• 180 Proof
    14.1k
    "Arbitrary?" In ethics, "moral" means something else? My parenthetical stipulation, which you've underlined, expresses empathy (absent some pathological condition) as an empirical assumption about – psychological fact of – humans (i.e. natural beings with sufficient, or unimpaired, agency). Explain why you think "moral (i.e. obligates natural beings to care for one another)" is "arbitrary" rather coherent within the context of those four statements (as well as the rest of that post).

    your emotivist crux
    My stated moral position is not "emotivist". :roll:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotivism
  • Mark S
    240

    ...I don't have a problem with examining the hypothesis. But if you're claiming its fact? There's a LOT that needs answering.
    ...How do you explain someone who believes their cultural norms are immoral?
    ...This is a very unscientific set of thoughts.
    ..Hand waving away anything that doesn't agree with the desired conclusion and telling people "It Doesn't matter if we don't like it" because 'science' says so, is not a good argument.
    ...How is dying for my country cooperation when I'm not going to receive one single benefit from dying for it?
    ...Often times morality has the threat of punishment or death if one does not follow it, such as following God's commands. Why would cooperation need threats if we both mutually benefit?
    ..., I think it would help at this point that you publish some of these scientific articles and conclusions you keep purporting. .
    Philosophim

    Responding in order to your above comments:

    I propose a highly robust hypothesis based on its remarkable explanatory power for the huge, superficially chaotic data set of our moral sense and cultural moral codes, no contradiction with known facts, no remotely competitive hypotheses, simplicity, and integration with the rest of science.

    Such robust hypotheses are excellent candidates for scientific truth.

    I personally see it as true in the normal provisional scientific sense. Not all investigators accept that, so I sometimes refer to it as a hypothesis despite my opinion.
    ...
    What people believe is moral is a function of their cultural moral norms. Not everyone necessarily agrees with, advocates, follows, and enforces their culture's norms. Everyone in a culture is not required to agree on what is moral.
    ...
    What criteria are you proposing that make my hypothesis unscientific?
    .....
    What is universally moral – strategies that solve cooperation problems without exploiting others – is a universal part of descriptively moral behaviors since to exploit others requires cooperation in the ingroup that exploits the outgroup.
    ...
    The science of morality studies why our moral sense and cultural moral norms exist. That limited area of study necessarily limits its usefulness for resolving edge cases in ethics that have little to nothing to do with solving cooperation problems - why our moral sense and cultural moral norms exist. There is no “Science of ethics” that I am aware of. that would be relevant to all ethical disputes. No handwaving involved.
    ...
    Loyalty – one of six commonly recognized emotions triggered by our moral sense that motivate behaviors that are parts of known cooperation strategies – Loyalty motivates initiating indirect reciprocity (unselfishly helping our group) and exists because our ancestors who experienced this emotion tended to survive due the benefits of cooperation it provided. Behaviors that, on average, increase reproductive fitness are what are selected for, An individual’s survival is not assured.

    Punishment – by our conscience, a god, other individuals, society, or the law – is a necessary part of reciprocity strategies. Without punishment of violators, self-interest would drive people to exploit other’s efforts at cooperation by not reciprocating. For example, why be loyal if there is no punishment for being disloyal? Science's answer to the why be loyal (or why be moral) question is at the heart of the cooperation problems human morality solves.
    ...
    I have started thinking about a “Recent perspectives within the science of morality” thread and how it could be helpful. There is essentially universal agreement that human morality exists because it enabled our ancestors to cooperate in groups. However, there are different perspectives (hypotheses) about how science best expresses that.
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k


    Just to outright answer your question, you're asking me to prove a negative here. You did not provide anything which supports the assertion of those facts being moral. You just... feel that way ;)
    ------
    hehe, Ok. Well, I've thought through your clarifier and gone back to the full post.
    I think I was holding back on how much this is Emotivist (its in a see-through bag, it seems).

    "obligate" far exceeds even your clarifying statement, by a margin that puts it squarely in emotivist territory. You are letting me know your emotional stance on the fact that human cognize their harm. I re-present it here, more fully, to point this out more fully:

    Anyway, simply put: (1) it is a fact of the matter that every natural being is inseparable from the natural world; (2) natural beings capable of normativity require reasons (i.e. facts/evidence-based claims) for doing things as a rule and for not doings as a rule; (3) normativity that specifically concerns the species' defects (i.e. vulnerabilities to harm / suffering) of natural beings, however, is moral (i.e. obligates natural beings to care for one another) insofar as natural beings are cognizant (how can they not be?) of their species' defects as such; (4) and in the normative framework of moral naturalism, (our) species' defects function as moral facts¹ which provide reasons² (i.e. claims (e.g. "I do this³ because² 'not to do this' can/will harm¹ her")) for species-members (us) to care for³ – take care of³ – (our) species' defects as a rule we give ourselves.180 Proof

    The underlined here, is now the very specific place that you smuggle in the claim, avoiding emotive language. But, unfortunately, (2) shows quite clearly that the framework relies entirely on your personal feeling that our 'species defects' matter to a degree that demands normative responses.

    The bolded is where you may be able to set me right, my having to backtrack on all the above:

    What do you mean "give ourselves" when earlier, you're attempting to outline a natural obligation which is not a rule we give ourselves - as the reason for acting per this framework? Could you clarify how moral facts (i.e as a reason, this must be inarguable - because that's what a moral fact is.. A reason) require some further rule for their observation, beyond the reason they provide in and of themselves?
  • 180 Proof
    14.1k
    Just to outright answer your question, you're asking me to prove a negative here.AmadeusD
    You're mistaken again. I've not asked for "proof" of anything including for you to "prove a negative". Apparently, Amadeus, you don't have an answer for
    re: moral (i.e. obligates natural beings to care for one another) 

    In ethics, "moral" means something else?
    180 Proof
    so your claim that my usage of moral is "an arbitrary assertion" is, at best, unwarranted.

    Emotivist [ ... ] squarely in emotivist territory. You are letting me know your emotional stance on the fact that ...
    Okay this strawman is obtuse. To wit:
    My stated moral position is not "emotivist". :roll:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotivism
    180 Proof

    Since you spend the rest of your post quarreling with your (misunderstood) "emotivism" strawman instead, and rather than waste my time, I'll leave you to it accepting that you incorrigibly find my (briefly sketched) moral naturslism (aretaic disutilitarianism) unconvincing. I've argued for my moral position on this thread only as a critical objection to the OP's "morality as cooperation" scientism and not as a fully systemized argument (which is why I'd acknowledged several influential moral philosophers at the close of this post). Anyway, enjoy shadoxboxing with strawmen. :yawn:
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    What is universally moral – strategies that solve cooperation problems without exploiting othersMark S

    Why would this be an Ought?

    so your claim that my usage of moral is "an arbitrary assertion" is, at best, unwarranted.180 Proof

    Its completely apt. Your rejection of it, is just another example of ignoring your Emotivist bent. That's not on me, my dude.

    Okay this strawman is obtuse180 Proof

    Its a perfectly sound take on your position. If you think that constitutes a strawman, by all means.

    incorrigibly180 Proof

    Pretending that you being unable to convince someone is a result of their stubbornness is... risible. I note you haven't attempted to clarify anything, either. You've referred to writings which I have also referred to and then just asserted something not readable from it. Okay. But that ends there, then.

    I've argued for my moral position on this thread only as a critical objection to the OP's "morality as cooperation" scientism and not as a fully systemized argument (which is why I'd acknowledged several influential moral philosophers at the close of this post). Anyway, enjoy shadoxboxing with strawmen. :yawn:180 Proof

    I responded to the post you linked to. Which is elsewhere.
    You seem quite well acquainted with Straw :)
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    Just so, my friend.
  • Tom Storm
    8.4k
    What is universally moral – strategies that solve cooperation problems without exploiting others
    — Mark S

    Why would this be an Ought?
    AmadeusD

    That's what I keep coming back to. It seems there is an assumption that cooperation strategies are good and therefore ought to be obligatory or foundational to any moral system. Sam Harris did the same thing when he proposed that 'wellbeing' is good therefore it ought to be obligatory as the foundation for moral decision making.
  • 180 Proof
    14.1k
    Given the factcity of disvalues (i.e. whatever is bad for – harmful to – natural beings)^^, it is a performative contradiction not to reduce disvalues; rationally, therefore, disvalues ought to be reduced whenever possible without increasing them. And, insofar as exercising this ought reinforces habits (i.e. virtues, customs (mores), commons capabilities (agencies)) for reducing disvalues, this ought, at minimum, is moral.

    Makes sense or not? :chin:

    ^^see lower half of the post
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    Sense? Sure. Provides a basis for ought? No.
  • Philosophim
    2.2k
    I propose a highly robust hypothesis based on its remarkable explanatory power for the huge, superficially chaotic data set of our moral sense and cultural moral codes, no contradiction with known facts, no remotely competitive hypotheses, simplicity, and integration with the rest of science.Mark S

    No, you don't. Look Mark, proposing cultural values are moral values is ethics 101. Its highly debated. Your 'no contradiction with known facts' is dogmatic at this point with the examples I've given you. I still see no posted scientific papers that agree with you. You haven't addressed the specific examples I've given you like "Dying for your country". I'm not feeling like you're engaging with questioning, but dogmatically harping that your theory is right because 'science'.

    As such, I'm quickly losing interest. I'm not trying to convince you of anything, I'm letting you know the glaring weaknesses of your claim which would be dismantled in any professional setting in seconds. If you want to explore the examples I gave you and try to find solutions, feel free. But if you're just here to preach, good luck to you, I'm out.
  • Tom Storm
    8.4k
    Given the factcity of disvalues (i.e. whatever is bad for – harmful to – natural beings)^^, it is a performative contradiction not to reduce disvalues; rationally, therefore, disvalues ought to be reduced whenever possible without increasing them. And, insofar as exercising this ought reinforces habits (i.e. virtues, customs (mores), commons capabilities (agencies)) for reducing disvalues, this ought, at minimum, is moral.

    Makes sense or not? :chin:
    180 Proof

    You're talking to a non-philosopher, so I have no problem acting on that which I think is beneficial. :wink: I also think that one ought not do a lot of things - like cause suffering in others. I'm comfortable with this solution to moral problems for me. But I would never care to develop a comprehensive theory of morality like Mark S.
  • 180 Proof
    14.1k
    I'm not feeling like you're engaging with questioning, but dogmatically harping that your theory is right because 'science'.

    As such, I'm quickly losing interest. I'm not trying to convince you [@Mark S] of anything, I'm letting you know the glaring weaknesses of your claim ...
    Philosophim
    :100: Yes, scientism (or pseudo-science) is, at best, bad philosophy (i.e. sophistry).

    :up:
  • Mark S
    240
    What is universally moral – strategies that solve cooperation problems without exploiting others
    — Mark

    Why would this be an Ought?
    AmadeusD

    Amadeus, this question merits a careful answer. I’ll describe:
    1) What makes it “universally moral”
    2) What kind of ought that origin implies.
    3) What kind of ought it is not.

    The above principle is universal to the direct and indirect reciprocity strategies that are encoded as our moral sense and cultural moral norms. It is universal to what is descriptively moral in societies with the exception of favoritism for kin.

    Answering your question: It is an instrumental ought regarding which moral principles to advocate and follow in a society given any and all of these goals:
    1) Increase the benefits of cooperation within and between societies
    2) Maximize harmony with everyone’s moral sense.
    3) Define a moral code based on a principle that is not just cross-culturally, but cross-species universal

    However, its origins in science entail no imperative bindingness – what everyone ought to do regardless of their needs and preferences. Any arguments for its imperative bindingness would be philosophical arguments, not scientific ones.
  • Tom Storm
    8.4k
    Answering your question: It is an instrumental ought regarding which moral principles to advocate and follow in a society given any and all of these goals:
    1) Increase the benefits of cooperation within and between societies
    2) Maximize harmony with everyone’s moral sense.
    3) Define a moral code based on a principle that is not just cross-culturally, but cross-species universal
    Mark S

    I may be reading you wrongly but here's my take.

    To me it seems as if point 1 potentially contains your overarching idea - the need to promote human (or conscious creature) flourishing (found in your word as 'benefits').

    There is no intrinsic moral reason to promote cooperation or cross cultural agreement. Who cares?

    You first need to establish some foundation for moral concern for sentient beings it seems to me. You then build the system towards this goal by arguing that the best pathway to promote human flourishing is through cooperation.

    You might then argue that you can objectively measure cooperation strategies when applied in moral situations.

    Otherwise it seems to me your moral concern is for the fidelity of a system. A concern with systemic neatness rather than with flourishing.

    But perhaps this is what you mean already and I have missed it.
  • Mark S
    240

    What is universally moral – strategies that solve cooperation problems without exploiting others
    — Mark S

    Why would this be an Ought?
    — AmadeusD

    That's what I keep coming back to. It seems there is an assumption that cooperation strategies are good and therefore ought to be obligatory or foundational to any moral system. Sam Harris did the same thing when he proposed that 'wellbeing' is good therefore it ought to be obligatory as the foundation for moral decision making.
    Tom Storm

    Tom, see my reply about its bindingness to Amadeus https://thephilosophyforum.com/profile/15230/mark-s.
  • Mark S
    240
    No, you don't. Look Mark, proposing cultural values are moral values is ethics 101. Its highly debated. Your 'no contradiction with known facts' is dogmatic at this point with the examples I've given you. I still see no posted scientific papers that agree with you. You haven't addressed the specific examples I've given you like "Dying for your country". I'm not feeling like you're engaging with questioning, but dogmatically harping that your theory is right because 'science'.Philosophim

    Some of the peer-reviewed literature:

    You can connect with it by googling morality as cooperation on google scholar. But rather than dump you off into that ocean, which contains many perspectives on morality as cooperation, I suggest the following list compiled by Oliver Curry with quotes by their authors:

    ‘Moral systems are interlocking sets of values, virtues, norms, practices,
    identities, institutions, technologies, and evolved psychological mechanisms that
    work together to suppress or regulate selfishness and make cooperative social life
    possible.” (Haidt & Kesebir, 2010). ‘‘[M]orality functions to facilitate the generation
    and maintenance of long-term social-cooperative relationships” (Rai & Fiske, 2011).
    ‘‘Human morality arose evolutionarily as a set of skills and motives for cooperating
    with others” (Tomasello & Vaish, 2013). ‘‘[T]he core function of morality is to promote
    and sustain cooperation” (Greene, 2015). ‘‘[M]oral facts are facts about cooperation,
    and the conditions and practices that support or undermine it” (Sterelny & Fraser,
    2016). (Compiled in a paper by Oliver Curry)

    Curry, O. S., Mullins, D. A., & Whitehouse, H. (2019). Is it good to cooperate? Testing the theory of morality-as-cooperation in 60 societies. Current Anthropology, 60(1).

    Haidt, J., & Kesebir, S. (2010). Morality. In S. Fiske, G. Gilbert, & G. Lindzey (Eds.),
    Handbook of social psychology (5th ed., pp. 797–832). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

    Rai, T. S., & Fiske, A. P. (2011). Moral psychology is relationship regulation: Moral motives for unity, hierarchy, equality, and proportionality. Psychological Review,
    118(1), 57–75. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021867.

    Tomasello, M., & Vaish, A. (2013). Origins of human cooperation and morality. Annual Review of Psychology, 64(1), 231–255. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev- psych-113011-143812.

    Greene, J. D. (2015). The rise of moral cognition. Cognition, 135, 39–42. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.cognition.2014.11.018.

    Sterelny, K., & Fraser, B. (2016). Evolution and moral realism. British Journal for the
    Philosophy of Science, 68(4), 981–1006.


    Important note: “Moral systems”, “Morality”, “Human morality, and “Moral facts” from the quoted authors refer to behaviors motivated by our moral sense and advocated by cultural moral norms, and not necessarily to philosophical meanings.


    Regarding your proposed counter-examples, I thought I had explained them, including how dying for your country is part of a reciprocity strategy. The short answer is the motivation for loyalty only works to your gene's advantage on average.

    I have said:

    “Also fully in the domain of science is understanding how the biology underlying empathy and loyalty can exist and motivate true altruism, sometimes even unto the death of the giver.
    That explanation, first proposed by Darwin, is that empathy and loyalty motivate cooperation that can increase what is called inclusive fitness of groups who experience empathy and loyalty even at the cost of the life of the individual.”

    “So when I find a bug in my home and decide on my own to capture it in a cup and put it outside instead of stepping on it, that has nothing to do with morality? If someone in trouble tells me they don't need help, but I secretly slip them 20$ that can't be traced back to me, that's has nothing to do with morality? I could give tons more. Very few, if any people, are going to buy into the idea that morality must involve cooperation.— Philosophim

    Our moral emotion of empathy exists because empathy for other people motivates initiating the powerful cooperation strategy of indirect reciprocity. Our ancestors who did not experience empathy tended to die out. Empathy for a bug is a misfire on its evolutionary function. Could stomping on the bug still be immoral in a culture? Sure. People who kill bugs can be thought of as deserving punishment (being descriptively immoral in that society). In that society, this moral norm would be a marker strategy for a person with empathy and therefore a good person to cooperate with.

    Secretly slipping $20 to someone initiates indirect reciprocity, the core of social morality. Having received $20 from an unknown person will make the receiver more likely to help someone else thereby spreading cooperation. Perhaps you are thinking of cooperation only in terms of direct reciprocity? Indirect reciprocity, in which reciprocal help is usually returned to someone other than the initiator, is a far more powerful strategy.

    Understanding our moral sense and cultural moral are parts of cooperation strategies explains much about human morality that would otherwise remain puzzling.”


    “Loyalty – one of six commonly recognized emotions triggered by our moral sense that motivate behaviors that are parts of known cooperation strategies – Loyalty motivates initiating indirect reciprocity (unselfishly helping our group) and exists because our ancestors who experienced this emotion tended to survive due the benefits of cooperation it provided. Behaviors that, on average, increase reproductive fitness are what are selected for, An individual’s survival is not assured.

    Punishment – by our conscience, a god, other individuals, society, or the law – is a necessary part of reciprocity strategies. Without punishment of violators, self-interest would drive people to exploit other’s efforts at cooperation by not reciprocating. For example, why be loyal if there is no punishment for being disloyal? Science's answer to the why be loyal (or why be moral) question is at the heart of the cooperation problems human morality solves.”

    Proposed counterexamples are still welcome.
  • Kizzy
    50
    :up: Some great references you included here! Cool
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    The above principle is universal to the direct and indirect reciprocity strategies that are encoded as our moral sense and cultural moral norms. It is universal to what is descriptively moral in societies with the exception of favoritism for kin.Mark S

    No it isn't.

    2) Maximize harmony with everyone’s moral sense.Mark S

    This is a shotgun to the foot. This is an emotive position.

    It is an instrumental oughtMark S

    Then I have no issues. I just reject that anything you've posited is any way 'moral science'. It appears, patently, your assertion carried forth into a logical framework where you get the desired result of a self-consistent system. This is just utilitarianism with 'co-operation' instead of 'happiness' as its aim. Nothing wrong with that, but it certainly falls short of anythign we could consider a scientific position or train of thought.
  • Mark S
    240
    Yes, scientism (or pseudo-science) is, at best, bad philosophy (i.e. sophistry).180 Proof

    Sophistry implies clever arguments that make the worse argument appear to be the better. I don't believe I am clever enough for sophistry.

    Wikipedia says that "Scientism is the view that science and the scientific method are the best or only way to render truth about the world and reality." This thread is dedicated to explaining what science can tell us about why cultural moral norms and our moral sense exist. That science, supported by evolutionary game theory, now reveals why they exist and their underlying universal core cooperation strategy. That is not scientism.

    If someone decides they prefer that underlying principle as the basis for their society's moral norms, I still don't see that as scientism. But perhaps you do?
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    revealsMark S

    It does not.
  • Philosophim
    2.2k
    Some of the peer-reviewed literature:Mark S

    I'm not asking for a course study. That's easy enough to find. I'm asking what literature you're using, and what ideas you're basing this off of. When you reference something by science, put a quote so we can see where you're coming from and what research you're basing it off of.

    Regarding your proposed counter-examples, I thought I had explained them, including how dying for your country is part of a reciprocity strategy. The short answer is the motivation for loyalty only works to your gene's advantage on average.Mark S

    Ok, but that's not cooperation. I can do many things for my gene's advantage that do not involve cooperation. How is me, under threat of jail or duress, getting drafted in a war to die for my country cooperation?

    “Also fully in the domain of science is understanding how the biology underlying empathy and loyalty can exist and motivate true altruism, sometimes even unto the death of the giver.
    That explanation, first proposed by Darwin, is that empathy and loyalty motivate cooperation that can increase what is called inclusive fitness of groups who experience empathy and loyalty even at the cost of the life of the individual.”
    Mark S

    Once again, this does not answer my example of coopting others for power. Many ideas of morality and laws in culture are not about cooperation or willingness, but forced obeyance under threat of punishment or death. Don't misunderstand, someone can find cooperative benefit in going to war. But you need to consider the people who don't and are forced to. I'm not seeing this consideration so far.

    If someone in trouble tells me they don't need help, but I secretly slip them 20$ that can't be traced back to me, that's has nothing to do with morality?Mark S

    Our moral emotion of empathy exists because empathy for other people motivates initiating the powerful cooperation strategy of indirect reciprocity.Mark S

    Indirect reciprocity? Look, I'm not thinking they're going to pay it forward. For all I know the guy's a psychopath. I also lost 20$. I do it because I think if I have spare resources, it should go towards helping another life live well. This is not cooperation. This is sacrifice. Altruism. You don't get to twist everything into, "But you see, if we twist the word around its really indirect cooperation." Be better than that.

    Our ancestors who did not experience empathy tended to die out.Mark S

    Do you have evidence of this? Empathy can also be double edged. If you're empathic to the wrong person, they can take advantage of you, kill you when you're vulnerable and/or take all of your resources.

    Empathy for a bug is a misfire on its evolutionary functionMark S

    Again, do you have proof of this? Or is this an opinion so we can hand wave anything away that doesn't fit into 'cooperation'?

    Could stomping on the bug still be immoral in a culture? Sure. People who kill bugs can be thought of as deserving punishment (being descriptively immoral in that society). In that society, this moral norm would be a marker strategy for a person with empathy and therefore a good person to cooperate with.Mark S

    You're really going to try to claim that if I stomp on a bug, it could be considered immoral because it means I'm not good to cooperate with? How does that have anything to do with whether I can work with other people towards a common goal? The problem is you're trying too hard to fit everything into cooperation. You know what's more likely? Cooperation is not the full end all explanation for morality.

    Understanding our moral sense and cultural moral are parts of cooperation strategies explains much about human morality that would otherwise remain puzzling.Mark S

    No question. But you're claiming cooperation is the entirety of morality which is inadequate as I've covered.

    “Loyalty – one of six commonly recognized emotions triggered by our moral sense that motivate behaviors that are parts of known cooperation strategies – Loyalty motivates initiating indirect reciprocity (unselfishly helping our group) and exists because our ancestors who experienced this emotion tended to survive due the benefits of cooperation it provided.Mark S

    So once again, if I'm loyal to a dictator that slaughters millions of Jews, this is somehow moral?

    Punishment – by our conscience, a god, other individuals, society, or the law – is a necessary part of reciprocity strategies.Mark S

    Threat of punishment for not following a culture or society is not cooperation. Its also not 'reciprocity'. Its servileness. Slavery. Personal sacrifice for obedience to others. Its not, "You see, by serving the master plantation owner, the slave is indirectly benefitting themselves by the fact that they aren't beaten and killed for daring to be an individual human being." If you go this route, you're lost. I suppose this would mean if one lone slave stood up to their master they would be violating cooperation and thus be immoral.

    This needs work. A lot of work Mark S.
  • Mark S
    240
    The above principle is universal to the direct and indirect reciprocity strategies that are encoded as our moral sense and cultural moral norms. It is universal to what is descriptively moral in societies with the exception of favoritism for kin.
    — Mark S

    No it isn't.
    AmadeusD

    You are incorrect. Can you say why you think it is not?

    Maximize harmony with everyone’s moral sense.
    — Mark S

    This is a shotgun to the foot. This is an emotive position.
    AmadeusD

    How is someone's preference for the moral principle that is most harmonious with people's moral sense a "shotgun to the foot"? Please explain. Are you saying they should not prefer it?

    It is an instrumental ought
    — Mark S

    Then I have no issues. I just reject that anything you've posited is any way 'moral science'. It appears, patently, your assertion carried forth into a logical framework where you get the desired result of a self-consistent system. This is just utilitarianism with 'co-operation' instead of 'happiness' as its aim. Nothing wrong with that, but it certainly falls short of anythign we could consider a scientific position or train of thought.
    AmadeusD

    I am glad to hear you have no issues.

    Of course, science, including the science of morality (which studies why moral norms and our moral sense exist), only provides instrumental oughts. Beyond exploring how this instrumental ought knowledge could be culturally useful, I have no plans to comment on any possible imperative oughts..

    No, it is not "just utilitarianism with 'co-operation' instead of 'happiness' as its aim". Morality as cooperation is silent regarding ultimate moral goals (utilitarianism's focus). Morality as cooperation only deals with moral means as defined by our moral sense and cultural moral norms, not moral ends.

    There is no "moral science" except as a strawman. As I have described, there is a science that studies why our moral sense and cultural moral norms extst. Perhaps you think the study of why our moral sense and cultural moral norms exist is off-limits for science? If so, why?
  • Mark S
    240
    I'm asking what literature you're using, and what ideas you're basing this off of. When you reference something by science, put a quote so we can see where you're coming from and what research you're basing it off of.Philosophim

    The references are representative of the literature I am using. What I propose here is a synthesis of this literature and, in that sense, a personal perspective. I am thinking of going into that more in a separate thread.

    Ok, but that's not cooperation. I can do many things for my gene's advantage that do not involve cooperation. How is me, under threat of jail or duress, getting drafted in a war to die for my country cooperation?Philosophim

    Much of cooperation has nothing to do with morality. I have not claimed all cooperation is relevant to morality.

    The two most powerful means of promoting cooperation in the modern world are money economies and the rule of law. Both can increase cooperation in amoral ways. Prior to their invention, cooperation relied on morality with a little help from the inefficient strategy of barter. Remember Protagoras's myth about the function of morality enabling cooperation (in Plato's dialog of the same name)? At one time, morality as cooperation would have been the common view, and I expect I would not have had as much pushback as I am getting here. Money economies and the rule of law are fantastic at increasing cooperation, but really muddied the waters about the function of morality.

    There are cultural norms connected with both money economies and the rule of law. whose violation is commonly thought to deserve punishment. These are moral norms which solve cooperation problems.

    Why do you think the law that threatens jail or duress if you refuse to get drafted for war is a moral norm? Obeying laws in general is a moral norm. Helping defend the group is a moral norm. A specific law is not necessarily a moral norm.

    Many ideas of morality and laws in culture are not about cooperation or willingness, but forced obeyance under threat of punishment or death.Philosophim

    Laws that force cooperation are not recognized as moral norms for good reasons. And moral norms that exploit others to increase the benefits of cooperation for ingroups are only descriptively moral. So what?

    If someone in trouble tells me they don't need help, but I secretly slip them 20$ that can't be traced back to me, that's has nothing to do with morality?
    — Mark S

    Our moral emotion of empathy exists because empathy for other people motivates initiating the powerful cooperation strategy of indirect reciprocity.
    — Mark S

    Indirect reciprocity? Look, I'm not thinking they're going to pay it forward. For all I know the guy's a psychopath. I also lost 20$. I do it because I think if I have spare resources, it should go towards helping another life live well. This is not cooperation. This is sacrifice. Altruism.
    Philosophim

    I agree; you are not necessarily thinking they will pay it forward, thereby continuing indirect reciprocity; you are just acting on your altruistic impulse.

    I was explaining why the impulse exists. The biology underlying your altruistic impulse and when it is triggered was selected for in our ancestors because, on average, increase in reproductive fitness. You act altruistically because of the impulse, not because of any knowledge about cooperation strategies.

    You're really going to try to claim that if I stomp on a bug, it could be considered immoral because it means I'm not good to cooperate with? How does that have anything to do with whether I can work with other people towards a common goal?Philosophim

    Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism forbid harming any living thing. This can be a high-cost moral norm for farmers or anyone bothered by bedbugs or mosquitoes. The best explanation I know of for why such a high-cost moral norm has persisted in cultures with billions of people is that it is marker of being a good person in that culture. Do you have a better explanation?

    Threat of punishment for not following a culture or society is not cooperation. Its also not 'reciprocity'. Its servileness. Slavery. Personal sacrifice for obedience to others.Philosophim

    Direct and indirect reciprocity are cooperation strategies. Punishment of violators (such as people who exploit others) is a necessary (not an optional) part of those strategies in order for them to be stable in a society. Punishment can be as simple as social disapproval or refusal to cooperate with the exploiter in the future. Punishment of moral norm violations also have included death.

    Cultural norms whose violation is commonly thought to deserve punishment are moral norms. Punishment, like altruism, is a necessary part of cooperation strategies.

    This needs work. A lot of work Mark S.Philosophim

    That is why I post here.
  • 180 Proof
    14.1k
    @Mark S
    Indirect reciprocity? [ ... ] if I have spare resources, it should go towards helping another life live well. This is not cooperation. This is sacrifice. Altruism. You don't get to twist everything into, "But you see, if we twist the word around its really indirect cooperation." Be better than that.Philosophim
    :smirk: :up:
  • Kizzy
    50
    Hi

    we could consider a scientific position or train of thoughtAmadeusD

    WE? until when? say it becomes a scenticfic pos, can you still not chose to deny it? How can you or anyone at that be bothered then? How bad would that LOOK, if you were that? Bother...to pretend, perhaps!

    Bother, i typed it in bing search bar, all lower case and found it defined right at the top of the page! per oxford lang. data, the recommended first glance definition at the top--i liked the examples they used, and know what it means but i just am including here now the example sentences that was chosen to be consumed. Seems,i mean, FEELS relevant and is amusing to me at least. Amusing. Amuse. Its A-muse to me, even-- maybe, but so it seems...

    bother: "take the trouble to do something - "scientists rarely bother with such niceties""the driver didn't bother to ask why""nobody bothered locking the doors"

    Maybe no one cared anyways... Damned if we do, not if we DONT. Who knows?? Who can?
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2k
    I was just rereading Boethius' "The Consolation of Philosophy," and I've decided it might be the pound for pound greatest moral work of all time. It's quite short and packed with great verse, symbolism on every page, and probably the single best display of "philosophy as therapy."


    It occured to me that the science of morality is just about useless for Boethius as he sits in his prison cell awaiting his torture and execution for not not allowing corruption. His problem is that he is wallowing in self-pity and ruled over by his emotions (surrounded by the Muses). He is in the situation described by Plato in the Phaedo, "nailed to the body" by extreme pain (or pleasure).

    Where science is probably most helpful is in knowing what to do and how to do it, rather than in being motivated to do the good (or to bother discovering it). Science would be extremely helpful to Boethius while he is still Consul and dealing with the intricacies of public policy.

    Could it still be useful for him as he sits in his prison cell? To some degree, in that it might help him with self-knowledge. But its uses seem fairly limited in comparison to Lady Philosophy's weak and strong medicines.

    The first medicine she applies is Stoicism, showing Boethius how the fruits of fortune cannot be the source of a stable human flourishing, how money, power, glory, and pleasure do not "make one good." The second medicine, which can only be applied after Boethius is liberated from the passions and appetites, is the philosophical ascent into the transcendent and the consideration of the good in itself and the nature of being.

    Point being, science, and techne in general, is only useful once one is already self-determining to some degree. Being "ruled over by the rational part of the soul," ends up being a prerequisite for good science and for making use of science (https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/15027/plato-as-metaethics). Science can only do so much to help us make the jump from continence to virtue, from doing the good to loving it.

    Boethius' complaints line up to Plato's three parts of the soul. He laments being in prison and having lost his wealth and comforts (appetitive and spirited/emotional complaints). He also is upset by the lack of justice in his situation (spirited and rational complaints). Finally, he has the same deep existential questions as Job, "if God, from whence evil," and why does God not punish the injustice?"

    Like Job, he is answered by a divine theophany, Lady Philosophy recalling the personified Wisdom (Sophia) of Proverbs, Sirach, and The Wisdom of Solomon. But Philosophy itself ends up sitting somewhere between the human and the divine. Boethius describes her height as variously shifting between the "measure of mortal men," and her crown touching the heavens. Philosophy then is a bridge, whereas Job's problem is that there is no bridge — he is "a worm" and there can be no intercessor between him and God (e.g. the great lines in Job 40 where God asks Job out of the whirlwind if he can do what God can, lay all the proud low at will, garb himself in glory — "then I shall admit that thine own right hand can save you.")

    Science then, lies in Lady Philosophy's ambit, but not Lady Philosophy within the compass of science. This makes it a tool/art relationship, rather than a grounding one.

    (There is also something interesting in the positing of Sophia/Chokmah, the Incarnate Logos, or emanated Nous as the necessary intercessor between created man and the Absolute - the problem brought up in Job, which has a lot of parallels with Boethius)
  • 180 Proof
    14.1k
    I was just rereading Boethius' "The Consolation of Philosophy," and I've decided it might be the pound for pound greatest moral work of all time.Count Timothy von Icarus
    Spinoza's Ethics is a bit shorter and IMO much more than "therapy". An even shorter, Platonist work The Sovereignty of Good by Iris Murdoch ranks highly with me as does the very succinct, Naturalist work by one of Murdoch's oldest friends Philippa Foot: Natural Goodness. I think those three are also among the greatest works of moral philosophy "pound for pound" (along with a handful of other works written (or inspired) by Epicurus, Epictetus, Kǒngzǐ, Buddha ... )
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    WE? until when? say it becomes a scenticfic posKizzy

    It isn't one, by its elaboration. Like - he isn't using science to support this system. So, your question is somewhat nonsensical, on that account. The rest of your comment seems non sequitur talking to yourself..

    You are incorrect. Can you say why you think it is not?Mark S

    Because it flat-out isn't. You are trying to prove something. I am denying it. You need to present something to support it. It flat-out isn't a universal. Do your best...

    How is someone's preference for the moral principle that is most harmonious with people's moral sense a "shotgun to the foot"? Please explain. Are you saying they should not prefer it?Mark S

    This proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the basis for this theory lives in your head.

    (which studies why moral norms and our moral sense exist), only provides instrumental oughts.Mark S

    No it doesn't. It provides descriptive narratives about existing moral behaviour. It gives absolutely nothing by way of 'ought'. It gives us what some people think that means currently and nothing else. Which is what you've run with. What you think morality is - and then carried it forth into a logical system. Again, fine, but not in any way science, or derived from it.

    Morality as cooperation is silent regarding ultimate moral goals (utilitarianism's focus).Mark S

    No. It is aimed at co-operation. This also goes to the above., You are flat-out ignoring basic facts about what you're saying - whicih stem from your own account. Contradictory.
    Morality as cooperation only deals with moral means as defined by our moral sense and cultural moral norms, not moral ends.Mark S

    No, Your moral sense. Which, it seems, is 'harmonious co-operation toward well-being' or some such.

    There is no "moral science" except as a strawman.Mark S

    Then your entire premise is false and I am happy to leave it here for you to play with :)
  • Mark S
    240

    I am glad you find them interesting. The references include several different perspectives on the science. What I have presented in this forum is my synthesis of those perspectives.
    Would you be interested in a thread here about the state of science about our moral sense and cultural moral norms?
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