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Moral Relativism ?? Good, Bad, or ...... ?

 
 
Neoquixote
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 03:54 am
quote="joe"
quote="Neoquixote"I suppose moral relativism didn't rise until last century./."[/quote]
Moral relativism is as old as Thrasymachus's argument, in Plato's Republic, that "right is ... the interest of the stronger party."[/quote]
Joe, . i find out that the fist classical statement is the doctrine of the Shophist Protagoras that' MAN IS THE MEASURE OF ALL THINGS'. This is the about same time as Thrasymachus as you said. But i think the origin of relativism must antecede that of moral relativism, and i don't know exactly at what time and by who the fist presentation about moral relativism was made.
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Neoquixote
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 04:28 am
JLNobody wrote:
Joe, I think you put your finger on the central problem--indeed an impasse--between you and Greyfan (and myself for that matter). I agree with Greyfan that this is a sociological (or anthropological) matter. Morality has to do with behavior. .

i agree that there are sociological approach to carry out arguments about this topic, and very agree with your statement from this perspective, but you could not say that the sociological approach is more adequate than other approaches such as philosophical one. i think there are other perspectives such as historical, biological and as you said, anthropological ones, and i attach the same importance to all of these, that we can get different conclude from different perspective. this the attitude that relativism or perspectivism supports.
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BoGoWo
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 07:34 am
Re: Reply
Ibn_kumuna wrote:
........ If humans did not exist, who could constitute right or wrong, and how?.........


welcome kumuna; excellent point; if we 'extract' the 'human experiment' from this planet, there is no longer 'right and wrong' only 'survival' in which according to the process of evolution, there is neither right nor wrong.
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BoGoWo
 
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Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 07:47 am
actually (giving it a little thought) morality as 'invented' by homo sapiens, is based upon the realization that the evolutionary process - nature rampant - is flawed.
only a conscious decision to do other than that which would be demanded by personal, family, or societal survival is a truly 'moral' decision.

Civilization is basically humanity's effort to 'tame' nature, and build a just, fair, and meaningful environment in which we can seek out the most fruitful ways to mutually enjoy the resources of this planet, and the opportunities of being 'alive'.

A moral Code is merely a malleable tool to that end.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 04:52 pm
BoGoWo, your last two posts justify my claim that morality has to do with HUMAN action. If there were no humans on earth, I'm quite confident no other species would appeal to notions of right and wrong in their quest for survival.
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Relative
 
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Reply Mon 24 May, 2004 02:29 am
Joe wrote:

Quote:
A totally isolated person has no need of morality, not even a wholly personal one.


While I believe this is along the lines of "If a tree falls and no one hears it, does it make a sound?"
and the argument that morality is needed for social structure, I believe morality also holds each single person together.

I read about the 'Robinson Crusoe' cases that were held together in a desolate and isolated location by their morals . It actually adds to arguments for objective morality, since there is something natural to certain moral principles, steming from within us, natural enough that helps us work better even in isolation.

Relative
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BoGoWo
 
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Reply Mon 24 May, 2004 07:44 am
we have within us the vestiges of savagery, culled from millenia of lives of fear, superstition, and applied parasitic self indulgence.
This experiment - humanity - is about emerging from that mist of unthinking reaction to environmental immediacy, by the slow crawl up the hill of growing 'awareness', onto the plateau of full membership in the club of universality.

[sorry, couldn't help myself! Rolling Eyes ]
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2004 08:22 am
Neoquixote wrote:

if we agree your foregoing statement that a belief unrelated to conduct is not a moral belief, we can resolve the paradox you got in your previous argument by regarding moral relativism as only such kind of belief. thus moral relativism can work well without being rebuked as an objective moral principle that contradicts with itself.

I'm not sure I understand your point, Neoquixote. If you're saying that moral relativism rests on a non-moral belief system, then I would say you were wrong; although I believe that moral relativism is vacuous, it at least purports to be a moral belief system. And if moral relativism is unrelated to conduct, it cannot be a system of morality.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2004 08:32 am
Relative wrote:
I read about the 'Robinson Crusoe' cases that were held together in a desolate and isolated location by their morals . It actually adds to arguments for objective morality, since there is something natural to certain moral principles, steming from within us, natural enough that helps us work better even in isolation.

If a moral system helps a totally isolated person to "work better," then his moral system is nothing more than an operating protocol, a kind of Taylorism for the solitary laborer. It does not direct him to the "good" but to the "efficient" or the "productive." That's not morality.

A totally isolated individual has no duties to anyone but himself; thus, if he transgresses his own moral beliefs, his harm is self-inflicted. Nothing, therefore, compels him to refrain from immorality, since he is always free to acquiesce in his own wrongdoing. At worst, then, his bad acts may lead to a bad conscience, but in this it would be as if he had sinned in his dreams.
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Relative
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2004 11:47 am
Joe.. wrote:

Quote:
If a moral system helps a totally isolated person to "work better," then his moral system is nothing more than an operating protocol .. It does not direct him to the "good" but to the "efficient" or the "productive." That's not morality.


I must correct myself. I wanted to stuff two distinct ideas into one sentence, and that doesn't work.
I wanted to say that a totaly isolated person can still live by a certain moral system. This can give him a sense of goodness, as well as internal pleasure, consistency and sense of 'oneness' with his God, or environment he feels entangled with.

This is not just functional justification of a certain rule system, this considers qualia, and is thus concerned also with 'goodness'.

Quote:
A totally isolated individual has no duties to anyone but himself; thus, if he transgresses his own moral beliefs, his harm is self-inflicted. Nothing, therefore, compels him to refrain from immorality, since he is always free to acquiesce in his own wrongdoing. At worst, then, his bad acts may lead to a bad conscience, but in this it would be as if he had sinned in his dreams.


A moral system will often include an external authority (a God) that always lurks behind the stage, judging the actions. So a lone person is nonetheless judged by the same rules as the one involved in social environment.
Additionally, the strong claim that the immorality of actions brings down the whole of humanity is not avoided by the actor's solitude.

In case of moral laws being enforced by a society, let's not forget that enforcerers of moral principles are sometimes even harder on themselves that they are on others; a lone person will be his own judge.

And bad acts usually do lead to just a bad conscience, and more often not even to that. This is not _just_ a bad conscience, this is a very strong principle of moral system upholding.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2004 11:56 am
Relative, Before anyone is put into any isolated situation, they have been brainwashed by the environment in which he/she lived. That individual's ideas about what is moral has already been implanted into his/her brain, and that will set the standard by which they will think what is moral or not.
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Relative
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2004 12:06 pm
c.i. wrote:
Quote:
Relative, Before anyone is put into any isolated situation, they have been brainwashed by the environment in which he/she lived.


I agree with that. And let me add, it might be just a lone environment - e.g. a kid brought up in space by a computer, representing the 'society'.

And I was actually commenting Joe's

Quote:
Again, there really should be no need to address this kind of misguided argument. I'll simply state, then, that morality cannot be divorced from society. A totally isolated person has no need of morality, not even a wholly personal one.


This is a statement about (the lack of) necessity of need of morals in solitary conditions - the origin of person's morality is not under analysis here.

Relative.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2004 12:28 pm
Relative wrote:
I wanted to say that a totaly isolated person can still live by a certain moral system.

How can a totally isolated individual's "moral system" be different from anything else that he does? After all, if he is the sole judge of his actions, then what is good for him is a fortiori "good." In effect, "doing good deeds" and "eating good foods" would be morally equivalent statements.

Relative wrote:
This can give him a sense of goodness, as well as internal pleasure, consistency and sense of 'oneness' with his God, or environment he feels entangled with.

To the extent that living morally leads to spiritual contentment, this is a matter for psychologists, not philosophers.

Relative wrote:
This is not just functional justification of a certain rule system, this considers qualia, and is thus concerned also with 'goodness'.

To the extent that "feeling good about oneself" is the "good," then I suppose one who acts "morally" as a means toward feeling good is acting "morally." But then that says nothing, since "feeling good" could justify any act. That's moral relativism in a nutshell.

Relative wrote:
A moral system will often include an external authority (a God) that always lurks behind the stage, judging the actions. So a lone person is nonetheless judged by the same rules as the one involved in social environment.

I suppose if a person believes that morality is imposed by a deity, then immoral actions, even in isolation, are immoral absolutely. But then we are certainly in a "tree falling in the forest" situation here.

Relative wrote:
Additionally, the strong claim that the immorality of actions brings down the whole of humanity is not avoided by the actor's solitude.

If the totally isolated individual cannot serve as a bad example for the rest of society, how can his actions, in a Kantian sense, "bring down the whole of humanity?"

Relative wrote:
In case of moral laws being enforced by a society, let's not forget that enforcerers of moral principles are sometimes even harder on themselves that they are on others; a lone person will be his own judge.

That's purely a matter of how much a person wishes to punish or reward himself. If we base morality on this foundation, however, we are unquestionably engaged in moral relativism.

Relative wrote:
And bad acts usually do lead to just a bad conscience, and more often not even to that. This is not _just_ a bad conscience, this is a very strong principle of moral system upholding.

Again, bad consciences are more a matter of psychology than philosophy. But to the extent that one's bad conscience is a basis for morality, it is a basis only of moral relativism.
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rufio
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 May, 2004 02:44 pm
Joe, grunting and pointing is just as superficial as saying. It's just less clear. I would like to be able to directly communicate precisely what I am thinking to you, but until we gain the use of telepathy, I don't think that's going to happen.

Just because something is superficial doesn't mean it is worthless - it just means it's superficial. Razz
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2004 05:33 pm
rufio wrote:
Joe, grunting and pointing is just as superficial as saying. It's just less clear. I would like to be able to directly communicate precisely what I am thinking to you, but until we gain the use of telepathy, I don't think that's going to happen.

Hmmph grrk unk buuuh Arrow
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2004 06:02 pm
Morality and moral compliance are fundamentally social, even for a person living alone (as on a desert island). This is because morality has to do with GUILT, with the internalization of moral standards in the form of a conscience. In such a case, the individual is "socially" complying with, what the Freudians have called, his introjects, the significant others whose precepts he has introjected or internalized. That is covertly social. The more obvious or overt social compliance has to do with the avoidance of SHAME, the fear of being judged morally below par by one's social fellows. Note that when many people go abroad they often "act out", ignoring the prohibitions they would honor at home in sight of their moral audience.
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rufio
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2004 11:19 pm
Sure, but that applies to all beliefs, not just the ones we construe as morality.

And joe, how would that be any different from simply speaking something in a language neither of us knows? We could make that mean something if we assigned meaning to the sounds. The sounds you use aren't dependant on the meaning.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2004 11:51 pm
rufio wrote:
And joe, how would that be any different from simply speaking something in a language neither of us knows? We could make that mean something if we assigned meaning to the sounds. The sounds you use aren't dependant on the meaning.

Mmmph hrnghk görrp.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 12:56 pm
Rufio, would it apply to ALL beliefs or only to those we are morally obliged to hold?
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rufio
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jun, 2004 12:02 am
Joe - Tean kaian kaiyth bolothi. Ku te-yl yyn.

JL - everything, I think. You would feel guilty to stray from any beleif that was socially held, and guilty to stray from things like table manners or common courtesy. On some small level anyway. Wouldn't you feel bad if someone you knew waved to you and you didn't wave back?
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