• NKBJ
    286
    You just got here.
    I'm hoping you're attempting humor, because otherwise this just seems like so much territorial chest-thumping that I'm not particularly interested in.

    I didn't dismiss any argument because you didn't make one, at least not related to the Trolley Problem.T Clark

    Yes I did: the Trolley problem both exemplifies and problematizes your insistent claim not to think moral decisions are primarily rational. When faced with the various scenarios of the trolley problem, we realize that we have many rational reasons for the seemingly knee-jerk reactions we have to given moral dilemmas, but that they can be at odds with each other if only a single variable is adjusted. Thus throwing in our face that we may not always be consistent about our moral reasoning. So, for instance, if I say flipping the switch to kill one instead of five is okay, it's likely because I think one small sacrifice is better than letting more people die. That's a rational conclusion. Then I'm faced with the idea of throwing the fat man on the tracks, and suddenly it seems less morally permissible, because it seems wrong to rope someone into being a sacrifice when he was never involved in the first place--also pretty rational.
  • T Clark
    3k
    I'm hoping you're attempting humor, because otherwise this just seems like so much territorial chest-thumping that I'm not particularly interested in.NKBJ

    Yes, as I said in my post, it was not a serious statement.

    the Trolley problem both exemplifies and problematizes your insistent claim not to think moral decisions are primarily rational.NKBJ

    I think I understand. "Insistent" = "Does not agree with me." Is that correct?

    When faced with the various scenarios of the trolley problem, we realize that we have many rational reasons for the seemingly knee-jerk reactions we have to given moral dilemmas, but that they can be at odds with each other if only a single variable is adjusted. Thus throwing in our face that we may not always be consistent about our moral reasoning. So, for instance, if I say flipping the switch to kill one instead of five is okay, it's likely because I think one small sacrifice is better than letting more people die. That's a rational conclusion. Then I'm faced with the idea of throwing the fat man on the tracks, and suddenly it seems less morally permissible, because it seems wrong to rope someone into being a sacrifice when he was never involved in the first place--also pretty rational.NKBJ

    You keep ignoring something from one of my previous posts:

    Reason can sometimes be used to figure out things that aren't clear and what needs to be done to address the moral issue.T Clark

    That doesn't change the fact that the basic motivations for moral behavior are not rational.

    When I first started on the forum, I was pretty pugnacious. I liked to get in fights and ridicule other people's arguments and attitudes. One of the things I've liked most about my time here is the chance I've had to improve my behavior and become more even tempered and friendly. I've tried to learn not to respond belligerently to, what shall we call them....unpleasant people. I look forward to more learning experiences with you.
  • NKBJ
    286
    "Insistent" = "Does not agree with me." Is that correct?T Clark

    Nope, more like, "Keeps on stating his opinion without explanation or even trying to address concerns raised by the person he's talking to."

    I've tried to learn not to respond belligerently to, what shall we call them....unpleasant people. I look forward to more learning experiences with you.T Clark

    Not sure why we need the snide comments? It should be possible to disagree about something in theory without succumbing to verbal put-downs and getting defensive? I'm certainly not interested in that kind of discourse.

    That doesn't change the fact that the basic motivations for moral behavior are not rational.T Clark

    You have not yet given me an example thereof. And the trolley problem would be a perfect place to test your theory.
  • T Clark
    3k
    Not sure why we need the snide comments? It should be possible to disagree about something in theory without succumbing to verbal put-downs and getting defensive? I'm certainly not interested in that kind of discourse.NKBJ

    I believe this is a case of the pot calling the kettle snide. I agree, I probably should have said "people whose behavior is unpleasant" rather than "unpleasant people."
  • NKBJ
    286
    I believe this is a case of the pot calling the kettle snide.

    I don't believe I have been snide, honestly. And I certainly haven't tried to be.

    Still, waiting on your example for the lack of rationality in morality though!
  • T Clark
    3k
    Still, waiting on your example for the lack of rationality in morality though!NKBJ

    You keep misstating what I've said. I said that the fundamental basis of morality is not rational but that reason has a role. I believe that morality comes from our human nature. I think of it as similar to language, although I'm not sure how that holds up scientifically. We have the capacity, the mental structure, at birth or soon after to learn and use language. I think the same is true of social behavior. There is evidence of very young children - months - making moral distinctions. We have evolved as social animals. We like each other. We were meant to be around each other.

    My understanding also comes from my personal experience with my moral understanding. For me, morality comes from empathy, compassion. From the ability to imagine what other people are thinking.
  • Pseudonym
    878



    I think the issue here can quite easily be expressed in terms of the Trolley Problem. I agree with T Clark, that our morals derive irrationally, but that rationality can help guide them.

    To put this in terms of the Trolley Problem, as NKBJ, is asking - who we choose to run over might be a rational problem, why we care is an emotional one. Why are no answers to the problem that we should choose to run over the one with ginger hair? Why is it not considered a dilemma if one of the potential victims recently insulted us? What about if one of the potential victims is gay, does that change things? Of course none of these things are problems for the rational brain to consider because these questions have already been solved by the basic emotions.

    Of course it's wrong to value some people as less worthy on the basis of something arbitrary like hair colour. The rational brain didn't need to get involved, that's just what morality is.
  • NKBJ
    286

    Sure, our morality stems from feelings and empathy about other people's feelings--no argument there. I would say that claiming these are dichotomous to rationality/reason is a false dichotomy. It's this whole head or heart dualism that has sadly pervaded our thinking for too long now, even though feminist scholars have long debunked that whole idea by formulating the ethics of care. To construct a moral maxim requires both feeling and reason--I see that throwing a rock in your eye hurts you, I care about you and don't wish to hurt you, therefore I will cease throwing rocks in your eye. Perfectly rational AND based on feelings/empathy.
  • T Clark
    3k
    To put this in terms of the Trolley Problem, as NKBJ, is asking - who we choose to run over might be a rational problem, why we care is an emotional one. Why are no answers to the problem that we should choose to run over the one with ginger hair? Why is it not considered a dilemma if one of the potential victims recently insulted us? What about if one of the potential victims is gay, does that change things? Of course none of these things are problems for the rational brain to consider because these questions have already been solved by the basic emotions.Pseudonym

    Yes, I agree with this. I imagine NKBJ might have a quibble - based on just non-rational, emotional factors, many people might let the fact that one of the potential victims is gay affect their judgment. Reason might be the factor that made them reconsider this. Or is that what you were saying?
  • T Clark
    3k
    Sure, our morality stems from feelings and empathy about other people's feelings--no argument there.NKBJ

    Agreed. No argument.

    It's this whole head or heart dualism that has sadly pervaded our thinking for too long now, even though feminist scholars have long debunked that whole idea by formulating the ethics of care.NKBJ

    Feminist philosophy is not discussed much here except to ridicule it. If you have something to say and are willing to deal with some....snideness, you should start some discussions.

    On the other hand, it is not a feminist idea - Schopenhauer said this in 1840

    Boundless compassion for all living beings is the surest and most certain guarantee of pure moral conduct, and needs no casuistry. Whoever is filled with it will assuredly injure no one, do harm to no one, encroach on no man's rights; he will rather have regard for every one, forgive every one, help every one as far as he can, and all his actions will bear the stamp of justice and loving-kindness.
  • Pseudonym
    878
    many people might let the fact that one of the potential victims is gay affect their judgment. Reason might be the factor that made them reconsider this. Or is that what you were saying?T Clark

    Yes, that's why I put that example in, for interest. By my belief, the same moral motivation would be at play in a society which hates gay people, as one which treated them equally. The only difference would be the society of homophobes erroneously thinks that's being gay is a non-arbitrary reason. Once they find it that it is indeed arbitrary, it will cease to make a difference. To me, the underlying moral that you shouldn't consider people less worthy for arbitrary reasons is just a gut feeling most people have, nothing rational about it.
  • T Clark
    3k
    Yes, that's why I put that example in, for interest. By my belief, the same moral motivation would be at play in a society which hates gay people, as one which treated them equally. The only difference would be the society of homophobes erroneously thinks that's being gay is a non-arbitrary reason. Once they find it that it is indeed arbitrary, it will cease to make a difference. To me, the underlying moral that you shouldn't consider people less worthy for arbitrary reasons is just a gut feeling most people have, nothing rational about it.Pseudonym

    We're pretty much on the same page, although I think a society of homophobes could easily decide, rationally, that unfairness or worse to homosexuals is not immoral. In my view, the basis for prejudice, just like that for morality, is not rational. Just because a moral code is based on compassion and influenced by reason, doesn't mean it will come to the same moral understanding you do.
  • NKBJ
    286
    Feminist philosophy is not discussed much here except to ridicule it.T Clark

    If that is the case, then it's your loss--you'll be missing out on one of the more important philosophical movements of the past century as well as miss the origins of many ideas that are commonly accepted in the discipline to this day--such as the relinquishing of the mind/heart dualism.

    But, Clark, just like with the Trolley problem, it just won't do to dismiss a concept, scenario, theory, etc. out of hand just because you don't like it--you still have the responsibility to address it. If not, I'm just going to assume you have nothing to really argue against it and that it is your way of ceding the argument. :)

    On the other hand, it is not a feminist idea - Schopenhauer said this in 1840T Clark

    Note, I never said they were the first, or the only ones--but they were the most influential and successful.

    In any case, I'm waiting for you to address my actual argument.
  • Pseudonym
    878


    Yes, we may well differ at that point, but a relaxing change to have agreed with someone thus far. I do think that we can say with some certainty that you and I will have the same gut feeling about moral motivations, because you and I are both human and it does seem to be the case that humans are remarkably similar at these basic levels. Unfortunately advertising works, hypnotism works, auto suggestion, any number of other mind trick and psychological predictions. They all work because basically we're all pretty similar. Morality is one of the many areas which are complicated by the addition of environmental and rational factors so it's much harder to test directly, but given that most things tested that way seem to be fairly homogeneous, I don't see why the gut feelings guiding our morality would be any different.

    Its the same with art, music, food, sensory pleasures... Given the range of things it's theoretically possible to like, the range of things most people actually do like is remarkably narrow.
  • T Clark
    3k
    If that is the case, then it's your loss--you'll be missing out on one of the more important philosophical movements of the past century as well as miss the origins of many ideas that are commonly accepted in the discipline to this day--such as the relinquishing of the mind/heart dualism.

    But, Clark, just like with the Trolley problem, it just won't do to dismiss a concept, scenario, theory, etc. out of hand just because you don't like it--you still have the responsibility to address it. If not, I'm just going to assume you have nothing to really argue against it and that it is your way of ceding the argument. :)
    NKBJ

    It's like you're looking for a fight. I said - feminist philosophy doesn't show up here much, you should start some discussions. You will get some snideness because 64.23% of the posters here have the emotional maturity of middle schoolers, even though many of them are as old, or older, that I am. You won't get snideness from me unless you are as condescending as you sometimes have been in previous posts.

    In any case, I'm waiting for you to address my actual argument.NKBJ

    I thought we'd come to an understanding, although we might disagree a bit on the specific roles for compassion and reason. Let me know what issues are still outstanding.
  • T Clark
    3k
    I do think that we can say with some certainty that you and I will have the same gut feeling about moral motivations, because you and I are both human and it does seem to be the case that humans are remarkably similar at these basic levels.Pseudonym

    Agreed.
  • NKBJ
    286
    It's like you're looking for a fight. I said - feminist philosophy doesn't show up here much, you should start some discussions. You will get some snideness because 64.23% of the posters here have the emotional maturity of middle schoolers, even though many of them are as old, or older, that I am. You won't get snideness from me unless you are as condescending as you sometimes have been in previous posts.T Clark

    I'm unaware of any moments of condescension in any of my posts. But I have noted an aggressive tone in your posts towards me. I've told you repeatedly, I'm not interested in that, so please, just stop.

    And if you do want to address something, perhaps you could finally respond to my criticism of dichotomizing reason and emotion--which I still think you do. Or at least you have not clearly explained when or how reason does come into play to establish morality?
  • T Clark
    3k


    Here are my conclusions from our part in this discussion:

      [1] You and I generally agree that both feeling and reason have a place in morality. We have differences in emphasis.

      [2] I think you're condescending.

      [3] You think I'm aggressive.

      [4] We've taken this discussion about as far as we can for now.
  • NKBJ
    286
    We've taken this discussion about as far as we can for now.T Clark

    Fine with me.
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