• god must be atheist
    In fine, it is better to describe ethics as distinct from culture, as to do with behaviour that appears to cause damage or otherwise as against innocuous behaviour as culture.RW Standing
    If I read this right, it makes tons of sense to me. However, there are too many "as"-es that obscure my language skills in trying to parse this sentence.

    Please re-write this sentence in more precise English. The way I read it, it shows brilliant insight, but I may be misreading it... I can't tell from here what it says, what with the unnecessarily unusual constructs you use in it.
  • RW Standing
    Not sure how my ambiguities confuse. I do not like the idea of employing the term Culture so as to include ethics in any form. As I may have said somewhere, there is no hard dividing line between ethics and morality, and culture. The famous veil that some women wear is an example of culture at the edge. Culture I take to be those arts and crafts and traditions that up until now demark one country from another, and may be considered an highly desirable attribute. That is diversity in culture - multiculturalism. Diversity I include in my list of ethical values, but relates to culture. It is absurd for ethics to justify a rampant range of morality on the grounds of diversity. In fact, if you have followed my diagrammatic representation of values, cultural diversity is NOT applicable to Anarchism which tends to produce a global unity of culture.
    I had better stop in case I confuse myself too!!!
  • god must be atheist

    You came to a brilliant conclusion: Ethics is the values placed on behaviour judged for a behaviour's effect for the detriment or for the continued sustenance of culture.

    Why can't you go with this? I fully support this.
  • RW Standing
    That sounds like good description. Of course, in fact, the good or otherwise would not be judged apriori on the basis or prejudice. There are by my reckoning three essential or fundamental forms of society - as opposed to social chaos - and value would be judged within each of them. Which means that in anarchism [so to speak] the widest range of behaviour would be accepted [egalitarian] that does not undermine social stability. Although, pragmatism would not be defining feature of such a society. The 'virtue' of altruistic society being pragmatism. Authoritarian society would be pragmatic but only to the benefit of the system [divine right of kings] and its 'god'. if you understand that its more than I can!
  • god must be atheist

    Verrry interesting. For now I would like to add only, that the driving force in an anarchistic society is also pragmatism, but it happens without social cohesion beyond the nuclear family unit. Each to his own. The goal of every individual is to pragmatically obtain and secure what one and one's family needs and wants, with no regard to other families.

    So the three types of societies you drew up the difference is scope of pragmatism. In anarchy, every unit is equal, and selfish. In an altruistic society (such as European, Canadian and Australian democracies) the resources and social structures that evolved allows all units to look out as much for themselves as for all other units. In totalitarianism, there is only one beneficiary, ultimately, the king (or henchman, or strongman, or head of state, or whatever you want to call him or her.) Here, pragmatism serves only the king, all other people are worth shit. The scope of pragmatism is over all society, but benefitting only one. In altruism, scope is all society, benefitting all. In anarchy, scope is family-wide, but not beyond, benefitting the family only.
  • RW Standing
    I am still concocting notes on the general subject.
    On the matter of Rights. It may already have been stated that rights barely apply to authoritarian society but duty does, and there is a right for anarchistic society for its people to be independent of each other [their families or groups etc as may be] and duty in accordance. Altruist society is of its nature bound to accord rights to its citizens, and at a global level, rights will be accorded national societies. These cannot stand alone and must have corresponding duties or responsibilities. Such as the right to education and realizing one’s own potential is set against a duty to employ the fruits of that education for the benefit of society whether embodied by the nation or otherwise. But there the matter becomes interesting. Because we live in a natural global society, and rights may be accorded all forms of life. Within human society, rights apply to all people whatsoever, including criminals. But the catch is that of both pragmatism and balancing duties. As a rational species [so we say] we can accord rights to animals. But animals have no such understanding and cannot reciprocate other than as nature dictates. Therefore the process is one-way and practicality can only take the form of our respecting nature as a whole, and in particular the beasts we domesticate. Within human society, a criminal is a citizen with the all the accepted rights. But this is balanced by the fact, presumably, that he has failed in various duties. This means that he can be respected as a sensate and rational human being, but certain rights-duties are incomplete and therefore he is most likely in prison.
    Anarchistic society is unlikely to be realized at its theoretical extreme – if that could be defined. But the right to life and minimal security will undoubtedly exist or be accorded. Some element of the Decalogue would be admirably suited, and penalties might well be biblical.
  • RW Standing
    Freewill: An overstated faculty. We are often told that God has given us Freewill. But what it is we call God is both vague and has to be proved to exist. What we call Freewill is rather vague also. Assume freewill signifies our having control over what we do and choose from all that is available and acting on it. Excellent. But now define that in terms of ethics. Why choose one of the three supposed end-values rather than another, four values if chaos is included. We are what we are already by the fact of previous nature and nurture. The ‘goods’ we value will already be imprinted on us so as to bias our ‘choice’. But we continue to experience, learn, and employ our mental faculties. A Road to Damascus event might have immediate and great impact. A predisposition to be beneficent to others, and what may be an entirely false belief in the words of Jesus of Nazareth, will be a powerful inducement towards some form of altruistic behaviour. Or it may impel us to burn heretics. Or behave in way that is superficially innocuous, but rationally a risk to society in the long term. We do as we are, and then do as we have become. A rush of fear and cowardice may have a great immediate effect on decisions.
    As previously mentioned, altruist society may attract those who are inclined to be practical in the long term.
    Nevertheless, it is in nature of altruist society that everyone be held accountable for their actions unless they are like many of us barking mad. Anarchism in its nature may be vindictive, and authoritarianism may in its nature be implacable.
    Communities or nations also exist as citizens of the world, and are similarly accountable. The difference to altruism being that tyranny seeks to unify globally in one business concern, and anarchism sees the world as an aggregate of individuals.
  • RW Standing
    The three types of society indicate the direction of travel. Not that everything is fixed in one or the other. There are of course any number of variations. Our own country and people in it no doubt falls into some intermediary position that I was going to mention. We have today many nations that call themselves democratic and have similarities in use of values. The point of the matter is that the current linear model of Left and Right, and the ethical model of some absolute sounding Virtue and Vice are inadequate.
  • RW Standing
    A society of autonomous individuals is not what we have in this country, which in fact is very cooperative. But there is a vanity about freedom, that is dangerous, so far as altruists are concerned.
  • RW Standing
    All the elementary values relate in varying degrees to all forms of stable society. Where they cease to do so then society is falling into conflict and chaos. As for instance freedom relates particularly to altruist and anarchistic society and clearly least so to its antonym of tyranny – except for the tyrant if that is a person and not something more subtle. Any society that exists will be somewhere between. Freedom is a question about purpose and is not a society in iteslf.
    It is peculiar to modern society that it is obsessed with the idea of competition. Whereas, we do not need to be followers of Lovelock to realize that the natural world, let alone human, is greatly cooperative. A long established forest is a network of growth above and below ground, and is highly interdependent. In the animal kingdom, the appearance of red in tooth and claw is about the necessity for survival, but below that there is such cooperation as is necessary for families of predators to survive and the predated to escape. The same is true in human society, and no business or community can survive otherwise. The purpose of that cooperation and how limited it is relates to the society it serves. At the extreme the citizenry are merely tools that serve those or the system in charge. Extreme individualism or autonomy is the least cooperative and prizes independence to a fault. Altruist democracy is overtly cooperative as is increasingly necessary not only locally, or in business concerns, but globally.
  • DingoJones
    What I'm asking is not what's objective about life expectancy, etc.

    I'm asking what's objective about "we should have x (re life expectancy, for example) as a goal."
    Terrapin Station

    I think he is talking about an objective standard, and not meant in the sense of mental/non mental per say. A standard created for reference, like a measuring tape.
    Also, your response to the OP is pure gold. Had a good chuckle as I read through it. In my mind your voice is Alan Rickman with a deadpan delivery dripping with condescension and sarcasm.
  • Terrapin Station
    Also, your response to the OP is pure gold. Had a good chuckle as I read through it. In my mind your voice is Alan Rickman with a deadpan delivery dripping with condescension and sarcasm.DingoJones

  • RW Standing
    Democracy: Until recently democracy in this country has been on the basis of representative government and not delegates, and not opinion polls. This has at least placed legislation in the hands of people who are probably concerned with social stability and play of opinion in parliament. There is now a growing use of polls or referenda to resolve stalemates in parliament. There is the probability of a referendum in N.I. to resolve the question of abortion. This country therefore appears to be in a state of flux regarding the nature of democracy and how practically to manage it. This is a fundamental issue and it is very risky to leave its resolution to random change.
    Assuming the validity of there being three directions of travel for society and one of these as increasing authoritarianism. The latter is not what is normally assumed as democracy with its root in demos. At the very least democracy should relate to the indeterminate value of freedom, but with this only realized as a form of society by the way that simple value is qualified by other values. [Not to mention various other sets of values] It can either be a corporate freedom within ‘altruist’ society. Or it may be a purely individualistic freedom of self-interest within a very minimalist society. The greatest folly would no doubt be simply making democracy a populist opinion poll that may be hijacked by any passing demagogue [Trump?] or even worse such a person as Hitler. The end result of that being a populace in happy servitude.
    The way our present rather intermediate form of democracy works, the Irish question is likely to be resolved by parliament deciding on what it will put in the poll as a form of legislation regarding abortion, and merely asking for it to be agreed in the poll.
    But all this pragmatism hides the underlying ethical question of abortion and the value of life. It should be clear that if we have a population that leans in three directions, it will influence how they vote. Some people will not give a hoot and will vote to get the matter settled. Others will be controlled by their religion and vote in the way they are instructed by it. Some more will be influenced by the values they see in their religion or philosophy. Others will believe in the right of individuals to act for themselves. Many will see the foetus as a growing person with commensurate rights. Others see the mother as having right over her own body in all its content. Some will assert the rights of both parents. And of course the term religion can hide the fact that it and the state may have the same voice.
    Assuming the three forms or directions of society. It would be foolish for a ‘democracy’ not to decide whether it is after all quite authoritarian, or it is in some degree altruistic, or it is in favour of more anarchistic self-interest.
    There is no great doubt about the ethic of altruism in this case, at least in approximation.
  • RW Standing
    Empower – Empowering: A term which is very popular today and would appear to be a positive emphasis on freedom. People are given the power to do things. As such it is the opposite of slavery or being forbidden anything. It is therefore subject to the same comments as is freedom. It is other values that denote what social assets are obtained. The person or community that is empowered must decide whether it is to move in the direction of cooperative altruism or in the direction of aloof autonomy or independence amongst other independent people and communities.
    It no doubt indicates having the power to claim rights. But in doing so the person or community must also agree on the duties or responsibilities it will adopt in relation to its rights. At the very least the duty not to interfere or encroach on others. That is to say, freedom and equality run together.
  • RW Standing
    Freedom – Pragmatism – Reductionism
    Reductionists tend to take particular values that they happen to like and extol them in isolation or with respect to particular things or objects that are favoured. As Social values freedom and pragmatism stand in conjunction with other values. It is the ethical purposes of freedom and pragmatism that need to be considered. Altruist society, as my model has it, is both pragmatic and free – which means according to the nature or rules of altruism. A society of autonomous individuals is also free but is barely pragmatic as a society – even though individuals may be pragmatic within their narrow horizons. None of this should be confused with that rambling structure called capitalism and free trade etc. In fact British society today is far more altruistic than hitherto. In perhaps a narrower sense of being cooperative, it is a prime value of the natural world, despite the appearance of being red in tooth and claw. Altruist society is the prime form of society for its pragmatism and regard for freedom. Altruism is a fairly modern term and we should not be pedantic about its original meaning.
    Of course, those who view the world and ethics from a purely individualistic view, and those who believe in ‘gods’ authority, may well construct ethical models to suit.
  • RW Standing
    Public Benefit, Social Benefit, Government Benefit: There are a vast number of naive or tendentious people in the world, asking for absolute or ‘right’ answers to moral conundrums, while yet we live in a world that is and will be far from perfect. An imperfect world has the greatest quantity of conundrums, and the most likelihood of only having only unsatisfactory answers.
    We have a current problem respecting an ambassador and confidential information. There is a large body of opinion that proclaims press freedom and free speech, while the government has to decide what should be lawful. The matter of Public Benefit is debated. If we were in some extreme degree of authoritarian society or state, then public benefit would be what is in the government interest to allow individuals to know. If we are not authoritarian, then the question really breaks into two. What is in the public or individual interest, and what is in the corporate social interest. There may be much that an altruist democracy can release for individual interest, having no social implications. In other matters, social interest may be severely damaged and therefore to be kept legally protected.
    Unfortunately government is naturally authoritarian to a degree, and it were better if social interest were decided by some other arrangement. We do have a fairly independent judiciary and high court. However imperfect the courts may be they are better than in many other parts of the world.
    But the answer to the original question is that we must be able to distinguish two sorts of Interest – three if public interest is foregone.
  • RW Standing
    Modern and Social Engineering
    A BBC documentary on LGB teaching at schools raised several questions. Quite apart from what is ‘right or wrong’.
    Firstly the terms old and modern are not ethical values, and can justify nothing ethically.
    To be modern and more effective for a morally ‘good’ purpose is quite another matter.
    Secondly, teaching at school and anywhere else is entirely a matter of social engineering.
    Even teaching maths, since it does that as a ‘good’ rather than not teaching the subject as a ‘good’.
    To teach that something should be tolerated is to say that it is not ‘bad’ which is social engineering.
    Thirdly, if every religion and its attitude to LGB should be tolerated in this country, then this country is divided between different ethical societies. Interreligious schools in that case cannot teach anything with respect to the subject.
  • RW Standing
    As with the current Conservative leadership contest. A political system that relies on popular support is almost certain to be ethically muddled. If it does not depend on populism then it may well be entirely bigoted.
    None of the extreme social-political systems can be defined in detail, only in relation to each other and in general terms.
    Described in ‘religious’ terms.
    Firstly, a society based on a bigoted ritualistic culture, in which the individual has no importance as such. Tyranny.
    Secondly, a society based on entirely individualistic ‘religion’ with minimal corporate or social identity. Autonomy.
    Thirdly, a society as a broad community or church of individuals. Altruism.
    The problem for present day politics is in the use of terms, like freedom, and equality, as definitions of a form of society, with minimal regard for other inconvenient values.
    As is obvious those last values apply least to a ‘tyranny’ in which the elite are the only ones who may be free.
    For ‘tyranny’ all are equal only in their moral unity.
    For ‘autonomy’ all are equal in their moral disparity.
    For ‘altruism’ all are equal in their moral congruity.
    Tyranny will tend to have one global culture.
    Autonomy will tend to have no culture.
    Altruism will tend to have diverse global cultures.
    There was a moral philosopher who tended to put voice to this, in disparaging mere religious ritual, and also self-interest, as against a more ‘brotherly’ ethic. While recognising that society had to have a prior base in some degree of authority. The Christian world has often concentrated on the last of these ‘values’ to its cost.
    As often mentioned, ‘tyranny’ and ‘autonomy’ have inbuilt faults.
    If ‘tyranny’ has a cosmology that cannot be fitted to reality, then it will not make good use of its technicians or philosophers.
    If ‘autonomy’ is so fractured that society cannot work efficiently then it may collapse.
    That is why current politics has mixed messages, and talks of ‘free trade’ and industry when in fact it must regulate it for social good. It has a muddled notion of equality as an arithmetical exercise, and yet must talk of a ‘meritocracy’.
    It speaks of the value of the family and yet proclaims liberty for people to form any and all sorts of relationships, involving any and all forms of procreation and families.
    Whether multiple ‘sexes’ is a tolerable norm, is a debatable point. What form and parentage the family should have is another debatable point.
    Altruism debates, and then makes its mistakes, and learns if indeed it survives.
    Behind all kinds of society, there is the fundamental need – we assume – for society to survive. Therefore, the future and the environment might seem to be the first priority, and not wealth and population numbers.
  • JosephS
    There are a number of diagrammatic representations of how ethical values relate - supposedly. Any such, or a new version or description, would be useful. I am not finished yet!!!RW Standing

    That'd be cool to get a cite on. I'm looking for that kind of stuff.
  • RW Standing
    Racism; This another term that arouses irrational passion. With our present reductionist ethic, it is yet another value that is defined according to the prejudices that prevail. As with all matters of morality the first thing to be clear is what form of society we are judging it within.
    What is broadly a Tyranny may or may not be based on race, but it is entirely in keeping for race to be a defining feature. The most extreme tyranny would include it amongst other consonant features of tyranny.
    Autonomy, as broadly defined, would have individualism at its core, and racial distinctions would entirely evaporate in time, after a period of conflict. As a loose society it would not so much oppose racism as ignore it.
    Altruism as broadly defined, is the one form of society that must provide itself with careful definitions. The question of colour is but a part of what defines a race. Race as a physical manifestation is not an ethical value, and as such it may be incorporated within broad culture, and as a matter of aesthetics. It is encompassed by the value of Diversity. Global altruism would count it, as with diversity in Nature, as something to be encouraged and maintained. Obviously on a national and regional basis, since only that would provide the framework for its preservation. In the nature of altruism - if a particular ‘race’ has genetic disease - then an ethical question arises as to whether that may be removed for the benefit of the individuals concerned.
    It is when ‘race’ is defined in terms of a social group defined by their ethical views and aptitudes that the greatest problem arises. Altruism must decide what ethical varieties it can accept in global society, or confine to a region. By definition, altruism, or altruist democracy, cannot accept tendencies that are antipathetic to altruism. Which means any social group or ‘nation’ or ‘state’ whatsoever may be criticised on that basis, in a rational and polite way as befits altruism. But at some point, altruist democracy must protect itself as in 1939.
    Racism within a national society tends to be a product of a chaotic mixing of religious, ethical, political, groups. If they are antipathetic to each other.
    The expression used of, ‘being against racism in all its forms’, tends to complete vacuity.
    First the League of Nations and latterly the United Nations are examples of valuable attempts at a world system, but the near impossibility of this for a host of nations employing ethical values in contrary ways, is manifest.
    As a federation designed simply for security and peace, it may have had effect, but with powerful tyrannies that were not intrinsically concerned with peace other than on their terms, it was only feasible under their hegemony.
    It may also have been successful on the basis of national autonomy, if the expansionist tyrannies had been stifled. In which case any country ruining itself or persecuting its citizens would have been no concern for others.
    As a vehicle for European democratic, and altruistic values, it has had some success no doubt. But it is pure hypocrisy for the altruist style democracies to imagine such a chaotic world can pragmatically be treated as though every problem will have a moral solution. We are thrown back onto a survival code to protect that part of the world that is in our sphere of social morality and constraint’
    An example that may be employed is, Palestine-Israel.
    1: Anyone who states that Israel or Palestine should not exist will immediately be suspected of racism. Perhaps betraying an irrational prejudice that every state should have complete hegemony of a particular kind.
    2: Those who treat all ethics as being individualistic, will claim that this conglomerate should be entirely open, under whatever name it may have.
    These latter alternatives have implications for the future that may be imagined.
    3: The third alternative is that Palestine by its prewar name and area, should have so continued, with immigration strictly controlled so as to maintain the ‘rights’ of those already in occupation.
    However, this does not answer the situation as it is. The only answer at hand is that there is a chaotic ethical conflict that could be answered by international action of a direct kind, but which would probably only cause more Middle East destruction and mayhem.
    A twin state solution is almost entirely undermined. Can a single state be agreed under pressure, with dual constitutional rights.
    The actual answer will probably arise out of raw power in the area involved – which is not altruist rule.
  • RW Standing
    Should Climate Activists Break the Law: There is a dimension of duty and responsibility that links Altruism and Tyranny – or mere Authoritarianism – and which is largely absent for anarchistic society or Autonomy.
    The plain answer is that ‘anarchists’ will indeed break the law with some impunity. However, even they must have a minimal regard for society, and it is obvious that action which undermines society ethically approaches a par with environmental ruin. In our democracy they may well find themselves prosecuted.
    Those who submit to authoritarianism are bound by duty and do not break the law, albeit they may indeed protest to authority. Our democracy is content with verbal protest.
    Altruists are bound by social responsibility, with a choice between verbal protest and restrained physical protest that may indeed be accepted in our democracy, without prosecution. However, if the global situation deteriorates and is critical, itself a matter of opinion, then mass passive disobedience may be expected. Beyond that!!
  • RW Standing
    Britain of today is an indeterminate democracy with a confused ethic.
    There has been the recent death of a professional boxer due to brain injury. Boxing is very much less extreme than the well-known gladiatorial contests of the Roman world. But they point to alternative ethics that we have yet to deal with.
    Gladiators and similar extreme contests are consonant with an extreme authoritarian society, or tyranny, that wishes to ‘entertain’ its subjects, while having no real concern for them other than as servants. Bread and Circuses.
    As against that, but not diametrically opposed to it, there is the extreme anarchistic society of personal autonomy. It would naturally refer to itself as a ‘free society’ as the virtually the only value it espouses. Even something as extreme as gladiators, and certainly the comparatively mild sport of boxing, would undoubtedly be tolerated. It would be the ‘right’ of every individual to participate or be induced to do so. But, as the sport is today, boxing can result in injury and death. Not by accident, but as a direct result of intentional battering to the head. However, this would be an accepted danger, with those involved taking the consequences. Apart from immediate first aid there would be no duty accepted by society to provide aid or future sustenance, with the injured party left to the ‘free’ will of his or her family.
    As against both of the preceding, there is the altruist form of society. And this, quite intrinsically, would involve a duty of care by society, and both rights and duties on the part of the ‘sportsman’. People who are accidently injured or who have injury caused them by malice or carelessness, would be given all practical aid then and in future by society. But ‘sportsmen’ with the right to take part in such an activity, would have a commensurate duty not to inflict injury. This creates a problem in distinguishing what may be termed genuine ‘sport’ from gladiatorial sport. As ever, an altruist society must discuss every ethical conundrum and create rules for the moment. Battering a person’s head is easily defined.
  • RW Standing
    Extinction Rebellion: Those involved in this organisation are right about only one thing. The environmental problem subsumes all other problems of this country and world.
    It is surely a minority of people living cloistered lives who do not accept that we are in an extinction event, involving the whole natural world, and therefore the human world that dominates it.
    It can only be supposed that our politicians have every digit and limb crossed, in the hope that technology will provide a fix, while we continue to expand production of material goods, and encourage population growth.
    We have forgotten that civilized society is a luxury, with the prior essential that of stabilising the world in which we live, while maintaining a hold on some practical ‘choice’ for civilization. Something better than brute tyranny.
    But also better than the anarchistic self-indulgence that dominates our present life. Coming to a culmination in a global network of virtual reality.
    We have a philosophy for the common man, that may be summed up as ‘live and let live’ which is not responsible altruism. The emphasis being on enjoying the life-style that ‘capitalism’ has provided, and letting tomorrow look after itself. When this breaks down, and even if a technology fixes the environmental crisis, what we may well find is that a commercialised form of tyranny has taken over. We will be living in a precariously artificial world managed by technocrats and artificial intelligence.
    If any natural and altruistic order is to prevail. We need to change the economic system, away from money denoting wealth. Everything that industry makes consumes natural wealth, together with human labour and intellect. We could all be, in increasing numbers, flying about the world in more and more aircraft, employing massive labour in all aspects, enjoying ourselves in artificial resorts while nature is depleted. Leaving care for people in the hands of robots.
    But then it is a choice and it is human nature to take the easy course.
    Tyranny – anarchism – altruism.
  • RW Standing
    Antonyms: The common assumption with ethical values is that there are opposed conditions of man and society, on the pattern of virtue opposed to vice. This tends to leave pairs of values floating about in space waiting to be picked up and used to justify some action or thing, as whim decides. It is barely considered how values relate to each other as a whole, as a description of the human mind.
    As may have been mentioned a few times. We may espouse ‘freedom’ but omit to relate it both to the individual and to the whole society. There is a similar two way split between responsibility-duty. And the ego of the individual and of society. It entirely depends on how these dimensions of value relate together, that a form of society is indicated.
    Setting aside a world in war and chaos, as is ours today.
    A society or state may invoke the law and duty as its logos or ego, as opposed to any substantial form of freedom.
    A society may invoke individual freedom and ego as opposed to any substantial form of duty.
    A society may express corporate freedom with responsibility as opposed to substantial ego.
    In the nature of practical and imperfect society, such as we must have, there will be a blend of each in varying degrees from society to society.
    Or words to that effect!
  • RW Standing
    Economy: Our economy and its system is not separate from our overall ethos. It is part of the definition of our society. Yet it still bears the marks of a barter economy that employs gold and silver or rice, as the medium of barter.
    An absolutist state could, rather cumbersomely, simply provide goods for people who work for it, and distribute wealth as suits the purposes of state.
    Anarchistic individualism owning commerce for personal profit, would naturally employ money as a form of goods, as if it were gold or rice. Even the natural world might be given a monetary value. Such central government as exists would be seen as taxing citizens for what would be a minimalist system of law and order. In its nature a system that maximises production and population.
    Altruistic society would be by its nature corporate, owning commerce, providing money as a lubricant or vehicle of exchange. Fiat money so it appears. The natural world and industrial goods would be corporately valued for social good, with the natural world a good for and in its own right. In its nature a minimalist system for goods and population.
    In reality we live in a humbug society that hides the plain fact that whatever form of government we have, it has final control and ‘ownership’ of commerce and property.
  • alcontali
    Reductionism in ethics is a total folly.RW Standing

    I looked up the definition first:

    Reductionism is any of several related philosophical ideas regarding the associations between phenomena which can be described in terms of other simpler or more fundamental phenomena.

    It is a bit vague as a concept, but the example in mathematics definitely clarified the concept to me:

    In mathematics, reductionism can be interpreted as the philosophy that all mathematics can (or ought to) be based on a common foundation, which for modern mathematics is usually axiomatic set theory. Ernst Zermelo was one of the major advocates of such an opinion; he also developed much of axiomatic set theory.

    Agreed, but it may fail to mention an important principle: Every Turing-complete axiomatization is equivalent in expressive power.

    So, axiomatic set theory is not more powerful than axiomatic function theory (lambda calculus) or axiomatic combinator theory (SKI calculus), and so on. There is an unlimited number of such equivalent axiomatizations possible.

    Concerning ethics, axiomatic derivation from scripture is beyond any reasonable doubt the core principle in Jewish and Islamic law. Reductionism is also the central epistemic argument that Martin Luther used in his defence at his hearing in Worms, in front of the emperor, Charles V:

    If you can show me through scripture and reason that I would be wrong, I will retract what I have said.

    The prosecutor acting on behalf of Papacy could have answered something along the lines of, "As an Augustinian monk, you are a member of our staff, and in our employ, and therefore you are held to do what we tell you to do." The prosecutor didn't. He said something utterly damaging instead:

    The Bible itself is the arsenal whence each evil heretic has drawn his deceptive arguments.

    The Papacy therefore flatly rejected the Bible as a legitimate axiomatic foundation for religious law. It would be unsuitable for that purpose, since it is replete with deceptive arguments.

    Since there is clearly nothing to reduce arguments in Christian religious law to -- according to the Papacy -- reductionism is indeed a folly in Christianity. Without axiomatic foundation, it would just be a silly exercise in infinite regress.

    Atheist ethics do not even have a basic document to which they could possibly reduce their conclusions to, i.e. a list of Kantian categorical imperatives. Hence, the core method of atheist ethics is necessarily: infinite regress, along with the occasional, impredicative circular reasoning.

    Reductionism in ethics is indeed a folly when you have nothing to reduce your conclusions to.
  • RW Standing
    Impeccable Virtues of Pragmatic Tyranny and Autonomy
    It is the art of the tendentious to employ fashionable virtues of the time in a way that appears to justify quite contrary social ends. Today there is barely a country that does not employ the trappings of democracy, with public elections and a representative parliament, a judiciary separate from the executive, but in reality under the draconian control of law. Alternatively, the ultra-liberal wing trades on ‘extremist’ language so as to minimise rational debate other than their own.
    A feature of this is in perfectly valid ethical-political values being defined in pragmatic ways in isolation from other values. What would holistically be a lack of freedom and equality, for instance, is defined by what is narrowly permitted.
    Brief examples of this that may well be vastly ‘improved’.
    Freedom: Everyone is free to work as they are able.
    Equality: Everyone has equal opportunity to do what they can.
    Freedom: Everyone is free to go where they may.
    Equality: All people are equal for what they are.
    Cooperation:: All people exist as one family.
    Love: All people must care for each other.
    Society: We live in a global society.
    On the other hand, Altruists as those who would treat values holistically, would say that contrary forms of society should define their objectives honestly and clearly.
    Altruists are after all ultimately biased in favour of their own form of society.
  • RW Standing
    Democratic Tyranny: That modern semi-altruistic democracies are not all they purport to be is fairly inevitable, especially in a chaotic world. A ‘state’ that has a good degree of stability and security cannot afford to squander that for a nicety of ethics. Britain is currently an example of how democracy should work, in allowing regions such as Scotland the liberty to decide on remaining in the Union or leaving – Parliament could block referenda. If the UK does break-up there will be a consequent loss of security, and the economic benefits of union will be lost. However, if we lived in a secure and democratic world, with no economic or environmental crisis, the result would be of cultural benefit for diversity.
    A country such as China is not, and few would expect it to act democratically. It lays claim to Formosa or Taiwan on the basis of history, and quite validly from that viewpoint. But Formosa is an island quite separate from the mainland, and for altruist democracy at least, it belongs to its people. It is also quite viable as an independent country or state.
    Israel-Palestine is a place in flux. Its security is a foremost concern. Therefore the occupation of the Golan Heights is at least understandable. But occupation as the result of war is not a basis for its inclusion in the country. It is however to be suspected that prolonged occupation will be employed as a justification, in the way it has been generally for the country since WW2.
    The interesting question is what the third form of society or state would do. Anarchistic individualism. The minimalist state of property owners. For India today Kashmir is a disputed region. It is being held by military force with scant regard for the wishes of its indigenous inhabitants and their democratic choice. Until now it has some autonomy, but India is reportedly proposing to absorb the region it occupies into India. This could mean its land being up for grabs by Indian people at large, and movement of population into Kashmir, changing its demography. This can be seen as a tyrannical device, or anarchistic device. In either case it will replace cultural diversity with globalised fashion.
  • RW Standing
    Chaos and Crime: A world in extreme chaos is one without any effective law or code of conduct. It would not be at war, since war is conducted by ‘nations’ which have rules of conduct for what may still be mayhem.
    There is no common basis for the definition of crime.
    Crime is a feature of established society, in such acts as to push it towards lawless chaos. A society that is at least socially stable will have its laws and codes of conduct which define crime and how to deal with it.
    Murder is a crime that everyone recognises and how it should be ‘punished’!!
    In reality this hides an absurdity, for ‘murder’ is simply a term for what the law determines is ‘murder’ as opposed to various other categories of killing. There is no self-evident meaning for the term otherwise. That the decalogue may proscribes what is translated as ‘murder’ is useless without careful legal definitions.
    It may immediately be said that altruist democracy would no doubt define it in terms of ‘killing with malice’ and ‘cold blooded murder’. Anything else is likely to be manslaughter or an accident. There may well be degrees of ‘murder’ with the most heinous being that of mass-murder and genocide. And perhaps the murder of a minor, or a law enforcement officer.
    How alltruist democracy deals with the offender is more fraught with difficulty. The main concern being to counter the causes of crime and murder. The offender being held ‘responsible’ for his acts whatever we may deduce about free-will. With many offenders considered in some degree unbalanced, or too young to understand their actions. However,an eye for eye and mechanical retribution is not a characteristic of altruistic democracy. Everyone is equal in their potential of humanity.
    In an extreme Tyrannical society, which includes bigoted forms of theocracy that employ logic to justify prior belief, people are not intrinsically valued other than as servants. Such a society would be marked by a rigid set of rules, and retributive punishments. With killing that is tantamount to regicide as the most heinous crime. If part of the belief system is humanitarian then it is not an extreme tyranny.
    In Anarchistic society the only substantial concern for the law would be peace keeping. The core of belief being in the sanctity of the individual as an independent person responsible for himself. This might have the appearance of altruism, except that it would include a degree of apathy about the fate of anyone. The strong survive. The only necessity being the removal of criminals from society, and allowing victim’s families some responsibility for deciding punishment or treatment.
  • RW Standing
    Racism: This is another of those terms that can mean almost anything. In this instance it is intrinsically to do with race, and attitudes to race. Race itself an ambiguous term. It can at least be distinguished from culture in a large degree although various ‘racial’ characteristics will have their place in culture. But essentially race is to do with physical inheritance deriving from the ancient geographical divisions of the world resulting in divergence. Religions also have had similar geographical distribution, but religion is a compound of culture, ethics, and cosmology. This confusion means that ‘racism’ needs to take account of all of the foregoing.
    Simplifying matters:
    Anarchistic individualism will be ‘blind’ to race.
    Tyranny – if its so in all matters – will employ all the features of ‘race’ to define virtue.
    Altruist society will support all harmless or cultural features of race as enhancing diversity.
    Taking all other features of these forms of society into account:
    Anarchism will be globalist and eventually racial variety will be expunged.
    Tyranny at the ultimate may consist of one global ‘race’.
    Altruism, will affirm localist responsibility and cooperate in maintaining human and natural diversity.
    What other outcomes are likely from these forms of society may be imagined.
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