• Possibility
    781
    Having said that the utterly passive life is not a moral life, implies that it has a negative impact on the world. But you can’t pinpoint exactly what that person is doing wrong. He could for example have worked for the poor in the slum, painted his neighbor’s house, played music to cheer people up or an infinite number of other possibilities. Positive ethics doesn’t specify what is wrong. There are no specific demands.Congau

    That depends on the positive ethics. I explained that the person you described, who did not consciously interact with life, was ignorant of what suffering they caused to whom. They may believe their passivity does not cause suffering, but their refusal to consciously interact precludes them from any awareness of the suffering they actually cause. This ignorance is what is ‘wrong’. The delivery boy could get beaten by suppliers every time he has to pick up the delivery - they won’t know that or be able to do anything to prevent it if they don’t interact. So they indirectly contribute to suffering by their ignorance. According to a positive ethics that calls us to increase awareness, connection and collaboration, they’re doing nothing commendable by their passivity.

    Contributing to suffering is not the same as causing suffering. If you are one out of millions of people who hurt the environment with your garbage, in this respect no one suffers because of your existence. If you dump garbage in your neighbor’s back yard, your neighbor suffers because of you. In the first instance we can only encourage caution (positive ethics), in the second we demand that you stop (negative)Congau

    This ignorant attitude is why the world is going to shit, while everyone arrogantly points the finger at governments and corporations. They may not appear to suffer from your existence, but they’re certainly suffering from your actions (yes, you are acting by producing garbage), and particularly by your ignorance.

    Let me make something clear here: from the start, I have not argued that positive ethics should be employed without a negative ethics, but that both work in harmony. An effective positive ethics, in my view, has a corresponding negative ethics and vice versa - but neither gives us the right to make demands on people. We make demands anyway with negative ethics because we believe that here we can more effectively force compliance through fear. The demand is accompanied by imposed (rather than natural) negative consequences. In many situations, the demand is effective only because a fear of these imposed consequences render those who comply ignorant of, isolated or excluded from, their capacity to choose the immoral act. Where this is not the case, they make their choice based on the soundness of the ethics, not the demand itself.
  • Congau
    64
    Agreed. But every argument has to have premises. And at some stage you can no longer break the premises down into other arguments. At that point it is a matter of opinion. I'm saying that positive vs negative ethics is one of those irreducible presmises. Just keep asking "Why do you believe this" and eventually you'll have to answer "Just cuz"khaled
    The first premise of the argument is not a random belief. It’s something so obvious that everyone agrees on it. (And if they don’t you can go even further back until they agree.)

    Let’s take my argument about positive ethics as an example. I’m saying that we can’t make concrete demands about what people must do, only that they abstain from doing. Why? Because everyone is born equal and therefore no one has an initial right to demand anything from any other.
    Why do I say that people are born equal? Because either they were all nothing before they were born, or if they were something, if they had a previous life, we don’t know about it. Therefore no one has a head start on anyone and so no one has a right to make demands.

    You see, I never said “just because”. The argument goes back to an obvious first premise (we don’t know about any previous life)
    Of course everyone still wouldn’t agree with me, but that’s because they think they find a fault somewhere in the middle of the argument and not at the first premise.

    So it's fine if I gamble with your money without consent? After all you COULD win. I think that if an action risks harming someone else and there is no good incentive to take said action then it is wrong. Even if there is a chance the person in question benefitskhaled
    If you have a positive view of life, you will think there’s a greater chance that the unborn child will be more benefited than harmed by life. Then you don’t consider it a great gamble.
  • khaled
    1.1k
    The first premise of the argument is not a random belief. It’s something so obvious that everyone agrees on it.Congau

    I'm highly skeptical of the use of "everyone" there. First off how do you know it's everyone? Have you talked to every person who ever lived is alive or will live? Secondly, what's the "extremely obvious" argument in this case favoring either positive or negative ethics. I would have used "everyone you're talking to" instead of everyone. (nvm you adress secondly later but I don't wanna delete it)

    Therefore no one has a head start on anyone and so no one has a right to make demands.Congau

    "No one has a headstart on anyone else" does not logically translate to "no one has the right to make demands". You would need to first off define what a "head start" is and what could possibly give someone a "right to make demands" and then show that a "head start" is not one of those things. Those don't seem like they're where you can find a premise everyone agrees on.

    if they had a previous life, we don’t know about itCongau

    Someone might claim they do. How do you prove them wrong?

    Then you don’t consider it a great gamble.Congau

    Oh so at least we're considering it a gamble now. Good. This is honestly further than most people are willing to give for antinatalism.
    Can I buy a house with your money without telling you? I don't consider that a great gamble so I can right? I'm just showing what happens when someone can arbitrarily decide what a "great gamble" is or isn't based on their own beliefs for someone else.
  • 180 Proof
    448
    Um, ok. So all of this gestation comes from nowhere. Nothing caused this? Yschopenhauer1

    "From nowhere" like thoughts or moods ... The relationship of sex to pregnancy is statistical not deterministic - not a matter of volition. Not "nowhere" but somewhere other than the couple's (coupling's) choosing.

    ... actually using people for some third-party's agenda (the "greater good" principle) and thus discounts individuals for some broad principle. — schopenhauer1

    Strawman. The "already born" who procreate are not a "third party" ...

    Your argument "discounts" prospective parents - procreators - as already suffering individuals ...

    The desire might not ultimately be wrong, but the exercise of fulfilling them are. Thus, desire away at procreation.. It is actually having children that creates the conditions for harm. — schopenhauer1

    If frustrating / blocking the desire harms either father or mother or both by not having children, then antinatalism is self-harming. Again, "conditions of harm" are not harm itself ... just as (e.g.) an acorn isn't a tree or a caterpillar isn't a butterfly or breathing isn't singing.

    So "who" loses by not being born? — schopenhauer1

    The "already born" parents, who you (antinatalists must(?)) ignore, discount, ... lose.

    I think we can both make a compromise that the best option is to not procreate. The next best is to promote positivity when we can. That is not contested by me.schopenhauer1

    "The best option" is "best" IFF neither "already born" is harmed by not procreating nor the procreated is harmed by being born - both conditions met - otherwise, it violates the prohibition against doing any harm.

    To do good is to alleviate sufferingovdtogt

    Bingo! :100:

    Life is NOT the problem. Suffering is.TheMadFool

    :clap: And failing to make or accept this distinction leads to the "destroy the village in order to save the village" catch-22 absurdities with which many antinatalists indefensibly paint themselves into a vanishing corner.

    With respect to my arguments, your objection is completely a non sequitur.
  • khaled
    1.1k
    What objection? What argument? Quotes please?

    :clap: And failing to make or accept this distinction leads to the "destroy the village in order to save the village" catch-22 absurdities with which many antinatalists indefensibly paint themselves into a vanishing corner.180 Proof

    Odd because me and TheMadFool agreed to make that distinction yet I fail to see how it impacts antinatalism in any way. Who here even claimed that life is inherently problematic? Suffering is the issue.

    To do good is to alleviate suffering
    — ovdtogt

    Bingo! :100:
    180 Proof

    No one here claimed that not having children is doing good. The claim is that having children is bad.

    "The best option" is "best" IFF neither "already born" is harmed by not procreating nor the procreated is harmed by being born - both conditions met - otherwise, it violates the prohibition against doing any harm.180 Proof

    Ok so? Are you saying that since someone is harmed either way it doesn't matter which you choose? Even though one choice (not having children) clearly leads to less overall harm in the overwhelming majority of scenarios? Ok then, say I feel like shooting my professor right now. By not shooting my professor I am slightly inconvenienced. Therefore I am allowed to shoot my professor. After all, someone suffers either way.

    The relationship of sex to pregnancy is statistical not deterministic - not a matter of volition. Not "nowhere" but somewhere other than the couple's (coupling's) choosing.180 Proof

    Again, I don't see why this is relevant. The relationship between me pointing a gun at you and pulling the trigger and your death is also statistical as the gun might malfunction. That doesn't make it ok to point a gun at people and pull the trigger does it? Obviously I am using an extreme example.

    Your argument "discounts" prospective parents - procreators - as already suffering individuals ...180 Proof

    Are you claiming that a parent would suffer more by not having children than their children would suffer their entire lifetime? I'm not discounting the parents' suffering, but one would have to show me that this particular couple wants children SO BADLY, that by just not having children they will surpass all the suffering their children will likely experience in a lifetime, keeping in mind that their children will also face the same dillemma of wanting children and there is no good reason to believe will suffer any less by not having their own children than their parents. If you can show that sure, have kids. I don't think anyone can show that though or maybe a negligable number can. I don't "ban" procreation just because it's procreation that's dumb. I think it's wrong because it leads to more suffering than necessary or justified.

    Also fun fact: There is a way to satisfy your urge to raise children AND not procreate, it's called adoption, and that does fit your description of "The best option"
  • ovdtogt
    384
    Contributing to suffering is not the same as causing sufferingCongau

    If I dump my rubbish I am causing and contributing towards the pollution of the environment. Contributing merely means I am not alone in exhibiting this behaviour.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.6k
    "From nowhere" like thoughts or moods ... The relationship of sex to pregnancy is statistical not deterministic - not a matter of volition. Not "nowhere" but somewhere other than the couple's (coupling's) choosing.180 Proof

    This still doesn't matter to the argument- a moot point. The parents can prevent the outcome of conditions of harm caused to another by not procreating. Period.

    Strawman. The "already born" who procreate are not a "third party" ...180 Proof

    I'm not referring to the "already born", but whatever principle or hopes that they want for the child to live out.. the reasoning (besides accidental) for having the child.. It MUST be good for the child because I prefer, ergo it must be good for the child sort of thinking.

    Your argument "discounts" prospective parents - procreators - as already suffering individuals ...180 Proof

    I'll defer to @khaled here as I would simply make the same argument.

    If frustrating / blocking the desire harms either father or mother or both by not having children, then antinatalism is self-harming. Again, "conditions of harm" are not harm itself ... just as (e.g.) an acorn isn't a tree or a caterpillar isn't a butterfly or breathing isn't singing.180 Proof

    All harm comes from being born at all. Are we guaranteeing no harm now? No, we know where the causality link starts here. We don't need to know every causal link to determine which action prevents all harm for another person. To presume one CAN start harm for another person because one prefers it, to me would need to be justified beyond "I have high hopes and I'm good at statistical forecasting".

    "The best option" is "best" IFF neither "already born" is harmed by not procreating nor the procreated is harmed by being born - both conditions met - otherwise, it violates the prohibition against doing any harm.180 Proof

    So I believe in not violating the autonomy of the individual. The parent being sad that they can't produce an outcome that can negatively affect another person is not doing this. Again, I refer to @khaled's arguments as they are the same as mine here.
  • Congau
    64
    they’re doing nothing commendable by their passivity.Possibility
    Of course they’re doing nothing commendable by their passivity. I have already said that such a passive life is not a virtuous and moral life. It only escapes the demands of negative ethics but not the recommendations of positive ethics.

    This ignorance is what is ‘wrong’. The delivery boy could get beaten by suppliers every time he has to pick up the delivery - they won’t know that or be able to do anything to prevent it if they don’t interact.Possibility
    For all we know, we may be in the same situation. Although we are more aware than that vegetable-like person, a lot of things escape us, and we could always make an effort to be more aware. Who knows what you might have done to the delivery boy last time you ordered something.

    An effective positive ethics, in my view, has a corresponding negative ethics and vice versa - but neither gives us the right to make demands on people.Possibility
    In negative ethics we have indeed the right to make demands. I have the right to demand that you don’t murder your next door neighbor, even though I don’t know you nor your neighbor. I don’t have the means to prevent you or punish you, but the abstract right to demand is not dependent on that. If I caught you when you were about to commit the murder, I would have the right to stop you, don’t you agree?
    You couldn’t say: “I’m a free person so you have no right to stop me or demand that I refrain from murdering.”
    However, since you are a free person, I can’t demand that you do what is recommended by positive ethics. I can’t demand that you give money to charity for example.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.6k
    @Congau@Possibility
    The irony is that the ultimate negative demands (don't procreate) would lower the need for positive actions (giving to charity). No people, means no need for charity. Positive demands seem to always be necessary when the real ethical basis of negative demands breaks down. You don't have to save anyone, if someone wasn't doing it in the first place. Of course, another thing to consider is that being born requires necessarily us to break negative ethics. We cannot always know, and we cannot always prevent doing things that will violate harm of someone else or aggression onto someone else. This is the collateral damage aspect.
  • Congau
    64
    The first premise of the argument is not a random belief. It’s something so obvious that everyone agrees on it.
    — Congau
    I'm highly skeptical of the use of "everyone" there. First off how do you know it's everyone?
    khaled
    The point was to show that I’m basing my argument on something more than just “this is something I just feel like” or “just because”. I start with a premise that seems so obvious to me that I think everyone would agree with it. If the person I’m talking to still doesn’t agree, I’m taking yet another step backwards until we find a common point of agreement.

    "No one has a headstart on anyone else" does not logically translate to "no one has the right to make demands".khaled
    I only roughly outlined my argument here. It’s in the middle of the reasoning process, and that’s exactly where you can attack me if you find my conclusion implausible, not at the first premise.

    if they had a previous life, we don’t know about it
    — Congau
    Someone might claim they do. How do you prove them wrong?
    khaled
    In that case he would disagree with my first premise and I’d have to take a step back. I’d say, ok, maybe you think you know that, but if the person had had a previous life, he would actually have been a different person in that life. If Peter used to be the prince of Persia in his previous life, that prince would have been something different from the current Peter. This Peter started when he was born. Do you agree? If he does, we have found a common basis, if he doesn’t, I have to make another effort. Again, it is not just an emotion that I have.

    Oh so at least we're considering it a gamble now. Good. This is honestly further than most people are willing to give for antinatalism.
    Can I buy a house with your money without telling you?
    khaled
    If life is almost always worth living, there isn’t much of a gamble. If the odds were a million to one to win a big prize, I think I’d be justified to gamble with your money (especially if you didn’t have much money anyway). What are the odds that the unborn life will not be completely miserable? It’s up to you to judge.
  • khaled
    1.1k
    I start with a premise that seems so obvious to me that I think everyone would agree with it.Congau

    Key words: You think. Not everyone actually does.

    If the person I’m talking to still doesn’t agree, I’m taking yet another step backwards until we find a common point of agreement.Congau

    I don't think you can do that forever. I think there will be premises you can't take back further. Example: A + B = B + A. Try to take that one back further

    that’s exactly where you can attack meCongau

    No that's where I DID attack you. I could have also attacked the first premise

    but if the person had had a previous life, he would actually have been a different person in that life. If Peter used to be the prince of Persia in his previous life, that prince would have been something different from the current PeterCongau

    This is all assuming some type of reincarnation. I didn't claim that was the case. What if someone claimed that he lived in heaven before he was born?

    If the odds were a million to oneCongau

    And who gets to decide that exactly? Say I'm a masochist and I think that getting tortured is absolutely awesome. Does that allow me to torture you without your consent? For me the odds of enjoying a torture session is a million to one so that justifies me torturing you now does it?

    It’s up to you to judge.Congau

    This is the central issue. What if I judge that it's ok for me torture you or rob you? Does that justify the act? I don't think any sort of imposing our arbitrary judgements on others makes a permissable moral system.
  • Possibility
    781
    For all we know, we may be in the same situation. Although we are more aware than that vegetable-like person, a lot of things escape us, and we could always make an effort to be more aware. Who knows what you might have done to the delivery boy last time you ordered something.Congau

    Agreed. It’s almost impossible to be aware if you don’t interact, though.

    In negative ethics we have indeed the right to make demands. I have the right to demand that you don’t murder your next door neighbor, even though I don’t know you nor your neighbor. I don’t have the means to prevent you or punish you, but the abstract right to demand is not dependent on that. If I caught you when you were about to commit the murder, I would have the right to stop you, don’t you agree?
    You couldn’t say: “I’m a free person so you have no right to stop me or demand that I refrain from murdering.”
    However, since you are a free person, I can’t demand that you do what is recommended by positive ethics. I can’t demand that you give money to charity for example.[/quote]

    Well, I could say that, actually. I wouldn’t be attempting murder if I didn’t believe I had some right to be undeterred in this particular situation.

    I get that you believe you have a moral right to apply force in preventing me from murdering someone, and that most people would probably agree with you. But if negative ethics includes both ‘don’t harm others’ and ‘don’t use force’, then wouldn’t you need to allow one to be violated in order to uphold the other in this situation? So how do you decide which one is more important to uphold?
  • schopenhauer1
    3.6k
    But if negative ethics includes both ‘don’t harm others’ and ‘don’t use force’, then wouldn’t you need to allow one to be violated in order to uphold the other in this situation? So how do you decide which one is more important to uphold?Possibility

    It is ok to prevent the harm of someone else if their negative ethics is being violated by a third-party. The autonomy of the person has already been violated. Violating non-aggression is not bad if one's autonomy is going to be or has already been violated from another's aggression.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.6k
    @Congau@Possibility

    I'd also like to distinguish between "de facto" forced and "physically forced". Most people have to find the most reasonable job, with the most reasonable pay, in the most reasonable circumstances, in the most reasonable market conditions, etc. Now, you are correct, no one has to do this. People can try to survive in nature, live on the streets, or become a monk. But these for most would be suboptimal given the choices. But the fact that one has to choose any of these is what is the "de facto" forced. At the end of the day, people pick the best of sub-optimal conditions many of the time.

    So if I set up a scenario where I forced you to choose out of sub-optimal conditions, you may be justified to be resentful of this. Sure, you could choose in my game to lay down and die, but really, you are trying to choose the best of the choices. This is an important distinction as well, because people think once born, that people have an infinite amount of choices, or at least more choices than are really available. At the end of the day, mitigating circumstances leads to really a few choices and even those might not be desired in the first place. If you like those choices, why would you want to force others into it because you like them or at least find them acceptable.
  • ovdtogt
    384
    "de facto" forced and "physically forced".schopenhauer1

    Humans are 'de facto' forced to stay alive for fear of death.
  • ovdtogt
    384
    I think what you might be alluding to is the Trolly problem.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem

    You see a runaway trolley moving toward five tied-up (or otherwise incapacitated) people lying on the main track. You are standing next to a lever that controls a switch. If you pull the lever, the trolley will be redirected onto a side track, and the five people on the main track will be saved. However, there is a single person lying on the side track. You have two options:

    Do nothing and allow the trolley to kill the five people on the main track.
    Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person.
    Which is the more ethical option? Or, more simply: What is the right thing to do?
  • schopenhauer1
    3.6k
    Humans are 'de facto' forced to stay alive for fear of death.ovdtogt

    Correct, that would be a more general way of putting it.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.6k
    You see a runaway trolley moving toward five tied-up (or otherwise incapacitated) people lying on the main track. You are standing next to a lever that controls a switch. If you pull the lever, the trolley will be redirected onto a side track, and the five people on the main track will be saved. However, there is a single person lying on the side track. You have two options:

    Do nothing and allow the trolley to kill the five people on the main track.
    Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person.
    Which is the more ethical option? Or, more simply: What is the right thing to do?
    ovdtogt

    Well yes, this is sort of the problem if by that you mean that the trolley conductor is forced to be in an unwanted situation whereby he has to choose from sub-optimal choices. It is slightly different, because unless the conductor is a sociopath, no one would want these choices. However, in the "game of life" situation, some people don't mind or think that they prefer these sub-optimal choices, so "why wouldn't someone else?". That is the main difference.

    There's also a bit of trickery going on here, with the "if a tree falls in the woods" problem. These same people might say, "People need to be around to KNOW they don't like these sub-optimal choices", thus in order to even have any determination, a person needs to be around in the first place. This is the non-identity issue. I say this is a false dilemma as it can be argued that putting someone into the determination of sub-optimal conditions, is itself a violation. As long as we can agree on the premise that it is always good not to cause harm when unnecessary, this will apply to situations prior to birth regarding decisions of procreation.
  • ovdtogt
    384


    I think you are making it more complicated than it needs to be. The question is a moral one. Should you intervene or not? What are you responsibilities? The five were ordinary day laborers and the 1 was a famous doctor who can save many peoples lives. It wishes merely to illustrate that it is very difficult to make value judgments.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.6k
    I think you are making it more complicated than it needs to be. The question is a moral one. Should you intervene or not? What are you responsibilities? The five were ordinary day laborers and the 1 was a famous doctor who can save many peoples lives. It wishes merely to illustrate that it is very difficult to make value judgments.ovdtogt

    Yes, if this applies to the scenario of intervening to someone who is about to or already violating the non-aggression/non-harm principle, then it is tough to decipher. My first observation would be that once born, the intra-worldly events of the everyday are messy. The procreational decision is much easier as the messiness is not even in the equation (non-aggression and non-harm can be perfectly followed). Once born, negative ethics still takes precedence, but since the locus of ethics lies at the autonomous individual, it is this which should be taken into consideration when the negative ethics is violated. Is someone's autonomy about to be violated? Then one can intervene positively to prevent the harm/aggression.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.6k
    @Congau @Possibility

    I'd like to add that a possible justification for negative ethics is its association with autonomy. By violating a principle, autonomy is being violated. By forcing or harming someone, it not respecting their autonomy.
  • Possibility
    781
    It is ok to prevent the harm of someone else if their negative ethics is being violated by a third-party. The autonomy of the person has already been violated. Violating non-aggression is not bad if one's autonomy is going to be or has already been violated from another's aggression.schopenhauer1

    Not very sound principles then, are they? We’re back to square one. If following one principle causes another principle to be violated, then one or both principles are flawed.

    I'd like to add that a possible justification for negative ethics is its association with autonomy. By violating a principle, autonomy is being violated. By forcing or harming someone, it not respecting their autonomy.schopenhauer1

    And now you’ve added a third principle - or is this your underlying principle? Is autonomy for you a fundamental right? This would explain your stance a bit better: non-existence being the only way to respect ideal autonomy in every sense.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.6k
    Not very sound principles then, are they? We’re back to square one. If following one principle causes another principle to be violated, then one or both principles are flawed.Possibility

    Not at all. The ideals are there. The world is messy. I never claimed it wasn't.

    And now you’ve added a third principle - or is this your underlying principle? Is autonomy for you a fundamental right? This would explain your stance a bit better: non-existence being the only way to respect ideal autonomy in every sense.Possibility

    Actually, yes! I think I had a hard time explaining that earlier with all the truth tables.
  • Possibility
    781
    I’m of the belief that philosophy is supposed to strive to make sense of the world, not declare it to be ‘messy’ and then leave it like that. In science, if a description of reality is unworkable, then it’s not reality - you find a more accurate description. You don’t just declare that reality should be conforming to your description as an ‘ideal’.

    Perhaps this is the problem I have with ethics. There is a way to describe reality that not only explains what we should (or shouldn’t) be doing, but also explains why not everyone does (or refrains from doing) what they should (or shouldn’t). Ethics (or perhaps just traditional formulations) has a tendency to avoid this second part - it simply attempts to draw a line and then ignores, isolates or excludes the reality beyond that line. The fact that there is a reality beyond that line is ‘messy’, but you’re just sweeping dirt under the rug here.

    It’s a delusion to say that ‘this is what reality is supposed to be but it sucks that it isn’t’. That’s not a workable philosophy. Don’t get me wrong - that used to be me, so I understand the appeal. But the world is only ‘messy’ because we have an inaccurate perspective of ‘neat’. When we can see the world through a more accurate conceptualisation - one that is inclusive of all actions and processes and motivations (even the ones we don’t agree with) - then it actually looks pretty tidy. I always thought that was the ultimate aim of philosophy.
  • Congau
    64
    if negative ethics includes both ‘don’t harm others’ and ‘don’t use force’, then wouldn’t you need to allow one to be violated in order to uphold the other in this situation?Possibility
    There’s no reason to equate negative ethics with rule ethics. Whenever I judge that for whatever reason you would be doing something morally wrong if you did x, I claim that I have the right to demand that you abstain. “Demand” doesn’t always amount to much, though, I’m merely using the word to distinguish it from a mere recommendation. I by no means think I have the right to use force against you every time you transgress ever so little. I could say “don’t lie to your spouse about your whereabouts last night”. In a sense I can demand that you don’t, even though it’s not really my business and quite frankly I don’t care. In fact, I probably shouldn’t even tell you so to your face, but I would still call it a demand. My dictionary doesn’t mention anything about force in connection with “demand”. “Demand” can be used when it’s imperative that you do x (or don’t do) whereas “recommendation” is for cases where there are also other possibilities. In negative ethics the “don’t” indicates that there is no other possibility, doing it would be plain wrong. In positive ethics the “do” is not the only possibility. (It would be good to give your money to charity, but it would also be good to spend it on your child’s education.)
  • Possibility
    781
    In negative ethics the “don’t” indicates that there is no other possibility, doing it would be plain wrong.Congau

    Of course there is a possibility - that is clearly demonstrated when someone acts contrary to your imperative. By defining the doing of the ‘don’t’ as ‘wrong’, given that it doesn’t prevent the doing, what do you hope to achieve?
  • Congau
    64
    By defining the doing of the ‘don’t’ as ‘wrong’, given that it doesn’t prevent the doing, what do you hope to achieve?Possibility
    If people agree that it is an ethical requirement to act in a certain way, the demand has achieved its purpose. All precepts of negative ethics are demands (not my demands but demands that the followers of a system subscribe to). Whenever there’s a “don’t” and the followers know it, they are not in doubt that they should abstain from doing it.
    Positive ethics, on the other hand, often deals with recommendations instead of demands. Then the followers don’t necessarily have to act in a particular way.
    Sometimes, however, also positive ethics uses demands that must be obeyed. (“Honor thy father” for example).

    I don't think you can do that forever. I think there will be premises you can't take back further. Example: A + B = B + A. Try to take that one back furtherkhaled
    Everyone would agree with that, right? No, need to take it further back. (And if they don’t, well, I’d be wasting my time talking to them anyway.)
    A+B = B+A is an example of a logical axiom. It’s definitely not just my emotions that make me believe in it.

    What if someone claimed that he lived in heaven before he was born?khaled
    I could come up with an answer to that too, which would be pretty much along the same lines as the previous answer, and I’m sure you could produce a strawman objection to that too, but what’s the point? I have never heard anyone claim something like that. For any realistic conversation I have now produced a first premise that people would agree with.
  • Possibility
    781
    If people agree that it is an ethical requirement to act in a certain way, the demand has achieved its purpose. All precepts of negative ethics are demands (not my demands but demands that the followers of a system subscribe to). Whenever there’s a “don’t” and the followers know it, they are not in doubt that they should abstain from doing it.
    Positive ethics, on the other hand, often deals with recommendations instead of demands. Then the followers don’t necessarily have to act in a particular way.
    Sometimes, however, also positive ethics uses demands that must be obeyed. (“Honor thy father” for example).
    Congau

    So am I to understand that your aim is to convince others to subscribe to a system of behaviour that is limited by such demands - but not because those demands correspond to any broader understanding of reality? The important thing for you is not to approach reality or truth, as such, but that the system of behaviour is adhered to - that one’s perspective of reality must be limited by what is ‘right’, and one must ignore, isolate or exclude what is ‘wrong’ according to these stated limitations.
  • Congau
    64
    So am I to understand that your aim is to convince others to subscribe to a system of behaviour that is limited by such demands - but not because those demands correspond to any broader understanding of reality? The important thing for you is not to approach reality or truth, as such, but that the system of behaviour is adhered to - that one’s perspective of reality must be limited by what is ‘right’, and one must ignore, isolate or exclude what is ‘wrong’ according to these stated limitations.Possibility
    Of course the demands must correspond to a broader understanding of reality. Any ethical system worthy of the name is based on a perceived truth. I would naturally try to convince people to subscribe to my understanding of reality since I believe it’s the truth (if I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t have that understanding) and follow the commands that I think belong to a sound ethical system. I’m quite sure you do the same and even people who never tell others directly what they shouldn’t do, have a perception of valid ethical demands.


    What if I could do something that would cost me a negligible effort but be extremely beneficial for you, wouldn’t it be bad if I didn’t do it? Suppose I couldn’t ask you if you agreed, but I was pretty sure you would, do you really think I shouldn’t do it? If I have no one to ask but my own judgment, what else can I do than what I think is best for you?
    This is the situation for someone who chooses to procreate. They think they are doing their unborn child a favor, and in most cases they probably are. Most people would have chosen to be born, or don’t you think so?
123456Next
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment