill people except under the most dire of situations and that great lengths should be take to prolong the lives of old and young alike.

(The point is not to argue specifics, and my view of morality is pretty typical of my contemporaries.)

I strongly hold these principles. I disdain people who break them significantly and in most cases these principles will drive me to action for example to stop a child from being killed or to oppose violence against homosexuals.

If these strongly held principles that so deeply impact my behavior and view of live not an example of morality, then what is?
 

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