My attempt to define the moral landscape
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24-10-2014, 08:34 AM
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.

Yeah, I'm still not seeing where your opinions as to what others should do can be completely disconnected from any sense of the word "moral".

More to the point, why those premises?

(23-10-2014 08:20 PM)Stevil Wrote:  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.

That's not even what you've so far claimed, from how I read it.

Is this you chasing an impossible standard again?

(23-10-2014 08:20 PM)Stevil Wrote:  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.

May I ask if you have read any recent psychological or neurological research into morality?

We, humans, have several extremely basic - instincts, shall we say - which inform our thoughts, how we think about interaction with others, and our desires with regard to that interaction.

Your particular hangups with the word "morality" do not change that. Or as they say, "citation needed" on what "many" people "want" it to be.
(I'm not at all sure even remotely of what you mean by that)

Being "difficult to define" does not mean that religion - or, say, morality - does not exist. So there's that.

(23-10-2014 08:20 PM)Stevil Wrote:  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.

Let me raise a further point to you:
suppose there is no absolute wholly consistent definition.
(a common reality for complex terms)

Again: so what?

I have to ask again whether you've read much other work on the topic.

(23-10-2014 08:20 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(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.

Bullcrap.

(23-10-2014 08:20 PM)Stevil Wrote:  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.

If you do not, in fact, lack empathy - and you were quite indignant when it was suggested - then the treatment of any person by any other person may elicit a response in you.

Sorry, I don't buy the whole "oh, but morality is what other people have; I'm different because reasons..."

(23-10-2014 08:20 PM)Stevil Wrote:  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.

If one can judge, one can judge things neutral. That being so obviously and necessarily implicit, I didn't bother mentioning it as a case of interest. But good for you in catching that?

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24-10-2014, 08:39 AM
RE: My attempt to define the moral landscape
(23-10-2014 05:10 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(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.

Once again, it's impossible for others not to have their own opinions.

(23-10-2014 05:10 PM)Stevil Wrote:  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.

Yes, and?

I agreed with that.

Of course, I still can't actually tell whether you're directly telling other people they should or should not apply their own moral standards to others.
(notwithstanding that not to do so is impossible...)

(23-10-2014 05:10 PM)Stevil Wrote:  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.

Yes, and?

(23-10-2014 05:10 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(23-10-2014 04:29 PM)cjlr Wrote:  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.

And do you not see why the massive difference between the two cases precludes any generalisation?

Hint: a beetle is not a moral actor. So there's that.

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24-10-2014, 12:11 PM
RE: My attempt to define the moral landscape
(24-10-2014 08:34 AM)cjlr Wrote:  
(23-10-2014 08:20 PM)Stevil Wrote:  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.

Yeah, I'm still not seeing where your opinions as to what others should do can be completely disconnected from any sense of the word "moral".
Do you think the word "should" can only be used in a moral context?
If you want to play the piano well, then you should practice.
If you want to get decent grades then you should spend some time studying.

(24-10-2014 08:34 AM)cjlr Wrote:  More to the point, why those premises?
Just my attempt at defining some of the basics of the moral landscape.
These premises seemed obvious to me, but I'm putting them out there as my current thoughts and am open to them being challenged. Do you have any issues with any of them? Are you able to articulate your issue? I'd be keen to hear it.

(24-10-2014 08:34 AM)cjlr Wrote:  
(23-10-2014 08:20 PM)Stevil Wrote:  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.

That's not even what you've so far claimed, from how I read it.

Is this you chasing an impossible standard again?
If you think it is an impossible standard to have a consistent definition of morality then you must either realise that the morality concept has no useful purpose or you simply are happy to use mental gymnastics.
Myself, I don't like mental gymnastics, I like to try and sort out a decent definition, even if it means having a first attempt at it myself then presenting to others and asking for their critique/input. Are you against this approach?

(24-10-2014 08:34 AM)cjlr Wrote:  May I ask if you have read any recent psychological or neurological research into morality?

We, humans, have several extremely basic - instincts, shall we say - which inform our thoughts, how we think about interaction with others, and our desires with regard to that interaction.
Many papers, probably the best one I've read is about natural laws, pertaining to why humans and in particular why a third party will get aggressive and violent in some situations and not in others. There are many ways to explain behaviours, morality is a speculative explanation, there has never been found any evidence that moral truths exist.

(24-10-2014 08:34 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Being "difficult to define" does not mean that religion - or, say, morality - does not exist. So there's that.
Many people believe in god and god's law but this doesn't mean that god or god's law exists. Many people believe in morality but this doesn't mean that moral truths exist.
I'm open to the idea, but need evidence before I'll take it seriously.
But just like I find it interesting to try and pin down a definition of gods, here I am attempting to pin down a definition of morality.

(24-10-2014 08:34 AM)cjlr Wrote:  
(23-10-2014 08:20 PM)Stevil Wrote:  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.

Let me raise a further point to you:
suppose there is no absolute wholly consistent definition.
(a common reality for complex terms)

Again: so what?
Then to me it is a useless concept. Open to the "mental gymnastics" of using conflicting definitions in different situations. This is what I suspect is happening. This thread is my attempt to come up with a basic definition and hence try to avoid some of these "mental gymnastics". If vagueness in definition is require to make the concept of morality work, then this means that the concept of morality isn't logically sound.

(24-10-2014 08:34 AM)cjlr Wrote:  
(23-10-2014 08:20 PM)Stevil Wrote:  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.

If you do not, in fact, lack empathy - and you were quite indignant when it was suggested - then the treatment of any person by any other person may elicit a response in you.
elicit an "emotional" response?
Sure, why not?
My emotional response isn't a path to discovering moral truths.
Emotions are emotions, moral truths are different from emotional responses.

(24-10-2014 08:34 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Sorry, I don't buy the whole "oh, but morality is what other people have; I'm different because reasons..."
I don't know where you get this from.
I am trying to pin down a consistent and logically sound definition of morality. I am then trying to work out the consequences of that definition.
Anyone can do this if they try. We are all special in our own ways.

(24-10-2014 08:34 AM)cjlr Wrote:  If one can judge, one can judge things neutral. That being so obviously and necessarily implicit, I didn't bother mentioning it as a case of interest. But good for you in catching that?
If a person can judge some situations as morally neutral it isn't impossible to judge all situations as morally neutral. It obviously depends on your definition of morality and your willingness (or lack there of) to hold onto moral beliefs. It is not impossible to do. You do it for some things. There are many, many moral nihilists that do it for everything. Everything is morally neutral for me. I cannot make moral judgements, I have no belief of knowledge of right and wrong, I cannot make moral decisions, I cannot be immoral.
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24-10-2014, 12:37 PM
RE: My attempt to define the moral landscape
(24-10-2014 12:11 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 08:34 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Yeah, I'm still not seeing where your opinions as to what others should do can be completely disconnected from any sense of the word "moral".
Do you think the word "should" can only be used in a moral context?
If you want to play the piano well, then you should practice.
If you want to get decent grades then you should spend some time studying.

Those are textbook "is-ought" scenarios straight out of a "moral reasoning" course.
(the actually interesting part is in the "if", though)

(24-10-2014 12:11 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 08:34 AM)cjlr Wrote:  More to the point, why those premises?
Just my attempt at defining some of the basics of the moral landscape.
These premises seemed obvious to me, but I'm putting them out there as my current thoughts and am open to them being challenged. Do you have any issues with any of them? Are you able to articulate your issue? I'd be keen to hear it.

I don't think your conclusions stand, to the extent that they're even coherent.

(24-10-2014 12:11 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 08:34 AM)cjlr Wrote:  That's not even what you've so far claimed, from how I read it.

Is this you chasing an impossible standard again?
If you think it is an impossible standard to have a consistent definition of morality then you must either realise that the morality concept has no useful purpose or you simply are happy to use mental gymnastics.
Myself, I don't like mental gymnastics, I like to try and sort out a decent definition, even if it means having a first attempt at it myself then presenting to others and asking for their critique/input. Are you against this approach?

And that doesn't follow either. That you may well tell yourself that you "require" an absolutist, rigidly self-consistent definition is immaterial.

Morality, insofar as it means how people think about actions, is a demonstrable, empirical fact. It exists. People think, people feel, and people have opinions.

You've not even shown any inconsistency.

You've asserted (?) that it's somehow "bad" (??) for people to apply their own standards to others. You've not explained why, and you've not addressed my contention that it's not even possible not to.

(24-10-2014 12:11 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 08:34 AM)cjlr Wrote:  May I ask if you have read any recent psychological or neurological research into morality?

We, humans, have several extremely basic - instincts, shall we say - which inform our thoughts, how we think about interaction with others, and our desires with regard to that interaction.
Many papers, probably the best one I've read is about natural laws, pertaining to why humans and in particular why a third party will get aggressive and violent in some situations and not in others. There are many ways to explain behaviours, morality is a speculative explanation, there has never been found any evidence that moral truths exist.

Who said anything about moral truths? Such "truths" would imply objectivity, no?

That isn't what I've been speaking to. That isn't even what you've been speaking to. So... relevance?

(24-10-2014 12:11 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 08:34 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Being "difficult to define" does not mean that religion - or, say, morality - does not exist. So there's that.
Many people believe in god and god's law but this doesn't mean that god or god's law exists. Many people believe in morality but this doesn't mean that moral truths exist.

Aaaaand that's classic dirty rhetoric.

You can't go from "belief in A doesn't mean A exists" to "belief in B doesn't mean C exists".

Moral truths - not a thing I've brought up - are not equivalent to morality.

Surely you'd agree that morality self-evidently exists inasmuch as people exhibit moral reasoning?
(I do not think even you could deny that)

I remain unclear on just what point, if any, you're arguing.

(24-10-2014 12:11 PM)Stevil Wrote:  I'm open to the idea, but need evidence before I'll take it seriously.
But just like I find it interesting to try and pin down a definition of gods, here I am attempting to pin down a definition of morality.

Your definitions didn't seem unreasonable. As I said, your conclusions totally don't follow, nor are all of your terms defined...

But seeing as how no one on this planet of ours has managed to come up with a perfect definition of such things as "morality" or "choice" or "impact on others", don't worry; I hardly expect you to.
(nor me, obviously)

(24-10-2014 12:11 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 08:34 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Let me raise a further point to you:
suppose there is no absolute wholly consistent definition.
(a common reality for complex terms)

Again: so what?
Then to me it is a useless concept.

Tough shit; the universe is not obliged to satisfy you.

That people have morals is a fact; therefore morality exists.

(24-10-2014 12:11 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Open to the "mental gymnastics" of using conflicting definitions in different situations. This is what I suspect is happening. This thread is my attempt to come up with a basic definition and hence try to avoid some of these "mental gymnastics". If vagueness in definition is require to make the concept of morality work, then this means that the concept of morality isn't logically sound.

If physics doesn't obey your intuitions, why should emotions?

But seriously, provide an example of these "mental gymnastics". You're being quite vague, and I believe the additional context might be helpful.

(24-10-2014 12:11 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 08:34 AM)cjlr Wrote:  If you do not, in fact, lack empathy - and you were quite indignant when it was suggested - then the treatment of any person by any other person may elicit a response in you.
elicit an "emotional" response?
Sure, why not?
My emotional response isn't a path to discovering moral truths.
Emotions are emotions, moral truths are different from emotional responses.

There you go talking about "moral truths" again.

What is a "moral truth"?

Why should I care what you think a "moral truth" is, if you don't think they exist?

Why do you keep bringing up something no one else has even mentioned? Why wait until this late in the discussion to even raise the topic?

(24-10-2014 12:11 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 08:34 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Sorry, I don't buy the whole "oh, but morality is what other people have; I'm different because reasons..."
I don't know where you get this from.
I am trying to pin down a consistent and logically sound definition of morality. I am then trying to work out the consequences of that definition.
Anyone can do this if they try. We are all special in our own ways.

See above. I reject your conclusions as non sequitur.

(24-10-2014 12:11 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 08:34 AM)cjlr Wrote:  If one can judge, one can judge things neutral. That being so obviously and necessarily implicit, I didn't bother mentioning it as a case of interest. But good for you in catching that?
If a person can judge some situations as morally neutral it isn't impossible to judge all situations as morally neutral.

Yeah. That doesn't follow either.

"If you have no opinions about X it isn't impossible to have no opinions about anything!"

wut.

(24-10-2014 12:11 PM)Stevil Wrote:  It obviously depends on your definition of morality and your willingness (or lack there of) to hold onto moral beliefs. It is not impossible to do. You do it for some things. There are many, many moral nihilists that do it for everything. Everything is morally neutral for me. I cannot make moral judgements, I have no belief of knowledge of right and wrong, I cannot make moral decisions, I cannot be immoral.

Define "right" and "wrong". You self-evidently make decisions and you self-evidently possess means for doing so.
(some people might call that morality)

As best I can tell you are rejecting universal absolutes. Most people do. So what?

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24-10-2014, 01:19 PM
RE: My attempt to define the moral landscape
(24-10-2014 12:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Those are textbook "is-ought" scenarios straight out of a "moral reasoning" course.
(the actually interesting part is in the "if", though)
If you think the question "should I or shouldn't I practise playing the pianno?" is a moral question. And if you think it is reasonable for a third party observer to judge this person as being immoral because they made a decision not to practice then great for you.

I don't see any value in this definition of morality though. How are you deciding what is good and what is bad? What is your criteria?
Why do you think the third party can hold the actor to their own moral criteria?
Anyway, you're really offering nothing in this discussion. You offer no clarification on what morality means to you. You offer no definition, you offer no boundaries.

(24-10-2014 12:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Morality, insofar as it means how people think about actions, is a demonstrable, empirical fact.
But that is not what morality is. It avoids the fundamentally core concept of making choices between good and bad.
There are many actions that we perform that have noting to do with making a choice between good and bad.
It isn't a fact that a choice can be immoral. "Immoral" is a label that some people put onto an event (choice) based on their personal moral beliefs. Beliefs aren't facts. Labels based on beliefs aren't facts.

(24-10-2014 12:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  It exists. People think, people feel, and people have opinions.
Yes, people do have opinions. It is my opinion that life probably exists on other planets. This isn't a moral opinion. You can't conflate the two.

(24-10-2014 12:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  You've asserted (?) that it's somehow "bad" (??) for people to apply their own standards to others.
This is a mischaracterisation. I have not stated it as morally bad.

I have stated that it is logically inconsistent for someone to apply their own moral standard in judgment of the actions of other people if they accept they can't judge a burying beetle as being immoral for eating its young due to their acceptance that the burying beetle's actions are disqualified from the moral landscape because the burying beetle does not know it is wrong to eat its young.


(24-10-2014 12:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  You've not explained why, and you've not addressed my contention that it's not even possible not to.
I have addressed this, a few times now.


(24-10-2014 12:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Who said anything about moral truths? Such "truths" would imply objectivity, no?

That isn't what I've been speaking to. That isn't even what you've been speaking to. So... relevance?
How can you assess an action as being good or bad in a moral sense without moral truths or belief in moral truths?

(24-10-2014 12:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Surely you'd agree that morality self-evidently exists inasmuch as people exhibit moral reasoning?
(I do not think even you could deny that)
Many people exhibit Christian reasoning, but this doesn't mean that the Christian god's laws exist.

(24-10-2014 12:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  I remain unclear on just what point, if any, you're arguing.
It's because you are not listening. I've stated my point many times, its even in the title of this thread. This is my attempt at defining the moral landscape. At coming up with a consistent definition at what disqualifies something as being a morally significant event. Those events that aren't disqualified are potential moral events.

If we can't even come up with some basic qualifying consistent criteria then we can't be sure that we aren't actively participating in mental gymnastics.

(24-10-2014 12:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Your definitions didn't seem unreasonable. As I said, your conclusions totally don't follow, nor are all of your terms defined...
And as I said, I don't need to define the term coersion because it is upto the person making the action and making the judgement to define that for themselves.
If you agreed with my premises then you would see that my conclusions are sound. In order to disagree with my conclusion you would need to disagree with my premise.

In particular, my point that about us not judging the burying beetle for eating its young because it has no knowledge that eating its young is wrong.
Then going from that to making a judgement on another person based on your own moral beliefs rather than using their moral beliefs.
My example that I don't think recreational sex is wrong but my neighbor does. How can my neighbor assess that I am acting immorally when I have no knowledge that recreational sex is wrong?

Please address this.
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24-10-2014, 02:29 PM
RE: My attempt to define the moral landscape
(24-10-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 12:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Those are textbook "is-ought" scenarios straight out of a "moral reasoning" course.
(the actually interesting part is in the "if", though)
If you think the question "should I or shouldn't I practise playing the pianno?" is a moral question. And if you think it is reasonable for a third party observer to judge this person as being immoral because they made a decision not to practice then great for you.

Okay, then.

(24-10-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  I don't see any value in this definition of morality though. How are you deciding what is good and what is bad? What is your criteria?

Indeed.

(24-10-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Why do you think the third party can hold the actor to their own moral criteria?

What they can do - and will do, regardless, because of how brains work - is judge the acts of other moral actors by their own moral standards.

(24-10-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Anyway, you're really offering nothing in this discussion. You offer no clarification on what morality means to you. You offer no definition, you offer no boundaries.

If not having pat, glib answers to difficult questions offers nothing to you, you must live in a terrifying universe.

Did I not provisionally accept your definitions as an adequate starting point?

You, yourself admitted they were not complete, not least wherein you agreed that "coercion" - the absence of which was a necessary precursor to making a decision - could only be defined subjectively.

As you'll recall, I offered you a brief and simplified answer as to what "morality" could be seen as. You didn't like it.

(24-10-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 12:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Morality, insofar as it means how people think about actions, is a demonstrable, empirical fact.
But that is not what morality is.

According to you.

Most authors I've read on the topic would disagree with you.

(24-10-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  It avoids the fundamentally core concept of making choices between good and bad.

Which presupposes the existence of "good" and "bad"...

(24-10-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  There are many actions that we perform that have noting to do with making a choice between good and bad.

What are "good" and "bad"?

(24-10-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  It isn't a fact that a choice can be immoral.

It is a fact that some people some choices to be immoral.

It does not seem as though you have the faintest understanding of why. I know I for one have attempted to explain to you many times.

Well, so be it. Perhaps you really are sufficiently atypical that you just don't get it.

(24-10-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  "Immoral" is a label that some people put onto an event (choice) based on their personal moral beliefs. Beliefs aren't facts. Labels based on beliefs aren't facts.

The existence of beliefs is most assuredly factual.

I hate to have to break this to you, but for subjective human matters, there is no universal "fact".

(24-10-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 12:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  It exists. People think, people feel, and people have opinions.
Yes, people do have opinions. It is my opinion that life probably exists on other planets. This isn't a moral opinion. You can't conflate the two.

I'm not, but thanks.

To use a beloved phrase of yours, the existence of extraterrestrial life does not affect me. But there are plenty of things that do.

(24-10-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 12:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  You've asserted (?) that it's somehow "bad" (??) for people to apply their own standards to others.
This is a mischaracterisation. I have not stated it as morally bad.

In fact I did not say that you were stating it as such, not that it matters.

You are nonetheless making a judgement as to how others should act.

Where you draw that "should" from is a different topic.

(24-10-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  I have stated that it is logically inconsistent for someone to apply their own moral standard in judgment of the actions of other people if they accept they can't judge a burying beetle as being immoral for eating its young due to their acceptance that the burying beetle's actions are disqualified from the moral landscape because the burying beetle does not know it is wrong to eat its young.

Which fundamentally fails as an analogy, since a beetle is not recognised as a moral actor and another human being is.

(24-10-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 12:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  You've not explained why, and you've not addressed my contention that it's not even possible not to.
I have addressed this, a few times now.

Not even remotely close to my satisfaction.

(24-10-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 12:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Who said anything about moral truths? Such "truths" would imply objectivity, no?

That isn't what I've been speaking to. That isn't even what you've been speaking to. So... relevance?
How can you assess an action as being good or bad in a moral sense without moral truths or belief in moral truths?

A judgement does not require absolute "truths" (which you've still not defined...), it merely requires principles or observations. A judgement does not require abstract "good" or "bad", it merely requires criteria for judging better or worse.
(analogy - "hot" and "cold" are not "truths", but I assure you, I can judge whether an object is hotter or colder than another)

(24-10-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 12:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Surely you'd agree that morality self-evidently exists inasmuch as people exhibit moral reasoning?
(I do not think even you could deny that)
Many people exhibit Christian reasoning, but this doesn't mean that the Christian god's laws exist.

That doesn't answer the question. But nice try, I guess.

(24-10-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 12:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  I remain unclear on just what point, if any, you're arguing.
It's because you are not listening. I've stated my point many times, its even in the title of this thread. This is my attempt at defining the moral landscape. At coming up with a consistent definition at what disqualifies something as being a morally significant event. Those events that aren't disqualified are potential moral events.

I reject the supposition that there is a single ideal answer. Likewise I reject the supposition that a useful answer must be universally consistent.

Our understandings of such things are innately variable. That's humanity, baby.

But just to indulge you, I'll offer you the starting point for an answer: a moral act, by a moral actor, is an act which affects the well-being of another moral actor. Your thoughts?

(24-10-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  If we can't even come up with some basic qualifying consistent criteria then we can't be sure that we aren't actively participating in mental gymnastics.

How other human beings think about the world need not satisfy your feels.

(24-10-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 12:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Your definitions didn't seem unreasonable. As I said, your conclusions totally don't follow, nor are all of your terms defined...
And as I said, I don't need to define the term coersion because it is upto the person making the action and making the judgement to define that for themselves.
If you agreed with my premises then you would see that my conclusions are sound. In order to disagree with my conclusion you would need to disagree with my premise.

I beg to differ.

(24-10-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  In particular, my point that about us not judging the burying beetle for eating its young because it has no knowledge that eating its young is wrong.

Protip: human beings are different from beetles.

(24-10-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Then going from that to making a judgement on another person based on your own moral beliefs rather than using their moral beliefs.
My example that I don't think recreational sex is wrong but my neighbor does. How can my neighbor assess that I am acting immorally when I have no knowledge that recreational sex is wrong?

Please address this.

Do you first accept that he does, in fact, make such an assessment? That would seem to be an important point.

His assessment may be rooted in notions of purity that you simply don't share - and I've made this or similar points to you previously, to no evident uptake - but that doesn't mean it does not, for him, exist as a criterion.

We generally judge - and assume - other human beings to be capable of reasoning along the same lines as we do. Convincted criminals are held accountable for their actions, although we do recognise "criminal insanity" as defined by an inability to understand the law.

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24-10-2014, 04:22 PM (This post was last modified: 24-10-2014 05:59 PM by Stevil.)
RE: My attempt to define the moral landscape
(24-10-2014 02:29 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Which fundamentally fails as an analogy, since a beetle is not recognised as a moral actor and another human being is.
Why do you assess a human being as being a moral agent and disqualify a beetle from the obligation of morality?
What is your qualifying criteria?
Could it be that the beetle doesn't know that eating its young is wrong?

(24-10-2014 02:29 PM)cjlr Wrote:  A judgement does not require absolute "truths" (which you've still not defined...), it merely requires principles or observations. A judgement does not require abstract "good" or "bad", it merely requires criteria for judging better or worse.
(analogy - "hot" and "cold" are not "truths", but I assure you, I can judge whether an object is hotter or colder than another)
Sure, you needs some goal or comparison for which to assess if something is hotter. You cannot say it is hot, but potentially you can say it is hotter than something else.
How does this equate to morality?
You cannot assess something as good, you can however assess something as better (gooder) that something else, given a specific goal in mind. Without a goal, then cannot be a "good". There is no commonly agreed upon goal, so for you to declare something as good, don't you also need to declare what your goal is?

(24-10-2014 02:29 PM)cjlr Wrote:  But just to indulge you, I'll offer you the starting point for an answer: a moral act, by a moral actor, is an act which affects the well-being of another moral actor. Your thoughts?
What happens if a person tortures beetles or puppies. Is that an immoral act?



(24-10-2014 02:29 PM)cjlr Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Then going from that to making a judgement on another person based on your own moral beliefs rather than using their moral beliefs.
My example that I don't think recreational sex is wrong but my neighbor does. How can my neighbor assess that I am acting immorally when I have no knowledge that recreational sex is wrong?

Please address this.

Do you first accept that he does, in fact, make such an assessment? That would seem to be an important point.
Sure, he judges me against his standard.
But in my defence I highlight that just like the beetle I had no idea that recreational sex is wrong. I still don't accept that recreational sex is wrong. I have not made a choice between right and wrong. My choice was morally neutral. I cannot be held accountable for choosing wrong over right. I have not made such a choice.


(24-10-2014 02:29 PM)cjlr Wrote:  His assessment may be rooted in notions of purity that you simply don't share - and I've made this or similar points to you previously, to no evident uptake - but that doesn't mean it does not, for him, exist as a criterion.
This is all by the by. How does this come into the premises made in the OP?
My conclusion is based on following the logic of the OP premises.
If I had no knowledge of wrong then I cannot be considered a moral actor, may action cannot be considered immoral. It is disqualified from the moral landscape.


(24-10-2014 02:29 PM)cjlr Wrote:  We generally judge - and assume - other human beings to be capable of reasoning along the same lines as we do. Convincted criminals are held accountable for their actions, although we do recognise "criminal insanity" as defined by an inability to understand the law.
I like to think law is based around protecting society rather than punishing moral transgressions.
Criminals are punished as a deterant to let others know that committing such crimes comes with a punishment. It also serves to take a dangerous criminal off the street. It's harder for them to rape or kill me from their prison cell.

I certainly don't want a branch of the police force called the Moral Police like they have in some Arab countries.

But to address this interesting point.
(24-10-2014 02:29 PM)cjlr Wrote:  We generally judge - and assume - other human beings to be capable of reasoning along the same lines as we do.
If we accept that there are no objective morals, that our own moral beliefs are our personal subjective opinions, if we understand that there is a diverse range of people with different beliefs, different cultures, different upbringings. Does it seem reasonable to assume that others ought to hold the same moral standard as your own personal subjective moral beliefs?
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28-10-2014, 09:00 AM (This post was last modified: 28-10-2014 09:06 AM by TreeSapNest.)
RE: My attempt to define the moral landscape
(24-10-2014 02:29 PM)cjlr Wrote:  I reject the supposition that there is a single ideal answer. Likewise I reject the supposition that a useful answer must be universally consistent.

Our understandings of such things are innately variable. That's humanity, baby.

But just to indulge you, I'll offer you the starting point for an answer: a moral act, by a moral actor, is an act which affects the well-being of another moral actor. Your thoughts?

When ask whether it's moral to enhances the well-being of another aren't we asking whether we are supposed to enhance the well-being of others?

When we ask whether it's immoral to kiss a married person aren't we asking whether we are not supposed to kiss married persons?
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28-10-2014, 10:26 AM
RE: My attempt to define the moral landscape
(24-10-2014 04:22 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 02:29 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Which fundamentally fails as an analogy, since a beetle is not recognised as a moral actor and another human being is.
Why do you assess a human being as being a moral agent and disqualify a beetle from the obligation of morality?
What is your qualifying criteria?
Could it be that the beetle doesn't know that eating its young is wrong?

A beetle cannot understand the effects of its actions on others.

A human can.

I, uh, I'm rather sure you were already aware of that.

(this is of course not amenable to binary reductivism, trivial though it is to distinguish between "human being" and "sea sponge")

(24-10-2014 04:22 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 02:29 PM)cjlr Wrote:  A judgement does not require absolute "truths" (which you've still not defined...), it merely requires principles or observations. A judgement does not require abstract "good" or "bad", it merely requires criteria for judging better or worse.
(analogy - "hot" and "cold" are not "truths", but I assure you, I can judge whether an object is hotter or colder than another)
Sure, you needs some goal or comparison for which to assess if something is hotter. You cannot say it is hot, but potentially you can say it is hotter than something else.
How does this equate to morality?
You cannot assess something as good, you can however assess something as better (gooder) that something else, given a specific goal in mind. Without a goal, then cannot be a "good". There is no commonly agreed upon goal, so for you to declare something as good, don't you also need to declare what your goal is?

Obviously.

(24-10-2014 04:22 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 02:29 PM)cjlr Wrote:  But just to indulge you, I'll offer you the starting point for an answer: a moral act, by a moral actor, is an act which affects the well-being of another moral actor. Your thoughts?
What happens if a person tortures beetles or puppies. Is that an immoral act?

Define "torture".

I'm too lazy to answer that question in detail. How we should treat other animals is a hell of a topic in its own right.

(24-10-2014 04:22 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 02:29 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Do you first accept that he does, in fact, make such an assessment? That would seem to be an important point.
Sure, he judges me against his standard.

My goodness that took a while to establish.

Your endless circles about what people "should" do is then irrelevant; this is what people actually do.

(24-10-2014 04:22 PM)Stevil Wrote:  But in my defence I highlight that just like the beetle I had no idea that recreational sex is wrong. I still don't accept that recreational sex is wrong. I have not made a choice between right and wrong. My choice was morally neutral. I cannot be held accountable for choosing wrong over right. I have not made such a choice.

I reject that as a disingenuous formulation.

Having no opinion on the flavour of a given spice does not mean you can claim no knowledge of taste.

You may actively find something neutral by your own standards, but you are not passively unable to form opinions.

(24-10-2014 04:22 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 02:29 PM)cjlr Wrote:  His assessment may be rooted in notions of purity that you simply don't share - and I've made this or similar points to you previously, to no evident uptake - but that doesn't mean it does not, for him, exist as a criterion.
This is all by the by. How does this come into the premises made in the OP?
My conclusion is based on following the logic of the OP premises.
If I had no knowledge of wrong then I cannot be considered a moral actor, may action cannot be considered immoral. It is disqualified from the moral landscape.

In which case you still must define "right" and "wrong" (which you have not done).

I content that you do in fact have some capacity to understand the effects of your actions on others. That is a standard others can certainly hold you to.

(24-10-2014 04:22 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 02:29 PM)cjlr Wrote:  We generally judge - and assume - other human beings to be capable of reasoning along the same lines as we do. Convincted criminals are held accountable for their actions, although we do recognise "criminal insanity" as defined by an inability to understand the law.
I like to think law is based around protecting society rather than punishing moral transgressions.

What is the difference?

(24-10-2014 04:22 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Criminals are punished as a deterant to let others know that committing such crimes comes with a punishment.

No, that's punitive justice.
(which is much less effective than rehabilitative models...)

(24-10-2014 04:22 PM)Stevil Wrote:  It also serves to take a dangerous criminal off the street. It's harder for them to rape or kill me from their prison cell.


(24-10-2014 04:22 PM)Stevil Wrote:  I certainly don't want a branch of the police force called the Moral Police like they have in some Arab countries.

That they're nominally enforcing "morality" does not mean anything by itself. It's an instrument of social control like any other government apparatus.

(24-10-2014 04:22 PM)Stevil Wrote:  But to address this interesting point.
(24-10-2014 02:29 PM)cjlr Wrote:  We generally judge - and assume - other human beings to be capable of reasoning along the same lines as we do.
If we accept that there are no objective morals, that our own moral beliefs are our personal subjective opinions, if we understand that there is a diverse range of people with different beliefs, different cultures, different upbringings. Does it seem reasonable to assume that others ought to hold the same moral standard as your own personal subjective moral beliefs?

I said "along the same lines". Please do not misrepresent that as "the same as one's personal beliefs".

The distribution of opinions is quite normal; overlap between the set of beliefs of any two given individuals will be substantial. The aforementioned neurological bases ensure this.
(because, you know, evolution)

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28-10-2014, 10:29 AM
RE: My attempt to define the moral landscape
(28-10-2014 09:00 AM)TreeSapNest Wrote:  
(24-10-2014 02:29 PM)cjlr Wrote:  I reject the supposition that there is a single ideal answer. Likewise I reject the supposition that a useful answer must be universally consistent.

Our understandings of such things are innately variable. That's humanity, baby.

But just to indulge you, I'll offer you the starting point for an answer: a moral act, by a moral actor, is an act which affects the well-being of another moral actor. Your thoughts?

When ask whether it's moral to enhances the well-being of another aren't we asking whether we are supposed to enhance the well-being of others?

What do you mean by "supposed to"?

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