## back to the beginning: morality

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### Re: back to the beginning: morality

From Shows About Nothing by Thomas Hibbs:

According to....Immanuel Kant, a democracy is a community of individuals who are simultaneously sovereigns and subjects. No longer is revealed religion, nature or nature's God an appropriate basis for our own self-understanding. Since these are all in some measure extrinsic to the human will, reliance on them is seen to be alienating, an infringment of the dignity of the individual. In Kant's technical language, submission to them puts the individual in a state of 'heteronomy', the exact opposite of autonomy. Kant is remarkably optimistic about the agreement that is likely to result from everyone cultivating his autonmy, for he supposess that since each is under his own command, each will acknowledge and respect the dignity of the others in their capacity for self legislation.

Hibbs then goes on to ponder these arguments in an analysis of the film To Kill a Mockingbird:.

...Mockingbird seems to be of two minds about tradition and cultural particularity. On the one hand, in Kantian fashion, it asks us to prescind from the prejudices of blind tradition and look past the superficial veils of race. On the other hand, the conception of duty that Atticus embodies is infused with the code of honor appropriate to the Southern gentleman. From the Kantian perspective, then, To Kill a Mockingbird would be a somewhat impure depiction of the politics of autonomy. That assessment may tell us more about the deficiencies of the model of autonomy than about the dramatic flaws of the film. The problem is that radical autonomy, since it undercuts faith in any objective or communally shared source of morality, easily gives way to nihilism. Once cultural nihilism becaomes prevalent, no one has the right or the capacity to determine where the laws ought to be drawn.

Hibbs whole conjecture here revolves around the inherent tension between "too much" autonomy [anarchy] and "too little" [autocracy]. And this applies not just in the narrow political sense but in all other aspects of human interaction as well. He draws our attention to the role of "liberal democracy" and how, perhaps, in taking so much of what we once traditionally construed as essentially right and wrong behavior [think of sexual mores in the 50's and sexual mores today, for example] off the leash, we have created a debilitating and herterogenous rootlessnees that, perhaps, might necessitate reintroducing a more...well...heteronomous frame of mind all over again. But of course "common sense" would prevail in the end.

Ah, but which rendition of it? And common sense all too often devolves over time into the "lowest common denominator" sensibilities of "the masses".

Kant, of course, was able to subsume all this in a rational philosophical assessment of human ethical interaction. The mind would deduce the requisite a priori assumptions respecting the manner in which "practical reason" [in conjunction with a Good Will] would then become the horse pulling and regulating the cart. Then, perforce, this philosophically motivated moral agent would derive just the right mix of autonomy so as to convey to the world those behaviors deemed to be either universally right or universally wrong.

In theory, as it were. But, ironically...i.e. for all practical purposes...this has rarely been sustained beyond particular individuals who claim to live their lives in the moral tradition of Kant. Which, however, is seen as being superior to those who live their lives in the moral tradition of, say, Plato. Why? Because Kant's rendition of it is "squared" with the phenomenal world somehow. God is, well, a lot deeper in the background.

Authority therefore would be rooted categorically and imperatively in one's moral duty. As though throughout the entire history of human social, political and economic relationships this has ever actually happened self-consciously [over large segments of a population acting out a philosophical agenda]. As though Kant's rendition of human moral interaction isn't just the equivalent of a footnote in the works of Marx and Engels.

But then Nietzsche's biggest blunder may well have revolved around his failure to read Marx in turn. Philosophy, after all, is to political economy what lungs are to air. You can't really make sense out of one until you understand its relationship to the other. And what good are lungs without air?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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### Re: back to the beginning: morality

Reading about the "Spring offensive" being planned by some in the OWS movement prompts this:

That, because people do not share our values does not mean we have to appeal to "something unreasonable" in them. Instead, we have to acknowlege this: the facts we use in order to discover, embrace, describe, evaluate and judge values [our own or others] are open to conflicting -- yet reasonable -- interpretations.

Take, for example, one of the most fundamental conflicts of all: are human beings basically social animals prone towards cooperation and compromise [an argument for socialism] or should we view men and women from the perspective of the individual prone towards competition and conflict [an argument for capitalism]?

Well, historical, anthropological, experiential and anecdotal evidence abounds---for both points of view.

In fact, out in the world we live in, a reasonable argument can be made for both capitalism and socialism. In other words, there are veritably hundreds and hundreds of complex and countervailing variables out of which almost any interpretation can be said to make sense.

In my view, what the ideological factions on both sides of this conflagration fail to grasp is the manner in which most of the wealth and power in the world is garnered by those who are largely amoral in their approach to policy. They merely want to sustain a world in which they predominate "for all practical purposes".
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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### Re: back to the beginning: morality

Emile Cioran:

Even today nobody can tell what is right or what is wrong. It will be same in the future. The relativity of such expressions means little; not to be able to dispense with their use is more significant. I don't know what is right and what is wrong, and yet I divide actions into good and bad. If anyone asked me why I do so, I couldn't give an answer. I use moral criteria instinctively; later, when I reconsider, I do not find any justification for having done so. Morality has become so complex and contradictory because its values no longer constitute themselves in the order of life but have crystalized in a transcendental region only feebly connected to life's vital and irrational forces.

Are our contemporary myths about right and wrong [in the industrial West] really all that more sophisticated than those practiced by primitive, aboriginal tribes around the globe? They certainly cannot be defended as more effective. In fact "the order of life" in the modern world becomes increasingly more fragmented with each passing year. So much so that evangelicals [of all religious and
secular stripes] are on the warpath in nation after nation to recreate that old order. Or a new order even more doctrinaire and draconian.

Is human morality something we can take seriously from a philosophical perspective? We don't pursue good and bad because we have ensnared them in logic; we do so because it is a fundamental part of being human. We interact---socially and politically and economically. That means disagreements and conflicts. And there are only so many slices in the pie; so rules have to be devised to facilitate the least dysfunctional method for dividing it up.

And we know how that is generally done.

Of course we interact in other ways as well---sexually, emotionally, within and between communities, artistically, racially, ethnically, between genders. But in the 21st century the rules are barely connected at all anymore to "life's vital and irrational forces". Instead, amidst a fractured demographic smorsgasbord of literally hundreds of communities and sub-cultures, we kind of make things up as we go along. The old "orders of life" have now transfigured into "lifestyles".

Everyone has their own story. And even when you recognize this is all it is you also recongnize it is not practical to abandon it. You have to come up with one or another rationale [or rationalization] to justify what you do. And even this analysis is just one more story about how human moral interaction unfolds.

The part that confuses some people, however, is Cioran's conjecture that human moral interaction reflects an intuitve or instinctive discourse. They prefer to believe we have left that to the savages. We have become so much more civilized in the way in which we ponder and then institutionalize these things; and so derive a much more considered set of moral convictions. And we can, of course, defend them with rational arguments the more primitive folks know nothing of.

Next to us, in fact, they know practically nothing at all.

About, say, lifestyles or the rule of law or the global economy or nihilism.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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iambiguous
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### Re: back to the beginning: morality

Just watched a documentary on the South Asian tsunami. One of the reasons this tragedy hits home for lots of people is the realization it could very easily be them next time. There is almost no place you can reside on the planet that is not potentially in the path of one natural calamity or anaother---earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, tonadoes, the big one from space.

But let's be honest: the reason the death toll was as high as it was there [or after the earthquake in Haiti] is because it effected areas where there were lots and lots of people living in poverty. That's the way of the world.

Still, there is no real moral outrage being expressed regarding the devastation because it was the result of a natural disaster. An "act of god" if you will.

Irony intended.

Say what you will about the tsunami's destructve power, but you can't say it acted immorally, right? You can't call it an "evil" thing. It is just an adventitious movement in the earth's crust that precipitated horrific consequences for those unlucky enough to be in its path.

On the other hand, imagine a context in which the source of human misery is perceived to be exploitation or injustice. For example, according to WHO, every 24 hours nearly 20,000 children aged 5 years and younger die of starvation around the globe. That means in one week almost as many of these innocent kids will perish of hunger [one of the most agonizing and protracted ways to die] as have all the victums of the South Asian tsunami. It is the equivalent of nearly 50 of these tsunamis every single year. And all the victums are babies and infants and very young children.

Yet where is the moral outrage?

Some say the reality of worldwide starvation is built right into a worldwide global economy in which a small percentage of the world's wealthiest citizens gobble up a huge percentage of the world's resources day after day. Three and one half billion men, women and children literally subsist on less than $2 a day. And it has been estimated that if we used the food thrown away in dumpsters by American restaurants every night we could feed every single starving person around the globe ten times over. But we don't. And the moral codes embraced by many very compassionaite and decent and caring people seem to be completely oblivous to this. Why? Why is 7,000,000 children starving to death every year not leading the newscasts night after night? And when folks walk into Wal Mart to buy their cheap products they don't ask who made them...or what the working conditions were like...or whether the stuff came from sweatshops in which millions of adults and children are paid pennies a day. Why? Could it possibly have something to do with relationship between how morality is perceived in these countries and how that is intimately interwined in the relationships between government and corporations and the media? But then those who run the world have plenty of their own rationalizations to justify why their way is the best of all possible worlds. And who knows, maybe it is. To me that is the horror built right into human moral and political interaction. There is no way to say for certain which social or political or economic system is the most ethical. Says who? Based on what criteria? And with no God to appeal to you have to endure the way the world works as best you can. Or organize with others and try to change it. Of course if you are one of those reaping the benefits of the way it works now you will probably not see all this in the manner in which those who are not benefiting do. It makes you wonder. Could ethical convictions perhaps be, well, situational? He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529 Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296 And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382 iambiguous ILP Legend Posts: 33044 Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm Location: baltimore maryland ### Re: back to the beginning: morality iambiguous--we need a viral list of ten things every citizen can do to fix this. Things that do not help the poor depend on others. Things that make the rich want to help. Links to where this is already going down with charted and peer-reviewed results. Ichthus Philosopher Posts: 1167 Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 6:48 pm Location: Coram Deo ### Re: back to the beginning: morality From today's Slate http://www.slate.com/articles/health_an ... ates_.html But it changes nothing really. Re abortion, morality and ethics still revolve around conflicting goods. You can call the unborn "human" [conscious or not] anytime between conception and birth and it does not change the fact that aborting it is good and bad only from a particular point of view [rooted in dasein]. There has yet to be an argument that resolves this. Not one that I have heard. This can then be taken beyond abortion to the question of animal rights as well: My take on all this data is that it is extremely likely that all the species that can recognize themselves in the mirror or show metacognitive abilities have an advanced form of consciousness. But for any species that hasn’t yet passed these tests, we simply don’t know whether they lack the ability or just haven’t been tested appropriately. The cautious attitude, I believe, is to assume that all mammals and the octopus at the very least, but possibly many more species, have a significant capacity for consciousness. So, the author chooses to be a vegetarian. But that too can only be a point of view. There is no way to demonstrate that all rational and ethical humans beings should be vegetarians. He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529 Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296 And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382 iambiguous ILP Legend Posts: 33044 Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm Location: baltimore maryland ### Re: back to the beginning: morality iambiguous wrote:From Henry Staten's, Nietzsche's Voice: Our moral beliefs did not fall from heaven and neither are there credentials we can flash like a badge to establish our moral probity. Consider all the rest of human history, including most of the planet at the present moment. What are we to say about this overwhelming spectacle of cruelity, stupidity and suffering? What stance is there for us to adopt with respect to history, what judgment can we pass on it?...Christianity attempted to recuperate the suffering of history by projecting a devine plan that assigns it a reason in the here and now and a recompense later, but liberalism is too humane to endorse this explanation. There is no explanation, only the brute fact. But the brute fact we are left with is even harder to stomach than the old explanation. So left liberalism packages it in a new narrative, a moral narrative according to which all those lives gound up in the machinery of history are assigned an intelligble role as victums of oppression and injustice...Only very recently is it possible for someone like Schutte [Ofelia Schutte, who in her book Beyond Nihilism: Nietzsche Without Masks castigates Nietzsche for his authoritarianism.] to write as she does, with so much confidence that the valuations she assumes will be received as a matter of course by an academic audience, just as much as a Christian homilist writing for an audience of the pious. And only within the protective enclosure of this community of belief can there be any satisfaction in the performance of this speech act, any sense that anything worthwhile has been accomplished by this recitation. When this moral community by means of this recitation reassures itself of its belief, it comes aglow as the repository of the meaning of history, as the locus that one may occupy in order to view history and pass judgment on it without merely despairing and covering one's eyes and ears. There may not be any plan behind history, nor any way to make up their losses to the dead, but we can draw an invisible line of rectitude through history and in this way take power over it. Against the awesome 'Thus it was' of history we set an overawing majesty of 'Thus it ought to have been'. But our liberalism is something that sprang up yesterday and could be gone tomorrow. The day before yesterday the Founding Fathers kept black slaves. What little sliver of light is this we occupy that despite its contingency, the fraility of its existence, enables us to illuminate all the past and perhaps the future as well? For we want to say that even though our community of belief may cease to exist, this would not effect the validity of those beliefs. The line of rectitude would still traverse history. This is more or less the way it is, right? Every day we are confronted with each new numbing rendition of the Human Condition: cruelity, stupidity and suffering. And out in the world are all of these hundreds and hundreds of "moral communities" trying to make sense of it all...trying to put it all in perspective...trying to rationalize it all away in Meaning...in God...in Ideolgy...in Truth. In The Way. Theirs. That they all hopelessly conflict and contradict each other does not mean many, many additional refrains won't be joining the chorus of "rectitude" in the years to come. Long after we are all gone. I like the honesty of Staten's words above. I like the way he refuses to pretend human interaction can be portrayed [realistically] in any other way. It is, after all, something we are not supposed to dwell on. This: that there is no more or less authentic way in which to live. There is only history unfolding in all of its brute naked facticity. A cauldron of cacaphonous contingency. It simply is. And each of us, one by one, will die and then for eternity it will be as though we had never been born at all. Unless, of course, Staten's "line of rectitude" above is merely one more self-delusion. But then how in the world would we go about determining that? How would we even begin to do this when we have no real way of figuring out the legitimacy of our own line? Perhaps, when all is said and done, Schopenhauer wasn't pessimistic enough. Pain, stupidity and death are common, but that doesn't give them merit. Existence isn't a form of merit. Allot of that isn't necissary either. It's like when we discovered penecilin. It made some forms of disease non leathal, or made a certain amount of death and pain unnecissary. I like http://www.accuradio.com , internet radio. https://dannerz.itch.io/ -- a new and minimal webside now hosting two of my free game projects. Dan~ ILP Legend Posts: 10085 Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 8:14 am Location: May the loving spirit of papa hitler watch over and bless you all. ### Re: back to the beginning: morality Dan~ wrote:Pain, stupidity and death are common, but that doesn't give them merit. Pain, stupidity and death either exist or they do not. You are in pain because you did something stupid and this stupidity may in fact lead to your death. True or false. End of story. But morality does not revolve around this sort of thing. Instead, it revolves around behaviors in which there are conflicting narratives regarding whether the behavior was the right or the wrong thing to do. Did John merit being executed by the state because he took the life of Jim? Did John believe taking Jim's life was merited? Was either death merited? Staten then takes this existential quantary into the realm of political narratives that many of us are familiar with in this day and age. But just because the world is this way [or, rather, is argued to be this way] does not relieve us of the burdon of choosing. We can only muddle through it to the best of our ability. My argument is that the "best of all possible worlds" here is democracy and the rule of law. One that revolves around moderation, negociation and compromise. One that revolves around a more sophisticated understanding of dasein. That I am cynical regarding even this does not mean others will be though. I come into places like this trying to imagine a way to think about a world sans God a little less cynically. He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529 Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296 And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382 iambiguous ILP Legend Posts: 33044 Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm Location: baltimore maryland ### Re: back to the beginning: morality From "Meaning & Morality in Modernity" By Andrew Brower Latz In modern society we live with an ethical predicament: as our form of society has increased our material well-being, it has simultaneously leached the significance from our experience. Our intellectual life is dominated by scientific rationality, and our practical life by bureaucratic rationality (these two forms of reason are similar); and although they are very good at securing the means of life, they drain from the world the “sources of meaning and significance that traditionally anchored ethical practices”: God, community, nature. So the end result of these forms of rationality and their institutional expressions in our politics and societies, has been the undermining of both morality and meaning. Consequently, folks like you and I will still wander in and out of forums like this in order to [perhaps] pin down the meaning of morality and/or the morality of meaning once again. Or even to discover/invent an entirely new rendition. But has there really been a new one of late? A narrative, in other words, that the discoverer/inventor is able to take out of her head, and, using the tools of philosophy, describe a coherent moral agenda that all rational folks are able to embrace? Or, instead, is the "ethical predicament" all the more deeply entrenched given the assumption that God is dead? One thing that seems rather apparent to me is that there tends to be two very differnt reactions to the "dilemma". On the one hand, there are those who never really give it much thought at all. On the contrary, they are too busy submerging themselves in the distractions of pop culture and consumption. It is ever and always about fitting into the latest fad or fancy or fashion. And then there are those able to make a leap [intellectually] to one or another objectivist la la land where meaning and morality are constructed by and large out of words. And that really doesn't leave many folks around who are willing and able to acknowledge just how far removed they have now become from what once did pass for those "traditional" comforts and consolations. He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529 Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296 And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382 iambiguous ILP Legend Posts: 33044 Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm Location: baltimore maryland ### Re: back to the beginning: morality From "Morality: The Final Delusion?" by Richard Garner in Philosophy Now magazine Free thinkers and skeptics throughout history have entertained the suspicion that morality is a mistake, a scam, a fiction that we make up; but few others have welcomed this idea with open minds. Recent discussions of the topic can be traced to the work of the philosopher John Mackie, who defended his ‘moral error theory’ by criticizing a widely held understanding of morality called ‘moral realism,’ the belief that morality is something ‘real’ that we discover, not something we have made up. Mackie called his own view ‘moral skepticism,’ but he was unskeptical enough to open his 1977 book Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong with the ‘dogmatic’ assertion that “there are no objective values.” Just as atheists claim that the beliefs of theists about the objective existence of a god are in error, moral error theorists claim that the beliefs of moral realists about the objective existence of moral rules, prohibitions, virtues, vices, values, rights, and duties are also in error, and for the same reason – what they are talking about doesn’t exist. Am I then myself a "moral error" proponent? On the other hand, I am always quick to suggest that any and all such "theoretical" reflections on this be brought down to earth. Also, I would never argue that objective morality does not exist. Anymore then I would argue that God does not exist. My point instead regarding these realtionships is that any particular frame of mind here would seem to be a complex intertwining of that which we can in fact demonstrate is true objectively for all of us [math, the laws of nature, the logical rules of language] and that which seems more in sync with what I have come to construe as an "existential contraption" rooted in "I" as dasein. At best in my view we can only discuss these things given what we think we know is true here and now. While recognizing that what we think we know next week or next month or next year is really beyond calculating with any degree of certainty. In other words, cue contingency, chance and change. At the same time, morality can only be speculated about given the profoundly problematic implications of this contraption: There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know. Finally, in a wholly determined universe, human morality itself would seem to be just one more domino toppling over; going all the way back to whatever brought into existence the existence of existence itself. He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529 Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296 And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382 iambiguous ILP Legend Posts: 33044 Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm Location: baltimore maryland ### Re: back to the beginning: morality I just wanted to ask those who believe abortion to be immorally bad. How many children have you adopted? (Our object of desire isn't to change current belief systems or complicate already convoluted streams of information; we're not trying to even prove ourselves in anyway. We're just human beings similar to yourself. Not superior, the same. Ancestors of the lost world. The conflicts of beliefs you face in your world, are not only the conflict of self yet life, we cannot compel such conflicts to other's will for any self-benefit. The true goal reached here is there is nothing we can say nor do that can convince anyone else of what they don't know for themselves already. And, when the time calls, and you are ready, the barriers of awareness will expand and such confirmed information will be easily perceived, and known to them! Allow them to seek and find out when they are prepared. All will arrive to light in no time.) Ego sum via veritas et vita;Amesha Spenta;Vohu Mano; Allow all things measurable, microbial and astronomical to remain infinite, unchanged and arrive to light. Pneumatic-Coma Posts: 280 Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:10 am Location: Purgatory ### Re: back to the beginning: morality Pneumatic-Coma wrote:I just wanted to ask those who believe abortion to be immorally bad. How many children have you adopted? I think this line of argument would mean I have to become a pothead if applied elsewhere. Karpel Tunnel Philosopher Posts: 2495 Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:26 pm ### Re: back to the beginning: morality No. Just here on this forum of topic. (Our object of desire isn't to change current belief systems or complicate already convoluted streams of information; we're not trying to even prove ourselves in anyway. We're just human beings similar to yourself. Not superior, the same. Ancestors of the lost world. The conflicts of beliefs you face in your world, are not only the conflict of self yet life, we cannot compel such conflicts to other's will for any self-benefit. The true goal reached here is there is nothing we can say nor do that can convince anyone else of what they don't know for themselves already. And, when the time calls, and you are ready, the barriers of awareness will expand and such confirmed information will be easily perceived, and known to them! Allow them to seek and find out when they are prepared. All will arrive to light in no time.) Ego sum via veritas et vita;Amesha Spenta;Vohu Mano; Allow all things measurable, microbial and astronomical to remain infinite, unchanged and arrive to light. Pneumatic-Coma Posts: 280 Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:10 am Location: Purgatory ### Re: back to the beginning: morality Pneumatic-Coma wrote:No. Just here on this forum of topic. I meant in the context of legalization of marijuana debates. We can certainly try to find out if anti-abortionists do this or that, but it still leaves open the issues around abortion. Some of them likely have adopted children. So, we still have to do the real, tough work of figuring out the issue itself, rather than hoping that ad hom based arguments will save us the bother. Karpel Tunnel Philosopher Posts: 2495 Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:26 pm ### Re: back to the beginning: morality Pneumatic-Coma wrote:I just wanted to ask those who believe abortion to be immorally bad. How many children have you adopted? Okay, suppose they had adopted none? How effective is that as an argument that abortion ought to be legal? And what if you come upon someone who had in fact adopted many. Does that bring us closer to confirming that abortion is necessarily immoral? My point of course is that the actual circumstances that might swirl around any one particular woman with any one particular unwanted fetus -- baby? -- bring us into contact with any number of political prejudices rooted in any number of moral narratives rooted in any number of actual lives. So, the purpose of this thread was to explore the extent to which philosophers and ethicists are or are not able to grapple with these complexities and still manage to derive a moral obligation for all rational men and women. You have your arguments about abortion. Others have conflicting arguments. But, in my view, we live in a world where for all practical purposes these arguments are embedded more in what I construe to be existential contraptions ever subject to change given new experiences, new relationships and access to new ideas. He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529 Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296 And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382 iambiguous ILP Legend Posts: 33044 Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm Location: baltimore maryland ### Re: back to the beginning: morality From "Morality: The Final Delusion?" by Richard Garner in Philosophy Now magazine With no god to make the rules, consistent atheists will already have abandoned religious morality, which means that they are left with a choice between some kind of secular morality and a moral error theory. An atheist’s eventual embrace of a moral error theory will be facilitated, if not forced, by the ease with which arguments used to undermine theism can be recycled to criticize the analogous beliefs of secular moralists. Some years ago, I adressed the issue of morality in a No God world. Morality, in other words, that revolves around one or another translation of Humanism. I considered possible components of that: I don't believe that God has to be part of a moral narrative itself. After all, any number of human communities have concocted one without him. One or another rendition of "humanism" in other words. Some more rather than less "ideological". I am myself a moral relativist -- a moral nihilist. But lots of folks claim this is tantamount to embracing the belief that everything is permitted. But, of course, that is not the way the world works at all. Historically, there have always been a number of factors that motivated us in creating functional social interaction---relationships in which behaviors are both prescribed and proscribed. Moral codes are, after all, only partiuclar rules of behaviors embedded in particular historical and cultural contexts. And, sans God, they can be predicated on many factors. For example: Genetic/biological predispositions What are these? Well, of course, no one really knows for certain but it is obvious from cross-cultural ethnological studies that all people seem to have built-in capacites to experience and express a broad range of emotional and psychological states: compassion, empathy, fear, agression. We have a survival instinct. We have sexual libidoes. We have primitive impulses that stem from the reptilian part of the brain. The naked ape parts, as it were. Cultural predispositions Each of us is born into a culture that shapes and molds these biological/genetic tendencies into a veritable smorgasbord of actual brehavior patterns; indeed, for 10 to 12 [or more] years, all children in all cultures will become thoroughly indoctrinated to view right from wrong just like Mommy and Daddy do. Many in fact will literally go to the grave understanding little of how this works. Even fewer will make any significant changes in it. Though that seems to be less and less applicable in our "post modern world". Here, increasingly, "lifestyles" seem to be all the rage. And that often revolves around pop culture, crass consumption and celebrity. Individual autonomy And yet despite receiving all of this deeply engrained acculturation as youths, we all become adults eventually and have to make our own way into and out of the moral labyrinths. In other words, we all come to intertwine these many, many existential variables into our own individual sense of reality---encompasing, in turn, own own individual moral compass. No two are ever exactly the same however. Each being the embodiment of dasein. Rewards and punishments These play a huge role in how we come to see the moral circumference of the world around us. We act so as to be rewarded by those we love and respect and admire and depend upon. We act so as to avoid sanctions from those we don't. But this can become one contingency laden psychological mishmash of ambiguous and ambivalent frames of mind. Often revolving around the personas that we employ and games that we play. Political economy Marx was right. Human social interaction revolves fundamentally around the need to sustain biological existence. We need food and water; we need a roof over our head and clothes on our backs; we need a relatively stable environment in which to reproduce; we need folks who are able to defend us from enemies---inside and out. This is why men and women have always agglomerated into communities throughout history. And that revolves ultimately around power. It matters little what you believe is right and wrong if you don't have the power to enforce and defend it. So, human moral agendas have always reflected the basic interests of those with the most political and economic power. Death A particularly tricky component here. In order to understand why we act as we do above the ground you always have to factor in how folks regard the fact that sooner or later they are going to be six feet under it. And all the other factors I missed. [please feel free to add to the list] Bottom line: God is not necessary here. But God [an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent point of view] is necessary [in my view] if we shift the discussion to objective morality. After all, without God who [what] is there to turn to when we do have conflicting value judgments about conflicting goods? So, basically, a proponent of "moral error theory" would seem to be suggesting there does not appear to be a way [philosophically, morally, politically, socially, economically etc.] to configure the components of humanism above into something that might be construed as the secular equivalent of God. I merely segue from that into the components of my own "moral theory". And then invite others to flesh out their theories by taking the components out into the world that we live in. He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529 Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296 And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382 iambiguous ILP Legend Posts: 33044 Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm Location: baltimore maryland ### Re: back to the beginning: morality If there is no wrong there is nothing wrong in creating morality concerning values where none had existed before and since as you say morality is nothing more than an enforcement of ideals by those with political or economic power then by your definition there is nothing wrong with that either. So, all in all there is nothing wrong with morality or anything and your complaints becomes erroneous. One then begins to wonder what nihilists are complaining about...... "I'm sorry, but the lifestyle you've ordered that you've grown accustomed to is completely out of stock. Have a nice day! "-$$Zero_Sum Evil Neo-Nazi Extraordinaire. Posts: 2749 Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:05 pm Location: U.S.S.A- Newly lead Bolshevik Soviet block. Also known as Weimar America. ### Re: back to the beginning: morality A nihilist can complain about food, it's a taste thing. So with morals. Karpel Tunnel Philosopher Posts: 2495 Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:26 pm ### Re: back to the beginning: morality Karpel Tunnel wrote:A nihilist can complain about food, it's a taste thing. So with morals. Yet if nothing is wrong his preferences are no better than others or vice versa, everything is relative and fluid. "I'm sorry, but the lifestyle you've ordered that you've grown accustomed to is completely out of stock. Have a nice day! "-$$$

Zero_Sum
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### Re: back to the beginning: morality

Zero_Sum wrote:
Karpel Tunnel wrote:A nihilist can complain about food, it's a taste thing. So with morals.

Yet if nothing is wrong his preferences are no better than others or vice versa, everything is relative and fluid.

Sure, but he can complain. A nihilist cannot on moral grounds complain about finding a used diaper in his pizza. But given human preferences in general, he could complain, saying the management is fucked up and will lose his or her and likely other business. Nihilists are not restrained from complaining, nor is it hypocritical. My God, remember yourself in your nihilist days: complain, complain.

The new you complains via a mask. This is what the return of morals has done in your case.
Karpel Tunnel
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### Re: back to the beginning: morality

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
Zero_Sum wrote:
Karpel Tunnel wrote:A nihilist can complain about food, it's a taste thing. So with morals.

Yet if nothing is wrong his preferences are no better than others or vice versa, everything is relative and fluid.

Sure, but he can complain. A nihilist cannot on moral grounds complain about finding a used diaper in his pizza. But given human preferences in general, he could complain, saying the management is fucked up and will lose his or her and likely other business. Nihilists are not restrained from complaining, nor is it hypocritical. My God, remember yourself in your nihilist days: complain, complain.

The new you complains via a mask. This is what the return of morals has done in your case.

Without morality or ethics, what is a complaint? Without an objective law codified there is no reason to not find a diaper in his pizza for civility revolves around laws.

I'm masking my complaints, how so?
"I'm sorry, but the lifestyle you've ordered that you've grown accustomed to is completely out of stock. Have a nice day! "-\$

Zero_Sum
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### Re: back to the beginning: morality

Zero_Sum wrote: If there is no wrong there is nothing wrong in creating morality concerning values where none had existed before and since as you say morality is nothing more than an enforcement of ideals by those with political or economic power then by your definition there is nothing wrong with that either.

Bingo!

But my contention here is that "right" and "wrong" behaviors either revolve around some essential truth and/or transcending font [which most call God] or around any number of hopelessly conflicting existential contraptions rooted historically, culturally and experientially in a No God world.

Then I explore [or seek to explore] the actual existential parameters of those who do "create morality where none existed before".

In other words, in any given context, why one set of prescriptions/proscriptions and not another? And how is this related to the manner in which I construe "I" here as basically an existential contraption rooted in dasein?

Indeed, how are your own values not the embodiment of this?

Zero_Sum wrote: So, all in all there is nothing wrong with morality or anything and your complaints becomes erroneous. One then begins to wonder what nihilists are complaining about......

Again and again and again: What on earth do you mean by this?

What particular morality out in what particular context out in one particular world construed from what particular point of view?

It is ludicrous to speak of morality as "wrong". Why? Because whenever men and women choose to congregate into one or another village, community, state or nation, there must be "rules of behavior" that either reward or punish certain behaviors.

And all this particular nihilist complains about are those who insist that only those behaviors sanctioned by "one of us" get rewarded.

And then the extent to which this revolves more around might makes right, right makes might or moderation, negotiation and compromise.

But even here I point out over and again that this particular "intellectual" assessment is but one more existential contraption that here and now "I" happen to subscribe to "in my head".

In no way shape or form would I ever suggest that I can demonstrate that all rational men and women are obligated to subscribe to it as well.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

iambiguous
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### Re: back to the beginning: morality

iambiguous wrote:
Zero_Sum wrote: If there is no wrong there is nothing wrong in creating morality concerning values where none had existed before and since as you say morality is nothing more than an enforcement of ideals by those with political or economic power then by your definition there is nothing wrong with that either.

Bingo!

But my contention here is that "right" and "wrong" behaviors either revolve around some essential truth and/or transcending font [which most call God] or around any number of hopelessly conflicting existential contraptions rooted historically, culturally and experientially in a No God world.

Then I explore [or seek to explore] the actual existential parameters of those who do "create morality where none existed before".

In other words, in any given context, why one set of prescriptions/proscriptions and not another? And how is this related to the manner in which I construe "I" here as basically an existential contraption rooted in dasein?

Indeed, how are your own values not the embodiment of this?

Zero_Sum wrote: So, all in all there is nothing wrong with morality or anything and your complaints becomes erroneous. One then begins to wonder what nihilists are complaining about......

Again and again and again: What on earth do you mean by this?

What particular morality out in what particular context out in one particular world construed from what particular point of view?

It is ludicrous to speak of morality as "wrong". Why? Because whenever men and women choose to congregate into one or another village, community, state or nation, there must be "rules of behavior" that either reward or punish certain behaviors.

And all this particular nihilist complains about are those who insist that only those behaviors sanctioned by "one of us" get rewarded.

And then the extent to which this revolves more around might makes right, right makes might or moderation, negotiation and compromise.

But even here I point out over and again that this particular "intellectual" assessment is but one more existential contraption that here and now "I" happen to subscribe to "in my head".

In no way shape or form would I ever suggest that I can demonstrate that all rational men and women are obligated to subscribe to it as well.

"create morality where none existed before".

Zero_Sum wrote:If there is no wrong there is nothing wrong in creating morality concerning values where none had existed before and since as you say morality is nothing more than an enforcement of ideals by those with political or economic power then by your definition there is nothing wrong with that either.

So, all in all there is nothing wrong with morality or anything and your complaints becomes erroneous. One then begins to wonder what nihilists are complaining about......

Phew. Saved me there. Well kinda.

"Without morality or ethics, what is a complaint? Without an objective law codified there is no reason to not find a diaper in his pizza for civility revolves around laws.

I'm masking my complaints, how so?"

Although, come to think about it life these days really don't seem so bad unless you Are, objectified... It begs the question. Have not any morals standards stood in the way for anything bringing progressive change be deemed differently than Any and I mean ANY type of ethic standards. Come on can we base our already based on values and ideals towards what should and shouldn't be correctly agreed upon somewhere else where we haven't any "A-moral-ally" 'Right' and 'Wrong' variable? How was we complaining how so? I still need to KnooOooow.

Have not we already contemplated whatever motives we thought be the actual reason for us choosing what we believed to be 'Ultimately' Moral
(Our object of desire isn't to change current belief systems or complicate already convoluted streams of information; we're not trying to even prove ourselves in anyway. We're just human beings similar to yourself. Not superior, the same. Ancestors of the lost world. The conflicts of beliefs you face in your world, are not only the conflict of self yet life, we cannot compel such conflicts to other's will for any self-benefit. The true goal reached here is there is nothing we can say nor do that can convince anyone else of what they don't know for themselves already. And, when the time calls, and you are ready, the barriers of awareness will expand and such confirmed information will be easily perceived, and known to them! Allow them to seek and find out when they are prepared. All will arrive to light in no time.) Ego sum via veritas et vita;Amesha Spenta;Vohu Mano; Allow all things measurable, microbial and astronomical to remain infinite, unchanged and arrive to light.

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### Re: back to the beginning: morality

I doth think Iambiguious Protests too much. Ease up on fellow students of the game.
(Our object of desire isn't to change current belief systems or complicate already convoluted streams of information; we're not trying to even prove ourselves in anyway. We're just human beings similar to yourself. Not superior, the same. Ancestors of the lost world. The conflicts of beliefs you face in your world, are not only the conflict of self yet life, we cannot compel such conflicts to other's will for any self-benefit. The true goal reached here is there is nothing we can say nor do that can convince anyone else of what they don't know for themselves already. And, when the time calls, and you are ready, the barriers of awareness will expand and such confirmed information will be easily perceived, and known to them! Allow them to seek and find out when they are prepared. All will arrive to light in no time.) Ego sum via veritas et vita;Amesha Spenta;Vohu Mano; Allow all things measurable, microbial and astronomical to remain infinite, unchanged and arrive to light.

Pneumatic-Coma

Posts: 280
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### Re: back to the beginning: morality

And all this particular nihilist complains about are those who insist that only those behaviors sanctioned by "one of us" get rewarded.
What sense does that make???

You expect the anti-abortionists to fund abortion clinics and to "celebrate" abortions?

Maybe rewards for thieves and serial killers? Thank the thug who beats you up?
phyllo
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