7
   

Kants all reasonable beings

 
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2012 05:48 am
@fresco,
Quote:
humans are separated by Kant from other animals because humans exhibit rationality.


He must not have studied animals much. Or perhaps he just didn't see for what he thought he already knew. Anyone who's owned a dog knows that they can exhibit rationality, not to mention various primates. Their ability to reason may not rival that of humans, but it is still present.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2012 06:16 am
@Cyracuz,
Quote:
Re: fresco (Post 5182763)
Quote:
humans are separated by Kant from other animals because humans exhibit rationality.


Quote:
He must not have studied animals much. Or perhaps he just didn't see for what he thought he already knew. Anyone who's owned a dog knows that they can exhibit rationality, not to mention various primates. Their ability to reason may not rival that of humans, but it is still present.


Quite right, Cyracuz.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2012 07:05 am
@Cyracuz,
Quite right, he did not. The issue is "morality" not "intelligence". His interest in the term "rationality" extended only as far as it was involved in thinking about moral decisions or justifying them, and not where it might overlap with the term "intelligence". We can reasonably *(sic) assume that since an essential element in such thinking seems to be internal or external dialogue about general principles, non-human "language" would not qualify.

* Note that this very dialogue we are engaged in underscores the point.
Those in doubt should go and discuss the issue with their dog ! Wink



Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2012 07:17 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz, in response to you, among other comments, Fresco wrote:

Quote:
* Note that this very dialogue we are engaged in underscores the point.
Those in doubt should go and discuss the issue with their dog !


I suggest that a human "discussing the issue" with a dog would not be a determinant of whether or not a dog (or a hyena) has "moral" issues with which to deal.

Obviously some people want to define "morality" in a way which would exclude and preclude animals other than humans from participants in morality issues.

This is a complex issue that goes to the heart of humans wanting to be something even more special than they are.

Insofar as animals other than humans do engage in rational decisions...I suggest they may also be engaging in morality decisions...so long as "morality" is not defined in a way designed to preclude that from being.

So the better determinant might be to monitor a "discussion" a dog has with itself...or with another dog when it is making a "rational" decision.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2012 09:07 am
@fresco,
I think I understand what you mean. This makes me wonder about what morality actually is. It seems to me that it is linked to empathy, and to the need to function in social groups. How essential is this dialogue about general principles?
Does morality come from discourse about human action, or does it come from action itself? Can there be morality without discourse with human language?

When it comes to discussing with my dog, I had to stick to simpler subjects. (The dog is not with us anymore, hence the past tense.) But I remember one time when the dog was sitting by the door, looking at us. That meant she wanted to go outside. If she sat there looking out, it meant she only wanted to sit by the window and look out.
Anyway, my father opened the door, and the dog went out on the porch. It was mid winter, so he closed the door again. Immediately the dog was there, wanting to get back in. But then she wanted out again immediately.
My father started getting annoyed, but I saw what was going on.
The dog wanted to be outside, but she didn't want to be cut off from her pack. Every time he closed the door, the dog looked in with the face she usually had when she knew she had done something wrong and was being punished. When we left the door open it was fine.

My point in telling all this is that even though the dog couldn't articulate it's internal computations, they still had an impact on the social creature, and they determined the behavior of the dog in that social context, and it had an impact on our behavior in that context. When I made my father aware of why the dog was so 'back and forth' as he put it, he laughed, then left the door open and got a blanket.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2012 09:14 am
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
Insofar as animals other than humans do engage in rational decisions...I suggest they may also be engaging in morality decisions...so long as "morality" is not defined in a way designed to preclude that from being.


We might be able to get an overall definition of the concept morality, but I think that what constitutes morality in any given group may be determined by each individual weighing cost against gain in their everyday lives, factoring in the continued need to function in the social group. Does this require discourse, or is the interplay between the actions of individuals sufficient to create moral principles or guidelines which the whole group then fall in line with?
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2012 09:24 am
@Cyracuz,
Quote:
Quote:
Re: Frank Apisa (Post 5186875)
Quote:
Insofar as animals other than humans do engage in rational decisions...I suggest they may also be engaging in morality decisions...so long as "morality" is not defined in a way designed to preclude that from being.



I get you, Cyracuz.

We might be able to get an overall definition of the concept morality, but I think that what constitutes morality in any given group may be determined by each individual weighing cost against gain in their everyday lives, factoring in the continued need to function in the social group. Does this require discourse, or is the interplay between the actions of individuals sufficient to create moral principles or guidelines which the whole group then fall in line with?


I honestly do not know what "morality" is...and I appreciate that each individual seems to have a concept of it specific to him/her. I cannot, however, rule out that some animals may very well have a component of being and behavior that more closely matches what humans normally mean when speaking of morality...than some humans are willing to concede.

There is no doubt that many things that non-human animals do that may seem an extension of human empathy are merely behavior traits that satisfy basic needs in the animal. But that same thing seems to hold for humans also.

I often suggest there is no such thing as altruism. The most altruistic among us do the most altruistic of behavior to satisfy self-needs. People like Gandhi, Mother Teresa and others of that type seem to me to be satisfying their needs as much as hedonistic activity satisfies people we deem to be selfish.

We are animals...and animals lower on the chain share more with us than many want to acknowledge. That was my point.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2012 09:40 am
@Cyracuz,
Aaaaaaaagh!

Sorry. This anthropomorphic speculation is getting out of hand ! As far as Kant was concerned the answer has been given and put to bed. Those who want to PLAY with the concept of "morality" are also committed to playing with the concepts of "language" and "thought".

Of course, post Kant, we can take a continuity view of "all life" with "language" as merely a form of "complex behavior". But that also has significant consequences for the concept of "existence" per se which unless you are religious, will turn "morality" into a non-issue. Indeed, based on that view, what we are doing on this forum becomes merely a form of social dancing (or in technical terms structural coupling by autopoietic structures), with the subject matter being merely the type of dance.

Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2012 09:58 am
@Cyracuz,
Of course, you will get the usual gang of suspects who will suggest that even discussing the possibilities that I raised is merely anthropomorphism. I try to be kind toward those people. They, with their many appeals to authority, are determined not to allow any thoughts that non-human animals can be more than most are willing to acknowledge.

Must have something to do with thinking a god made us special.
fresco
 
  3  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2012 10:12 am
@Frank Apisa,
Woof,---,Woof,---,Woof Woof Woof !
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2012 02:02 pm
@fresco,
Quote:
Woof,---,Woof,---,Woof Woof Woof !


Another blatant appeal to authority.

Rin Tin Tin...or Lassie????
0 Replies
 
G H
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2012 03:04 pm
@fresco,
Quote:
As far as Kant was concerned the answer has been given and put to bed.

Well done, above. Also, many still do not understand, even after well over two centuries, that what is found in nature either today or in the past or in the future has no major, altering impact upon his scheme. Kant himself re-directed theoretical philosophy or speculative thought at the empirical world[3], with the physical sciences continuing as the grunt researcher and tester of "appearances". Giving his full blessing to a tomorrow's uncovering of countless new discoveries, as well as to the inventing of a parade of novel abstract constructs (as projected now upon the conditioned world rather than the supersensible)[2].

Going back to Kant's putative lack of observing "dogs"... We can find Kant mentioning them at least once -- in the Critique of Practical Reason, pertaining to their potential for arousing love and other emotions -- in the course of a segment about "respect". But he certainly wasn't trying to derive "ought" from the relational inter-dependencies of such phenomena. Knowing well that this unsystematic, variable muddle of feelings, consequences, and social habits which passes for "morality" with many of us today, is one of the products resulting from that[1].

[1] "The ought expresses a kind of necessity and connection with causes, which we do not find elsewhere in the whole of nature. The understanding can know in nature only what is present, past, or future. It is impossible that anything in it ought to be different from what it is in reality, in all these relations of time. Nay, if we only look at the course of nature, the ought has no meaning whatever. We cannot ask, what ought to be in nature, as little as we can ask, what qualities a circle ought to possess. We can only ask what happens in it, and what qualities that which happens has." --Critique of Pure Reason

[2] "The enlarging of our views in mathematics, and the possibility of new discoveries, are infinite; and the same is the case with the discovery of new properties of nature, of new powers and laws, by continued experience and its rational combination. But limits cannot be mistaken here, for mathematics [and natural philosophy that utilizes it] refers to appearances only, and what cannot be an object of sensuous contemplation, such as the concepts of metaphysics and of morals, lies entirely without its sphere, and it can never lead to them; neither does it require them. [...] For these explanations must only be grounded upon that which as an object of sense can belong to experience, and be brought into connection with our actual perceptions and empirical laws." --Prolegomena To Any Future Metaphysics

[3] "Hence technically-practical principles belong to theoretical philosophy (natural science), whereas those morally-practical alone form the second part, that is, practical philosophy (ethical science)." --Critique of Judgement

[4] "Hence the division of philosophy falls properly into two parts, quite distinct in their principles -- a theoretical, as philosophy of nature, and a practical, as philosophy of morals (for this is what the practical legislation of reason by the concept of freedom is called). [...In the garbled past before the critiques, however...] a gross misuse of the terms has prevailed; for what is practical according to concepts of nature has been taken as identical with what is practical according to the concept of freedom, with the result that a division has been made under these heads of theoretical and practical, by which, in effect, there has been no division at all (seeing that both parts might have similar principles)." --Critique of Judgement
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2012 03:06 pm
@G H,
And since Kant was never ever wrong about anything...we should accept that this must be the case???
G H
 
  3  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2012 03:16 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
And since Kant was never ever wrong about anything...we should accept that this must be the case???

Accept or not accept what as the case? He's not a figure of history? No recorded account to consult? Just a fictional character like Sherlock Holmes open to the literary canon being modified by decades of creators of movies and TV shows about him? Anything pulled out of a passerby's arse goes?
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2012 03:24 pm
@G H,
Quote:
Accept or not accept what as the case? He's not a figure of history? No recorded account to consult? Just a fictional character like Sherlock Holmes open to the literary canon being modified by decades of creators of movies and TV shows about him? Anything pulled out of a passerby's arse goes?


Ummm...is that a "yes" or a "no?"

And if I may be so bold...lighten up a bit.
north
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2012 04:07 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:

Not sure why anyone wants to define the word "reasonable" in a way that excludes, for instance, a single hyena reasonably waiting back while rather than try to shoo a lion pride feasting on a kill.

Everyone can think of animals acting reasonably...indeed rationally, except for human chauvinists who want to suppose only humans can act reasonably and rationally.


Reasonable to me, really
0 Replies
 
G H
 
  2  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2012 04:28 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
And if I may be so bold...lighten up a bit.

Just tough noodles, happy sunny boy. Barking has been done already in this thread and the remaining animal sounds from Old MacDonald's farm aren't an option. And imitating that damn MGM lion is too risky until the lingering litigation hovering over the company's post-Bankruptcy affairs settles completely.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2012 04:57 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Let me go back to Frank Apisa's statement:
"Not sure why anyone wants to define the word 'reasonable' in a way that excludes, for instance, a single hyena reasonably waiting back while rather than try to shoo a lion pride feasting on a kill. "
I agree that this means-ends "thinking" is an example of "reasonable" behavior. I grant that hyneas and elephants cannot function as rationally as do some humans (indeed the average "non-human animal" cannot function as rationally as the average "human-animal"), but if they were to have had absolutely no capacity for rational (means-ends) behavior, their species would be extinct.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2012 05:35 pm
@JLNobody,
Kant's objective was to underpin his "categorical imperatives" with respect to morality with the "rationality" we associate with logical thought, rather basing them on divine edict. Since non-human species lie outside the meaningful application of what is normally understood as thinking about "moral responsibility" or "relationship with a divinity", discussion of them in this case is meaningless.

Now obviously there are holistic attitudes to "life" which have been adopted by the ecology movement which strive to be non-anthropocentric. Capra gives a good account of this in his "Web of Life". However, it turns out that such an approach deflates concepts like "rationality" and " morality" and even "language" as potential anthropocentric myopic barriers to "system sustainability". In short "the individual" is a dispensable cog in the service of "the whole". This approach therefore also renders descriptions of the human/non-human interface as being non-reducible to the "normal" language of caring relationships ( ref:....nature red in tooth and claw....).

In Derrida's terminology, the attempt to ascribe "rationality" to non-humans results in an inevitable aporia (insoluble paradox), which for Derrida has no transcendent resolution (in a Hegelian sense). And it is from this position, albeit difficult for some to understand, that simplistic arguments about "right" and "wrong" become vacuous.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2012 05:58 pm
@fresco,
Quote:
...discussion of them in this case is meaningless.


Nice try, Fresco. The Italicized "this case" was a clever ploy.

BUT...you use the expression "discussion of this is meaningless" regularly...and in my opinion, way, way too often. You are unnecessarily and inappropiately dismissive of many (perhaps most) thought that runs counter to the many "authorities" you bring to these discussions.

Almost everything that animals do to survive...may be rational, as JL touched on. And I mean that by any measure brought to bear. Perhaps even so-called instinctive behavior in non-human animals really is rational behavior relegated to the dungeon of "instinct" by people who simply want to consider non-human animals incapable of being rational.

Perhaps you and Kant are correct...BUT perhaps you are way off base.

There is nothing meaningless about the discussion, Fresco...and that is not your call in any case. If the discussion causes you fear or anxiety, perhaps you'd be better off discussing something else somewhere else.


0 Replies
 
 

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