• Samuel Lacrampe
    739

    Even if my position were to have changed, it does not entail that morality is neither absolute nor objective. But regardless, my position has not changed. Can you describe how you think it has changed?
  • charleton
    1.2k
    Can you describe how you think it has changed?Samuel Lacrampe

    Day One: All men are equal
    Day Two: Oops I mean women and children too.

    So what are the objective rules to morality then?
    What ever shit comes into your head?
  • AngleWyrm
    66
    I find the definitions for good/bad as equality to be too narrow for a robust treatment. So I'll offer another definition of good/bad:
    Good that which contributes to the survival and reproduction of the species
    Bad that which detracts from the survival and reproduction of the species

    Some examples that this wider definition supports
    • Eating insufficient calories to sustain the energy output for a day is bad (starvation).
    • Opening an umbrella indoors is bad (broken lamp).
    • Specializing to become a high volume producer trading excess to other specialists is good (net gain in GDP).
  • Wayfarer
    6.5k
    Good that which contributes to the survival and reproduction of the species
    Bad that which detracts from the survival and reproduction of the species
    AngleWyrm

    If your choices are biologically determined, then they’re not really choices.

    I have no beef with entomology or evolution, but I refuse to admit that they teach me much about ethics. Consider the fact that human action ranges to the extremes. People can perform extraordinary acts of altruism, including kindness toward other species — or they can utterly fail to be altruistic, even toward their own children. So whatever tendencies we may have inherited leave ample room for variation; our choices will determine which end of the spectrum we approach. This is where ethical discourse comes in — not in explaining how we’re “built,” but in deliberating on our own future acts. Should I cheat on this test? Should I give this stranger a ride? Knowing how my selfish and altruistic feelings evolved doesn’t help me decide at all. Most, though not all, moral codes advise me to cultivate altruism. But since the human race has evolved to be capable of a wide range of both selfish and altruistic behavior, there is no reason to say that altruism is superior to selfishness in any biological sense.

    Richard Polt Anything but Human
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    I think you are begging the question here. There might be disagreement about what constitutes 'an objective judgement' for many kinds of reasons. But here you're more or less insisting that objectivity is self-evident or that there are some objective criteria which just naturally everyone will agree on. And I don't think you've established that.Wayfarer
    I may have misunderstood your point, but are you saying that the right factors that influence the act are not obtained objectively? Maybe an example might help.

    A policeman arrests a black man that was present at a crime scene, and does not arrest a white man that was not at the crime scene. If the reason the policeman arrested the black man and not the white man was because of race, then the act was not just, because race is not a valid reason to arrest someone. If on the other hand the reason was because one was at the crime scene and the other was not, then the act was just, because this is a valid reason to arrest someone.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739

    I have decided to stop taking your comments seriously. With that, thanks for increasing the Replies count on this discussion. I suspect this attracts more readers. :blush:
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739

    "Equality in treatment" is the criteria of moral value (goodness/badness) specifically, not value in general. There are other types of values, and you are close to the mark when it comes to physical values. I would say the criteria for that one is more accurately health and safety of the individual, but you can indeed extend it to the species.

    We know that moral value is different than physical value because the nazis, which are (almost) universally labelled as morally bad, would still be labelled as morally bad, even if they had successfully preserved and expanded their reign.
  • jorndoe
    564
    (here’s a copy/paste of something I once typed up elsewhere)

    We don’t usually talk about torture of rocks or abuse of snow. Moral matters are (existentially) mind-dependent, i.e. subjective, and are generally social matters. Four simple basics of morals:

    • we can assume that anyone including non-humans likes freedom by default (cf autonomy)
    • we can assume that anyone including non-humans dislikes harm by default (cf the Hippocratic Oath)
    • the above sets out a default baseline for the Golden Rule
    • violation of the above may entail forfeiture of some or all of them

    These have been codified in various important historical documents, such as:

    Liberty consists of doing anything which does not harm others: thus, the exercise of the natural rights of each man has only those borders which assure other members of the society the fruition of these same rights. These borders can be determined only by the law. — Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789, Article IV
    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. — The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 19

    Liking freedom and disliking harm are typically involuntary, not a matter of opinion, not discretionary or invented, regardless of liking and disliking being mind-dependent (subjective).

    The complexities of life entails significantly more complex regulations and injunctions; these, and their applicability, may be informed by the basics above.

    Moral action includes acting in the interest of others.

  • charleton
    1.2k
    I have decided to stop taking your comments seriously. With that, thanks for increasing the Replies count on this discussion. I suspect this attracts more readers. :blush:Samuel Lacrampe

    There's none so blind that cannot see.
    I suggest you continue to stick your fingers in your ears and bury your head in the sand. Alternatively could could actually start to think about what you believe on these issues - but i doubt you have it in you.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    "Equality in treatment" is the criteria of moral valueSamuel Lacrampe

    Says who?
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    Hello. I like your post, and want to analyze it.

    the exercise of the natural rights of each man has only those borders which assure other members of the society the fruition of these same rights. — Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789, Article IV
    This is good. It is another way to interpret the golden rule.

    So your morality consists in total freedom of the individual, with the exception of harm. I have a couple of questions on your no-harm morality.

    (1) Is it morally wrong to eat animals and plants? (2) Is it morally acceptable to lie to others if they never find out? (2) Is it wrong to give an employee a raise, and another no raise, due to favoritism?
    Is it wrong to do harm to the nazis to prevent them from killing more jews?
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    Says the argument in the OP.

    The criteria for moral value is justice; and justice is equality in treatment among all men; thus equality in treatment is the criteria for moral value.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    The criteria for moral value is justice; and justice is equality in treatment among all men; thus equality in treatment is the criteria for moral value.Samuel Lacrampe

    Circular, question begging rubbish.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    the exercise of the natural rights of each man has only those borders which assure other members of the society the fruition of these same rights.
    — Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789, Article IV
    Samuel Lacrampe

    The reason that this had to be declared was that morality does not definitively entail it.
    If morality had included this, the declaration would not be necessary.
  • Moliere
    1.4k
    Alright. Well... then maybe let's just stick to the golden rule then. I don't think what you say communicates the golden rule, exactly, but if that's all you mean then cool.

    The problem with the golden rule is that it doesn't tell you much -- it's a guide for people who are already predisposed to be decent people to follow. But it doesn't help in harder cases.

    How does the golden rule deal with injustice? I think that's where it fails the most. If we are all already predisposed to be generally decent people and we follow the golden rule then a just state of affairs may come about (though it may not too -- since predisposition plus principle isn't enough to warrant action)

    But we live in a world where that is not the case.

    Further, we live in a world where there are multiple goods which various people follow and which conflict with one another. So the other failing of the golden rule is it does not adjudicate between actually lived conflicting principles. It doesn't tell us how to deal with enemies.
  • BlueBanana
    866
    Day One: All men are equal
    Day Two: Oops I mean women and children too.
    charleton

    This only proves the words describing the idea have changed, not the meaning or the idea behind them.
  • BlueBanana
    866
    If by 'revenge' you mean "a desire for justice (and nothing beyond it)", then it is not immoral.Samuel Lacrampe

    Circular reasoning.

    To impose your desires on others against their will results in unequal treatment.Samuel Lacrampe

    How? How is imposing everyone's desires on everyone against their will not equal?

    if the predicted gain was equal in both optionsSamuel Lacrampe

    if you only help the one person, their gain from the help is greater than the combined gain of the multiple people?BlueBanana

    So equal misery is better than unequal happiness?
  • bert1
    135
    The practical solution is found through the Golden Rule: "How can I act in a way that I would want others to act towards me?". The golden rule is directly derived from justice, because it demonstrates an equal treatment between yourself and others.Samuel Lacrampe

    Sure, but why would I follow such a rule? I would only follow it if I valued it. I will only act justly if I value justice. The value of justice must come from a subject mustn't it? If the value of justice is objective, how can it connect to what I do? Why would such objective values matter to me, or indeed to any subject?
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    The reason that this had to be declared was that morality does not definitively entail it.charleton
    Quite the opposite. Unless you believe the content was purely arbitrary, then it is reasonable to suggest it was inspired by real morality.

    If morality had included this, the declaration would not be necessary.charleton
    Incorrect. You believe the mathematical laws to be objective, don't you? And yet, math is taught at school. We can all rediscover mathematical laws on our own, but it is better to teach it in order to speed up the learning process and avoid errors along the way. The same goes for the laws of morality.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    How does the golden rule deal with injustice? [...] So the other failing of the golden rule is it does not adjudicate between actually lived conflicting principles. It doesn't tell us how to deal with enemies.Moliere
    Actually it does. See for example the Just War Theory: how to conduct war in accordance with justice (and by extension, the golden rule). To name a few criteria, a war is just if:

    • It is reactive and not proactive.
    • All peaceful alternative actions have first been exhausted.
    • The physical evil inflicted on the enemy must not exceed the physical evil caused by the enemy (i.e., do not overreact).

    The practice of the golden rule does not lead to extreme pacifism. Self-Defence and enforcement of laws are actions that are compatible with it.
  • Moliere
    1.4k


    That there is a text book non sequiter inference, as it stands. "Do unto others as you would have done unto you" does not just automatically lead one to just war theory. I didn't say it leads to extreme pacifism, either. What I said was it is silent on such matters.

    I mean you may prefer just war theory... but if you can accept those terms, then I don't see how you would be able to dissent from the example I used earlier. It was a similarly loosy-goosey principle that can be interpreted in any number of ways, without it sounding quite so nice. And even then I don't see how, of all doctrines, just war theory somehow naturally flows from the golden rule. You'd have to, at the very least, argue the case.
  • jorndoe
    564
    So your morality consists in total freedom of the individual, with the exception of harm.Samuel Lacrampe

    The listed items are not exhaustive (which may not be feasible in the first place). More like a few simple basics extracted from experiences through life this far.

    Say, 1500 years ago slavery, misogyny, stoning, mistreating animals, etc might just have been common everyday stuff of no particular consequence/interest, whereas today they're considered immoral or criminal. I guess the contemporary political correctness movement exemplifies emerging morals or moral awareness.

    (1) Is it morally wrong to eat animals and plants? (2) Is it morally acceptable to lie to others if they never find out? (2) Is it wrong to give an employee a raise, and another no raise, due to favoritism?Samuel Lacrampe

    I couldn't say in general, though favoritism comes through as wrong to me; I'd certainly raise my eyebrows if I noticed, but maybe the company established a kind of "discrimination" that new employees are informed of? For that matter, is it morally wrong to mow the poor lawn...? What did the nice green grass ever do to anyone, to deserve such barbaric treatment...? :)

    Either way, not all situations are (readily/necessarily) morally decidable, as shown by the Trolley problem. I'd say both decidability and undecidability have to be taken into consideration in an analysis.

    Is it wrong to do harm to the nazis to prevent them from killing more jews?Samuel Lacrampe

    Nah, the nazis forfeit their rights.

    • violation of the above may entail forfeiture of some or all of them

    Suppose we wanted to reduce morals to something. What might this something then be? What would acceptable "moral atoms" look like? Self-interest alone doesn't do it for me (like some rules seem to suggest), but maybe that's just me.


    Sure, but why would I follow such a rule? I would only follow it if I valued it. I will only act justly if I value justice. The value of justice must come from a subject mustn't it? If the value of justice is objective, how can it connect to what I do? Why would such objective values matter to me, or indeed to any subject?bert1

    Well, maybe you don't follow any such rules. Or any morals at all perhaps. The universe at large sure don't. :) It would mean someone else might deem you not moral based on your actions or inactions.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    Quite the opposite. Unless you believe the content was purely arbitrary, then it is reasonable to suggest it was inspired by real morality.Samuel Lacrampe

    Only if you believe in the god delusion.
    Incorrect. You believe the mathematical laws to be objective, don't you?Samuel Lacrampe

    No, why?
  • charleton
    1.2k
    The same goes for the laws of morality.Samuel Lacrampe

    utter nonsense.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    If by 'revenge' you mean "a desire for justice (and nothing beyond it)", then it is not immoral.
    — Samuel Lacrampe
    Circular reasoning.
    BlueBanana
    My point was that 'revenge', once clearly defined, cannot be just, while at the same time immoral. But we can work on a concrete example if desired.

    How? How is imposing everyone's desires on everyone against their will not equal?BlueBanana
    "Equality in treatment" means that for a given situation, whatever act you choose, you must also accept it from others under a similar situation. Now, the act of "imposing others' desires against my will" cannot be accepted, by definition. As such, it is an unjust act.

    So equal misery is better than unequal happiness?BlueBanana
    This depends once again on the net result, but for the most part, yes. What if you were on the bad end of that unequal happiness situation? Would you not wish for that slightly better equal happiness?
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739

    I must say, you touch on what I believe is the one weak point of my argument. But I will try my best to answer it.

    As per point (1) in the OP, if the act is just, then it is morally good, and if unjust, then morally bad. It is nonsense to speak of an act which is morally good yet unjust, or morally bad yet just.

    Now you ask "why be morally good"? For no other reason that it is morally good. Morality is not a means to another end, but an end in and of itself. "Why should I do x if I don't want to?" Because it is morally good. "Why should I not do y even if I want to?" Because it is morally bad.
  • BlueBanana
    866
    My point was that 'revenge', once clearly defined, cannot be just, while at the same time immoral.Samuel Lacrampe

    Yes, starting with your claim as a premise. Having mercy is never immoral, while any punishment can be just as long as the same law is applied equally to all criminals.

    the act of "imposing others' desires against my will" cannot be accepted, by definition.Samuel Lacrampe

    Accepting something based on rational reasoning dodsn't make it your will.

    What if you were on the bad end of that unequal happiness situation?Samuel Lacrampe

    I'd think about the situation objectively and try to not be selfish, and accept my situation as a just sacrifice for a greater good.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    "Do unto others as you would have done unto you" does not just automatically lead one to just war theory. [...] And even then I don't see how, of all doctrines, just war theory somehow naturally flows from the golden rule. You'd have to, at the very least, argue the case.Moliere
    They are connected, because both are derived from justice. Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have done unto you" is the only way to preserve equality in treatment when interacting with others. Just War Theory: how to conduct a war while preserving justice. If you are in conflict with a neighbouring country, how would you want to them to behave towards you in order to resolve the conflict? E.g., you would likely want them to first use peaceful acts before resorting to force. As such, to preserve justice, you ought to behave the same way towards them. Thus the Just War Theory is related to the Golden Rule.

    but if you can accept those terms, then I don't see how you would be able to dissent from the example I used earlier.Moliere
    I forget what example you are referring to.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    Say, 1500 years ago slavery, misogyny, stoning, mistreating animals, etc might just have been common everyday stuff of no particular consequence/interest, whereas today they're considered immoral or criminal. I guess the contemporary political correctness movement exemplifies emerging morals or moral awareness.jorndoe
    You here speak of changes in the legal system, not changes in the moral point of view. Nobody wants to be a slave; not the masters, not the slaves. And nobody wants to be the victim of misogyny or stoning; not now, not then. Similarly to today, those victims surely would have wanted to revolt on the grounds of injustice. In general, we cannot discover a morality from historical facts, because morality is about "what-ought-to-be", not about "what-is".

    Either way, not all situations are (readily/necessarily) morally decidable, as shown by the Trolley problem.jorndoe
    The trolley problem is not a moral issue but merely a rational one. I did not mention this in the OP, but one necessary component of a moral/immoral (as opposed to amoral) act is intentions. If you never intended to kill anyone, as is the case in the trolley problem, then the accidental killing of people is not immoral. At worst, you made the wrong judgement resulting in an honest mistake.

    Nah, the nazis forfeit their rights.
    violation of the above may entail forfeiture of some or all of them
    jorndoe
    That's a good answer. It agrees well with your morality.

    Suppose we wanted to reduce morals to something. What might this something then be? What would acceptable "moral atoms" look like? Self-interest alone doesn't do it for me (like some rules seem to suggest), but maybe that's just me.jorndoe
    Golden Rule. It is a great practical way to determine if justice was intended or not.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    Only if you believe in the god delusion.charleton
    If the existence of God logically follows from the rest of the argument, then it does. Don't run away from the laws of reason just because you don't like the conclusions that follow. :wink:

    Incorrect. You believe the mathematical laws to be objective, don't you?
    — Samuel Lacrampe
    No, why?
    charleton
    No? The formula 2+2=4 is not objective, but man-made? What about the laws of logic then? After all, mathematics is just logic applied to numbers.
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