Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 02:12 pm
@Setanta,
I'm not trying to define morality. I am suggesting that what we today refer to as morality grew out of some inter social mechanism that is fundamental to all social creatures, be it humans or ants.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 03:01 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
Why would anyone ever apply one set of arbitrary human rules of morality to non-humans?


Not what I am trying to do. I am suggesting that there might be something in the way our social interactions happen that manifests as morality when language is applied. This (language), as your example with wolves illustrates, gives us a clear evolutionary advantage over other animals.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 03:40 pm
@Cyracuz,
Again you are showing an misunderstanding of evolution. Your use of the phrase "evolutionary advantage" doesn't make any sense. By definition, any species that survives has an evolutionary advantage.

Comparing two species in terms of evolutionary advantage can't be done. Take ants for example (which are quite warlike and immoral by your standard). They live in every environment... and they are highly successful to the point that the weight of all the ants living right now is greater than the weight of all humans.

Do you think we have an evolutionary advantage over ants?

Evolution is not magic. If you look at the results of evolution in the thousands of examples we have, it is clear that the odd moral views of 21st century Western humans don't have anything to do with nature. They aren't seen anywhere in nature other than in 21st century Western cultures.



Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 04:17 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
Do you think we have an evolutionary advantage over ants?


Yes. When conflict arises between ants and humans, ants never win.
But then again, if a meteor were to strike earth, the ants, being very small and able to hide in the ground, might have the edge. Wink
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 04:36 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
Take ants for example (which are quite warlike and immoral by your standard).


Now you are applying morals to other species. Ants are not immoral. They act according to their nature. If, in a million years, ants were to develop a language to describe their social structure, they would have the ability to reflect on it, and they might develop moral codes. For now they are bound to live by the rules that are biologically implanted in them.


maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 05:29 pm
@Cyracuz,
Quote:
Ants are not immoral. They act according to their nature.


When we humans kill each other, we are acting according to our nature. Does this mean that humans killing humans is not immoral?

Human nature clearly includes killing each other.

I don't know if you are from the US, but my government right now has spent a lot of money and ingenuity to develop drones that allow us to drop death and destruction on targets, including civilian targets, from thousands of miles away. A great majority of us Americans feel that this is morally acceptable.

I don't think we Americans are unique in this. Most humans feel that war is a moral necessity, and most will cheer military action in many cases.

I don't see any evidence that the moral code you are suggesting has anything to do with human nature (or ant nature). I don't even see us moving in that direction.

Human language is more often used to justify war than to stop it.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 05:43 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
I don't see any evidence that the moral code you are suggesting has anything to do with human nature


Where else does the concept of morals come from then, if not from the natural behavior of human beings through the years?
The aversion many people feel towards exploitation and injustice isn't some alien implant. They are bred into us through hundreds of generations of social interaction where successful cooperation has proven more viable than aggressive competition.
Societies that realize this are always stronger than ones where infighting and rivalry divides people.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 05:58 pm
@Cyracuz,
Quote:
The aversion many people feel towards exploitation and injustice isn't some alien implant. They are bred into us through hundreds of generations of social interaction where successful cooperation has proven more viable than aggressive competition.


1. My country reached success by violently displacing an indigenous population. Although some people feel bad about this, it is clear that my culture would not exist had it not been for our violent history. This is true of many, if not most, modern cultures.

Most countries have benefitted greatly from aggressive, and violent, "competition". Which is why, even now, in spite of what you are claiming, most modern human beings support military violence and wars are as common, and popular, as ever.

2. If the alleged "aversion" to exploitation isn't some alien implant, then neither is the support for, and celebration of, military aggression.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 06:10 pm
@maxdancona,
What's your point?

You seem to be under the impression that if humans have a capacity to peacefully coexist, that negates the possibility that humans also have a capacity for violence and oppression. But it doesn't.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 06:45 pm
@Cyracuz,
My point is that nature is a very poor foundation for any system of morality.

The system of morality you seem to be supporting (a lack of violence based on cooperation) is unseen in humans (or other species) outside of relatively small tribal communities.

This doesn't mean that it is a bad thing. I am just saying that it is unnatural.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 08:44 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
The system of morality you seem to be supporting (a lack of violence based on cooperation) is unseen in humans (or other species) outside of relatively small tribal communities.


That is just not true. There are many peaceful communities all over the world. Some with millions of people cooperating non-violently. On a larger scale, between these communities there is often war, exploitation and killing, but these actions are always rooted in a desire to uphold what we know and love.

Of course, there are those who deviate, like some criminals who delight in causing suffering. But that isn't exactly a profile that fits the majority. These people are generally considered to be sick.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 11:11 pm
@Cyracuz,
Quote:
On a larger scale, between these communities there is often war, exploitation and killing, but these actions are always rooted in a desire to uphold what we know and love.


That is exactly what I am saying. Humans are tribal creatures.

We help people in our tribe or allied tribes, and we kill enemy tribes. That is part of our war-like nature. And that exactly the reason that humans continue to kill each other as we have from the beginning of history.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 03:50 am
@maxdancona,
Quote:
We help people in our tribe or allied tribes, and we kill enemy tribes.


Yes. And do you think there is no morality behind this? Who is an ally and who is an enemy? This isn't automatic, and like I said earlier, all wars and deaths they cause are not an end in themselves.
No one goes out to war for the fun of killing people. They go to war to protect what they love or what they feel an allegiance to.
You can't use war as an argument for why we don't have morality, when morality is what separates killing in war from committing murder.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 05:25 am
@Cyracuz,
Your last post basically says that war is a moral act, right? Both sides of any war that I can remember were fighting to protect what they love and feel and allegiance to.

You have now defined morality in such a way that it allows, or even requires, human beings to kill each other. I suppose this is a consistent positions since human beings continue to kill each other as they have since the beginning of history.

Would you like to proceed with this position?






Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 07:18 am
@maxdancona,
Quote:
Your last post basically says that war is a moral act, right? Both sides of any war that I can remember were fighting to protect what they love and feel and allegiance to.


Yes. So war is a means to an end. It is not an end in itself.
And more and more people are learning that there are ways to solve conflicts that are better for all involved than simply killing one side.

Quote:
You have now defined morality in such a way that it allows, or even requires, human beings to kill each other.


No, I have not. I have attempted to describe morality as something we use to evaluate and justify our actions. If the choice is between watching a child die and killing the man who is about to kill the child, most would probably say that killing the man is the moral choice.

But the most important thing I am trying to communicate is that this is not a set of fixed rules we follow. It is an ability we have to assess behavior and either justify or oppose it according to our own sense of what is "right" or "how it should be" etc.
I see this as something that has emerged progressively in the course of our evolution, not as something that was invented once upon a time.
Apes do not have morality. But they have a social hierarchy and something that dictates proper behavior in inter species relations. Sometimes conflicts arise and are settled violently. But they are settled according to the rules of that social hierarchy.
Human morality is the same social system, only more conceptualized and expressed. It is a matter of capacity. Human capacity exceeds ape capacity to conceptualize and articulate their experience.

So I have not defined morality as something that requires humans to kill each other. I have described it as something that allows us to coexist despite the fact that human beings kill each other.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 07:27 am
@Cyracuz,
Quote:
And more and more people are learning that there are ways to solve conflicts that are better for all involved than simply killing one side.


Not busting balls here, Cyracuz, but...

...is there any basis for that statement--or is it merely wishful thinking being offered as something more?
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 07:45 am
@Frank Apisa,
There is ample basis. Even in the business of war, it is considered better to seize control over enemy resources rather than destroy them.
A less cynical example, perhaps... Global activism. People who act on ideologies of peaceful coexistence. These people are perhaps a luxury of our welfare, which enables them to put their time into helping others.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 08:10 am
@Cyracuz,
Near as I can see, Cyracuz, there is as much tendency today to solve problems by violence as there was yesterday...and all the other yesterdays.

This hold true, as I see it, in everyday life among the masses...

...and especially true where it counts most, among neighboring nations.

I cannot "prove" my contention...I can just offer it as an opinion.

I think you are being naive on this, but I'm willing to hear what others think.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 08:39 am
@Frank Apisa,
I guess it is a matter of perspective.
I am pretty sure there are more altruistic people in the world today than a hundred years ago, simply because there are more people in the world today. That means that there are more non altruistic people too, who are fine with the necessity of war and killing. But we both know that this is a cheap way out for me.

I can only defend the statement you quoted as an opinion derived from my perspective.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 09:03 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

I guess it is a matter of perspective.
I am pretty sure there are more altruistic people in the world today than a hundred years ago, simply because there are more people in the world today. That means that there are more non altruistic people too, who are fine with the necessity of war and killing. But we both know that this is a cheap way out for me.

I can only defend the statement you quoted as an opinion derived from my perspective.


We're fine on this one, Cyracuz. All we can do is share our opinions...and I think our opinions are closer than some of the comments I've made may indicate.
 

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