A Challenge for Moral Realists
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04-01-2016, 07:35 AM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(03-01-2016 08:36 PM)Anjele Wrote:  If he isn't a bigot, he certainly sounds like one.

He may not be able to deal with people who are different from him - which is everyone, by the way - but I am not able to deal with people who are so closed-minded.

I will show myself out.

If you read bigotry into anything that I've wrote here, that I'm sorry to say but you very badly misunderstood me. I'm not sure what so bigoted about stating that sometimes people, for a variety of circumstances live lives with a dramatically different set of experiences, that relating to those experiences are difficult, and may be insurmountable. And I think this is true for you, as it is for me, regardless if we wish this weren't the case or not. There's nothing demeaning about this in regards to your experiences, or race or ethnicity.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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04-01-2016, 08:05 AM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(04-01-2016 07:05 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(04-01-2016 02:06 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Too bad that, no matter your belief or interpretation, it is evidently the much edited, borrowed, stolen, misquoted, and mistranslated fictitious work of fallible men with relatively straightforward and mundane power struggles and political goals. Drinking Beverage

The bible has been much edited, stories have been borrowed and reimagined, mistranslated, incorporating history and myth, is work written by fallible men, often dealing with power struggle and political goals. Yet an inspired work.

Composed of characters that are almost entirely unrelatable for you, othered as a bunch of ignorant goat herders. With no real connection for the enlightened men of our age.

Given that long list of disclaimers, what does "inspired" even mean?

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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04-01-2016, 09:20 AM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(03-01-2016 08:49 PM)popsthebuilder Wrote:  Without Faith one might succumb to a belief in nihilism or think regardless of what they do that life itself is erelevent and or not worth more than one can acquire through physical means.

Beauty has always been found only in the eye of the beholder.

One can even find beauty in the apparent meaninglessness! Gasp

One can accept reality, and also very much enjoy life.

Pieces of art like this (below) are perhaps even more enjoyable with a nihilistic perspective (It does it for me anyways Smile).

Special instructions: must be listened to with either headphones or big speakers, little twangy laptop speakers won't do.



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04-01-2016, 09:39 AM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(03-01-2016 03:48 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(03-01-2016 03:12 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Society extrapolates its rules, laws, and customs from the morals of its constituents. Not the other way around.
OK, societies rules may be influenced by the moral beliefs of the leaders, influencers or majority or vocal opinions. That is true.

An action such as slavery or prostitution can't be immoral within a society. But can be either legal or illegal.

It might be illegal perhaps because the majority of voters hold a strong belief that slavery is immoral and so it was implemented into law based on an election promise that was used to get the majority vote and hence gain power for that political party. There will still be people whom think it is moral and whom disagree with the law. Their opinion is still correct for them even though they live within that society. It isn't the case that within that society that slavery is immoral.

(03-01-2016 03:12 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  But it does pose and interesting conundrum about what to do when living in a society that governs in a way that you deem immoral. Who is correct? Society or the individual?
The individual is always correct given that moral beliefs are owned by the individual.
Society doesn't have moral beliefs, society doesn't have any beliefs, society can't think. Society is merely a collection.

If you deem eating meat as immoral and you are on an island (a society with two others) and if those others all agree that eating meat is moral then this does not change your own opinion that eating meat is immoral.

(03-01-2016 03:12 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  That's contextual and highlights the reason why we've issues within society. And it's also why the way one responds to these moral questions can make a big difference too.
I'm of the opinion that our issues and conflicts are primarily because resources are in limited supply. We must compete for resources.
But with the concept of morality it also creates another issue. There are people who would go to extreme lengths to stop other people from behaving immorally. In this scenario it isn't about limited resources it is about an idealism which motivates people to interfer in the lives of others.

(03-01-2016 03:12 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Is a punishment levied by the government unjust? Perhaps, but killing in the name of it (or taking over federal land) is not an adequate response.
I'm not a fan of punishment. I prefer to consider taking action to improve the future rather than to punish transgressors. If locking up a rapist improves the future then do it, not as punishment for the rapist but as protection for people within society.

"An action such as slavery or prostitution can't be immoral within a society. But can be either legal or illegal."

In general, we assign legality of an issue based on our collective morals.

"It might be illegal perhaps because the majority of voters hold a strong belief that slavery is immoral and so it was implemented into law based on an election promise that was used to get the majority vote and hence gain power for that political party. There will still be people whom think it is moral and whom disagree with the law. Their opinion is still correct for them even though they live within that society. It isn't the case that within that society that slavery is immoral."

It isn't true that it is unanimously agreed upon as immoral in that instantaneous moment. That isn't relevant to the point I am trying to make.

Here, let me put it this way. In a society, morals exist. Absent a society or collective community, morals don't exist but the biological underpinnings do. Adaptations to survival, fitness, and altruism. It might seem arbitrary to only discuss morality as it relates to societies (because humans are the only species known to have fully fleshed out societies), but humans are different than other species with regards to their biological interactions with others and other species. And we have to draw arbitrary lines somewhere in order for the word "moral" to make sense, otherwise we are talking about altruism. (we draw arbitrary lines all the time. Glaciers are made of the mineral ice. The ice in your drink is not a mineral because it is synthetic. Same with diamonds or any other synthetic material. If it is found naturally, it can be a mineral. If it is made by humans, it isn't technically a mineral as it is synthetic).

Why did I take that tangent? Because I am not trying to paint morality (at the individual or societal level) as black and white or cut and dry. So, when I say that in retrospect slavery was wrong, I am not saying that it is now or was then agreed on 100% immoral. In the very same way we look rather confusingly at altruistic behavior among other species. There are generalizations we can draw, and there are commonalities among and within species, but there is no objective basis. Each altruistic set of behaviors is contextual and relative, not only to the individual but to the species. But that doesn't mean that all members of the same species or even all individuals within the same population engage in the same altruistic behaviors.

That is what I am saying about morality. It exists at the individual level AND the societal level. The observation that not all individuals in the society share the same moral choices, is no more relevant than the observation that an individual's moral can evolve over their lifetime too (18 year old me would have been against gay marriage, would probably have called atheist immoral satan worshippers, I was all for bombing the middle east into oblivion, etc).

You seem to suggest that an action can only be labeled immoral or moral at the societal level, if it is unanimous. No. This is the reason we establish our societies with laws and legal systems to judge the context of any given action so as to come to as close to a consensus opinion as possible. Being a part of this system, is also a way of accepting that it won't be 100% efficient and that we will sometimes label immoral actions as moral or amoral (hello Mr. Zimmerman. Or not prosecuting the cop that killed Tamir Rice. Etc).

"The individual is always correct given that moral beliefs are owned by the individual.
Society doesn't have moral beliefs, society doesn't have any beliefs, society can't think. Society is merely a collection."


The individual is not always correct. Opinions aren't facts, you can't label opinions as always correct or always wrong. Only the Sith deal in absolutes, and this black and white scenario is far too simplistic.

And yes, societies do have morals. We establish our laws and customs off of our morals, but that doesn't mean that our morals as a collective are always up to date with our laws and customs. Laws and rules reflect our collective morals.

"If you deem eating meat as immoral and you are on an island (a society with two others) and if those others all agree that eating meat is moral then this does not change your own opinion that eating meat is immoral."

You're leaving out the most important pieces of moral discussions, the discussion. Why is eating meat moral or immoral? What reasons do each give? In the discussion on eating meat, opinions can change. Is the vegetarian of the opinion that eating meat is wrong because it isn't necessary for modern humans to survive by killing animals? They aren't wrong outside of the context of their situation for many places and people, but their situation is different. Eating meat may be the only way for them to survive given the change of their circumstance.

This is the crux of the argument, people label something moral or immoral and then claim that there can be no agreement reached, but the discussion of the reasons for each label is how and why the moral choice among the collective can be reached. That is after all, how we govern ourselves.

"I'm of the opinion that our issues and conflicts are primarily because resources are in limited supply. We must compete for resources.
But with the concept of morality it also creates another issue. There are people who would go to extreme lengths to stop other people from behaving immorally. In this scenario it isn't about limited resources it is about an idealism which motivates people to interfer in the lives of others."


But you're still missing the crucial piece to the moral question, the discussions and explanations of why. Is it moral for a smaller collective to keep others from behaving immorally (as it is defined by society)? Ultimately, the scenario you just painted, only exists if there is a collective set of morals that transcend the individual.

"I'm not a fan of punishment. I prefer to consider taking action to improve the future rather than to punish transgressors. If locking up a rapist improves the future then do it, not as punishment for the rapist but as protection for people within society."

I'm not a fan of punishment either, I'd rather we rehabilitate first and foremost. But we can't always do that sadly.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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04-01-2016, 09:45 AM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(04-01-2016 09:20 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(03-01-2016 08:49 PM)popsthebuilder Wrote:  Without Faith one might succumb to a belief in nihilism or think regardless of what they do that life itself is erelevent and or not worth more than one can acquire through physical means.

Beauty has always been found only in the eye of the beholder.

One can even find beauty in the apparent meaninglessness! Gasp

One can accept reality, and also very much enjoy life.

Pieces of art like this (below) are perhaps even more enjoyable with a nihilistic perspective (It does it for me anyways Smile).

Special instructions: must be listened to with either headphones or big speakers, little twangy laptop speakers won't do.



There have been times where I've had an idealistic few in the past. I have found it to be unproductive non beneficial and untruthful. Indeed beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I do not mean to disrespect any who adhere to nihilism.
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04-01-2016, 09:52 AM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
And one other piece, a group or individual not accepting (not wanting to or not understanding) an explanation for a moral argument, is also irrelevant. There are people in the US right now that think that slavery was okay (morally good) for the South, their argument being that it was necessary for the US economy, but their argument is based on an extrapolation from only one scenario. They have no idea if it is actually true that the US economy could not have flourished without slavery, they just assume that based on a paucity of evidence. Whereas the counter argument would be to show other world economies from the mid 19th century that were just fine without slavery.

One side has evidence, facts, and falsifiable observations to corroborate its moral opinion.

Now, they would be correct if they said that many human societies in the past have deemed slavery moral and that within those societies at that time, that is true (I am ignoring modern slavery, like the sex trafficking industry because that is a very sad subject that is quite dense and I don't think I can handle a discussion on that today).

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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04-01-2016, 09:54 AM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(04-01-2016 06:58 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(03-01-2016 10:39 PM)Chas Wrote:  You know nothing about my history. I really don't give a fuck whether you can feel empathy for me, but your presumption and ignorance are apparent to everyone but you.

I wasn't referring to you there.

Given your previous post, it looks like you are.

(03-01-2016 06:59 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  The same can be said about atheists here, most of whom I have difficulty empathizing with, finding any common set of personal experiences, and only exacerbated by the fact that our interactions are limited to the internet. I'll have as much of a difficulty in getting you, of understanding the bald man that lives on what seems to be farm, with an impecible fashion sense, as you would this brown kid who grew up in a city, as a child of poor immigrants.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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04-01-2016, 09:59 AM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(04-01-2016 09:45 AM)popsthebuilder Wrote:  
(04-01-2016 09:20 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Beauty has always been found only in the eye of the beholder.

One can even find beauty in the apparent meaninglessness! Gasp

One can accept reality, and also very much enjoy life.

Pieces of art like this (below) are perhaps even more enjoyable with a nihilistic perspective (It does it for me anyways Smile).

Special instructions: must be listened to with either headphones or big speakers, little twangy laptop speakers won't do.



There have been times where I've had an idealistic few in the past. I have found it to be unproductive non beneficial and untruthful. Indeed beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I do not mean to disrespect any who adhere to nihilism.

No worries. I didn't take your post as disrespectful. Thumbsup

I think I can relate. When I was younger I was terrified at the proposition of nihilism.
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04-01-2016, 10:01 AM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
And technically, the USA did not ban slavery entirely. The 13th amendment reads:

"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/arch...ca/406177/

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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04-01-2016, 10:12 AM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(04-01-2016 09:59 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(04-01-2016 09:45 AM)popsthebuilder Wrote:  There have been times where I've had an idealistic few in the past. I have found it to be unproductive non beneficial and untruthful. Indeed beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I do not mean to disrespect any who adhere to nihilism.

No worries. I didn't take your post as disrespectful. Thumbsup

I think I can relate. When I was younger I was terrified at the proposition of nihilism.
Never feared the ramifications of such. Contemplated it for some time really based on observations of those times. Simply and honestly doesn't seem to be the case to me personally anymore is all.

Peace
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