• Josh Alfred
    105
    What else is one to base morality on? Even religion originates within the fine tunings of evolution. To take evolution out of any equation entirely is a mishap.
  • Dgallen
    3
    I believe morality stemming from evolution is a case of the naturalistic fallacy. The naturalistic fallacy is a case in which a normative conclusion is drawn from just a descriptive claim. Claiming a behavior is morally permissible just because it is adaptive is exactly this. We are arguing that because something promotes our survival or well being (descriptive claim) then it ought to be morally permissible (normative claim).

    1. If a conclusion expresses a normative claim, it cannot only be supported by a descriptive claim.
    2. Any claim about evolution or natural selection are descriptive claims.
    3. Any claim about moral systems are normative.
    4. Therefore a conclusion about a moral system cannot only be supported by a claim about evolution or natural selection.

    Additionally, the lines we draw when considering adaptive behavior into an ethical system are arbitrary. For example, most moral societies do not subscribe to social darwinism. Instead, it is considered moral to help the less fortunate in many situations. Another example of evolutionary behavior we consider immoral is violent anger. Anger can be considered an adaptive behavior because it can convince an individual to seek change and because of the physical effects it has on the body in certain situations. However, we actively seek to suppress and not act upon anger in a civilized society, despite it being one of our most evolutionary behaviors. It isn’t always incorrect to base a moral system around evolution. Some adaptive behavior can be considered morally good and some maladaptive behavior can be considered morally impermissible. What is wrong is to classify a behavior morally good or bad solely because of evolutionary reasons. In conclusion, any ethical system that bases itself only around evolution is fallacious.
  • TheSageOfMainStreet
    31


    Whoever Controls Language Controls Thought

    Use of the word "unfortunate" for those who may be harmful to society and may not deserve pity at all is a shallow way of describing a condition. Likewise, the "fortunate" may deserve their success when it had nothing to do with luck.

    Ironically, it is the fortunate who do not deserve their success who deceptively push this self-destructive concern for the toxic unfortunate, because people in neither status will see the falsity of pity for the losers and misfits and will be easily tricked into reacting by saying that the fortunate must deserve their condition if we are being forced to illogically conclude that all the unfortunate members of society got a raw deal.
  • Wayfarer
    7.4k
    In conclusion, any ethical system that bases itself only around evolution is fallacious.Dgallen

    :cheer:
  • Wallows
    8k
    In conclusion, any ethical system that bases itself only around evolution is fallacious.Dgallen

    What about if it has some conferred utility? Then, isn't it considered as beneficial towards some end?
  • Janus
    7.3k
    Should the Possibility that Morality Stems from Evolution Even Be Considered?

    Of course it should be considered ! Isn't that the purpose of this thread; to ask us to consider just that question? It's like creating a thread titled "Should this Thread be Considered?".

    What do you mean by "stems from"? All of human life stems from biology which is an evolutionary process. Perhaps you really wanted to ask whether morality may be conceptually "grounded upon" evolution? Or whether moral stances may be justified by our understanding of evolution? Are those last two questions the same or different?

    In any case if the source of everything human is to be found in biology one way or another, then the source of moral thought and feeling must also be found in biology. Even if moral thought and feeling is mediated and elaborated by human cultures and languages, those latter have their sources in biology. But it doesn't not follow from this that you can directly justify any moral stance by appealing to what is or has been the case in human evolution, or in other words by appealing to what is thought to be merely "natural".

    On the other hand, it seems to be the case that the vast majority of humans are socially motivated, and it makes sense that any action which harms others in your community is morally significant. But some things which are considered immoral are merely persistent taboos, which may have originally had some significant sense or purpose for the community, but which no longer do, yet have hung around because they have become entrenched within the community by the abiding power structures and the human propensity for the habitual.
  • whollyrolling
    408
    So much of philosophy has been about either a) why humans are so fantastic or b) given that humans are so fantastic why do they do things that are not fantastic.

    It never gets down to brass tacks, animal nature, naked truth. It's always too busy being super philosophical.

    In morality, there's "good" and "bad", and what is "good" is considered moral, and what is "bad" is considered immoral. But what is "bad" is objectively just as moral as what is "good".

    We are animals, and we are subject to the same laws as animals, and we behave similarly to animals, there are actually remarkable similarities between the behaviors of humans and bacteria. If humans observed humans the way animals observe humans, philosophy would be "a very different animal".

    It is memory combined with subjectivity, this awareness and observance of the self, and in turn the other, that generates in us a concept of morality as something separate from ourselves, some "higher order" of behaviour that is mistakenly objective. Morality, like other compulsions, is a facet of our genetic coding. It is directly related to survival, but it is also one of a series of aspects of humanity that are perfectly suited to support the compulsion to replicate sentience in some non-organic form.
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    910
    Even if moral thought and feeling is mediated and elaborated by human cultures and languages, those latter have their sources in biology. But it doesn't not follow from this that you can directly justify any moral stance by appealing to what is or has been the case in human evolution, or in other words by appealing to what is thought to be merely "natural".Janus

    In other words, although morality stems from biology, biology cannot adequately explain morality, without going further into an unscientific (scientifically untestable) dimension of reality. Scientific investigation marks the pinnacle of aesthetic assessment, but it is unable to access certain factors which are essential to ethical existence.
  • Possibility
    153
    We are subject to the laws of physics, but we are not subject to any laws governing evolution. All of our behaviour is rather subject to awareness.

    We behave similarly to lower-order animals only when we deny awareness - both of the universe beyond our own existence and of the overall value of interactions in the success of that universe - when we focus only on the value of those interactions for our sense of ‘self’. Other ‘higher order’ animals with self awareness behave in a similar way, and then also exhibit altruism and advanced social behaviour when they have nothing to fear.

    I see morality as an effort to broaden our awareness of value beyond ‘selfish value’. Selfish value informs and motivates internal processes of the organism lacking awareness of the universe, and amounts to a basic instinct towards the survival and benefit of the organism and/or its genetic code. Our awareness of this value in conflict with a more universal value that effectively renders humanity fragile, gives rise to self awareness and fear. Universal value depends on our awareness of the universe and of what would promote overall achievement. What is considered morally ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depends on whether we have the courage to include family, community, ideology, generation, species, animals, life, the planet, etc in our awareness of ‘self’. We tend to draw the morality line where this broadened notion of ‘self’ appears threatened.

    So killing is considered morally acceptable (without being necessarily ‘good’) behaviour only when it protects or benefits our community, our nation, our species, etc. Likewise broadening the notion of ‘self’ to include nation or ideology enables people to see the ‘moral goodness’ of sacrificing their own lives in order to protect it.

    Conversely, homosexuality is considered morally ‘bad’ behaviour when it threatens the ideology or the specific notion of family or masculinity with which one has identified. And broadening the notion of ‘self’ to include generations of life beyond our own enables us to recognise the ‘moral goodness’ of environmental action that sacrifices our own comfort, convenience and economic benefit.
  • S
    10.2k
    However, if that were really the case, why isn't the dog-eat-dog morality one of our morals? If we are so determined to survive and overpower the strong, why is murder or even just hurting someone not one of our core morals? Why do we feel it is wrong to mess with weaker people? Bullying is exactly that: picking on weaker people, but we, overall as a society, view bullying to be wrong.Play-doh

    Because it's often not a successful tactic. It's successful when you get away with it, but how often is that? There would likely be repercussions if witnessed or caught.

    And in answer to your title question: yes, of course.
  • TheSageOfMainStreet
    31

    Nerds Aren't Born That Way

    Bullying could benefit society if it made its targets man up. In a society with the right attitude, jock nerd-bashing would make High IQs drop their cowardly and self-indulgent escapism and become Alpha Males.

    So there must be something directing and manipulating this bullying that prevents toughening-up as a reaction. In this controlled and submissive society, reactions that threaten the upper class don't happen. By design, nerd-bashing takes self-respect away from those who will then meekly enrich ruling-class parasites by becoming willing Cash Cows for Corporate Cowboys. Those who think they are rebelling by becoming useless theoretical scientists are shameless cowards deserting the battlefield.
  • Possibility
    153
    I feel like it is possible for our core morality to stem from natural selection and adaptive drives. However, if that were really the case, why isn't the dog-eat-dog morality one of our morals? If we are so determined to survive and overpower the strong, why is murder or even just hurting someone not one of our core morals? Why do we feel it is wrong to mess with weaker people? Bullying is exactly that: picking on weaker people, but we, overall as a society, view bullying to be wrong.Play-doh

    We feel it is wrong to ‘mess’ with anyone, but we also feel individually weak ourselves in relation to the universe as a whole, if we’re honest. Bullying is a strategy to make ourselves feel or appear stronger by challenging someone we’re confident we can dominate.

    We are not determined to overpower the strong - we’re determined to construct an illusion of strength around ourselves, to overcome the humiliating awareness that individually we’re one of the most vulnerable creatures on the planet. But then, we haven’t really evolved to survive - we’ve evolved to increase awareness, to interconnect and to pursue the overall achievement of the universe.

    Our strength lies in valuing the supposedly ‘weak’ - in recognising that people’s strengths aren’t related to their capacity to survive. We can feel that, even if we don’t yet understand why. That’s why we view bullying to be wrong.
  • kudos
    27
    Everything's true nature is to end, and those things that are self aware become self-aware of their nature to end, and consequently seek to speed up their own demise.
  • YuZhonglu
    219
    Evolution ISN'T dog eat dog. It's more like dog eats cat. Notice how jaguars generally don't attack members of their own species. Nor do cats, dogs, monkeys, or apes.

    Intraspecies relationships in evolution are defined by either cooperation or apathy. Interspecies rivarly is generally where things get violent (dog vs rabbit, jaguar vs ape, etc.)
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    910
    Evolution ISN'T dog eat dog.

    Interspecies rivarly is generally where things get violent (dog vs rabbit, jaguar vs ape, etc.)
    YuZhonglu

    Of course violence occurs within species. That is one of the mechanisms through which selection occurs.

    Do an experiment. Put a bunch of dogs together, starve them for a week (like nature frequently does to its creatures), afterwards throw a T-bone into the mix and watch how violent those pups treat each other.
  • Janus
    7.3k
    Yes, I agree, but I'm not too sure about science being the "pinnacle of aesthetic achievement".
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    910


    I agree, such a claim is only an aesthetic assessment, and highly debatable. But, nevertheless, science is, at least, up there in the top 5? Hmm?
  • Janus
    7.3k
    Sure, I do agree that there may be great beauty revealed by science; but it seems it is like nature, not like the arts; that is it seems to be aesthetic without any intent to be so.
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    910


    That is an accurate point. To clarify, my position here, I am regarding science as human artifice, and include all human artifice under the category of aesthetic existence. The aesthetic sphere is navigated by assessing the interesting (what is my interest?), and beauty is only one aspect of the interesting.

    I would call scientific fact interesting, and in it's own way, it is beautiful without intending to be. But then again, is a beautiful maiden beautiful, only because she intends to be? And do we not find interest in the beautiful? I would say we are attracted to the beautiful for the mere fact that we find it interesting. Such is the capriciousness of aesthetic assessment.
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    910
    It's like creating a thread titled "Should this Thread be Considered?".Janus

    Greatest thread ever.
  • Janus
    7.3k
    :rofl: Or to re-contextualize Groucho: I would never participate in a thread that would allow me to participate in it...
  • Janus
    7.3k
    Yes, that way of looking at it makes good sense to me.
  • Janus
    7.3k
    Damn it, you went ahead and did! :lol:
  • yupamiralda
    44


    It's simple: we evolved from small bands of apes. within these small bands of apes, we believed in something like justice. following urbanization, evolutionary group dynamics has been hijacked and pressed into the services of universal moralities and identity politics. read fm 3-24. if you can get a group recognized as "them" (ie, "not us"), feel free to commit any atrocities towards them.
  • yupamiralda
    44


    lol beautiful. you might be interested in a book I wrote "the nordtbook: an introduction to chaotic evil" ...it's on amazon. I have an entry about "the seduction to nerddom" that basically talks about how eg jocks denigrate high IQ types to make the p***y off limits to them
  • TheSageOfMainStreet
    31

    Plato Is Patrician Play-Doh

    That is a self-indulgent fantasy of the hereditary intellectual regime, which has detoured philosophy for millennia.
  • TheSageOfMainStreet
    31

    Atlas Is Taking Credit for What Prometheus Did

    See: http://abeautifulmind.proboards.com, which also got no reviews. For that reason, I doubt if we really agree. I found that out from various embees about HighIQs, which is why I no longer pursue that matter on the Internet.
  • TheMadFool
    3.2k


    I too believe that empathy is an essential, if not most important, part of morality. At its simplest we feel or at least attempt to feel what others are experiencing from our behavior and that enables us to assess the moral nature of our actions. If behavior x makes us feel bad then we assume it's interpreted similarly by others too. Empathy isn't a perfect tool but is the most reasonable given the constraints, afterall mindreading is impossible.

    What type of theory supports an empathetic model of morality? Consequentialism seems to fit well. Deontology, although not concerned about the effects of our behavior directly, is reconcilable through its universalizability principle - surely one doesn't want to make a principle of something that hurts us. Virtue ethics too can be accommodated with empathy. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    By ''mirror neurons'' I think you're talking about empathy. As I said above, empathy is the tool we use to guide our behavior.

    As for evolution, I think the most crucial development has been the rational mind. Our minds/brains can process our feelings, empathy playing the main role, and we can then modulate our moral behavior.

    What I want to point out is that as the OP stated if evolution could explain morality then shouldn't the strong and powerful survive to pass on their genes. Morality, I've noticed, is more about protecting the weak and checking power. Doesn't this fly against evolution?

    Of course I've heard people say that there's an evolutionary advantage in being moral - co-operation (social existence) is a good strategy. Notice however that co-operation is different from morality. The former is always about some form of benefit which the individual group members derive but the latter is specifically about seeing beyond such things as advantage/benefit.

    The is-ought fallacy is very important. There may be sound arguments that justify immoral behavior i.e. it's possible that it is justifiable to, let's say, be a racist (Dr. James Watson) but something, our conscience, informs us that that's wrong.
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