• Bob Ross
    1.3k


    There is no moral agency in that example, because morality is not restricted to agency. Moral goodness, as described in the OP, is actual perfection; which is not contingent on agency itself. Either something is in a state of self-harmony and self-unity or it is not.

    Moral agency comes in with the introduction of subjects capable of trying to uphold moral goodness and transform reality into the highest (moral) good.
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    Moral goodness, as described in the OP, is actual perfection; which is not contingent on agency itselfBob Ross

    Bob, morality is by definition, historical convention, and common sense related to human actions. Do you not see that by redefining morality in this way you are completely altering its fundamental meaning?
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    Bob, morality is by definition, historical convention, and common sense related to human actions. Do you not see that by redefining morality in this way you are completely altering its fundamental meaning?Pantagruel

    Basically what I was trying to get across.

    you are trying to describe a type of goodness that is related though different from moral goodness proper, and calling it "moral goodness" confuses your argumentLionino

    If you want to describe this sort of goodness that relates to harmony and such, we can talk about that; but changing the meaning of "moral goodness" to mean that will just make people ignore what you are saying, as no one uses the word 'moral' that way, the dictionary doesn't allow it either.
  • Fooloso4
    5.6k
    Goodness has two historical meanings: hypothetical and actual perfection.Bob Ross

    I do not think history supports this claim. Both of the terms, goodness and perfection, have various meanings. You move from a claim about the historical meaning to a meaning you favor. In the middle is a questionable assertion of what morality is based on what you claim to be its its "most commonly used sense":

    ... simply an attempt at sorting out how one should behave in correspondence to how one can best align themselves with universal harmony and unity; and pragmatism then, in its most commonly used sense, is an attempt at understanding the best ways to achieve purposes ...Bob Ross

    An argument can be made that morality is a response to the lack of universal harmony and unity. It is because there is no actual perfection in the world that we must choose and act so as to attain and maintain what we value, and that in our imperfect world these values may conflict with those of others. Some believe that to be moral is to be obedient to a higher power and so regard moral deliberation as immoral since it wrongly puts the individual in a position of authority.

    What does universal harmony mean? In pursuit of universal harmony do I confer equal moral standing to humans and rats? Do I allow rats to live in my home? Do I allow every human beings who may want to live in my home?
  • Philosophim
    2.3k
    I think the problem you might be running into here Bob is the fact that "good" is a broad word that is highly contextual. Its kind of like debating "tree". Good has multiple contextual meanings like: Happy, positive, perfection, not bad, moral connotations, etc. Perhaps a better focus to the thread would be harmony and unity. How are harmony and unity moral goals, and what is the difference between the ideal and real for example.
  • Bob Ross
    1.3k


    Bob, morality is by definition, historical convention, and common sense related to human actions. Do you not see that by redefining morality in this way you are completely altering its fundamental meaning?

    Morality is not conventionally nor historically only about human actions. The vast majority of human beings have been, historically speaking, moral realists; and they believed in The Good (i.e., an objective goodness) which is independent of any stance a subject may have on the matter. To think that these moral facts are only about human actions is an incredibly narrow interpretation of morality.

    Plato, for example, surely never thought that the Form of the Good was about specifically human actions nor, as a matter of fact, about solely actions.

    The moral code by which humans live is predicated on and informed by The Good.
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    I gave you an example and you completely ignored it: please re-read my previous response.Bob Ross

    Do you mean this below?

    let me use a perhaps odd example. A calculator would be hypothetically perfect if my purpose for it is to hold up books and it is flawless at fulfilling this task.Bob Ross

    As you say an odd example.

    I think this is just a strange way of defining the idea of flawless. You may as well say that perfection is an erect penis flawlessly being used for hanging up a dressing gown.

    The calculator is actually perfect if it is in a state of 100% (flawless) self-harmony and self-unity—i.e., all the parts are in agreement and peace with the other parts. The calculator isn’t broken, it doesn’t have parts that oppose other parts in a manner that brings disunity, etc.Bob Ross

    This sounds like what happens when language is used imprecisely.

    I can accept that we might use the word perfect to describe a calculator which does its job flawlessly.

    I would avoid talk of parts being in agreement and at peace with each other. The calculator is not Krishnamurti.

    What benefit does the word prefect bring you here? Does it not just mean 'working as intended'?

    I don't think you are quite understanding pragmatic goodness. It is perfection for some purpose.Bob Ross

    I think if it means pragmatic goodness then leave out perfection. The hallmark of 'pragmatic' is it's efficacy in certain situations (which may change with new information and says nothing about whether it is good or true). It's utility. The moment it is called perfection it suggests the goodness is far from pragmatic and constitutes that which cannot be improved upon.

    In terms of actual perfection, the clock is perfect (morally good) if it is in self-harmony and self-unity.Bob Ross

    You have parsed perfection into a kind of dualism - that which is not quite perfection (the physical) and that which transcends the human (Greek philosophy's The Good).

    I'm assuming you are joking about a clock being morally good, with self-unity, etc.
  • Bob Ross
    1.3k


    I'm not so sure that you do see, cause then you'd understand boiling something down to dichotomies is a reduction of their true form down to a "dumb" stripped down version that is only useful for talking about, rather than making concrete observations as Goodness is more than just "pragmatic" and "moral" forces. There's ignorant goodness, beautiful goodness... all you've really done here is tell us about your own values on what you think is good, "moral and pragmatism."

    I don’t think it is a false dilemma. Let’s take your examples as examples.

    Ignorant goodness, assuming I was able to parse this correctly, is any good act which is unintentional or lacks the proper foreknowledge required for it to be intentional. This is NOT a subcategory of the property of goodness but, rather, an adjective of goodness—i.e., saying an act that was good was made in ignorance is just to predicate what was good with the property of ignorance WHICH IS NOT an extension property of goodness itself. This is why, in truth, a moral or pragmatic act that is good could be predicated in this manner with ‘ignorance’. So this example doesn’t prove your point.

    Beautiful goodness, if I understood your meaning here correctly, is anything that meets the standards of beauty (and not that goodness is beautiful itself). This is just a subcategory of pragmatic goodness: one is evaluating if the thing is good based off of a purpose of being beautiful. Perhaps it is causing confusion calling it ‘pragmatic’ goodness and if so, then think of this as hypothetical perfection instead. By it being pragmatically good because it is beautiful, I mean that it is good only insofar as it fulfills the purpose of being beautiful and this is the measure of its usefulness (towards that purpose).

    That pragmatic vs. moral goodness is not a false dilemma, I can easily prove. One is about a thing being perfect for something (i.e., pragmatism) and the other is for nothing. There are only two options here (legitimately): either a thing’s perfection is being sized up based off of its fulfillment to a purpose, or it is being sized up based off of its fulfillment of no purpose at all. If the latter, then the only other option is it is being sized up to perfection as it is in-itself; otherwise, the person is not actually evaluating its perfection (for example, if they were to determine it arbitrarily).

    Yet, Nietzsche would argue "moral" is likely fuel for resentment towards difference and not Goodness. And Nietzsche makes quite the compelling arguement for amoral goodness.

    I honestly don’t think so. But I am more than happy to discuss it in more detail if you would like!

    Sure Goodness contains aspects of pragmatism and moral, but those aren't the only two factors of Goodness, just like I'm more than merely two factors.

    If you disagree, then please provide more examples of goodness that do not fit into the categories, or demonstrate how my dilemma is false by refuting my previous proof of it. So far, I am not convinced.

    "Hypothetical and Actual... Pragmatic and Moral... High and Low" why not left and right? Oh right because perhaps for you ranking is up and down vs left and right.

    What do you mean by “right and left”? I don’t know what that would even mean in this context.
  • Bob Ross
    1.3k


    I do not think history supports this claim. Both of the terms, goodness and perfection, have various meanings. You move from a claim about the historical meaning to a meaning you favor. In the middle is a questionable assertion of what morality is based on what you claim to be its its "most commonly used sense":

    I absolutely agree with you that people have used it in various different ways throughout history, but my point was to refine the general notions (that were used throughout history) to a concept. Viz., when I say that ‘goodness’ boils down to two categories historically, I do not mean that historically people recognized with full clarity these two categories but, rather, their notions of goodness do, nevertheless, in fact, boil down thereto.

    An argument can be made that morality is a response to the lack of universal harmony and unity. It is because there is no actual perfection in the world that we must choose and act so as to attain and maintain what we value, and that in our imperfect world these values may conflict with those of others.

    I would simply add that morality, as a practice, certainly is the response to a lack of goodness; and this is the same as a lack of universal harmony and unity.

    Some believe that to be moral is to be obedient to a higher power and so regard moral deliberation as immoral since it wrongly puts the individual in a position of authority.

    Yes, I know many the type. I am not here trying to argue that everyone ends up using the concept of goodness like I have; but I do think an analysis of ‘goodness’ throughout history demonstrates that, at its core, even these types of people recognize what is good as universal harmony and unity. They just aren’t satisfied with stopping there: they require further justification, and they ‘find it’ in an authority figure—like God.

    What does universal harmony mean? In pursuit of universal harmony do I confer equal moral standing to humans and rats? Do I allow rats to live in my home? Do I allow every human beings who may want to live in my home?

    Universal harmony is just a state whereof everything is living and existing peacefully; which includes everything.

    However, as you noted correctly, it is an ideal and may not be every actualizable down to the T; and we are far from it and we have limited resources; so it is perfectly reasonable to prioritize life over non-life, humans over other animals, etc. to try to progress towards it as best we can.

    I don’t think any person of good character would disagree that ideally we should not eat other animals; but whether or not we can to survive is a separate question.
  • Bob Ross
    1.3k


    I think the problem you might be running into here Bob is the fact that "good" is a broad word that is highly contextual. Its kind of like debating "tree". Good has multiple contextual meanings like: Happy, positive, perfection, not bad, moral connotations, etc. Perhaps a better focus to the thread would be harmony and unity. How are harmony and unity moral goals, and what is the difference between the ideal and real for example.

    I think that, when the dust settles, goodness does boil down to the two categories described in the OP. I think the 'highly contextual' aspect you are noting is really just due to people's hazy notions of what is good, and what goodness is, rather than a property of goodness itself.
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    Morality is not conventionally nor historically only about human actions. The vast majority of human beings have been, historically speaking, moral realists; and they believed in The Good (i.e., an objective goodness) which is independent of any stance a subject may have on the matter. To think that these moral facts are only about human actions is an incredibly narrow interpretation of morality.Bob Ross

    It isn't a "narrow" view of morality Bob, it is the definition of morality.

    "a particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society."

    "the extent to which an action is right or wrong"

    "certain codes of conduct put forward by a society or a group (such as a religion), or accepted by an individual for her own behavior, or"

    "a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational people"

    "a set of personal or social standards for good or bad behaviour and character"

    It strains credulity that you would argue this. Whatever it is you're trying to get at, it isn't morality. And trying to categorize it as morality only confuses your presentation.

    If the standard of conduct whereby actions are evaluated is not morality, then what is it that you call the standard of conduct whereby actions are evaluated?
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    You may as well say that perfection is an erect penis flawlessly being used for hanging up a dressing gown.Tom Storm

    :fire:
  • Fooloso4
    5.6k
    when I say that ‘goodness’ boils down to two categories historically, I do not mean that historically people recognized with full clarity these two categories but, rather, their notions of goodness do, nevertheless, in fact, boil down thereto.Bob Ross

    So, rather than referencing the various and diverse things that have been said you replace what was actually said with your own notion of goodness. As if, were they only as capable as you in recognizing what they really meant they would replace what was said with your version of what goodness is.

    Universal harmony is just a state whereof everything is living and existing peacefully; which includes everything.Bob Ross

    This is the opposite of what we find through most of history!

    I don’t think any person of good character would disagree that ideally we should not eat other animals ...Bob Ross

    Where is the historical evidence to back this up?

    ...but whether or not we can to survive is a separate question.Bob Ross

    The answer to the separate question is that we can, and many have, survived without eating other animals. At least not intentionally.
  • Philosophim
    2.3k
    I think that, when the dust settles, goodness does boil down to the two categories described in the OP. I think the 'highly contextual' aspect you are noting is really just due to people's hazy notions of what is good, and what goodness is, rather than a property of goodness itself.Bob Ross

    Fair enough, just my feedback. :)
  • Bob Ross
    1.3k


    I think this is just a strange way of defining the idea of flawless. You may as well say that perfection is an erect penis flawlessly being used for hanging up a dressing gown.

    It is not a definition of flawlessness nor perfection: it is an example of a specific type of perfection; and, yes, if the purpose being endowed onto an erect penis is to hang up a dressing gown, then its hypothetical perfection is directly proportional to how well it fulfills that purpose.

    What benefit does the word prefect bring you here? Does it not just mean 'working as intended'?

    Hypothetical perfection is about ‘working as intended’, and actual perfection is about ‘being in a state of harmony and unity’.

    The moment it is called perfection it suggests the goodness is far from pragmatic and constitutes that which cannot be improved upon.

    This is how we use it in language all the time. We say “that’s a good clock” when contextually we think the clock is telling the time very accurately; we say “that’s a horrible clock” when contextually we think it is not telling the time correctly; etc.

    These are all examples of perfection for <...>.

    I'm assuming you are joking about a clock being morally good, with self-unity, etc.

    Although I understand we don’t usually think about actual perfection when it comes to inanimate objects, but, nevertheless, moral goodness equally applies to them; so, no, I am not joking but merely using a weird example to break you out of your current mindset. If I used a human behavior example, or something similar, then you wouldn’t probably understand the nature of moral goodness as depicted in this OP because you wouldn't be considered exactly what it means for something to have the form of 'unity and harmony'.
  • Bob Ross
    1.3k


    Yes, those are standard, colloquial definitions; but they, like all colloquial definitions, are rough estimations, and do not accurately describe in a field of profession (in this case, ethics) what the term means. In fact, it is wholly inadequate to explain the vast majority of prominent ethical theories (throughout history) this way.

    Let's take real, prominent examples (historically) of ethical worldviews.

    Christianity, by-at-large, views morality, at its core, as embedded into God's nature: goodness is in God's nature. This is goodness is not dependent on any conduct, code, or behavior: it exists stance-independently; and God will's what is good exactly because His nature is good. This is incoherent with your definition, insofar as Christian Ethics is not solely about moral behavior but, rather, it is also about what is good (and this is independent of behavior and guides that behavior).

    Same with Islam ^

    Platonism, by-at-large, views morality, at its core, as the Form of The Good, and this is also stance-independent and independent of behaviors. The Good is what guides behavior but is not reducible to ethical behavior, which is incoherent with your colloquial definitions with this regard.

    Aristotelianism, by-at-large, views morality, at its core, as fulfillment of a thing's purpose; and this is stance-independent and what is the form (note the lowercase 'f') of the good. This is incoherent with your definitions insofar as what is good is not about behavior itself but, rather, behavior is guided by it.

    Kantianism, by-at-large, is about, at its core, a priori moral principles which are what is considered what's good; and this moral law, which exists transcendentally, is stance-independent and independent of human behavior. This is incoherent with your definitions insofar as behavior is guided by the a priori moral law and not identical to it. Considerations of the moral law itself are considerations which are a part of morality but do not pertain themselves to behavior.

    Etc.

    So why does the internet purport such inadequate definitions? Because those definitions are completely adequate for common use: most people don't study ethics, and they just notionally mean 'the study of right or wrong behavior' when they use the term 'morality' in colloquial speech. Prominent dictionaries, especially google's version of it, are notoriously bad at giving techincal definitions but are proficient at giving colloquial ones.

    Your definitions aren't bad as a general, practical notion; but will never stand up to scrutinous refinement in ethics.
  • Bob Ross
    1.3k


    Universal harmony is just a state whereof everything is living and existing peacefully; which includes everything. — Bob Ross

    This is the opposite of what we find through most of history!

    My argument does not depend on historically everything being in universal harmony and unity; rather, I am arguing that goodness is a form that the vast majority of people have recognized throughout history, even though they may have never recognized with with such refinement nor were capable of bringing it to its highest form: universality.

    I don’t think any person of good character would disagree that ideally we should not eat other animals ... — Bob Ross

    Where is the historical evidence to back this up?

    Anyone who thinks that it is morally permissible to kill and eat an animal for purely trivial reasons has not understand the highest form of the good. Nevertheless, they usually understand it at a much lower form, the lowest of which being egoism (viz., they usually understand, even if they don’t care about other people or other animals, that what is good for them is for their body and mind to be in harmony and unity with itself; and so they work towards it via self-actualization).
  • Bob Ross
    1.3k


    Saying that something is not reducible to one of two options is to say that it is false dilemma: you are claiming that there is at least one other option, because not all particulars can be reduced to the two options proposed.

    Again, I don't see how this true: give me an example of goodness that cannot be categorized under pragmatic or moral goodness.
  • Fooloso4
    5.6k
    ...even though they may have never recognized with with such refinement nor were capable of bringing it to its highest form: universality.Bob Ross

    If you ignore what was actually said and done and evidently valued, and in its place assert your own version of universality, then things might seem to have been as you paint them to be. It is a kind of willful blindness and ignorance.

    Anyone who thinks that it is morally permissible to kill and eat an animal for purely trivial reasonsBob Ross

    Trivial reasons? You said:

    but whether or not we can to survive is a separate question.Bob Ross

    Is surviving a purely trivial reason?

    For much of human history human and animal sacrifice was practiced. It was not believed to be purely trivial. Rather than being regarded as immoral it was what pleased the gods. Beliefs and practices change. The idea that we are progressing toward a state of universal truth and perfection is an idea that should not have survived the 19th century.
  • Bob Ross
    1.3k


    I never said you that you said that I could not reduce it; but you are clearly saying it is a mistake.

    A very easy way, which I have been asking for this whole time, for you to demonstrate your point is to give me an example of goodness that is not reducible to either of the two. If you can't, then I have no reason to believe you.

    So, what example do you have?
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    Your definitions aren't bad as a general, practical notion; but will never stand up to scrutinous refinement in ethics.Bob Ross

    I've studied ethics extensively and I think you are well off-base. I'll leave you to your musings.
  • Corvus
    3k
    Being 'moral' or 'immoral' is a property of something that is good, not vice-versa. The properties of 'being moral' and 'being immoral' are extensions of 'being good' or 'being bad'.Bob Ross
    I wonder if it is simple as that. Who judges what is moral or immoral? If someone with power and authority comes along, and says to you cutting grass in the winter is bad moral, therefore you are morally bad, then is the authority morally good, and are you morally bad?

    Goodness and pleasantness are synonymous, so the weather is good today, so it is pleasant. Does it mean that morally good means morally pleasant? Morally bad means morally unpleasant?

    I outlined this in the OP: what did you disagree with? Actual perfection isn't 'goodness for someone', it is perfection as it is in-itself.Bob Ross
    I didn't say that I disagreed with the OP. I was wondering if goodness is an absolute concept. I mean is there such a thing as absolute goodness?

    Goodness seems to be a relative concept. It is good only from one's point of view. Something can be good for you, but it can be bad for others. Do you recall an old song lyric "One man's ceiling is the other man's floor."? But I am wondering if there is goodness from all the people in the world. If there were, what could they be?

    Goodness is also a property of objects, actions, and situations, but it is dependent on a lot of factors and conditions on the objects, actions and situations. You cannot just say there is moral goodness which is perfect and morally good, and no one really knows what the goodness is without the considerations.
  • Bob Ross
    1.3k


    With all due respect: prove it. Respond to the historical examples I just gave.
  • Beverley
    136
    Goodness has two historical meanings: hypothetical and actual perfectionBob Ross

    I'm just trying to figure out why you connect goodness with perfection. Do you think that perfection is always good?
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    With all due respect: prove it. Respond to the historical examples I just gave.Bob Ross

    With all due respect, I wouldn't know what to prove. What are you trying to do, establish an objective foundation for morality in order to eventually link it back to human actions? The moral law within is a moral law because it is prescriptive. Do your thing. It makes no sense to me, I am willing to leave it at that. As far as proving it, I did repeatedly. So clearly you and I are not on the same page.
  • L'éléphant
    1.4k
    and the latter is perfection in-itself (i.e., a good organism, clock, phone, plant, etc. is one which is in harmony and unity with itself).Bob Ross
    Aristotle's eudaimonia -- the purpose of humans is eudaimonia.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.6k
    Goodness has two historical meanings: hypothetical and actual perfection. The former is perfection for (i.e., utility towards) some purpose (e.g., a good clock is a clock that can tell the time, a good car can transport things, a good calculator can perform mathematical calculations, etc.); and the latter is perfection in-itself (i.e., a good organism, clock, phone, plant, etc. is one which is in harmony and unity with itself). The former is pragmatic goodness; and the latter moral goodness.Bob Ross

    I don't think we can make the distinction you require, in this way. The problem is that activities which are conducive to "harmony" are judged as "good" because they are for that purpose, harmony. Now you've introduced "harmony" as the ultimate goal, the final end which all things strive for in perfection. So it's really just reducible to a pragmatic "good", but the ultimate pragmatic good, like Aristotle's proposal of "happiness".

    But "harmony" refers to the relationship between things, and you characterize it as a perfection of the thing-in-itself, a relation which a thing has with itself. So you've mischaracterized "harmony" to say that it is a perfect relationship between a thing and itself, when really it is a relationship between distinct things. This indicates that to find out what constitutes the true perfection which a thing might have, as "in-itself", we need to look for something other than harmony.
  • Bob Ross
    1.3k


    (hypothetical and actual) perfection is (are) identical to goodness (as a property); and so I would respond with, yes, something is 100% good only when it is 100% perfect (whether that be qua utility or qua perfection).
  • Bob Ross
    1.3k


    It is really difficult to have a productive conversation if you cannot contend with my responses. I am not sure how to proceed from here, but, then again, it seems like you aren't interested in having any conversation about it (and if that is the case, then we can end our conversation here: no problem).
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