• Isaac
    2.8k
    I am only going to argue it out with people who will accept that if the law is wrong then it needs changingunenlightened

    But literally no one either here or in the entire moral philosophy canon is arguing that a law which is 'wrong' is best left unchanged. I can't think of a single person whom your caveat rules out.
  • unenlightened
    5k
    But literally no one either here or in the entire moral philosophy canon is arguing that a law which is 'wrong' is best left unchanged. I can't think of a single person whom your caveat rules out.Isaac

    There are plenty of people who believe in extra-judicial killings, enhanced interrogation, etc. They believe injustice is right. But if you read the piece with an ounce of sympathy, you will see that this is exactly why Anscombe prefers the language of particular virtues rather than universal 'good' and 'ought'. No one argues that injustice is ever just, but plenty of people argue that it might be good sometimes.
  • Isaac
    2.8k
    plenty of people argue that it might be good sometimes.unenlightened

    You'll have to give me an example of someone arguing that (where 'injustice' refers to the negation of the virtue, not the actual law as it happens to stand). I maintain, for the time being, that no serious moral philosopher, or even people in general, argue that.

    The example you gave of extra-judicial killings are people who believe that the law is wrong. That their killings are 'just' in the sense of the virtue, they are merely extra-judicial in the sense of the written law as it happens to stand.

    If we allow Anscombe to have some definition of what is 'just', in the sense of the virtue, which is so obvious it doesn't need talking about, then there is no defence at all against charismatic populists adding whatever they like to that definition and immunising themselves from debate on exactly those grounds.

    I don't think we have a great deal of defence against charismatic populists as it is, I'm certainly not prepared to go along with throwing away what little we do have.
  • unenlightened
    5k
    You'll have to give me an exampleIsaac

    No, I don't think I will.
  • Qwex
    366
    I think I'm onto something here...

    Especially where I mention 'good bias'.

    The defined word morality has a good bias.

    The defined word 'morality' is alignment to good, an evil alternative would be as sub-versive as possible.

    Morality is a potentially double-edged word.

    Thus I propose two definitions exist for morality, one is good and one is evil.

    Truly understanding morality requires good sense of both definitions.

    X - morality is good or evil alignment.
    Y - morality is Z(sub-version).
  • frank
    5.1k
    The defined word 'morality' is alignment to good, an evil alternative would be as sub-versive as possible.Qwex

    Evil is the stuff you don't like about others (the Other). It's usually the same stuff you don't like about yourself, can't face about yourself, don't know about yourself, etc.
  • creativesoul
    8.4k


    I appreciate your participation here...

    :smile:
  • unenlightened
    5k
    Cheers. It's been hard work at times, but it's been an education.
  • creativesoul
    8.4k
    I find that you're putting her thoughts to use. That has been educational for me. Thanks.
  • Banno
    8.9k


    Yes, excellent stuff, Un.
  • Isaac
    2.8k
    No, I don't think I will.unenlightened

    That's pathetic. You make a simple assertion and you can't even back it up on request. This is what passes for philosophical discussion here, a series of bare assertions, spectacularly unsupported guesswork where science should be, a few rounds of cheerleading from the old boys club and shut down any argument you can't respond to with a cliched insinuation that you're opponent is so wrong it's not even worth your precious time showing them how. It's the same story in every other bloody thread. I give up.
  • Banno
    8.9k
    Oh, hush your mouth. You did well to get that much out of him.

    Besides, he answered your question earlier:
    There are plenty of people who believe in extra-judicial killings, enhanced interrogation, etc. They believe injustice is right.unenlightened
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.3k
    ↪Isaac Oh, hush your mouth. You did well to get that much out of him.

    Besides, he answered your question earlier:
    There are plenty of people who believe in extra-judicial killings, enhanced interrogation, etc. They believe injustice is right. — unenlightened
    Banno

    This is simply argument by equivocation. It is based in an unacceptable definition of "justice". Once you assign "justice" to what is determined by "law" (the legal system), in an absolute sense, as implied by "judicial", you no longer allow justice to be defined as "law according to what is right", or "rightful law", which is the more proper definition of "justice", right rule. You have separated "right", in the sense of correct, from the meaning of "justice", to allow that the law determines what is just, regardless of whether the law is right. This allows you to say that "injustice" might be "right". But this requires an improper definition of "justice", which associates "just" with the law unconditionally, implying that what is judicial is just, instead of the proper definition of "just" which requires that the law is right or correct.
  • Qwex
    366
    I agree.

    Extra-judicial punishments are sometimes bad - the law is not perfect.

    I believe in the Death Sentence for some people.

    I have a good question:

    Is an eye for an eye, moral? Should it be 3 - 1?

    If you blind someone you should be blinded yourself. Literally, it may not be immoral, but lawfully, it is.

    You should not outlaw stealing with the threat of stealing, instead things can be resolved without application of the law; and forgiveness - in some cases - is implied. So, an eye for an eye must be with regard to good judgement of a case, to be a moral judicial system.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.3k

    This all depends on how you view the purpose of punishment. if you think that punishment is to extract revenge, or hurt the culpable person, you might say life in solitary confinement, or daily torture is a better punishment than the death sentence. And you would make the punishment directly related to the crime. But we generally don't see punishment in this way, so we do not choose our punishments as if there is a direct relation between the named crime and the meted punishment. The punishment is applied for a purpose other than to hurt the perpetrator.
  • frank
    5.1k
    So once we jettison the rule-following model of morality and focus on character, something more personal takes the place of public rules: facing one's fears, being honest about one's greed or apathy.

    It's not private in the sense Witt used the word, but it's private enough. No one can negotiate with your demons for you.
  • unenlightened
    5k
    The thing about extra-judicial killings is that they are not murders such as you and I might commit, but acts of the law-making state, exempting itself from its own definition of justice. So an individual or a revolutionary group can honestly reject the law, but the state itself cannot.

    Why does every weasel have to br brought out and publicly strangled? Can folks not work these things out for themselves?

    But to live outside the law, you must be honest
    I know you always say that you agree
    Alright so where are you tonight, sweet Marie?
    — His Bobness

    I am certainly not beyond the possibility of equivocation, but Anscombe is a smart cookie and you ought to give her published work at least the respect of being very careful about such accusations.
  • Banno
    8.9k
    So once we jettison the rule-following model of morality and focus on character, something more personal takes the place of public rules: facing one's fears, being honest about one's greed or apathy.frank

    You read her as rejecting rules? No, she rejects obligation.
  • Banno
    8.9k
    I am certainly not beyond the possibility of equivocation, but Anscombe is a smart cookie and you ought to give her published work at least the respect of being very careful about such accusations.unenlightened

    @Metaphysician Undercover goes beyond Anscombe. Long ago he tried to convince us that the private language argument itself was mere equivocation. My impression is that this is what he thinks is happening when he fails to understand what is happening. It is his go-to criticism. He thinks that every word has a strict definition, every thing a genus and differentia.

    But it ain't so.

    Hence, for him, the world equivocates.
  • frank
    5.1k
    You read her as rejecting rules? No, she rejects obligation.Banno

    I didn't see where she rejected obligation. She just noted that such a moral outlook was grounded in divine commands and seems to persist without any grounding.

    What's the difference between rule-based morality and obligation based? Isnt it the same thing?
  • Banno
    8.9k
    From the OP:
    Grayling drew my attention back to this article, when in his History of Philosophy he says she:

    ...argued that both deontology and consequentialism assume a foundation for ethics in the concept of obligation, which makes no sense in the absence of a lawgiver which or who imposes it...
    Banno

    I'm not thinking of rules in terms of "thou shalt not..." - that's imposing an obligation. A rule is rather a pattern, in this case a pattern of behaviour - like being kind.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.3k
    he thing about extra-judicial killings is that they are not murders such as you and I might commit, but acts of the law-making state, exempting itself from its own definition of justice. So an individual or a revolutionary group can honestly reject the law, but the state itself cannot.unenlightened

    Clearly, the problem here is that "the state" doesn't itself act. Human beings act for what they might claim is the sake of the state. But this is not the state acting, it is individual law makers, human beings acting. So it's not the state exempting itself from its own laws, it's individual human being exempting the themselves from the laws of the sate.

    He thinks that every word has a strict definition, every thing a genus and differentia.

    But it ain't so.

    Hence, for him, the world equivocates.
    Banno

    Actually this is contradictory. Equivocation requires that words do not have a strict definition. So if I thought that every word has a strict definition I would not be able to accuse anyone of equivocation.

    It is in recognizing that the same word has distinct meaning in different contexts of usage, and in recognizing that the word is used in one way, when the author asserts, or implies that it is being used another way that one apprehends equivocation. For example, in Wittgenstein's so-called private language argument, he demonstrates what "same" means by referring to the same chair. Then he implies that when a person has a reoccurrence of a similar sensation, time after time, and calls this the "same" sensation, each use of these two uses of "same" has equivalent meaning. But they do not and so there is equivocation.
  • Galuchat
    792
    But meanwhile - is it not clear that there are several concepts that need investigating simply as part of the philosophy of psychology and, as I should recommend - banishing ethics totally from our minds? Namely - to begin with: "action," "intention," "pleasure," "wanting." More will probably turn up if we start with these. Eventually it might be possible to advance to considering the concept "virtue"; with which, I suppose, we should be beginning some sort of a study of ethics. — Anscombe

    This implies that a coherent Moral Psychology entails a virtue (as opposed to deontological or consequentialist) approach to Ethics.

    I would replace her list of concepts requiring investigation with (in order): "social awareness", "intersubjectivity", "empathy", "evaluation", "knowledge", "decision-making", "conscience", "introspection", "judgment", "motivation", "intention", "volition", "act", "habit", and "character".

    From a psychological standpoint, starting with "character" puts the cart before the horse.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.3k
    From a psychological standpoint, starting with "character" puts the cart before the horse.Galuchat

    Right, I don't see how it is possible to derive a valid concept of "virtue" from a philosophy of psychology, without begging the question of the concept of virtue which psychology already assumes. The question being what makes this concept of virtue a valid concept. Psychology is already normative by its very nature. So just like the moving cart presupposes the horse, psychology presupposes a concept of virtue. That concept needs to be analyzed (by moral philosophy) to determine its validity.
  • Galuchat
    792

    I agree.
    Based on what I currently know of Virtue Ethics, I would use "virtuous" to describe a type of character (those aspects of personality considered to be learned, as opposed to innate), the result of lifespan experience.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.3k

    The boundary between "learned" and "innate" is not so clear, so I do not think reference to such a boundary could make a useful moral principle. Furthermore, if "virtue" could only refer to learned characteristics, then if we were to judge innate characteristics they could only be judged as vices or indifferent. If all innate characteristics are indifferent, then we cannot learn to overcome any innate tendencies to become virtuous. But if some innate tendencies are vices, then we could learn to overcome these vices to be virtuous. We could say for instance, that the innate tendency toward ire is a vice, and if we learn to overcome that tendency this would be a virtue. But why shouldn't we look at some innate characteristics and designate them as virtues?
  • Galuchat
    792
    The boundary between "learned" and "innate" is not so clear, so I do not think reference to such a boundary could make a useful moral principle.Metaphysician Undercover

    The boundary between "learned" and "innate" is the boundary between "culture" and "nature". Cross-Cultural research attempts to differentiate the two.
    I recommend starting with "social awareness" (specifically, ethical facts), not character, before moving on to moral principles.

    Furthermore, if "virtue" could only refer to learned characteristics, then if we were to judge innate characteristics they could only be judged as vices or indifferent. If all innate characteristics are indifferent, then we cannot learn to overcome any innate tendencies to become virtuous.Metaphysician Undercover

    "learned characteristics", "innate characteristics", "innate tendencies"?
    So begins the confusion of terms. I'm not interested in going there.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.3k
    The boundary between "learned" and "innate" is the boundary between "culture" and "nature".Galuchat

    There is no such boundary between culture and nature, cultures are natural. You've merely suggested a faulty starting point, which needs to be rejected for that reason.
  • Qwex
    366
    I would say that learned is correct. We become adults through the world.

    We are virtuous but this is management.

    Are you saying it's better to be childish, or both childish and mature?

    All good is based on some adult knowledge.
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