My attempt to define the moral landscape
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23-10-2014, 04:29 PM
RE: My attempt to define the moral landscape
(23-10-2014 04:16 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(23-10-2014 03:52 PM)cjlr Wrote:  It's a terrible example.

Congratulating ourselves for finding easily identifiable endpoints doesn't help clear up the intervening cases in the slightest.
I'm not congratulating myself that's a mischaracterisation.

I didn't say you had. Hence my use of our rather than your.

(23-10-2014 04:16 PM)Stevil Wrote:  I have merely shown that "choice" is a necessary qualifier in assessing whether an event is a potential moral event. If there is no choice then the even isn't a moral event.
That is all the example is meant to establish. It is not mean to approach the topic of clarifying "intervening cases".

To which I repeat: where does that get us?

You specified an un-coerced choice; that necessitates a definition of coercion or else is meaningless.

(23-10-2014 04:16 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(23-10-2014 03:52 PM)cjlr Wrote:  You've done no such thing; it's not even a coherent supposition.

By what possible means can you tell people not to apply their own moral reasoning to other situations they witness? That's an inevitable consequences of their having standards at all!
Maybe you missed [or disagreed with the prior statements]
We don't judge a burying beetle as behaving immorally when it eats its offspring because we recognise that the burying beetle does not know that it is wrong to eat its offspring.
A qualifier for a moral event is that the actor must have knowledge of right and wrong, must be making a choice between right and wrong.

So far so reasonable.

(23-10-2014 04:16 PM)Stevil Wrote:  If you agree with these things, then how can you make a moral judgement of an event that an actor (other than yourself) has made, when you don't know what the beliefs of the actor are?

Absolute non sequitur.

Here's where that falls apart - your frankly ridiculous supposition that we (can only? should only?) judge others by their own standards. It doesn't follow from what you've given as premises, and I really can't see where you've drawn such a bizarre conclusion.

Even leaving aside the desirability of such a thing I submit to you that such judgements are inevitable. It is impossible not to have opinions - that is not how human beings work. I completely fail to see why you think such a thing is either possible or desirable.

To perhaps aid in illustrating this point I shall proceed to go full Godwin on you:
Adolph Hitler did not think himself acting immorally.

(23-10-2014 04:16 PM)Stevil Wrote:  It leads us to the point where we cannot make moral judgement as to the actions of others.
If we don't know their moral beliefs, we cannot assess that they knowingly choose wrong over right.

It does absolutely no such thing.

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23-10-2014, 04:30 PM
RE: My attempt to define the moral landscape
(23-10-2014 04:16 PM)Stevil Wrote:  It leads us to the point where we cannot make moral judgement as to the actions of others.
If we don't know their moral beliefs, we cannot assess that they knowingly choose wrong over right.

I'll be in West Papua New Guinea next year. Some of the local tribes, in particular the Asmat http://www.papuatrekking.com/Asmat_cannibals.html, were/are head hunters and cannibals.

So what you are saying is we, you and I, cannot pass moral judgement on the Asmat for carrying on with their traditions. Is that it in a nutshell?

Sadcryface

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23-10-2014, 04:34 PM
RE: My attempt to define the moral landscape
(23-10-2014 04:30 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  
(23-10-2014 04:16 PM)Stevil Wrote:  It leads us to the point where we cannot make moral judgement as to the actions of others.
If we don't know their moral beliefs, we cannot assess that they knowingly choose wrong over right.

I'll be in West Papua New Guinea next year. Some of the local tribes, in particular the Asmat http://www.papuatrekking.com/Asmat_cannibals.html, were/are head hunters and cannibals.

So what you are saying is we, you and I, cannot pass moral judgement on the Asmat for carrying on with their traditions. Is that it in a nutshell?

Sadcryface

Yes, because if morality is subjective, you can't (shouldn't?) apply yours to other moral actors.

I'd call it a rhetorical ad absurdum, except he's apparently completely serious.

(although IMO as I've stated such "withholding" of judgement is literally impossible given how our brains work)

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23-10-2014, 05:10 PM
RE: My attempt to define the moral landscape
(23-10-2014 04:29 PM)cjlr Wrote:  You specified an un-coerced choice; that necessitates a definition of coercion or else is meaningless.
It's up to the actor to define that. They hold their own moral beliefs, they make their own judgement on their own choices and actions with regards to those moral beliefs. It's up to them, as a self evaluation, to determine whether they think they were coerced or not.

I'm not in thread trying to tell people what is right or wrong, I'm not trying to define the moral yardstick that they are to personally choose to use.
I'm accepting that these things are personal beliefs of the individual.

But given that, I am trying to see what elements of commonality there are.
I think for the most part we can agree that a moral event needs certain qualifying criteria such as an actor with knowledge (or belief) in right and wrong, freedom of choice etc. Drinking water is not a moral event. But killing someone has potential to be a moral event.

(23-10-2014 04:29 PM)cjlr Wrote:  
(23-10-2014 04:16 PM)Stevil Wrote:  If you agree with these things, then how can you make a moral judgement of an event that an actor (other than yourself) has made, when you don't know what the beliefs of the actor are?

Absolute non sequitur.

Here's where that falls apart - your frankly ridiculous supposition that we (can only? should only?) judge others by their own standards. It doesn't follow from what you've given as premises, and I really can't see where you've drawn such a bizarre conclusion.
Think about the burying beetle. We don't deem its act of eating its own young as immoral because we recognise that it hasn't mad a choice between right and wrong. It has no idea that eating its young is "wrong".
Let's look at an easy example in the human realm.
My neighbor is an Orthodox Christian. Presumably he thinks it is immoral to have sex without trying to make a baby.
Neither myself nor my wife think that there is anything wrong with have sex and using birth control measures.
Are we behaving immorally?
From our perspective we have no knowledge or belief that recreational sex is wrong. We aren't making a choice between right and wrong.

Our neighbor thinks recreational sex is wrong, perhaps if he chooses to have recreational sex then he will have behaved immorally in his eyes. Perhaps he will feel guilt. But he cannot judge myself for my actions any more than he can judge a burying beetle for eating its young. Neither one of us are making a choice between right and wrong.
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23-10-2014, 05:19 PM
RE: My attempt to define the moral landscape
(23-10-2014 04:30 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  
(23-10-2014 04:16 PM)Stevil Wrote:  It leads us to the point where we cannot make moral judgement as to the actions of others.
If we don't know their moral beliefs, we cannot assess that they knowingly choose wrong over right.

I'll be in West Papua New Guinea next year. Some of the local tribes, in particular the Asmat http://www.papuatrekking.com/Asmat_cannibals.html, were/are head hunters and cannibals.

So what you are saying is we, you and I, cannot pass moral judgement on the Asmat for carrying on with their traditions. Is that it in a nutshell?

Sadcryface
Yes, that's correct

You can have the opinion that you think cannibalism is wrong. You can judge yourself if you ever have such a feast.

But, if you consider that a person can only be immoral if they knowingly choose wrong over right then you cannot judge a person's actions as immoral if they do not consider that action wrong. Not if you want to be consistent.

Do you consider a burying beetle as being immoral when it eats its young?
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23-10-2014, 08:20 PM
RE: My attempt to define the moral landscape
(23-10-2014 04:34 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Yes, because if morality is subjective, you can't (shouldn't?) apply yours to other moral actors.

I'd call it a rhetorical ad absurdum, except he's apparently completely serious.
Is this an attempt to mischaracterise my position as being a moral claim "you shouldn't"?
I'm not speaking from a moral context, I'm speaking from a logical one, following on from the premesis that I have documented.

The problem with documenting the moral landscape, as I have attempted in this thread, is that it forces consistency on the definitions. But once you have the consistency then you cannot change your definition to fit the situation you would like it to apply to.
It is similar to religious beliefs, if you don't attempt to pin down the definitions, the qualifiers, the boundaries, then you find that you use different implied definitions in different situations. When you try to document those definitions and merge them together then you can find that they conflict with each other.
It's what we call "mental gymnastics" and I think you need mental gymnastics to make the concept of morality work.
But of course I am open to the idea that I could be incorrect on this.
I've attempted to define my definitions, and I have highlighted the logical consequences of my definitions which menas that given my definitions morality cannot be quite what many people want it to be.

But I would be keen to see how the concept of morality could be defined and yet still work, without allowing the "mental gynmnastics" of being able to alter the definition given different situations.

(23-10-2014 04:34 PM)cjlr Wrote:  (although IMO as I've stated such "withholding" of judgement is literally impossible given how our brains work)
Not having a moral judgment is not impossible. I have no moral beliefs, I make no moral judgements. I assess things with regards to their impact on me, whether they present a danger to my own life or freedoms. It isn't a moral judgement, its an assessment based on self preservation.
Otherwise I am unconcerned as to the morality of others actions.

Maybe a situation that you can associate with
"Sex outside of marriage"- there are many that believe this is immoral. But I expect you would feel morally neutral on this matter. Thus it is possible to not make a moral judgement in this situation. Sex outside of marriage is not morally good and it is not morally bad. It is neutral. Hence no moral judgement even though our brains remain working the way they work.
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23-10-2014, 11:28 PM (This post was last modified: 23-10-2014 11:32 PM by ClydeLee.)
RE: My attempt to define the moral landscape
(23-10-2014 08:20 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(23-10-2014 04:34 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Yes, because if morality is subjective, you can't (shouldn't?) apply yours to other moral actors.

I'd call it a rhetorical ad absurdum, except he's apparently completely serious.
Is this an attempt to mischaracterise my position as being a moral claim "you shouldn't"?
I'm not speaking from a moral context, I'm speaking from a logical one, following on from the premesis that I have documented.

The problem with documenting the moral landscape, as I have attempted in this thread, is that it forces consistency on the definitions. But once you have the consistency then you cannot change your definition to fit the situation you would like it to apply to.
It is similar to religious beliefs, if you don't attempt to pin down the definitions, the qualifiers, the boundaries, then you find that you use different implied definitions in different situations. When you try to document those definitions and merge them together then you can find that they conflict with each other.
It's what we call "mental gymnastics" and I think you need mental gymnastics to make the concept of morality work.
But of course I am open to the idea that I could be incorrect on this.
I've attempted to define my definitions, and I have highlighted the logical consequences of my definitions which menas that given my definitions morality cannot be quite what many people want it to be.

But I would be keen to see how the concept of morality could be defined and yet still work, without allowing the "mental gynmnastics" of being able to alter the definition given different situations.

(23-10-2014 04:34 PM)cjlr Wrote:  (although IMO as I've stated such "withholding" of judgement is literally impossible given how our brains work)
Not having a moral judgment is not impossible. I have no moral beliefs, I make no moral judgements. I assess things with regards to their impact on me, whether they present a danger to my own life or freedoms. It isn't a moral judgement, its an assessment based on self preservation.
Otherwise I am unconcerned as to the morality of others actions.

Maybe a situation that you can associate with
"Sex outside of marriage"- there are many that believe this is immoral. But I expect you would feel morally neutral on this matter. Thus it is possible to not make a moral judgement in this situation. Sex outside of marriage is not morally good and it is not morally bad. It is neutral. Hence no moral judgement even though our brains remain working the way they work.

I'm curious then. If assessments on what aids self preservation isn't a moral choice.

What IS a moral choice in your opinion? Because in every case what you described as not a moral judgement is a moral judgement based on the merit of what morality actually means in my book. Maybe this is because if seem to indicate, or want to merely in the argument for using the term morality, that there is such a thing as good and bad. As other can see it, what is good/bad is only defined by what is "self preservation"(I would rather use sentient life preservation but you use this self concern in your case which is fine.) This is why I questioning the idea of this approach earlier, it's merely based on a limited definition that I don't think aids anyone understanding.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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23-10-2014, 11:48 PM
RE: My attempt to define the moral landscape
(23-10-2014 11:28 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  I'm curious then. If assessments on what aids self preservation isn't a moral choice.

What IS a moral choice in your opinion? Because in every case what you described as not a moral judgement is a moral judgement based on the merit of what morality actually means in my book. Maybe this is because if seem to indicate, or want to merely in the argument for using the term morality, that there is such a thing as good and bad. As other can see it, what is good/bad is only defined by what is "self preservation"(I would rather use sentient life preservation but you use this self concern in your case which is fine.) This is why I questioning the idea of this approach earlier, it's merely based on a limited definition that I don't think aids anyone understanding.
A lot of people seem to consider morality as being a conflict between selfishness and altruism.
A selfish act is generally not seen as an act of high moral fibre. An altruistic act is morally praised.

For example
If I eat because I would otherwise starve, this life saving act isn't seen as a moral act worthy of admiration.
However if I risk my own life to save a stranger from harm then that is given moral praise.

Would you agree?
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23-10-2014, 11:50 PM
RE: My attempt to define the moral landscape
By people in a general sense? I agree that's how it would be seen.

I guess I'm not sure if the attempt is to map out a idea of how to demonstrate morality as spoken on in a general sense or by a meaning that has value.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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24-10-2014, 12:03 AM
RE: My attempt to define the moral landscape
(23-10-2014 11:50 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  I guess I'm not sure if the attempt is to map out a idea of how to demonstrate morality as spoken on in a general sense or by a meaning that has value.

I'm attempting to define what morality might be by documenting some qualifying criteria. This way there are a set of events which we can agree don't qualify as moral events because they don't meet the criteria.

It seems to me that an event cannot be a moral event if the actor does not have knowledge, understanding or belief in right and wrong.

Would you agree with that last sentence? If you disagree, can you provide an example that would contradict this?
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