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Morals & Ethics, Nature of Actions

 
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Jun, 2005 08:00 am
val: You raise a point that I have touched on before.

I should also add that my discussion of Kant's moral philosophy here is not meant to imply that I necessarily agree with it. I brought it up merely to give an example of a kind of moral philosophy built on deduction rather than induction.
0 Replies
 
djbt
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2005 02:47 am
joefromchicago wrote:
I think it's time that you read more of Kant than just a couple of sections from the Grundlegung in order to get a fuller picture of his philosophy of morality.

He's filling my spare time, little of it though there is, but in the meantime:

joefromchicago wrote:
Just to clarify: do you believe that there is anything which may be called "morality?"

No, it doesn't seem that there is, if I am interpreting your use of the word 'morality' correctly. If you mean do people have sets of beliefs they call 'morality' that clearly it does exist, on a similar level to custom, tradition, religion, political persuasion, etc.

But to answer your question honestly, I don't believe in an intuitive, universal, morality discoverable by reason, or by anything else.

The crux of this discussion is, I think, found in this exchange:

joefromchicago wrote:
djbt wrote:
You seem to be saying that moral law has necessary existence, and working from that. If that is not what you are saying I cannot see how you can approached this deductively. If you are saying this, then please explain to me why you think moral law necessarily exists.
Because morality cannot be founded on any other basis.

It is in response to this that I raise my entertaining/irritating/superfluous Star Wars analogue, which I stand by. See the similarity:
(1) Moral law necessarily exists because morality cannot be founded on any other basis.
(2) Force law necessarily exists because use of the force cannot be founded on any other basis.
To which, I guess, you would reply, that morality exists while use of the force doesn't, to which I would reply, prove that morality exists.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2005 08:09 am
djbt wrote:
No, it doesn't seem that there is, if I am interpreting your use of the word 'morality' correctly. If you mean do people have sets of beliefs they call 'morality' that clearly it does exist, on a similar level to custom, tradition, religion, political persuasion, etc.

But to answer your question honestly, I don't believe in an intuitive, universal, morality discoverable by reason, or by anything else.

If morality doesn't exist at all, then it is intellectually empty. If it exists only as a custom or tradition, then it is philosophically trivial.

djbt wrote:
It is in response to this that I raise my entertaining/irritating/superfluous Star Wars analogue, which I stand by. See the similarity:
(1) Moral law necessarily exists because morality cannot be founded on any other basis.
(2) Force law necessarily exists because use of the force cannot be founded on any other basis.
To which, I guess, you would reply, that morality exists while use of the force doesn't, to which I would reply, prove that morality exists.

No, that would not be my reply, which is why your Star Wars analogies are without merit: they're based on a strawman argument. My point is that moral laws exist, if they exist at all, as universal laws. If, on the other hand, they don't exist, then I don't see any reason to talk about them.
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BoGoWo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2005 08:55 am
joefromchicago wrote:
....................
My point is that moral laws exist, if they exist at all, as universal laws. If, on the other hand, they don't exist, then I don't see any reason to talk about them.


Moral 'laws' aside; there is no such thing as "Universal Laws"; 'law' implies an 'official source', where there is none.
for example the 'laws' of physics, are not 'laws' they are merely a description of how things are, how things act, under specific circumstances, in a reliable manner.
The term 'law' is a misnomer. Red is red; it is not a law, it just 'is'!

Similarly there are no 'moral laws' there is only a complicated network of results, effects, and feedbacks from every human choice; and taking these into account prior to acting in a manner that may be construed as 'immoral' only makes sense.

Beyond that there is our personal assessment of how chance effects the universe, especially the minute portion of it in which we reside, and our lives are nothing, if they do not serve to refine a sense of the 'ideal' way to interact with those chance events.

[and by the way Joe, what does "These are the saddest of possible words: "Tinker to Evers to Chance." -- Franklin P. Adams, 1910" mean?]
0 Replies
 
djbt
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2005 10:25 am
joefromchicago wrote:
My point is that moral laws exist, if they exist at all, as universal laws. If, on the other hand, they don't exist, then I don't see any reason to talk about them.

Apologies for strawmaning you, I was confused by the fact that, when I asked whether or not you consider moral law to have necessary existence, your answer implied that you did. I see now this is not your position, after all.

Well... where can we go from here? Apart from morality not existing making discussion of morality fairly pointless, do you have any other reasons for believing that morality exists, or at least working under the assumption that it does? (I had high hopes that you would convince me to abandon the position that moral law does not exist, but rather you seem to be confirming it)

Also, not being sure whether or not moral law exists, how do you go about constructing your moral positions?
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2005 11:36 am
BoGoWo wrote:
Moral 'laws' aside; there is no such thing as "Universal Laws"; 'law' implies an 'official source', where there is none.
for example the 'laws' of physics, are not 'laws' they are merely a description of how things are, how things act, under specific circumstances, in a reliable manner.
The term 'law' is a misnomer. Red is red; it is not a law, it just 'is'!

Well, we differ on the nature of the term "law." I'm quite satisfied with describing the laws of physics as "laws," even though there is no official source for those laws. "Law" is a big enough concept to have multiple meanings, and we can understand that "moral laws" are more akin to "physical laws" than to "statutory laws."

BoGoWo wrote:
Similarly there are no 'moral laws' there is only a complicated network of results, effects, and feedbacks from every human choice; and taking these into account prior to acting in a manner that may be construed as 'immoral' only makes sense.

Beyond that there is our personal assessment of how chance effects the universe, especially the minute portion of it in which we reside, and our lives are nothing, if they do not serve to refine a sense of the 'ideal' way to interact with those chance events.

I'm not sure I understand you. Are you suggesting that each person defines his or her own morality?

BoGoWo wrote:
[and by the way Joe, what does "These are the saddest of possible words: "Tinker to Evers to Chance." -- Franklin P. Adams, 1910" mean?]

Baseball's Sad Lexicon
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2005 11:40 am
djbt wrote:
Well... where can we go from here? Apart from morality not existing making discussion of morality fairly pointless, do you have any other reasons for believing that morality exists, or at least working under the assumption that it does? (I had high hopes that you would convince me to abandon the position that moral law does not exist, but rather you seem to be confirming it)

I operate under the assumption that morality exists because I believe that most people operate under the same assumption. Indeed, people who genuinely believe that there is no such thing as right or wrong are commonly regarded as sociopaths.

djbt wrote:
Also, not being sure whether or not moral law exists, how do you go about constructing your moral positions?

Very carefully.
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spendius
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2005 01:38 pm
Using carrots and sticks for guidance.
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extra medium
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2005 06:28 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
djbt wrote:
Well... where can we go from here? Apart from morality not existing making discussion of morality fairly pointless, do you have any other reasons for believing that morality exists, or at least working under the assumption that it does? (I had high hopes that you would convince me to abandon the position that moral law does not exist, but rather you seem to be confirming it)

I operate under the assumption that morality exists because I believe that most people operate under the same assumption. Indeed, people who genuinely believe that there is no such thing as right or wrong are commonly regarded as sociopaths.


Exactly. Sociopath! I got your morality right here: Do I hear Standard Oil? Or would you rather have Exxon Morality, perchance?

I saw this documentary called "Corporation" which documented the history of this entity we call corporation.

For those of you familiar with law, corporations are afforded many of the same rights as humans. Indeed, corporations are viewed arguably as living humans under the law. Of course, these humans called corporations are really SuperHuman then, because they are sometimes immortal, some have been "alive" for 400+ years.

Long story short: The movie concluded that if the corporation was a human, this human meets all the doctors' criteria for being labeled a sociopath. A sociopath is in power, people.

And I don't believe there's any strong reason to believe a corporation is subject to even vaguely any of the assumptions we might presume of some individual. Are corporations moral? Well to the extent that bad public relations or loss of shareholder profit might be damaged by any perceived immorality. The corporation's job is to make the most profit it can for its shareholders. Morality is optional. Oh they're getting better on the surface, but I wouldn't bet my soul on the good conscience of corporations to stay utterly moral. Oops time to buy some gas.

So its nice to debate all the morality, but lets not forget the sociopath that lives above and beyond this cloud. <only slightly tongue in cheek here, hi S.>

Now I don't agree with everything in the movie, but it did build a strong case for corporations as sociopaths.

Its like pawns scurrying around arguing about morality, while the king high in the castle comes by and snuffs them all out at will; and the pawns don't even really know what happened...maybe they think oh yeah that was god coming down or something.
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Ray
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Jun, 2005 10:38 am
There is such a thing as a universal law. A person might hurt other people but he/she him/herself would not want to be hurt. The fact is that the person does not truly know what he/she is doing. He/she might have a simple notion of the idea in their mind but they do not truly know the pain that they caused as they did not relate it to their pain recognition part of their mind. If they ignore it completely, then they are also mistaken as they would have acted as if they are the only one that is of importance in the world, and that they are the only one that exist. The person therefore would be making a mistake.

People call me a moral realist, well then so be it. What does truth-value has to do with it? Everything, for without truth something would be false.
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rayban1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Jun, 2005 12:35 pm
Re: Morals & Ethics, Nature of Actions
Gouki wrote:
Is the individual the only legitimate judge of ethics? Are there any acts that are definitely right or definitely wrong? Question

Sad


IMO,morality is a human construct and is merely an effort to devise a code for any particular tribe or society to successfully interact with one another with ethics being a sub-code for a specific group within Society. Since both are created by humans they are fallible and always subjective to the perceptions of that society after passing through the cultural filter of said society.

Right and wrong are relative terms. They are relative only to the morality of the particular society I discussed above.

Reason is evident all along the path leading to the established morality but IMO is most evident when attempting to determine the degree of rightness or wrongness of any particular action.

Sorry to enter this discussion late but I was intimidated by the basic philosophical nature of the question and all the giant intellectuals just waiting to blow any contributor out of the water. I was not completely satisfied with any of the posts therefore I was compelled to throw in my 2 cents worth.
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spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Jun, 2005 01:08 pm
Some people think that the physical environment is the shaper of morals.
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rayban1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Jun, 2005 01:21 pm
spendius wrote:
Some people think that the physical environment is the shaper of morals.


Morality is devised by man in his attempt to impose contraints on man's effort to control and shape his environment.

I would be interested in any proof you might like to provide that refutes this proposition.
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spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Jun, 2005 01:29 pm
You get polyandry and polygyny occuring in certain altitude and climatic conditions.There are also musical styles and types of behaviour seen in festivals which can be linked to geography.
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rayban1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Jun, 2005 01:57 pm
spendius wrote:
You get polyandry and polygyny occuring in certain altitude and climatic conditions.There are also musical styles and types of behaviour seen in festivals which can be linked to geography.



You also have ignoramuses in the rain forests who look very similar to chimps feeding on the vegetation. What does it taste like spendius?
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spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Jun, 2005 05:39 pm
The poets have already done that.Endlessly seemingly.
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