Morality on a desert island
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02-11-2013, 09:30 PM
Morality on a desert island
Let us propose two desert islands. On one you are alone, on the other you are in a group. How would you define morality on these islands and why?

To be fair I'll put some cards on the table and explain the questions. I am an atheist AND a moral absolutist. I would like to hear the views of others. Is morality simply between yourself and other humans? Is it between you and other living beings? Or is it an internal system for coping with reality? This also means I would like to know what you think morality is and who needs it.

I would like to know about how you folks view moral absolutism. I believe that there is a right and there is a wrong although the context of the event might effect it. Example: it is ALWAYS wrong to rob a store at gunpoint and kill the clerk, but it is not wrong for the clerk to shoot the robber.
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02-11-2013, 09:47 PM
RE: Morality on a desert island
Group island: Lord of the Flies. (RIP piggy)

Individual island: Cast Away ("Willlsoooonnnnnn!!!!").



Didn't we just have this conversation? I think these islands are actually time warps or portals or something.
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02-11-2013, 09:59 PM
RE: Morality on a desert island
There was a question in the theist debate forum, but it didn't really do anything except bash the theist who asked and him with the "morality is impossible without god" line. I'm actually curious about the question.
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02-11-2013, 10:12 PM
RE: Morality on a desert island
That wasn't what he asked, I'll quote it
(27-10-2013 01:59 PM)Dearthair Wrote:  I am a thinking theist, and I was wondering if y'all think there is any right & wrong on an island not owned by any country, and no man-made laws yet applying to it.

Examples, and why?

This is so simple, why hasn't anyone figured it out?
An island is completely indifferent. An island doesn't have a brain or anything resembling morality. Not once had he said that people were on the island. Everyone was just jumping the gunTongue

"I don't have to have faith, I have experience." Joseph Campbell
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02-11-2013, 10:24 PM
RE: Morality on a desert island
(02-11-2013 09:30 PM)natachan Wrote:  I would like to know about how you folks view moral absolutism. I believe that there is a right and there is a wrong although the context of the event might effect it.

The previous thread on this topic was a bit convoluted by the theist/atheist tension. But I think most of the same posts that were made there could be made here as far as the OP goes.

I'm curious as to your position on moral absolutism. Context of a situation implies subjectivity.

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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02-11-2013, 10:26 PM
RE: Morality on a desert island
I'm a relativist.

I've noticed that the professional apologists use less the term 'moral absolutes' in favour of 'objective moral values'.

I think this is because 'absolutes' denote the ends of a scale which are largely undefinable (unless defined by a supernatural dictator, so the argument is easy to knock down) whereas they know that atheists are divided regarding 'objective moral values'.

One camp (atheist camp, not a camp on the island) give the Sam Harris argument regarding well-being.

Others (me included) will argue that this is only viable if you impose a constraint that assumes that human life is important.

Rats, viruses and cockroaches might disagree... for the well-being of the universe, coming down from the trees, as Douglas Adams noted, might have been a big mistake. Smile

Here is something to consider from internationally recognised best practice (which is also, btw, relative) regarding organisations / enterprises (businesses, clubs, religions, states, families, island-dwellers etc.):

-- Organisational Ethics: determined by the values by which the enterprise want to live (its code)
-- Individual ethics: determined by each person’s personal values and dependent to some extent on external factors (such as religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, geography and personal experiences) not always under the enterprise’s control.
-- Individual behaviours (which collectively determine the culture of the enterprise): dependent on both organisational and individual ethics but also interpersonal relationships in enterprises, personal objectives and ambitions.


Smartass

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02-11-2013, 10:35 PM
RE: Morality on a desert island
In all honesty, from an evolutionary standpoint we (general, not adding mental ailments, etc) have feelings of empathy as a base in human nature for survival purposes. For every individual empathy will extend until a point were a decision is to be made where one sacrifices another or themself. I believe this would be different for every person for different reasons. I don't think you could hold any one person up to an absolute, in a group or individually. I also think you'd never know how you, yourself, would react because the physiological brain changes under stress and responses could vary. You could only speculate or wish.

I have been under extreme stress before, having hands on experience with suicide intervention and working with clients who have raped, murdered or molested others as well as dealing with sickness and death from loved ones. I have a good idea how I personally react under extremely stressful events, I could share some of those details, but- I've never been stranded on an island... so I'd never truly know about that unless it happened.
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02-11-2013, 10:47 PM
Star RE: Morality on a desert island
Morality is the notion that 1. people (sentients) feel a good and bad. 2. good is preferable to bad.

Morality, good, and bad have definitions. The definitions comprise of attributes and concepts. So they exist. Question is can they be put into practice?

Morality as a concept needs two sentients beings, with one affecting the other. So if your island is devoid of any sentient animal life (to harm), morality as a practice couldn't exist. The concept exists, but it can't be put into practice.

But I could argue that as long as one sentient being exists (you) and time exists (there's you now, and you in the future), you doing anything now to cause harm or pain or "badness" to your future self is a question of morality too.

So I can can argue that morality can always be put into practice.
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03-11-2013, 12:05 AM
RE: Morality on a desert island
(02-11-2013 09:47 PM)LadyJane Wrote:  Group island: Lord of the Flies. (RIP piggy)

Individual island: Cast Away ("Willlsoooonnnnnn!!!!").



Didn't we just have this conversation? I think these islands are actually time warps or portals or something.

I miss Piggy, and Wilson :'(
Let us have a moment of silence....
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03-11-2013, 12:09 AM
RE: Morality on a desert island
I think I'm seeing double.


God is a concept by which we measure our pain -- John Lennon

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