• TheMadFool
    2.3k
    We do and can not pause and reason before all thoughts and action. This is just not the case. There's so much actions and thoughts that happen habitually and instinctually, like for instance setting one foot before the other. We would simply not be able to function if we were to reason about every single thing we doChatteringMonkey

    Well, that's why we have memory, learning and regret. When we behave instinctively we may commit errors. We look back at these errors and we (hopefully) regret and update our behavior. It's a self-correcting system although not perfect.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    696
    You can disagree, and argue with the norms of the times, and try to change them with good argumentsChatteringMonkey
    What would be examples of "good arguments" to judge the norms, if there is nothing higher than the norms?

    Up to now, I was just trying to get clarity on your position. Now do you have an argument to back up that position? Since, as I said before, the Golden Rule is found in nearly every religion and ethical traditions, it is the prima facie, and you have thus the onus of proof to dispute it.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    52
    Samuel, there no one criteria for what would be a good argument, it's contextual. You could point to evidence of implications of a certain rule, or weigh them against different values and make a case arround that...

    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. But anyway, my meta-ethical position is basicly that the legitimacy for morals in a given community comes from a social contract. 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
    52
    TheMadFool, i don't disagree with that. It's the timing (before actions) and frequency (all actions) that was in question.
  • Heiko
    93
    Samuel, there no one criteria for what would be a good argument, it's contextual.ChatteringMonkey
    No offense intented: Isn't this nihilistic? You are basically saying that the one is as good as the other. And both are nothing.
  • Sapientia
    5.6k
    Socrates wasn't a symbol of Greek decadence, he was a symbol against it. He was a symbol of integrity and austerity. He dressed simply and barefoot, he didn't make a record of his philosophy, he dedicated his life to finding and obtaining knowledge and wisdom, he condemned the Sophists for charging money for education and for prioritising winning a debate over seeking truth, and he stuck by his principles at the cost of his own life.

    In stark contrast, Nero was a symbol of decadence, though he was Roman, not Greek. A Greek counterpart doesn't immediately spring to mind.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    52
    Heiko, what i meant, and what i think i said, is that there is no one criterium... but many, and it depends on the situation what argument will be a good one. This just to say that it is not that easy to give a definate answer in the abstract.

    That doesn't mean that one is as good as the other though. For instance if you make an argument pointing to the implications of a moral rule, and you happen to be factually wrong about these implications, then that would be a bad argument.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    52
    Sapienta,

    Nietzsche would disagree. He didn't view austerity, search for wisdom at the cost of all else (his family, his life as a part of society,... ), the application of reason to everything, etc as all that commendable. And he based that on a couple of psychological insights that you may or may not accept.

    In short, and probably butchered to some extend, what he valued the most was health and love for life... affirmation of life. That entails, in his view, the cultivation of human desires and instinct, and not the eradication of them. Asceticism, Christianity, excessive use of reason, and giving up on worldly interests in favour of the search for wisdom, he all saw as crude atempts to do away with desires and instincts... with disastrous results.
  • Heiko
    93
    There may be a difference between what ppl deem right and what is right. Such a statement implied the idea of the good as being. If one's criterion of the moral good was just "whatever people deem right", this is nihilism.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    52
    Heiko, I don't see how you got to that interpretation from what i've said in this thread.

    I said that morality is a group thing (social contract theory), no whatever one person deems right. He may try to convince the group to change their minds, with good arguments, rethoric, force or whatever... but there is no ultimate standard, unless you believe in God.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    696
    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
    52
    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
    93
    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
    52
    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
    93
    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
    52
    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
    696
    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
    52
    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.
  • Sapientia
    5.6k
    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
    52
    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.
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