• god must be atheist
    4.8k
    I am qiute a bit offended by many people and many philosophers (professional as much as amateur ones) mistaking empathy for morality.

    I do believe morality exists, and in my opinion it's a survival tool for the unit's DNA derivatives by protecting its offspring. I believe all warm-blooded animals (mammals and birds) have the capacity for ethics, and they do practice it.

    I oppose the common veiw that all empathy-related sentiments are moral issues.

    In fact, I oppose the fact that many articles here and in other media invoke morality on their side when proposing a claim or defending one; I feel it is just a vehicle, a lingual vehicle, to call something moral, while it has to do with empathy, not with morals. You see, saying "I am on the side of morality" immediately puts the speaker on a high horse; a challenge or attack against his or her view is positioned ab ovo as an attack on morality, common decency, high ideals, and therefore altogether it is a vile and despicable point of view, because obviously morals and ethics are always squeeky clean and unassailable.

    Hence I am offended when someone invokes morality when the issue is empathy. This goes, I am sorry, mainly for those who advocate vegetarianism and veganism; but this is just one such misuse of morality.

    There are or might be other issues aside from empathy and pity that mistakenly mix themselves up with morality. I can't think of any.

    Of course one needs a definition for morality to discuss this topic; and oy, there goes the rub.

    Since ethics and morality have as many definitions as philosophers, I suggest we all propose (if anyone wants to join this discussion) OUR OWN definition, and responding to that person we speak in such terms and idas that for the sake of argument WE ACCEPT THAT THEIR DEFINITION IS TRUE. This has a word in philosophy, but I don't know it; the pretense that we accept a view we don't believe in, for the duration of the discussion. (This is fun when discussiong Christianity, because it is easy to prove huge logical discrepancies in its dogma; harder to discuss other philosophies only from their own point of view to prove them wrong, but can be done; my favourite modus, and hence I am disliked (I think) on this site.)

    That's all.

    Question: in light of your own definition of morality / ethics, do you think people invoke morality on their own side of the argument, despite its irrelevance, in order to unfairly strengthen their arguments?

    The parser of this editor put in: "please accept the comment that answers this question" I don't know what it means. No clue whatsoever. It's a discussion, not a test. There are no right or wrong answers; only defendable and undefendable ones. This is a nuance, and the parser INSISTS that it's a test on which we get graded? WTF eh?
  • Gnomon
    2.7k
    mistaking empathy for morality.god must be atheist
    I suppose that innate Empathy serves for morality in animal behavior. Instinctive positive feelings toward kith & kin helps to explain why most (but not all) predators don't kill & eat their own kind. But that would not suffice for the complex behaviors & cultures of human animals. So, most societies have been forced by transgressions of Empathy (e.g. murder) to construct formal codes of morality. But the basic motivator of moral behavior, even in humans, may be the visceral feeling of Empathy, not the intellectual knowledge of moral laws. Except for psychopaths, most humans do have feelings of empathy & remorse after the motivating passion of the murderous moment has passed. :smile:

    Empathy : the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

    Psychopathy : a condition characterized by the absence of empathy and the blunting of other affective states.
  • Nils Loc
    1.1k
    The practice/occurrence of retributive justice is where empathy often may not align with one's purported morality.

    Does the punishment fit the crime/injury? Our personal/collective empathy for the victim/perpetrator might override a more enlightened constraint in dealing out punishments.

    Our sportslike fevor in the arena of seeing who is good versus evil gets in the way thinking about what our moral acts ought to be.

    All occasions of empathy might be moral issue in a sense, if it is important to be morally aware of the consequences of that empathy.
  • Tom Storm
    5.4k
    I suppose that innate Empathy serves for morality in animal behavior. Instinctive positive feelings toward kith & kin helps to explain why most (but not all) predators don't kill & eat their own kind. But that would not suffice for the complex behaviors & cultures of human animals. So, most societies have been forced by transgressions of Empathy (e.g. murder) to construct formal codes of morality. But the basic motivator of moral behavior, even in humans, may be the visceral feeling of Empathy, not the intellectual knowledge of moral laws.Gnomon

    Nicely put.
  • Vera Mont
    313
    Question: in light of your own definition of morality / ethics, do you think people invoke morality on their own side of the argument, despite its irrelevance, in order to unfairly strengthen their arguments?god must be atheist

    Regardless of my definition, I know that people invoke morality on their side of an argument, whether its relevant or not, whether they believe it's relevant or not, to strengthen their argument, whether fairly or unfairly, whether they believe it's fairly or unfairly.
    People are not always meticulous in their definitions and demarcations of category, nor in their deployment of words and concepts.

    Morality is based, however loosely and sloppily, on empathy or its absence.
    an individual’s guiding principles and personal values that influence their notion of right and wrong
    People may quite readily generalize their own rooted belief to all of "morality" without intending to be unfair in their arguments. If I were pretending to be an uncritical Christian right now, I would fall back on the biblical commandments (a sterling example of non-empathy) as a universal basis for both ethics and morality. The same would be true of anyone who holds an ingrained, internalized world-view.
    That still leaves a great many people who use disingenuous reasoning in their arguments. It's only unfair if they're arguing with someone who is both honest and naive enough to assume the other one is.

    Ethics are based, rather more firmly, in the practical consequences of transactions. Actual rules apply, organized in systems of thought, with reasoning to support them. They can be misunderstood, misinterpreted and misrepresented, to be sure, but they're verifiable.
  • Outlander
    1.5k
    I am qiute a bit offended by many peoplegod must be atheist

    Ah, the universal gateway to higher learning. I don't think any great mind started at another point of origin. Just an observation :)

    To the point, contrary to popular belief, empathy is simply the ability to understand reality. Lack of it is not an "asset" or something "earned" or worked toward it is simply an intrinsic part of the logical process that is missing. In contemptuous individuals. pity is simply that nagging reminder that everything you thought you've gotten away with still exists and is being accounted for, if not in and by your own mind and if one ever ends up in such a state it is truly deserved and no being real or imagined would have anything to say to you as a result other than it is what you desired and chose to spend your time and energy to create. It is also a harrowing glimpse into the future of said individuals if I have anything to say about it.
  • god must be atheist
    4.8k
    Wow. I am impressed by the quality and depth of the answers. In fact, I shall need several re-reads of the posts on this thread to give justice to the thoughts involved. I am a horrible reader, can't concentrate and lose interest -- but this will be worth the time and effort to appy myself.

    A warm thank-you to all the contributors, you all put a careful though into your replies.

    I've been away, no time to attend to this forum, hence my absence of recent posts.
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