Morality - seeking consistency via qualifying criteria
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03-02-2014, 12:21 AM
RE: Morality - seeking consistency via qualifying criteria
(02-02-2014 12:22 PM)Stevil Wrote:  ...
(02-02-2014 04:46 AM)DLJ Wrote:  We can behave in what would normally be regarded as an immoral way if under extreme survival pressure.
I can list many actual examples if needed.
Yes, please do.

Is it OK to eat people?
In normal circumstances this would be considered immoral but ... plane crashes in the mountains etc.. I'm sure you know the story.

Is it OK to kill babies?
In normal circumstances this would be considered immoral but ... there are two similar examples that I can think of where if I were in that situation, NOT killing the baby would have been immoral ... Jews hiding from the Gestapo and the new born baby starts crying. If I was the leader of the group, I think it would be more immoral to hand the knife to mother and expect her to do the deed than to use the knife myself.
Similarly, the example of the Japanese people (I think) hiding from the American troops in a cave.

Is it OK to rape?
This is a tougher one.
All I can think of here is maybe if after an apocalypse, there is only one woman left alive etc. etc. but to be honest I have a hard time justifying this.

Likewise, Baruch's example of "torturing babies for fun", I think, will always be immoral. Even in an ultimate extreme case that one species needs to wipe out another or die (maybe the native American Indians should have done that to the early European settlers) I cannot see the justification for "torture" and "fun".

Regarding normative statements. Yes, they are necessary.
Again, I translate to my (idiosyncratic (according to Chippy)) world of Enterprise Governance... normative statements = policies and guidelines... but this applies to societies too.

Problem is, once we have policy, we also need to establish lines of reporting for breaches of policy, escalation paths and penalties for non-compliance.

If all we do is issue guidelines alone, we have to employ other means to coerce such as social and financial incentives / penalties.

By social coercion, I'm referring to things like the equal rights movements of the past.

Even in the non-violent business world, there is coercion in the form of e.g. if you don't sign up for our company's Code of Ethics, you don't get to work here.

Up the scale to a country or a religion, it's "you don't get to live here / don't get eternal reward if you don't follow our rules. Disobey and you will be deported / excommunicated."

So... I think that the "coercion" bit needs to be dropped.

Here is Stanford's take on it:
Quote:The term “morality” can be used either

1. descriptively to refer to some codes of conduct put forward by a society or,
a) some other group, such as a religion, or
b) accepted by an individual for her own behavior or

2. normatively to refer to a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons.

What “morality” is taken to refer to plays a crucial, although often unacknowledged, role in formulating ethical theories. To take “morality” to refer to an actually existing code of conduct put forward by a society results in a denial that there is a universal morality, one that applies to all human beings. This descriptive use of “morality”is the one used by anthropologists when they report on the morality of the societies that they study. Recently, some comparative and evolutionary psychologists (Haidt, Hauser, De Waal) have taken morality, or a close anticipation of it, to be present among groups of non-human animals, primarily other primates but not limited to them. “Morality” has also been taken to refer to any code of conduct that a person or group takes as most important.

Among those who use “morality” normatively, all hold that “morality” refers to a code of conduct that applies to all who can understand it and can govern their behavior by it...

Thoughts?

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03-02-2014, 02:06 AM
RE: Morality - seeking consistency via qualifying criteria
(03-02-2014 12:21 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Is it OK to eat people?
In normal circumstances this would be considered immoral but ... plane crashes in the mountains etc.. I'm sure you know the story.
Are you saying that it is immoral to eat a person's dead body, even if you are starving to death?

Or, are you saying that the coercion of death by starvation removes the choice thus removes the moral obligation thus removes morality from the equation?


(03-02-2014 12:21 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Is it OK to kill babies?
In normal circumstances this would be considered immoral but ... there are two similar examples that I can think of where if I were in that situation, NOT killing the baby would have been immoral ... Jews hiding from the Gestapo and the new born baby starts crying. If I was the leader of the group, I think it would be more immoral to hand the knife to mother and expect her to do the deed than to use the knife myself.
In a similar vein,
Are you saying it is always immoral to kill human babies

Or, are you saying that the coercion of death by Nazi removes the choice thus removes the moral obligation thus removes morality from the equation?

(03-02-2014 12:21 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Even in the non-violent business world, there is coercion in the form of e.g. if you don't sign up for our company's Code of Ethics, you don't get to work here.

So... I think that the "coercion" bit needs to be dropped.
I'm a bit confused by this. I'm not able to follow the dots you have laid out for me in order to understand why you think coercion should be dropped as a disqualifier on judging if someone has acted immorally or not.
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03-02-2014, 02:42 AM
RE: Morality - seeking consistency via qualifying criteria
(03-02-2014 02:06 AM)Stevil Wrote:  ...
Or, are you saying that the coercion of death by starvation removes the choice thus removes the moral obligation thus removes morality from the equation?
...
Or, are you saying that the coercion of death by Nazi removes the choice thus removes the moral obligation thus removes morality from the equation?
...
I'm a bit confused by this. I'm not able to follow the dots you have laid out for me in order to understand why you think coercion should be dropped as a disqualifier on judging if someone has acted immorally or not.

I get what you're saying.

If you include 'survival pressure' as a form of coercion then your definition stands.

I was not including it for the reason that when designing and operating enterprises, consideration includes normal work practices (policies, guidelines, processes) and also emergency procedures (continuity planning, disaster recovery) and therefore the code of ethics that relate to these is all encompassing i.e. planning is done for normal and extreme circumstances.

Morality is not removed.

So I was suggesting:
"Morality is the code of conduct that applies to all who can understand it and can govern their behaviour by it."

"can govern their behaviour" removes the need to reference any form of coercion. It also qualifies out those of us with mental health issues who are deemed to be not in control of their own actions.

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03-02-2014, 12:15 PM
RE: Morality - seeking consistency via qualifying criteria
(03-02-2014 02:42 AM)DLJ Wrote:  I was not including it for the reason that when designing and operating enterprises, consideration includes normal work practices (policies, guidelines, processes) and also emergency procedures (continuity planning, disaster recovery) and therefore the code of ethics that relate to these is all encompassing i.e. planning is done for normal and extreme circumstances.

Morality is not removed.
Let's explore this.

Two aspect here (I think).
1. A person's job duties conflicts with their own moral values.
2. It is deemed that an employee is morally bound to perform as per their employment contract.

Regarding item 1. Let's say there is a qualified doctor whom is a Catholic and believes it is immoral to perform abortions, administer the morning after pill or to advise patients regarding contraception.
We have two hospitals in the area. One is a state hospital and requires all doctors to perform their full duty thus they must administer the morning after pill to patients that ask for it. the other hospital is a private Catholic hospital, they require all doctors to abide by the morality of the Catholic church thus they are not to perform abortion, not to administer morning after pill, not to advise on contraception other that to suggest chastity.
This doctor has a choice and thus is not coerced into any morally compromising activities.

However, what if there was no such thing as a Catholic hospital? What if all hospitals required doctors to administer the morning after pill on request? Does our "Good" doctor forgo his years of training and pursue an alternative career? What if they have a large student loan, a mortgage, a pregnant stay at home wife and four hungry children?
Does it then become a matter of personal survival rather than one of morality?

What if doctors are in shortage and many patients are dying due to this shortage? What if the "Good" doctor calculates that more patients will die than zygotes being "aborted" if he doesn't work for a hospital?
Would it then be immoral for him not to work at the hospital?
Would his coerced acts of administering morning after pill then be deemed an act under duress rather than an immoral act on the "Good" doctor's behalf?
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