Morality on a desert island
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03-11-2013, 12:32 AM
RE: Morality on a desert island
(02-11-2013 10:24 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  
(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.

Here the absolute would be this: it is always wrong to initiate the use of physical violence. This is an absolute. Human sacrifice and slavery are wrong. These are absolutes. I do not follow the moral relitivism that demands the greatest good for the greatest number. If the greatest happiness for the majority is to sacrifice or demonize a minority or individual that is wrong (gay discrimination, racism, etc.).

The way that it is described by others though, I could be called a relitivist. If a lion kills a gazelle it is considered moral for the lion, but for the gazelle the moral act is to flee to prevent it. In terms of human actions though, I am an absolutist.

What really is of interest to me is the point by poolboyG (sorry if I got that wrong, I'm doing this on my phone). Do you need two beings to have a use for morality, or not? Is it moral for a man on said island to lie in the sand and waste away, or not? Is he morally obligated to go out and forage? IE: is it a moral obligation of man to work for his own benefit? Lets say there is a man who is a brilliant scientist, but gives it up to work as a pencil pusher to support a lazy relative. Is this a moral act?
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03-11-2013, 01:41 AM
RE: Morality on a desert island
(03-11-2013 12:32 AM)natachan Wrote:  
(02-11-2013 10:24 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  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.

Here the absolute would be this: it is always wrong to initiate the use of physical violence. This is an absolute. Human sacrifice and slavery are wrong. These are absolutes. I do not follow the moral relitivism that demands the greatest good for the greatest number. If the greatest happiness for the majority is to sacrifice or demonize a minority or individual that is wrong (gay discrimination, racism, etc.).

The way that it is described by others though, I could be called a relitivist. If a lion kills a gazelle it is considered moral for the lion, but for the gazelle the moral act is to flee to prevent it. In terms of human actions though, I am an absolutist.

What really is of interest to me is the point by poolboyG (sorry if I got that wrong, I'm doing this on my phone). Do you need two beings to have a use for morality, or not? Is it moral for a man on said island to lie in the sand and waste away, or not? Is he morally obligated to go out and forage? IE: is it a moral obligation of man to work for his own benefit? Lets say there is a man who is a brilliant scientist, but gives it up to work as a pencil pusher to support a lazy relative. Is this a moral act?

Interesting.

If there is only one man on an island, then there are no morals. You tell me what and how anything this man can do to create a situation where morals apply. He does what he wants when he wants and it doesn't affect anything as far as the world turns.

Now put two men on the island. What is it that creates morals?

I'd contend ego.

Study the world's religions and you find gods closely tied to whatever culture you find them in. That's ego. That's morality.

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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03-11-2013, 02:02 AM
RE: Morality on a desert island
Morals are not dependent on human interaction.
Feeling that its wrong to cripple an animal and watch it suffer is having morals.
Even if your the only person on the island.

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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03-11-2013, 03:12 AM
RE: Morality on a desert island
(03-11-2013 02:02 AM)sporehux Wrote:  Morals are not dependent on human interaction.
Feeling that its wrong to cripple an animal and watch it suffer is having morals.
Even if your the only person on the island.

Therefore...

Morals are dependent on ... interaction.

Yes?

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03-11-2013, 03:25 AM (This post was last modified: 03-11-2013 03:31 AM by sporehux.)
RE: Morality on a desert island
(03-11-2013 03:12 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
(03-11-2013 02:02 AM)sporehux Wrote:  Morals are not dependent on human interaction.
Feeling that its wrong to cripple an animal and watch it suffer is having morals.
Even if your the only person on the island.

Therefore...

Morals are dependent on ... interaction.

Yes?
Human to human interaction. I was referring to the above post.

The above post (even heathen) claims morals only exits when there is 2 or more people.

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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03-11-2013, 04:09 AM
RE: Morality on a desert island
(03-11-2013 03:25 AM)sporehux Wrote:  
(03-11-2013 03:12 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Therefore...

Morals are dependent on ... interaction.

Yes?
Human to human interaction. I was referring to the above post.

The above post (even heathen) claims morals only exits when there is 2 or more people.

I know.

You brought animals into the equation so I was clarify your position to remove the human element, therefore ... morals are dependent on interaction.

Correct?

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03-11-2013, 04:12 AM
RE: Morality on a desert island
I agree with sporehux that so long as another being exists that can suffer, even a single person on a desert isle is a moral actor. We can push it further. Even a single player in a shoot-em up video game is a moral actor. The foundation of morality is empathy, so interaction with whatever a person can or does empathise with creates a moral scene that the human can navigate in more moral or less moral ways.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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03-11-2013, 05:20 AM
RE: Morality on a desert island
(03-11-2013 04:12 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  I agree with sporehux that so long as another being exists that can suffer, even a single person on a desert isle is a moral actor. We can push it further. Even a single player in a shoot-em up video game is a moral actor. The foundation of morality is empathy, so interaction with whatever a person can or does empathise with creates a moral scene that the human can navigate in more moral or less moral ways.

So not just beings then?




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03-11-2013, 05:28 AM
RE: Morality on a desert island
To expand upon hafnof's presentation, a key element often overlooked is simulation of future. In the case of lion vs. gazelle, one might be visited with a sense of moral censure, finding the lion's actions distasteful; this doesn't happen, for instance, if it is volcano vs. gazelle. Our sense of morality is activated if there is a perception that our intervention could lessen the suffering of the afflicted.

I hypothesize morality is evolved chemical intelligence, which would make its precursors extant in all life, but our fleshed-out concept of morality requires all three simulations (mind, mind of another, future), making our concept of morality nearly human-exclusive*.

*
Quote:Animals which have passed the mirror test are common chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, dolphins, elephants, humans and possibly pigeons
~from http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/m/mirror_test.htm. The mirror test indicates simulation of mind in brain.

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03-11-2013, 06:02 AM
RE: Morality on a desert island
(03-11-2013 05:28 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  To expand upon hafnof's presentation, a key element often overlooked is simulation of future. In the case of lion vs. gazelle, one might be visited with a sense of moral censure, finding the lion's actions distasteful; this doesn't happen, for instance, if it is volcano vs. gazelle. Our sense of morality is activated if there is a perception that our intervention could lessen the suffering of the afflicted.

I hypothesize morality is evolved chemical intelligence, which would make its precursors extant in all life, but our fleshed-out concept of morality requires all three simulations (mind, mind of another, future), making our concept of morality nearly human-exclusive*.

*
Quote:Animals which have passed the mirror test are common chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, dolphins, elephants, humans and possibly pigeons
~from http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/m/mirror_test.htm. The mirror test indicates simulation of mind in brain.




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