Moral Relativity

EggBeast

- deska`
Retired
QUOTE (warita200 @ Feb 15 2010, 05:55 AM) I agree with that 100%. Eggie-san, I admire the ease with which you fraze your ideas.
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Thanks, Warita.
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That's really nice of you to say.


QUOTE (mosque @ Feb 20 2010, 12:12 AM)Without being omniscient, you can't really know the full consequences of your actions. You could like the guitar guy said think you are saving a kids life but they grow up to be a Hitler.
I like that idea. I think that too often people do something simply because they hope it might have a good outcome, even though the odds that something bad will happen are at least as likely. When I was younger (and devoutly Christian), the main justification I had for being anti-abortion (other than my faith) was that there might be a chance that the aborted fetus could have grown into the next Einstein, or into the next president, or something like that. Statistically speaking though, it would be just as likely for that child to turn into the next ruthless dictator, or some violent criminal (or more likely than either of those, the child could just move from foster home to foster home, develop numerous psychological disorders, or what have you). I'm not trying to pretend that I just destroyed the pro-life movement, I'm just making the point that the decision of getting an abortion shouldn't be based on the type of lifestyle the child might have.

For me, it just says that people shouldn't look for absolute answers to moral questions, because there aren't any absolute answers to be had.
 

Patrick5087

-san
Kouhai
honestly most people who get abortions are that of the lower income class, and the likly hood of any of them becoming president is very remote. Sure there are sucess stories but its not common enough to base dessions on.

Sadly the greatest argument of most faith based groups is not so much a right or wrong question, its the fact that they want a savor to return. But if it really was a savior t wouldn't pick a couple that will abort a baby would they??
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As for abortion in general, I don't think its "wrong" granted I think if my GF or wife went ahead and aborted without telling me about it, I would think it as "wrong", but i think it woudl be more that they wronged me and that I would be more hurt of a brech of trust, than them doing the act... Cause in all honesty its there body not mine, they are there own people, and and what was it, "self determination"
 

drobertbaker

-chi
Kouhai
QUOTE Cause in all honesty its there body not mine, they are there own people, and and what was it, "self determination"??? This "self determination" involves making a complete life decision for you with no requirement whatsoever to solicit your opinions or desires, or even to tell you about it.

It's "there body" until they decide what they want to do, then all of a sudden it's your responsibility for the rest of your life, regardless of what you may think about it.

Not only are "they are there own people", you are there own people. This is not self determination, it's you determination.
 

dchaosblade

- Lord of Chaos
Retired
QUOTE (drobertbaker @ Feb 28 2010, 04:37 PM) This "self determination" involves making a complete life decision for you with no requirement whatsoever to solicit your opinions or desires, or even to tell you about it.

It's "there body" until they decide what they want to do, then all of a sudden it's your responsibility for the rest of your life, regardless of what you may think about it.

Not only are "they are there own people", you are there own people. This is not self determination, it's you determination.
Is it just me or did that make absolutely no sense?
From what I can salvage, I'm assuming that you're saying that a decision to abort affects not only the woman but also their partner. I would make the following argument:
If a woman was deciding to have an abortion, one could assume that the pregnancy in question was not planned - in other words she was not trying to have a baby, the pregnancy was accidental (or due to stupidity). If this is the case, then it can also be assumed that the pregnancy was not intentional on the part of the guy as well. Therefore, deciding to have an abortion has little to no effect on the male of the relationship. On the other hand, deciding NOT to have an abortion has a fairly large impact on the guy.
This said, as Patrick5087 pointed out, deciding to have an abortion (or alternatively, not to have one) without even consulting the 'father' would be considered an extreme breach of trust. At the very least, they should have told the guy that she was pregnant, and planned to have an abortion (which she has every right to do). The fact is that having an abortion - or alternatively not having an abortion - is a life changing event both physically and mentally for a woman. On the other hand, the same decision only truly effects the guy if she chooses not to have an abortion (thus making him a (potentially unwilling) father) or if he is adamantly against the idea of abortions anyway. If the guy is 'adamantly against abortion' then hopefully they wouldn't be in the situation to begin with! If you feel that you can impose your will on others, then you should have the responsibility to make sure that you do the right thing to begin with!

That said, the topic is Moral Relativity, not Abortion, so perhaps we should try not to stray any further off topic. There's a thread for abortion already if I recall correctly...
 

mosque

-chi
Kouhai
QUOTE (dchaosblade @ Feb 28 2010, 03:01 PM)
Is it just me or did that make absolutely no sense?
It's just you, then all of a sudden "there body" of text not make "sense" inside your head, regardless what you think about it. It's you determination.
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QUOTE
That said, the topic is Moral Relativity, not Abortion, so perhaps we should try not to stray any further off topic. There's a thread for abortion already if I recall correctly...

I agree completely. Moral Relativity is a much more tasteful topic of discussion. That other tangent does not really seem suitable for some anime forum.
Besides, I don't have a womb, and I don't think 'Robert' does either. Maybe he just thought this thread was "Pronoun Relativity," maybe he is a troll.

I enjoyed the earlier comparisons between morals and ethics. I can see how morality is a much more subjective thing than ethics, but is ethics also subjective?
It's using scientific methods to measure and define the merit of moral rules, but what guide can we use?
I'm asking Plato, but he is long winded like me. Sun Tzu would say "When the wind is blowing the right way, it is time to burn Kyoto."
I enjoyed Khael's point about whether the sanctity of life is paramount or not. How do we define ethical principals as meritorious or not, scientifically?
Is keeping the old and suffering alive longer than is natural moral? (It preserves life afterall...) With over-population and world hunger the way it is, could even charitable acts have a negative impact on the greater good?
Is serving 'the greater good' just being a commie?

I'm not sure if this is really relativity or subjectivity.
The way I understood it was that relative morals can work like this:
If I shoot you and take your wallet, relative to me, it is moral. Because I make money and only have to spend a bullet. ?

Keep the conversation going, and tell me how I'm wrong. Tell us what you learn about this stuff in your ethics class, I will tell what I learn in my classes.

Please, I enjoyed the earlier discourse, let's keep this thread from degenerating into idiocy. I mean come on... Abortion, Nazis, and Darwin: (oo) ( ..) (__) ... z Z z z Z
 

khael

/人◕ ‿‿ ◕人\ being M
Sempai
QUOTE
It's just you, then all of a sudden "there body" of text not make "sense" inside your head, regardless what you think about it. It's you determination. laugh.gif laugh.gif

No offense dude, and I'm sure you're not a native speaker of English, but your use of pronouns in that post was pretty... whack...

It's close Peter Chimaera's goodness you know, "No John, you are the demons."

But anyway, I can somehow understand partly what you're saying at least in the first sentence.


QUOTE This "self determination" involves making a complete life decision on your own/on their own with no requirement whatsoever to solicit other people's/your opinions or desires, or even to tell them/you about it.


-EDIT-
Eggy, check out Peter Chimaera if you haven't already. It's all three actually. I was intending it to be a joke but I mixed the quotes up unknowingly. I was also going to add some more thoughts on the topic but meh. IIRC I was too stoned due to "lifting the elbow" when I wrote this. I guess I was just as stoned as the guy I'm poking fun on lol.
 

EggBeast

- deska`
Retired
QUOTE (khael @ Mar 02 2010, 07:02 AM) No offense dude, and I'm sure you're not a native speaker of English, but your use of pronouns in that post was pretty... whack...

It's close Peter Chimaera's goodness you know, "No John, you are the demons."

But anyway, I can somehow understand partly what you're saying at least in the first sentence.
*augh!* khael! You're mixing quotes up! I'm not sure who you're talking about, or if you're making a very subtle joke, or if you're currently working on finishing the rest of your post... I just don't know!

But mosque! Thanks for bringing things back to the main topic! I plan on writing out a few thoughts on the matter once I get some time (aka, once I finish this beast of a computer program).

[to be continued...]
 

drobertbaker

-chi
Kouhai
Apparently my adoption of the prior poster's grammar and spelling made me appear to share his literacy level.

As the group appears to have judged this tangent as an undesirable direction for the thread, I will limit my comments on this point to clarifying my assertion by answering the counter arguments.

QUOTE If a woman was deciding to have an abortion, one could assume that the pregnancy in question was not planned - in other words she was not trying to have a baby, the pregnancy was accidental (or due to stupidity). This is not a prudent assumption.

The classic case occurred in Canada. A "high-class" couple were engaged to be married and (as many do) got a little head-start on their first born. A falling out subsequently ensued and the woman decided she no longer wanted to have this man's child. She unilaterally decided to abort it. The man objected on the grounds that this was his child as well and that therefore he had a right to a say as to its disposition. He filed for an injunction against the abortion until his case could be heard in court. The judge agreed and granted the injunction. The woman ignored the injunction and went ahead with the abortion. The man's case was then dismissed on the grounds that it was at that point moot. No action was taken against the woman for defying a court order.


QUOTE Therefore, deciding to have an abortion has little to no effect on the male of the relationship. On the other hand, deciding NOT to have an abortion has a fairly large impact on the guy. People of any gender can be seriously effected by the loss of a child. It it had been lost by miscarriage, I dare say you would show more sympathy for the bereaved father. What's the difference here? He should feel nothing because the mother decides on her own that it's OK?


QUOTE This said, as Patrick5087 pointed out, deciding to have an abortion (or alternatively, not to have one) without even consulting the 'father' would be considered an extreme breach of trust. Indeed it should be. As refusal to support one's child should be, and is. However, there is absolutely no sanction or remedy whatsoever for committing the one, while committing the other brings down a terrifying force of legal fury upon one's head. I work in this field and I can say that few murderers are pursued with the power and vengeance unleashed upon a "derelict dad" by a righteous state.


QUOTE If you feel that you can impose your will on others, then you should have the responsibility to make sure that you do the right thing to begin with!
Agreed, however the woman alone has the power to decide what is the "right thing", and may have no compunction whatsoever about imposing her will on the man with the full, not to say draconian, support of a sympathetic society and unrelenting legal system.

I have never been in this position.
 

franzoir

-the smooth, the suave, and the shrewd
Sempai
Hmm for a while now i have been thinking particularly about this comment QUOTE Some people call this trend the "light of god"

Ive been reading some books by John Locke, Friedrich Hayek and Robert Nozick. All these authors suggest that in a state of nature man would socially cooperate and would not destroy itself, infact it could even be a utopia. Most can only blow out vague phrases like Locke's "laws of nature", Hayek's "matrix of ideas" or Nozick who says human beings will be guided by a "invisible hand" to explain the aversion of chaos. In each case human beings access a knowledge beyond their capacity.

This makes me start thinking of how morality works. How did mankind come to decide killing other individuals was wrong. Ofcourse, you could argue some rational stuff that well you denied this guys right to live or you will get punished so its bad. However, the nature of this world is that by simply existing and living you will deny someoneelse their right. Yet most dont hesitate to continue living their life and is morally acceptable. Even punishment is not a reasonable justification since people still commit atrocities knowing that if they are caught they will be punished. Im sure when the first case of murder was recorded human beings instinctively knew it was bad, without someone having to rationalise it to them. So what is it about specific acts such as murder that makes it so bad and morally unacceptable? Then im reminded of Nozick and Hayek who talk about invisible forces in explaining why the mainstream of human kind do not resort to murder and other heinous acts. Therefore could it not be that killing another human being is just inherently bad.

For example, incest is ethically unacceptable because it would lead to descendants having a homogenous genepool creating a higher chance of being afflicted with downsyndrome. However, what if scientists could diversify the genepool at any stage in pregnancy eliminating the risk of downsyndrome. Ethically, wouldnt it be fine to pursue sibling relationships? Morally it will always remain wrong and a taboo. This made me start thinking about Immanuel Kant Critique of pure reason. Probably one of the biggest influences on my life and philisophical thinking. He outlines that there is one thing man cannot reason with. That is something that exist beyond time/space since all man knows and will ever know is contrained to the framework of time. Whether something exist or nothing exist outside of time and space no one can know. This made me think what if SOME moral laws exist outside of time/space. That would explain why some things are just inexplicably heinous but why we have difficulties explaining it which satisfies all dimensions. This would mean that our whole conception of moral laws is wrong. Rather than it being a human construction which has gone through a process of reification therefore subject and relative to others it is actually absolute since it exists outside of time/space.
 

drobertbaker

-chi
Kouhai
Beyond space and time? Yeah, and the name of that wonderful land is Wolkenkuckucksheim. It's where God and all his magical fairies live. God watches over each and every one of us all the time and when you're bad, it makes God sad, so he sends one of his magic fairies winging to you to whisper in your ear to tell you to try to be a better person like God wants you to be.
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But seriously dude, you've got to stop hanging out with those medieval witch doctors and move up to some thought that at least understood the steam engine. I recommend Nietzsche's "On the Genealogy of Morals".

"Morality" is merely a manisfestation of the group ethic. We are social creatures and constantly must balance cooperation and competition. Morality is just the group's way of promoting its interests over the individual's.

Killing other individuals is not wrong. Killing members of our group is wrong. We routinely kill individuals whom we ostracize from our group (criminal justice) and great masses of those whom we do not consider part of our group (war) with great and righteous demonstrations of our superior morality.

Incest is not always wrong and taboo, only when its drawbacks (which you point out) outweigh the advantages of survival, or of maintaining a small elite bloodline, like royalty.

Nothing is always wrong, from infidelity to incest to having children out of wedlock to usury to theft to suicide to murder to cannibalism to genocide to anything else. Right and wrong just depends on the needs of the group at the time. One group's terrorist is another group's freedom fighter is another group's blessed martyr.
 

franzoir

-the smooth, the suave, and the shrewd
Sempai
QUOTE But seriously dude, you've got to stop hanging out with those medieval witch doctors

Wow, okay, really? I stop reading there since thats how you conceptualise some of the greatest philosophers of our time.
 

mosque

-chi
Kouhai
Fellas, fellas.

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I only presumed that you did not have a womb, Dr. Rob. My mockery is directed at the diversion of subject. How it all seemed silly to me was just summed up in that sweet grammar. It still seems this way so I will continue thusly.

I have read some modern theory about morals that suggests a link between morality and group selection in our early evolutionary stages. Something like surviving as a troop was easier than surviving as serial-killers. Essentially, evolutionary biologists have come to the same conclusions as Nietzsche.

The real question is not one of origin, however. Though it may be a manifestation of the group ethic there is a little issue. If your morality is equally as valid as anyone's... then none are valid. If you relativize to your self, you are denying the difference between belief and truth.
 

drobertbaker

-chi
Kouhai
Your notions of validity and truth imply a correct, absolute morality. This presumes an absolute authority. That can only be God, or the equivalent: a Kantian imperative essentially emanating from our common biology.

So what is it, the Golden Rule, the Ten Commandments, the Sevenfold Path? I don't believe it.

I maintain that if you don't relativize to your self, you're just letting someone else do it for you, with an application that may not be appropriate to your circumstances.

Of course persons of little intelligence and experience are no doubt better off taking good general advice than acting impulsively.
 

EggBeast

- deska`
Retired
QUOTE (drobertbaker @ Mar 05 2010, 01:15 AM) Apparently my adoption of the prior poster's grammar and spelling made me appear to share his literacy level.
Nah, it's not that Mr. Chaos himself thought you were speaking complete nonsense, it just involved a *lot* of unpacking to know what you were talking about. This isn't a hardcore philosophy forum, it's an anime forum with an occasional thrashing of thoughts, a side of solemn deliberation, a corner of conundrums, a dash of depth, a tangent of tough topics, or a "thoughtful section", as it were.
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That being (poorly) said, I largely agree with you. The idea that there is some intrinsic, universal nature to our moral tendencies DEFINITELY implies some absolute guidelines, perhaps even an absolute authority. However, (as far as I interpreted it) franzoir only said that such a moral guideline *might* exist out their in some bad-ass existential ether, not that we can be certain of what they are. (since we can't understand anything outside of time and space)


QUOTE (franzoir @ Mar 05 2010, 01:37 PM)He outlines that there is one thing man cannot reason with. That is something that exist beyond time/space since all man knows and will ever know is constrained to the framework of time. Whether something exist or nothing exist outside of time and space no one can know. This made me think what if SOME moral laws exist outside of time/space.
While I personally thing that "cannot" is a very strong word to say when it comes to mankind's ability to understand something, I agree that it's virtually impossible to comprehend the nature of things outside of space an time. The scientific explanation suggests that time and space for our universe came into being shortly after the big bang. If you can imagine the entire universe condensed into a singular point of energy (which freakin' boggle my mind), and then forget that, and try to understand what's *outside* of that point of singularity... that's what we're talking about here. We're no closer to understanding that than we are to understanding why we exist (and why we're aware of it) in the first place.

However, I think you take the argument too far. I think the relative (and scientific) explanation for our innate, moral revulsion at different things (like a child murdering its family) are easily explained through evolutionary, and from the (relatively) recent phenomenon of organized society (social contract and whatnot). While there's definitely this realm of pure mystery which we'll probably never ever understand, I think it's pretty far-fetched to think that some moral guidelines for our species, or even for intelligent life in general (as Kant prefers to apply his imperatives to) is floating around in it.

I know you (franzoir) mentioned that people rely too much on purely rational thought to decide how to act. However, rational thought easily dismisses impulsive thought as an instinctive survival mechanism for primates, which has no reflection on the nature of reality. By the same token, impulsive, gut reactions easily dismiss rigid rationalism as a guide to one's actions. In the end, we're just left with one person's view of the world over someone else's, with virtually nothing to base either assumption on. I, for one, am not inclined to think that my deepest, darkest fears, wants, reactions, repulsions, etc... somehow reflect some greater truth in the universe. I'd say Occam's razor favors the rational perspective to the instinctive one.

I apologize if I didn't make any sense at all, it's 5:00 AM and I'm beat. 'night everyone.
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EDIT:


QUOTE The real question is not one of origin, however. Though it may be a manifestation of the group ethic there is a little issue. If your morality is equally as valid as anyone's... then none are valid. If you relativize to your self, you are denying the difference between belief and truth.
Are you talking about "moral truths" or the vague, philosophical kind of truth which is oh-so-hard to define? If you simply mean moral truth, then where's the problem? A moral relativist readily admits there is no innate, universal nature to their moral system, meaning there cannot be some kind of greater moral truth. If you're referring to the more general sense of truth... the that's a different matter altogether. Because someone says that the social interactions of some small primate species on some speck of dust in the Milky Way don't have universal guiding principles *doesn't* mean that there are no universal guiding principles out there. That's like saying cows don't produce caramel, therefore there is not such thing as milk.
 

franzoir

-the smooth, the suave, and the shrewd
Sempai
QUOTE (EggBeast @ Mar 07 2010, 06:01 AM)However, (as far as I interpreted it) franzoir only said that such a moral guideline *might* exist out their in some bad-ass existential ether, not that we can be certain of what they are. (since we can't understand anything outside of time and space)

Right. I mean most people dont engage in metaphysics purely because it cant be tested so therefore inherently meaningless and should be committed to the flames. I merely use it to show there are limits to what you can understand, so people should have a bit of humility about their rational thinking.


QUOTE However, I think you take the argument too far.

Whilst i believe that morals are relative and reifield over time, I was merely trying to concieve of a way morals may indeed be absolute. We all pretty much concur that morals are relative but do we learn anything new from that? However you may learn something new if we take an entirely different approach to how we conceptualise morals and their timeless appreance.


QUOTE However, rational thought easily dismisses impulsive thought as an instinctive survival mechanism for primates, which has no reflection on the nature of reality.

I mean I get this alot. Its obviously quite clear by now that i have some anarchic tendencies but i feel people always misunderstand my context. All im merely saying is people especially academics are always too quick to look at the rational and dismiss the emotional impact. You could even say rationality is their morality.
 

mosque

-chi
Kouhai
QUOTE Are you talking about "moral truths" or the vague, philosophical kind of truth which is oh-so-hard to define? If you simply mean moral truth, then where's the problem?

QUOTE Your notions of validity and truth imply a correct, absolute morality.

I wasn't talking about absolute Truth. Justified true beliefs if you want Plato's phrase.

I feel that it is obvious that no moral system is based on the realm of the divine, since it's nearly impossible to fathom it as mundane ape-creatures.
It does not necessarily follow that all morals are arbitrary.

It is only a belief to say "genocide is good for societies." Ignoring history, consensus, and sociology. To this I would apply the label 'invalid.'

It is a justified true belief to say "genocide is negative." Taking into account the massive amounts of suffering and harm to both cultures involved.

Instead of relativizing to the self, relativizing to functional society.
The alternative is complete Social Darwinism.
 

EggBeast

- deska`
Retired
QUOTE (mosque @ Mar 07 2010, 07:14 PM) It does not necessarily follow that all morals are arbitrary.
Absolutely! Though I think it's moving backwards from what we've already discussed. We've already talked about a few different ways to explain morality, and its purpose/usefulness for mankind.


QUOTE (franzoir @ Mar 07 2010, 10:40 AM)I mean I get this alot. Its obviously quite clear by now that i have some anarchic tendencies but i feel people always misunderstand my context. All im merely saying is people especially academics are always too quick to look at the rational and dismiss the emotional impact. You could even say rationality is their morality.
I guess I'm still a bit unclear of what context you mean by that. I'm not sure if this part of the discussion belongs here, or in the "Nature of Reality" thread.

When you say, "rationality is their morality", do you mean that too many people take a... utilitarian approach to decide what's worthwhile, or even what's right an wrong? Utilitarian meaning that a decision that results in the most good for the most people is also the best choice to make? (I'm sure you've read up on utilitarianism, but I don't want to through around philosophical jargon willy-nilly)
 

Patrick5087

-san
Kouhai
well thats what makes this topic hard...

what are we to discuse on why are morals relative?? I mean I agree, morals in a society are relative to the goals set by there leaders.

If you want a growing population, then you make things that would lower the population a crime and make things that help population growth celebrated.

I mean I really hate to pick on religions.... But the Catholics have a ban on any sort of contraception. Why you ask... Well for the longest time (im unclear as to the whole extant of changes have been made as of late) the only way you could be "Catholic" is that you had a Catholic family. And they have to "approve" you to be in the religion. So which means there primary way of gaining new members was to have people give birth to them.

While as in Christianity you could be "saved" and then join the group in there activity. So while they are activity a "pro-life" group mainly cause as with the Catholics they gain members. Also with the added "savors" return. They are alittle loose on there contraception ban. Its more of a "moderation."

As for the other religions and there beliefs i have to admit I have no idea.

But so far about everyone has the "Killing a person for no good reason is bad" Rule.

The Christians have a mixed view, as it seems, everyone has there own opinion on wither it is ok to defend yourself, or your family. That is more based on what they where tought growing up. Some "hardcore" Christians believe that killing in any way is "bad" so they rather themselves be killed than try to save or protect another. Cause apparently the afterlife is more important than your current one.

Now to get back onto the topic of Moral relativity, its common because the fact is we are all different. If you where to say that, a town was ding because of soil quality was going bad to the point where nothing would grow on it. Wouldn't said town turn to stealing and making it socially acpetple to do outside of the community? Sure its "not right" on the outside because they aren't going though the same kind of hard times.

I think thats what scares people the most nowadays is that we are only civilized as long as we have enough food to eat and enough water to drink, but take any of those away and we are right back where we where stealing and killing eachother to "live." Because we all mostly think that we have the "right" to live.
 
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