• ZhouBoTong
    256
    Everyone calls it that, and no one agrees with Tim's semantics. What's the point of a semantics of one?S

    hahaha. fair enough. I think my compulsion to find common ground is acting up again :grimace:
  • DingoJones
    781
    Well thank you. I always appreciate confirmation that what makes sense in my head, actually works :smile:ZhouBoTong

    A sign of wisdom. :up:
  • Janus
    7.3k
    Sure we may listen to some other person or deity, but in the end, each person decides what they think is right, right?ZhouBoTong

    I think people generally just pre-reflectively accept the mores that their culture serves up to them. Once they become reflective, which is probably not all that common, then some of their mores, (less likely the really important ones dealing with matters of life and death) may be discarded or transformed. (They might come to believe that masturbation, or pre-marital or homosexual sex, for example are not immoral, where they formerly did believe those things were immoral).

    Of course it is true that individuals in most communities are held morally responsible for their actions, which means that it is, morally speaking, deemed to be ultimately up to them; but it does not follow from that that people have any absolute autonomy when it comes to moral beliefs, or even as to whether their actions conform to their avowed beliefs.
  • S
    10.2k
    It seems obvious to me that only those laws worthy of respect deserve respect, and that not all laws are worthy of respect. I haven't even any use for the phrase "law as law", and I find it a little peculiar that you've picked it up. It seems that people use this phrase to make unwarranted generalisations about the law, like that it should be respected and that it's bad to break it.
  • Janus
    7.3k
    Why? We have laws and we have law, and the latter does not consist in any particular law or even any particular set of laws. Do you want to live in a lawless society? If your answer is 'No', then to be intellectually honest you should respect law; but that does not require you to respect any particular law or set of laws. Why would you not respect a particular law or set of laws? I believe it wiould be because you didn't believe those laws were just or rationally justified.
  • S
    10.2k
    Why? We have laws and we have law, and the latter does not consist in any particular law or even any particular set of laws. Do you want to live in a lawless society? If your answer is 'No', then to be intellectually honest you should respect law; but that does not require you to respect any particular law or set of laws. Why would you not respect a particular law or set of laws? I believe it would be because you didn't believe those laws were just or rationally justified.Janus

    What's the point of talking about "law"? No one here wants to live in a lawless society. Everyone here has the bare minimum of respect for law such that they're in favour of having laws. There's nothing controversial there to discuss.

    And yes, you're right about why I wouldn't respect a particular law or set of laws.
  • Isaac
    714
    Lawless societies would not be expected to thrive or even to last for long, so if you wish to live in a society at all, it would seem to follow that the consistent and honest attitude would be to respect the law as law, which is really equivalent to wishing that there should be laws.Janus

    But egalitarian hunter-gatherer societies have lasted for longer than any Western society by several hundred times. None of them had a hierarchical system of law.

    you have provided no argument that I can see to refute that claim. Perhaps you could give an example of a society in which murder, etc, is or was widely approved of. I have virtually no doubt that you can't do that. Prove me wrong!Janus

    Nazi Germany. We've been through this and you just ignored my argument. Hence my frustration.

    Your position ends up either xenophobic or relativist.

    You say that a near universal sentiment is - It is immoral to murder/rape/torture a member of your community.

    But to avoid xenophobia (or outright racism) we have to have the term {member of your community} mean {whomever you feel is a member of your community}. The alternative is to say that who is and is not a member of any community is a matter of fact, not opinion, and I'm sure none of us want to go there.

    So now, exchanging terms we have - It is immoral to murder/rape/torture someone you feel is a member of your community.

    It must (again, by simple inverse of terms) be OK to murder/rape/torture someone outside of your community (otherwise we're talking about a different moral). So someone outside of your community is synonymous with someone it is OK to murder/rape/torture. A member of your community (by simple logical inverse) is synonymous with someone it is not OK to murder/rape/torture. I've not done anything deceptive or sophist-like here. These are the simple logical synonyms/antonyms of your sets.

    So now, again by simple exchange of synonyms we have - It is immoral to murder/rape/torture someone you feel it is not OK to murder/rape/torture.

    That is basically the definition of relativism.
  • Janus
    7.3k
    The point is that it is the fact that no one wants to live in a lawless society that commits them to moral respect for law as such. Tim is right about this; but he is wrong to conclude that it is always morally wrong to disobey any law.
  • S
    10.2k
    The point is that it is the fact that no one wants to live in a lawless society that commits them to moral respect for law as such. Tim is right about this; but he is wrong to conclude that it is always morally wrong to disobey any law.Janus

    So, Tim turns up, makes a boring, uncontroversial point, but makes it in ambiguous, problematic language, and then draws an obviously wrong conclusion from it that virtually no one else agrees with. That's my blunt and toxic assessment of the situation, anyway.

  • Janus
    7.3k
    But egalitarian hunter-gatherer societies have lasted for longer than any Western society by several hundred times. None of them had a hierarchical system of law.Isaac

    Nonsense; everything I have read on the subject suggests that tribal societies had laws and leaders.

    I am not going to respond in detail to the rest of what you wrote because you keep committing the same mistake I have already corrected at least once of thinking that individuals are actually free to decide who is or is not a member of their community; such a decision is never free insofar as it always comes with a cost, and community moral sentiment is thus felt as a moral constraint on individuals who have any genuine sense of community. Those who don't have such a sense we may leave out of consideration.

    That cultural sub-groups are considered to be more or less members of the community is a matter of community sentiment. Of course some may dissent, although this is less likely in tribal and traditional societies, but the dissent will be immoral from the point of view of the community. So I am saying that morality is relative, relative to communities, not to individuals, which is what I have arguing all along.
  • Janus
    7.3k
    Well, yes, from an uncharitable point of view, I think that about sums it up. :nerd:
  • DingoJones
    781
    The point is that it is the fact that no one wants to live in a lawless society that commits them to moral respect for law as such. Tim is right about this; but he is wrong to conclude that it is always morally wrong to disobey any law.Janus

    Where are you getting “moral” respect from? You just need to respect the law, or need for laws. The purpose is a functioning, healthy society. Morals don’t have to enter it at any point.
  • Isaac
    714
    That cultural sub-groups are considered to be more or less members of the community is a matter of community sentiment. Of course some may dissent, although this is less likely in tribal and traditional societies, but the dissent will be immoral from the point of view of the community. So I am saying that morality is relative, relative to communities, not to individuals, which is what I have arguing all along.Janus

    No. You have very clearly been arguing all along that morality (in respect of murder/rape/torture of members of your community) is near universal. I am countering that claim by saying that if the variable {member of your community} is not universal, then the whole moral is rendered not universal because it has no universal referent. It's not about what influences a person's moral sentiments, no one is denying that we are influenced by our community. What relativists are denying is that such influence leads to any meaningfully universal morals. I'm saying that your "it is immoral to murder/rape /torture a member of your community" is meaningless universally because 'member of your community' has no universal meaning in terms of dictating behaviour.

    Otherwise what's the point of the specification. You might as well just say it is a universal moral not to do things you think are wrong (but what you think is wrong varies from person to person). That's exactly the same form as is immoral to murder/rape /torture a member of your community (but who constitutes a member varies from person to person).
  • S
    10.2k
    So I am saying that morality is relative, relative to communities, not to individuals, which is what I have arguing all along.Janus

    You don't get to decide what morality is and is not relative to. That's out of your hands. You only have the power to dictate your own morality.

    Your words don't mean a thing. It's like if I were to say that citizenship of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland applies to people named David, Peter, and Sue, but not to those named Arthur, Christopher, and Mary. That's how silly you sound, in spite of the intellectual guise. No amount of "argumentation" from you can validate what you're saying.
  • Mww
    688


    1.)......is more self-regulation than self-legislation, because your example shows merely inclination to obey extant legalities in the public domain, rather than inherent duty to treat law itself as a governing principle in the private domain. Morality is grounded in the major difference between the law of someone else’s determination and to which the non-compliance effects one’s standing, and the law one wills of his own accord, and to which the non-compliance effects his conscience. The former is ethics, the latter is morality proper.

    2.) Yes, Kant acknowledges the other, but only as other members of the set of all individual rational beings in whom the concept of morality can be said to reside. All such beings think the same way, and while experiences will determine some difference in conditions under which sub-sets of all such rational agents conduct their public business, if there are any principles under which all rational agents conduct their private business, then the groundwork of morality itself is given.

    I wouldn’t say this is a correction, but rather an opinion based on a different understanding.
  • tim wood
    2.4k
    Sure breaking the law is somewhat immoral,ZhouBoTong
    ↪ZhouBoTong
    That is a great point. I think it will be very difficult to refute the way you’ve put it there. Well done sir.
    DingoJones
    Well done sir.
    — DingoJones
    Well thank you. I always appreciate confirmation that what makes sense in my head, actually works :smile:
    ZhouBoTong
    Everyone calls it that, and no one agrees with Tim's semantics. What's the point of a semantics of one?
    — S
    hahaha. fair enough. I think my compulsion to find common ground is acting up again :grimace:
    13 hours ago ReplyOptions
    DingoJones
    773
    Well thank you. I always appreciate confirmation that what makes sense in my head, actually works :smile:
    — ZhouBoTong
    A sign of wisdom. :up:
    DingoJones

    "Sure breaking the law is somewhat immoral" ==>>....
  • DingoJones
    781


    Your point? Can you possibly think that the little snippet you cherry picked was what I was commenting on? You think that was his point?
    Im tempted to call you a coward sir, you should address his actual point. If you actually think it through, it is crushing to many things you have said here.
  • tim wood
    2.4k
    If it is true to say, "Sure breaking the law is somewhat immoral," then it follows that breaking the law is immoral. And that is the sum and total of my whole argument from page one. And you might observe that many have written that a) it is not immoral to break the law, and b) that law is not a coherent concept (maybe not an exact quote).

    As to Zhou's "point" that you think so much of: as I read it, he argues that everything is somewhat immoral. Again, that makes breaking the law immoral. I have made the point repeatedly that mine is an argument to existence, not degree. Zhou simply establishes it in his own way.

    is there ANY moral action you can think of, that I cannot come up with a hypothetical where that "moral" action suddenly becomes "immoral"? Sure breaking the law is somewhat immoral, so is donating to charity. Everything would be on a scale with NOTHING being perfectly moral, right?ZhouBoTong
  • luckswallowsall
    16
    It's generally immoral to lie because lying generally causes harm.

    Drugs are generally immoral because they cause harm too.

    Neither drugs nor lying are necessarily immoral because neither are necessarily harmful. But they usually are.
  • ZhouBoTong
    256
    As to Zhou's "point" that you think so much of: as I read it, he argues that everything is somewhat immoral. Again, that makes breaking the law immoral.tim wood

    I think @DingoJones was getting at something along the lines of -
    If you are in any way agreeing with my point, why wasn't the OP phrased:

    If all aspects of human behavior contain some elements of immorality, then "doing illegal drugs", which is an aspect of human behavior, contains immorality.

    Notice the arguments would all be with the premise (the "if" portion in case my formal philosophy is lacking), and I doubt the whole debate would have been nearly as intense. Also, that argument would have NOTHING to do with drugs, as any other activity could also be immoral.
  • ZhouBoTong
    256
    Neither drugs nor lying are necessarily immoral because neither are necessarily harmful. But they usually are.luckswallowsall

    I thought this thread was intended to be a debate about your second sentence above. Semantic disagreements and an unwillingness to accept the approximate truth of your first sentence has made it mostly about your first sentence.

    I would challenge the assertion that drugs are "usually" harmful, but this thread has bigger fish to fry. (and we would likely just be debating the semantics of "usually" vs "sometimes" anyway) My agreement with your first sentence, far outweighs my disagreement with your second :smile:
  • ZhouBoTong
    256
    I think people generally just pre-reflectively accept the mores that their culture serves up to them. Once they become reflective, which is probably not all that common, then some of their mores, (less likely the really important ones dealing with matters of life and death) may be discarded or transformed. (They might come to believe that masturbation, or pre-marital or homosexual sex, for example are not immoral, where they formerly did believe those things were immoral).

    Of course it is true that individuals in most communities are held morally responsible for their actions, which means that it is, morally speaking, deemed to be ultimately up to them; but it does not follow from that that people have any absolute autonomy when it comes to moral beliefs, or even as to whether their actions conform to their avowed beliefs.
    Janus

    Uff, philosophy is complicated. I actually pretty much agree with all of this. I guess I needed to define the word "decide". I generally lean toward not believing in free will, so I think (emphasis on THINK, happy to be corrected) I understand your point. I agree that granting people absolute autonomy in decision making is wrong, but if we grant zero autonomy then haven't we eliminated the need for philosophical discussion? (among other things) If there is no "decision" to be made, then why ask "how should we behave?"
  • ZhouBoTong
    256
    "Sure breaking the law is somewhat immoral," then it follows that breaking the law is immoral.tim wood

    I realized I did not directly address this bit. When I accepted that "breaking the law is immoral" I included the idea that, using that logic, EVERYTHING is immoral. If we do not admit that EVERYTHING contains some aspect of immorality, then I am less inclined to admit that "breaking the law is immoral".
  • dePonySum
    16
    I'm interested in why you think it is immoral to break the law, this seems controversial.
  • tim wood
    2.4k
    There's 26 pages on that. Let's try something else: what do you say? Immoral to break the law, or not immoral. But while you consider that and before you answer, please consider and answer the question of the OP.
  • S
    10.2k
    Quoting out of context is a fallacy. Here is the actual context:

    I call the side that outweighs as the correct moral choice. Despite our MASSIVE disagreement on semantics, I am not sure our views on morality are that opposed.
    — ZhouBoTong

    Everyone calls it that, and no one agrees with Tim's semantics. What's the point of a semantics of one?
    S
  • Janus
    7.3k
    Yes, I wouldn't say we have "zero autonomy" any more than I would say we have "absolute autonomy"; that 'black and white' dichotomy of 'all or nothing' thinking is a conceptual lure that may become an intellectual trap. That process is often to be observed on these very forums; where some people just keep falling into it over and over, and yet seem to be completely oblivious to what they are doing, or perhaps to say it better: what is being done to them..
  • ZhouBoTong
    256
    Yes, I wouldn't say we have "zero autonomy" any more than I would say we have "absolute autonomy";Janus

    Cool, so we are in agreement there.

    That process is often to be observed on these very forums; where some people just keep falling into it over and over, and yet seem to be completely oblivious to what they are doing, or perhaps to say it better: what is being done to them.Janus

    Well if there is anything I can do to improve our debate experience, just let me know :grin: But be very specific. I have an emotional IQ of negative 12, so I will struggle to identify the significance in general sentiments.
  • Janus
    7.3k
    I have an emotional IQ of negative 12, so I will struggle to identify the significance in general sentiments.ZhouBoTong

    I find that hard to believe to be honest; I think you're probably being too hard on yourself. And I wasn't accusing you of being one of those awful black and white thinkers! :smile:
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.2k
    I'm interested in why you think it is immoral to break the law, this seems controversial.dePonySum

    Isn't it illegal to break the law, but immoral to break a moral code?
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