• Samuel Lacrampe
    687

    we also know that the basics of morals are remarkably similar across culturesPseudonym
    To add to this statement, the Golden Rule "do unto others as you would want them to do unto you" is called that way because it "occurs in some form in nearly every religion and ethical tradition." Source.

    Additionally: Occam's Razor, please.
    Are we required to make more assumptions by asserting that moral codes [...] are sets of taught acceptable behaviors and views, coupled with a genetic legacy for survival in social groups
    bioazer
    Yes; your hypothesis that our moral sense is merely a genetic tool used for survival is insufficient to explain the complete moral sense. Do you agree that your moral sense tells you that the following acts are immoral?
    (1) Cheating on your spouse, even if it is guaranteed that he/she never finds out about it.
    (2) Turning a nation into farming animals for quick reproduction, and thus securing the survival of the species through sheer numbers.
    (3) If your own survival is guaranteed (by, say, super powers), then all acts become moral because the end of surviving is already met.

    Finally, what do you reply to a person that says "I don't care about the survival of the species, and so don't act towards that end"? You cannot say they are objectively wrong, if you do not believe in an objective morality.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    687
    If morality is objective-- universal-- where do you draw the line between good and evil?bioazer
    Golden Rule.

    How do you solve the Trolley Problem?bioazer
    As I said in the OP, intention of good and evil is a necessary component of morality. As long as your intentions are not evil (don't violate the Golden Rule), then there is no moral mistake, only possible rational mistakes.
  • bioazer
    25

    Yes; your hypothesis that our moral sense is merely a genetic tool used for survival is insufficient to explain the complete moral sense.
    ...that's why I pointed out the significant influence of culture.
    Do you agree that your moral sense tells you that the following acts are immoral?
    (1) Cheating on your spouse, even if it is guaranteed that he/she never finds out about it.
    (2) Turning a nation into farming animals for quick reproduction, and thus securing the survival of the species through sheer numbers.
    (3) If your own survival is guaranteed (by, say, super powers), then all acts become moral because the end of surviving is already met.
    (1) Yes, but I was raised in a society in which monogamy is valued.
    (2) and (3) I think that you might have understood me in my "genetic tool for survival" claim-- I am talking about empathy, a real biological phenomenon; your given examples have nothing to do with how empathy works. Levels of empathy vary by individual, but the vast majority of the human race feels emotional distress when they see that another is in pain, the same way we feel nauseous when we see someone vomiting. This is natural for social animals. But again-- the amount of empathy one feels depends entirely upon the individual, and some individuals lack it entirely. They have no intuitive understanding of what is considered right or wrong, and no qualms whatsoever about harming other human beings.
    ...so the Golden Rule is the plumb line between good and evil, huh? How does that apply at all in the Trolley Problem? Whatever happens, you are still running people over with the trolley, no matter how altruistic you might be-- does "do unto others as you'd have them do unto you" really apply here?
    What about war?
    It is certainly not true that people will always want you to do unto them what you'd like them to do unto you, which is why rape is a crime, but that's besides the point, really. What is your reasoning for using specifically the Golden Rule? What line of reasoning led you to that "objective" conclusion?
  • Pseudonym
    1k
    I am talking about empathy, a real biological phenomenon; your given examples have nothing to do with how empathy works. Levels of empathy vary by individual, but the vast majority of the human race feels emotional distress when they see that another is in pain, the same way we feel nauseous when we see someone vomiting. This is natural for social animals. But again-- the amount of empathy one feels depends entirely upon the individual, and some individuals lack it entirely. They have no intuitive understanding of what is considered right or wrong, and no qualms whatsoever about harming other human beings.bioazer

    You need to be careful here. Many Autistic people struggle with empathy, they (possibly) have fewer mirror neurons that neurotypical people and so find it harder to emulate other people's emotions or predict how they would feel. Autistic people, however, are some of the nicest people I've ever worked with. They make the most unbelievable faux pas socially on a regular basis, but I've never experienced a single malicious act from any of them (I've not exactly worked with hundreds mind).

    If there is an intuitive, biological drive to be kind, moral or consider the well-being of others, I think empathy is the tool it most often uses, not the drive itself.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    687
    (1) Yes, but I was raised in a society in which monogamy is valued.
    (2) and (3) I think that you might have understood me in my "genetic tool for survival" claim-- I am talking about empathy, a real biological phenomenon; your given examples have nothing to do with how empathy works. Levels of empathy vary by individual, but the vast majority of the human race feels emotional distress when they see that another is in pain, the same way we feel nauseous when we see someone vomiting. This is natural for social animals. But again-- the amount of empathy one feels depends entirely upon the individual, and some individuals lack it entirely. They have no intuitive understanding of what is considered right or wrong, and no qualms whatsoever about harming other human beings.
    bioazer
    Your explanations are incomplete as they only push the mystery one step back. (1) Why is monogamy valued? (2) and (3) Why do we feel empathy? For both questions, the answer can be 'justice', which completes the explanation.

    ...so the Golden Rule is the plumb line between good and evil, huh? How does that apply at all in the Trolley Problem? Whatever happens, you are still running people over with the trolley, no matter how altruistic you might be-- does "do unto others as you'd have them do unto you" really apply here?bioazer
    If you did not place the people there, then you are not morally responsible for the outcome, because your intentions were not bad, and you did not fail the Golden Rule. If you did place them there, then you are morally responsible, because that was your intentions, and these failed the Golden Rule. After that, one may argue that we should choose the path that saves the most amount of people; but this is once again a rational problem, not a moral one.

    What about war?bioazer
    See the Just War Theory. War is sometimes the right thing to do, as would be the case when going to war against the Nazis. Its underlying principle is still justice, as indicated in the name.

    It is certainly not true that people will always want you to do unto them what you'd like them to do unto you, which is why rape is a crime.bioazer
    You misunderstand the term 'rape', which is defined as non-consensual sex. By definition, nobody wants to be raped. The rapists themselves cannot consent to rape, because that would be consenting to non-consensual sex, which is contradictory.

    What is your reasoning for using specifically the Golden Rule? What line of reasoning led you to that "objective" conclusion?bioazer
    As stated in a previous post, 'justice among men' is defined as equal treatment. The application of equal treatment can be found objectively, and therefore justice is objective. Then the Golden Rule is simply a derivation of the concept of justice, and is a practical test that ensures we act justly.
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