• Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    I don't see how i should necessarily prove my position because almost every religious tradition had an iteration of something like the golden rule.ChatteringMonkey
    The onus of proof is on the one that disputes the prima facie. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think up to this point, you have merely expressed an opinion, not an argument.

    Because we all have the same human genetic make-up, it shouldn't be all that surprising that some of the morals will end up being similar accross the board. That doesn't imply that morality is unchanging though.ChatteringMonkey
    If a large majority of subjects perceives the same thing, then it is reasonable to infer that the thing exists objectively. If a large majority of people sees a boat in the distance, then it is reasonable to infer the boat exists objectively. Similarly, if most civilizations have used the Golden Rule, then it is reasonable to infer it exists objectively.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    158
    What about slavery then, Samuel, the moral rule 'slavery is wrong' didn't exist objectively 2000 years ago, but it does now?

    You shifted your argument in the last sentence from what we see, to what we use. I don't think it's reasonable to infer something exist objectively because we use it.
  • Heiko
    144
    What about slavery then, Samuel, the moral rule 'slavery is wrong' didn't exist objectively 2000 years ago, but it does now?ChatteringMonkey
    And - would you call the morality 2000 years ago equally far developed as today?
  • ChatteringMonkey
    158
    What morality Heiko? There are many moralities.

    And 'equally far developed' implies that there is progression on some kind of ahistorical scale, the question doesn't make sense absent an ultimate standard.
  • Heiko
    144
    Well, there is some discussion about those things throughout the time. Arguments are made, arguments are refuted. Seems quite natural to assume some kind of progress there. Otherwise we could stop talking if it wasn't to fight boredom.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    158
    Progress on individual moral issues maybe, as we do get better at arguments yes. But it's not some kind of liniair progression across the board. Also circumstances do change which have an impact on morality. Protection of the enviroment for example used to be a non-issue, in the future i'd guess it will be the most important moral issue.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    What about slavery then, Samuel, the moral rule 'slavery is wrong' didn't exist objectively 2000 years ago, but it does now?ChatteringMonkey
    Indeed, societies had slaves back then; but it is not uncommon to hear that some people treated their slaves with respect, more like servants. And it could be supposed that it is through the perception of the golden rule that societies progressed from slaves to servants.

    You shifted your argument in the last sentence from what we see, to what we use. I don't think it's reasonable to infer something exist objectively because we use it.ChatteringMonkey
    No. Both are examples of perceptions. The golden rule is perceived to be the criteria that determines if an act is morally good or not.

    Progress on individual moral issues maybe, as we do get better at arguments yes.ChatteringMonkey
    Progress is defined as "change towards the good", and thus true progress implies an objective good.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    158
    Both are not examples of perceptions, you are using 'percieve' in the case of the golden rule metaphorically, it has nothing to do with the senses.

    And the word progress doesn't have to imply any specific goal, it can be the advancement towards any goal... for instance, i don't think we are making a lot of progress towards resolving our disagreement in this thread.
  • S
    6k
    Yeah, well I disagree with Nietzsche on a lot of things. Many people do, or would do if they knew more about him and his writings. I know that he didn't think much of Socrates, nor Plato, nor Kant, in particular. He disapproved of and refrained from drinking, and endorsed a solitary and isolated lifestyle, such as he lived for extended periods. That means that he has some things in common with asceticism. He was no hedonist, and I don't agree, at least without qualification, that he endorsed the cultivation of human desires and instincts. He strikes me more as a virtue ethicist, though he rejected traditional values. For Nietzsche, virtue, if anything, seems to be power and domination. He was critical of what he called slave morality, which he identified in Christianity, and also of the herd instinct. He admired Heraclitus more than Socrates - undeservedly in my opinion - and admired people like Napoleon over and above the sans-culottes, who I think he might have thought of as a rabble, herd or hoi polloi.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    158
    Sapienta,

    He was a virtue ethicist, yes, but that is a broad concept and there are many brands of virtue ethics... He was really only thinking of 'moraline-free virtue', or something like the virtù Machiavelli theorised about. That is, manly virtue (from the latin root 'vir', or man) rather than christian or moral virtue.

    Cultivation of desire and instinct is meant as in cultivation of or tending to a garden. You work with the material you have, trimming and cutting left and right, on a regular basis. I'm pretty sure it was along these line he saw it, "become who you are", "amor fati" et al... He didn't believe in force changing people to conform to some abstract otherwoldly (moral) standard, he thought it had serious adverse psychological effects in the long run.

    As for Heraclitus, yes, Nietzsche liked him because unlike most other philosopher, like Socrates and Plato, he wasn't trying to falsify the world by reducing it to fixed essences. He believed the nature of the world was in the first place change, flow... like Nietzsche.

    As i said i think it's important to understand the psycholigical insights he based a lot of his views on. He read a lot between the lines, and if you don't agree with his psychological analysis.... you probably don't follow the rest.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    Both are not examples of perceptions, you are using 'percieve' in the case of the golden rule metaphorically, it has nothing to do with the senses.ChatteringMonkey
    A thing does not need to be perceived through the 5 senses. It can be perceived through feelings, like moral feelings. You can perceive an act to be unjust, and this feeling of injustice cannot be explained by mere senses.

    And the word progress doesn't have to imply any specific goal, it can be the advancement towards any goalChatteringMonkey
    This is true. But you were claiming before that there is progress specifically in morality. In this case, progress means advancement towards the ideal morality, which must exist if true progress exists.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    158
    You are really stretching the meaning of words there Samuel. We don't really 'percieve' something through feelings. And feelings are never that precise that a fully formed moral rule comes out of it. And even if I would grant you all of this, in what way would a feeling, even if many people have it, lead you to conclude that the golden rule exists objectively. Isn't a feeling a prime example of the subjective, or what else does the term mean?

    Either way, i would not agree that all people agree (have the same feeling) on what is just or unjust, which is why we have that group proces I described earlier, to determine morality.

    As a side note, i think subjective vs objective is a flawed and confusing distinction philosophically. I think it's more helpfull to speak of individual vs collective.

    Progress on individual moral issues means just that, to me that doesn't entail a specific endpoint, like an ideal morality. Since circumstances change, I would hope it will be an ongoing discussion until the end of times.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    We don't really 'percieve' something through feelings.ChatteringMonkey
    Perception simply means information coming to us. The means by which it comes to us is not relevant; thus this can be through senses and feelings, as both serve the function of feeding information.

    Isn't a feeling a prime example of the subjective, or what else does the term mean?ChatteringMonkey
    A being is called 'subjective' if it exists only inside a subject's mind; and called 'objective' if it exists outside a subject's mind. How do we test if any being is objective? By checking if all subjects (or at least a large majority) perceive that same being. We would infer that unicorns are objectively real if a large majority of subjects could perceive one. The same goes for morality. We infer that morality is objectively real if a large majority of subjects perceive that Mother Theresa is a morally better person than Hitler.

    Since circumstances change, I would hope it will be an ongoing discussion until the end of times.ChatteringMonkey
    Morally correct acts are indeed relative to situations, but that does not entail subjectivity. For a given situation, there may be an objectively correct way to act. Thus arguments about the correct way to act given the circumstance will indeed never stop, but the very fact that we all argue about it proves the topic is objective, because we do not (or should not) argue about subjective topics.


    On a side note, could you hit the 'reply' button when responding? This notifies me that a response was made.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    158


    I just don't agree that "perceptions'' from feelings is of the same type as perceptions from the senses. There's no organ for feelings (like eyes or ears) that recieves information from the world outside of us.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739

    The raw data is also through our senses, because feelings are only triggered if we are aware of the events that cause them, and that awareness comes from seeing, hearing, etc. information about the event.

    But surely you agree that some feelings inform us of real things. For example, the feeling of fear triggered from encountering a bear is true, for it points to a real danger; and the feeling of relief triggered by seeking shelter in a blizzard is true, for it points to a real removal of danger. These are examples of true feelings that point to physical good or evil.

    Then we observe that virtually nobody in the world likes to be lied to, cheated on, ignored, or bad-mouthed, due to the negative feelings these events trigger in us. These feelings do not point to physical evils, for we are not physically harmed when being lied to, cheated on, ignored, or bad-mouthed. Therefore they must point to moral evils. And it is reasonable to infer these feelings are true, because they are felt by virtually everybody in the world.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    158


    Feelings can also be caused by things that are not real, like dreams or imagination. And imaginairy threads may also cause the same feelings in a large group of people, which is what politicians have been known to make use of...

    I don't agree with feelings themselves being true or false. Only statements can be true or false, and we know by veryfying the statements with the senses. Say for instance, you have fear for a spider. Your feeling will not help you determine if that spider is actually dangerous. To know you will have to test it, and observe what happens.

    Look, i'm not denying that ultimately morality has something to do with our feelings, but i don't agree with attaching the label 'objective' to the proces of how morality forms. People have feelings yes, but there's no simple one on one relation with morality there. It's a complex, mediated proces involving a community where choices have to be made between conflicting interests etc... It's not like there is only one true morality that can be deduced from feelings with mathematical certainty. What's the point of calling it 'objective', if not for rethorical reasons?
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    Feelings can also be caused by things that are not real, like dreams or imagination.ChatteringMonkey
    Sure, but the same goes for senses. We know our perceptions from dreams to be false, from contradictions among our own perceptions or those from other subjects. This "reality" could be a dream, but it is unreasonable to infer this because the large majority of subjects perceives the same things, and this hypothesis then fails the law of parsimony.

    I don't agree with feelings themselves being true or false. Only statements can be true or false, and we know by veryfying the statements with the senses.ChatteringMonkey
    Not true. All our different types of perceptions can be false. We may falsely see, hear, smell, or feel something, without making a statement. And their correctness are tested by contradictions among ourselves and other subjects. How frightening it must be to be the last person in the world, because of the challenge to differentiate the true from false perceptions without other people's feedback. :sad:

    Say for instance, you have fear for a spider. Your feeling will not help you determine if that spider is actually dangerous. To know you will have to test it, and observe what happens.ChatteringMonkey
    Agreed. I don't believe the function of emotional feelings is to find truth, but to provide a quick way to make a judgement, rather than using the more accurate but much slower reason. Nevertheless, while not infallible, feelings are designed to feed true information, and they tend to be true most of the time. If this was not the case, then it would be wise to suppress all feelings, which is absurd.

    It's not like there is only one true morality that can be deduced from feelings with mathematical certainty.ChatteringMonkey
    But there is. Fact: Virtually nobody in the world judges the situation of being treated as less-than-equal as a good thing; not even bad people like Hitler. We are either collectively wrong about this judgement (for if not objective, then not objectively true), or this treatment is objectively bad. Most civilizations have opted for the latter hypothesis, because they all adopted the Golden Rule of ethics.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    158


    I think the fundamental difference between your view and mine is that i don't believe that 'true is what the majority of people think is true'. I think we determine what is true by veryfing it with data, and it doesn't matter how many people believe something if it can't be veryfied. Agreement about something doesn't make it true.

    And the rest of our disagreement follows from that really. I agree that morality is about agreement between people about a set of rules, but that doesn't make it objective or true. Speaking about truth in relation to morality just doesn't make sense in my view.

    But there is. Fact: Virtually nobody in the world judges the situation of being treated as less-than-equal as a good thing; not even bad people like Hitler. We are either collectively wrong about this judgement (for if not objective, then not objectively true), or this treatment is objectively bad. Most civilizations have opted for the latter hypothesis, because they all adopted the Golden Rule of ethics. — Samuel

    I also diagree with this example you keep bringing up btw, just to make that clear. Large portions of history hierarchy, different classes and unequality were to norm. Not a whole lot of people thought there was something wrong with that. The quest for more equality is a relatively recent thing. And it's also not true that all religions have this principe, take for example Hinduism.

    Also the point that you seem to miss is that the golden rule by itself is far from a fully formed morality. It's vague, and only deals with one aspect of what humans want. There are a variety of things we want, and not all of these things line up perfecty. Choices need to be made between conflicting interest.... Anyway, at this point, i'm starting to repeat myself.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    I think the fundamental difference between your view and mine is that i don't believe that 'true is what the majority of people think is true'. I think we determine what is true by veryfing it with data, and it doesn't matter how many people believe something if it can't be veryfied. Agreement about something doesn't make it true.ChatteringMonkey
    I agree about statements. Statements are not judged as true by majority. I also agree that we verify statements with data. But how do we verify data? We know that not all data perceived is true. Thus we judge data to be true by majority; and that is the point I am trying to make.

    morality is about agreement between people about a set of rulesChatteringMonkey
    Well, this new definition is not too far off the mark, because looking for an agreement between people implies that everyone has a say in it. However, notice that even with this new definition of morality, slavery is not morally good because surely slaves would not have agreed with those rules.

    Large portions of history hierarchy, different classes and unequality were to norm.ChatteringMonkey
    Here is my source. But assuming you are correct, this fact is likely explained by the use of force by a particular group, and surely not by a mutual agreement among the whole group; and thus the reason is not an ethical reason.

    Not a whole lot of people thought there was something wrong with that.ChatteringMonkey
    Except for the victims of the inequality. You make it sound like slaves wanted to be slaves. I don't know my history too well, but I am fairly sure this could not be the case.

    Also the point that you seem to miss is that the golden rule by itself is far from a fully formed morality. It's vague, and only deals with one aspect of what humans want. There are a variety of things we want, and not all of these things line up perfecty.ChatteringMonkey
    I think this is incorrect. The fact is nobody values being lied to, treated as lower than others, badmouthed etc; and on the other hand, everybody values honesty, treated as equal, trusted etc. Thus the Golden Rule is fitting: As I seek honesty, equality and trust towards me, and reject dishonesty, inequality and badmouthing towards me, so I ought to treat others in the same way, knowing they want this treatment too.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    158


    But how do we verify data? We know that not all data perceived is true. Thus we judge data to be true by majority; and that is the point I am trying to make.Samuel Lacrampe

    As i said before, truth is about statements, and nothing else. You will no doubt disagree with this, but data or feelings or whatever else are not themselves claims to truth.

    Well, this new definition is not too far off the mark, because looking for an agreement between people implies that everyone has a say in it. However, notice that even with this new definition of morality, slavery is not morally good because surely slaves would not have agreed with those rules. — Samuel

    Slaves were not considered part of the group usually. But either way, a social contract (an agreement) doesn't imply that everybody has a say in it. That would make it practically impossible to reach any kind of agreement. People are represented. For the same practical reasons democracy almost never is a direct democracy, but a represented democracy.

    Here is my source. But assuming you are correct, this fact is likely explained by the use of force by a particular group, and surely not by a mutual agreement among the whole group; and thus the reason is not an ethical reason. — Samuel

    That the Wiki also lists Hinduism as having an element of the golden rule in it, only goes to show i think how vague it really is, since apparently it can fit any system, even the ones that have strict class distinctions from birth.

    And like i said above, mutual agreement among the whole group is an utopia, you will never get anywhere if you have to wait on that. Force and social pressure is part of any moral system. For instance, a thief disagrees with the moral rule that stealing is wrong, and yet people find it perfectly acceptable and even expect that he will be dealt with forcefully.

    Except for the victims of the inequality. You make it sound like slaves wanted to be slaves. I don't know my history too well, but I am fairly sure this could not be the case. — Samuel

    Slaves were as i said not considered to be part of the group. But "victims of inequality" in general, probably wanted to improve their lot in life by moving up in class yes, but i very much doubt they thought it even feasable to remove classes altogether. At some points in history they did, in the French revolution for instance, and then after years of political instability they begged Napoleon to clean up the mess.... But that is, again, a relatively recent phenonomon.

    I think this is incorrect. The fact is nobody values being lied to, treated as lower than others, badmouthed etc; and on the other hand, everybody values honesty, treated as equal, trusted etc. Thus the Golden Rule is fitting: As I seek honesty, equality and trust towards me, and reject dishonesty, inequality and badmouthing towards me, so I ought to treat others in the same way, knowing they want this treatment too. — Samuel

    Yet how many people act in this way, really... taking a cursory look at the general discource on for instance Twitter should be evidence enough that people generally don't act on the Golden rule.
  • InternetStranger
    155
    What if someone were to answer: 'Because he is the most ugly of them all.'? Clearly, the Greeks were lovers of bodily beauty, and so, in part, the dreary glint floating upon the ever alive icon of Socrates, forever captivating the ordinary limited Athenian, took him from healthy enjoyment of the real things, into deluded and inchoate lands of utter shadow.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    As i said before, truth is about statements, and nothing else. You will no doubt disagree with this, but data or feelings or whatever else are not themselves claims to truth.ChatteringMonkey
    Indeed they are not "claims to truth" because they are not claims at all. But what do you call the difference between the perception of a thing that is really there, vs the perception of a thing that is not really there, if not true and false? Whatever you want to call it, false data is effectively the same as false statements, insofar that they both convey information that does not reflect reality.

    a social contract (an agreement) doesn't imply that everybody has a say in it. [...] People are represented.ChatteringMonkey
    True. But a contract requires an agreement among all parties involved, whether it is in a direct or indirect way, as is the case when being represented. As the slaves were not represented, this "social contract" is not really a contract; more of an imposition.

    That the Wiki also lists Hinduism as having an element of the golden rule in it, only goes to show i think how vague it really is, since apparently it can fit any system, even the ones that have strict class distinctions from birth.ChatteringMonkey
    No. In this case, the golden rule is in direct contradiction with the class distinction (unless lower classes are treated more like servants than slaves; but I doubt it). Rather, this tells me that the Golden Rule, although known, was simply ignored in that system. One may choose to ignore the moral law, but the fact is that it was still known.

    For instance, a thief disagrees with the moral rule that stealing is wrong, and yet people find it perfectly acceptable and even expect that he will be dealt with forcefully.ChatteringMonkey
    A thief does not believe stealing is right, because he does not want it to happen to him. He is therefore stealing, knowing it is wrong to steal. The fact that some go against the moral system does not count against the existence of that moral system.

    But "victims of inequality" in general, probably wanted to improve their lot in life by moving up in class yes, but i very much doubt they thought it even feasable to remove classes altogether.ChatteringMonkey
    Sure; but this does not go against the existence of morality. Quite the opposite, it could be used to explain why slavery took so long to be abolished.

    Yet how many people act in this way, really... taking a cursory look at the general discource on for instance Twitter should be evidence enough that people generally don't act on the Golden rule.ChatteringMonkey
    This still doesn't mean some people value being lied to, treated as lower than others, or badmouthed. You cannot derive an 'ought' from an 'is', that is to say, you cannot deduce the existence of morality based on human behaviour. We can both be right, namely, morality exists, and a lot of people act immorally.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    158


    Yeah but, but,... you are just assuming the golden rule there, when it's the thing that is being questioned.

    I don't value being rejected by a women, nobody values being rejected... are women therefor morally obliged to allways give in to my advances? Wait a minute... why am i going through all this trouble to seduce women if i could've just appealed to an objective moral rule all along?

    Of course a thief doesn't want his stuff stolen, and yet he steals from other people. That is precisly the point, that people don't allways follow the golden rule. In fact it seems to be pretty much the case that most people naturally hold other people to different standards than they do themselves. They may not want certain things done to themselves, but it doesn't follow that they believe that this is how everybody, including themselves, should act allways... unless you just assume the golden rule.

    And that is where morality comes in, because people do recognise that it's maybe better for them to forfeit some of their own freedom to act in exchange for the benefit of other people restricting their freedom to act. Morality is an agreement to collectively restict certain actions, because without it people won't necessarily refrain from them naturally.
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