Objective (secular) ethics: Manifesto
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17-04-2015, 12:55 PM
Objective (secular) ethics: Manifesto
Hi, is there anybody interested in the principles of objective (secular) ethics? I think this ethics is the only real alternative to theistic approach to the problem of good and evil. The principles are presented in the form of a manifesto for clarity.

Manifesto

This Manifesto proclaims the universal principles of objective ethics.

Purpose and meaning of the activities of man is to maximize common good.

Common good is freedom from any determinism, both natural and social. Common good is achieved by cooperation of all people. Everyone brings their own personal creative contribution to this common cause. Recognition of the contribution by others is the only objective source of its value.

Natural determinism is needs, threats and any limitations imposed by nature on man. This includes physical needs (favorable habitat conditions, including movement in space), biological (destruction of sources of fear, hunger, disease), psychological and cultural (satisfaction of curiosity, boredom, the need for variety, knowledge and beauty). Overcoming natural determinism requires changing the world.

Social determinism is any kind of violence, coercion, pressure and injustice, which may affect the creative result of a person. In the process of cooperation, people, by consensus, develop formal rules that allow them to overcome social determinism. Consensus is reached on the basis of openness, trust and honest account of the interests and opinions of all people, each of which is the same party in common contract. Those reasonable people who deliberately withdraws from the contract are considered by others as part of the natural environment (natural determinism).

Formal rules govern the activities of people in the public sphere of society, which includes the interaction between strangers. Morality of personal relationships is informal and out of place in the public sphere. Man draws a clear line between the spheres. He prohibits any conflicts of interest between personal and public. Personal sphere of everyone is completely closed to strangers.

Possible types of violence prohibited by objective ethics:

1. Physical, both individual and collective (including violence of power and majority), including indirect (threats, orders, creating dangers to life and health).

2. Economic and financial:
- Fraud, cheating, theft, misappropriation;
- Exploitation, vandalism;
- Use of market power, unfair competition;
- Inequitable distribution of shared resources;
- Manipulation of value of money, speculations, shifting risks to others.

3. Informational:
- Deception, distraction;
- Distortion, imposition, withholding information;
- Overflow by information, ignoring, silencing;
- Generation of confusing terms and meanings;
- Imprinting brands, slogans, symbols, names and faces.

4. Moral and ideological:
- Imposition of moral norms, traditions and customs;
- Instilling a sense of guilt, responsibility, worship;
- Calls for a universal brotherly love, for sacrifice in the name of "thy neighbor";
- Indoctrination, brainwashing, subjection.

5. Psychological:
- Blackmail, harassment, molestation, intimidation;
- Reference to authority, general opinion, truism.

6. Emotional: The deliberate evocation of feelings of pity, shame, desire, sympathy, hatred, resentment, disgust, etc.

7. Propagation of the morality of personal relationships to the public sphere:
- Corruption, collusion, bribery, kickbacks;
- Clanship, friendship, kinship and other personal relationships in public companies or institutions;
- Concealment, mutual service;
- Tips, handouts, rewards for "personal" service.

8. Group morality, the opposition of "friend or foe" and discrimination on this basis:
- Nationalism, racism, regionalism, patriotism;
- Ethnic and cultural bonds;
- Moral and religious superiority;
- Professional and class solidarity.

Man is not only guided by the described principles, but he also looks for ways of their widespread practical implementation through education and promotion of non-violence and universal equitable social contract.

(from "Cult of Freedom & Ethics of Public Sphere")
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17-04-2015, 07:41 PM (This post was last modified: 17-04-2015 09:10 PM by DLJ.)
RE: Objective (secular) ethics: Manifesto
I think I'll have to read that a few more times before I sign up but on the face of it, it seems comprehensive and I think I already live by those rules... including having no investments or insurance ("speculations, shifting risks to others").

A few notes:
1. "only real alternative" - not sure about that.
2. The term "objective ethics" troubles me. I find it hard to imagine how e.g. fairness (as in "unfair competition") can be measured objectively. Perhaps "Utopian Ethics" would be a more apt title.
3. change "man" to "humanity" throughout. Cos, y'know, sisterly love too Wink
4. I think the implication is that the non-violence rhetoric refers to the public sphere, right? Presumably BDSM (consensual, by definition) is not outlawed. Likewise private "personal" service or even mutual service (although I'm not sure what this means in this context) does not seem to be unethical if it's consensual.
5. Truisms? What's the problem with truisms? Too dull?

The biggest concern I have is that these ethics would apply to life under BAU circumstance and don't seem to take into account a major evolutionary factor ... the environment.

Or rather, regarding "Natural determinism" assumes that humanity has complete control of nature.

Given that we do not have that control, how and to what degree will the rules change under survival pressure (Continuity / Disaster Recovery)?

Whether this can ever be objective...? I have doubts.
But as objectives to work towards...? I think humanity is already very slowly moving in that direction (impeded and resisted by vested interest groups like psychopathic capitalists and religions).

Oh and part 8. will kill the sports industry ... but I have no problem with that.

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17-04-2015, 09:25 PM
RE: Objective (secular) ethics: Manifesto
(17-04-2015 07:41 PM)DLJ Wrote:  A few notes:
1. "only real alternative" - not sure about that.
2. The term "objective ethics" troubles me. I find it hard to imagine how e.g. fairness (as in "unfair competition") can be measured objectively. Perhaps "Utopian Ethics" would be a more apt title.
This ethics is based on consensus, which is very utopian. However, this is exactly the reason why this ethics is objective. Freedom is the only possible basis for the wider social consensus. Any other ethics would be not only relative and subjective, but also based on violence and, therefore, not long lasting.
Quote:4. I think the implication is that the non-violence rhetoric refers to the public sphere, right? Presumably BDSM (consensual, by definition) is not outlawed. Likewise private "personal" service or even mutual service (although I'm not sure what this means in this context) does not seem to be unethical if it's consensual.
Yes, "possible types of violence" refer to the public sphere, of course.
Quote:5. Truisms? What's the problem with truisms? Too dull?
Truisms cannot be used as an argument.
Quote:The biggest concern I have is that these ethics would apply to life under BAU circumstance and don't seem to take into account a major evolutionary factor ... the environment.

Or rather, regarding "Natural determinism" assumes that humanity has complete control of nature.

Given that we do not have that control, how and to what degree will the rules change under survival pressure (Continuity / Disaster Recovery)?
This is a good point. In case of a major catastrophe or a war, the objective ethics gives way to "heroic morale" which requires sacrifices for the purpose of group survival. Freedom is possible only in a stable/peaceful society.

Preserving of environment, however, is covered by the objective ethics because environment is a vital resource and should be available to everybody.
Quote:Thumbsup
Thanks.
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17-04-2015, 09:41 PM
RE: Objective (secular) ethics: Manifesto
It still seems like you've taken the ten commandments, changed the name to manifesto, and reduced the number to eight.
All of these points, to me, are still subject to the individuals actions.
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18-04-2015, 06:09 AM
RE: Objective (secular) ethics: Manifesto
(17-04-2015 09:25 PM)dimarch Wrote:  
(17-04-2015 07:41 PM)DLJ Wrote:  A few notes:
1. "only real alternative" - not sure about that.
2. The term "objective ethics" troubles me. I find it hard to imagine how e.g. fairness (as in "unfair competition") can be measured objectively. Perhaps "Utopian Ethics" would be a more apt title.
This ethics is based on consensus, which is very utopian. However, this is exactly the reason why this ethics is objective. Freedom is the only possible basis for the wider social consensus. Any other ethics would be not only relative and subjective, but also based on violence and, therefore, not long lasting.
...

OK. It's just semantics but this is the same issue I have with Harris / Dillahunty / Shermer and their attachment to 'well-being' as being objective.

It's not.

In both cases, humans are creating an objective metric (scale / landscape / axiology) through subjective means. Existence: the external universe (or multi/omniverse), still could not give a shit about us humans.

Nowhere is it stated that the universe thinks that humans are a good idea. Wink

If you called it axiomatically objective ... I'd have no objection.

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18-04-2015, 07:50 AM
RE: Objective (secular) ethics: Manifesto
(17-04-2015 12:55 PM)dimarch Wrote:  Hi, is there anybody interested in the principles of objective (secular) ethics? I think this ethics is the only real alternative to theistic approach to the problem of good and evil. The principles are presented in the form of a manifesto for clarity.

There's much in objectivism that I like but also much I don't

Quote:Purpose and meaning of the activities of man is to maximize common good.

Common good is freedom from any determinism, both natural and social.

I don't see that it makes sense to be free from natural determinism. I also see being committed to being free from social determinism is a contradiction.[/quote]

Quote:Common good is achieved by cooperation of all people. Everyone brings their own personal creative contribution to this common cause. Recognition of the contribution by others is the only objective source of its value.

There'd need to be a baseline for measuring the value of any contribution.

Quote:Natural determinism is needs, threats and any limitations imposed by nature on man. This includes physical needs (favorable habitat conditions, including movement in space), biological (destruction of sources of fear, hunger, disease), psychological and cultural (satisfaction of curiosity, boredom, the need for variety, knowledge and beauty). Overcoming natural determinism requires changing the world.

This is an area that I disagree greatly. Objectivism treats nature as something to be challenged and conquered. I prefer a philosophy that sees man as an integral part of nature and works with it instead of trying to dominate it.

Quote:Formal rules govern the activities of people in the public sphere of society, which includes the interaction between strangers. Morality of personal relationships is informal and out of place in the public sphere. Man draws a clear line between the spheres. He prohibits any conflicts of interest between personal and public. Personal sphere of everyone is completely closed to strangers.

I don't think there is such a clear distinction between the personal and public. Too many interactions blur the line to think that this distinction can be maintained.

Quote:3. Informational:
- Imprinting brands, slogans, symbols, names and faces.

Many of the forms of "violence" I don't have much problem with in principle although I think it may be very difficult to define them in practice. I don't understand why imprinting brands, etc is included at all. I dislike the practice but simply avoid buying anything that provides free advertising for the producer.

Quote:4. Moral and ideological:
- Imposition of moral norms, traditions and customs;
- Indoctrination, brainwashing, subjection.

Even if that norm is objectivism? Is indoctrination different from inculcation?

Quote:7. Propagation of the morality of personal relationships to the public sphere:
- Clanship, friendship, kinship and other personal relationships in public companies or institutions;
- Tips, handouts, rewards for "personal" service.
[/quote]

I don't think those are practical goals and I'm not sure they are even desirable.

Quote:8. Group morality, the opposition of "friend or foe" and discrimination on this basis:
- Ethnic and cultural bonds;
- Professional and class solidarity.

Same with those.

When I look at the ethics of personal responsibility espoused by objectivism I see a lot that I find worthwhile. When I look at the society that objectivists would create I think they take it way too far and it isn't a society I'd want to live in.

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18-04-2015, 08:15 AM
RE: Objective (secular) ethics: Manifesto
(17-04-2015 09:41 PM)pablo Wrote:  It still seems like you've taken the ten commandments, changed the name to manifesto, and reduced the number to eight.
All of these points, to me, are still subject to the individuals actions.
Not quite. "eight" is just suggestions for the future social contract. The main difference with any particular ethics (and religion) is universal contract and consensus.

(18-04-2015 06:09 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
(17-04-2015 09:25 PM)dimarch Wrote:  This ethics is based on consensus, which is very utopian. However, this is exactly the reason why this ethics is objective. Freedom is the only possible basis for the wider social consensus. Any other ethics would be not only relative and subjective, but also based on violence and, therefore, not long lasting.
...

OK. It's just semantics but this is the same issue I have with Harris / Dillahunty / Shermer and their attachment to 'well-being' as being objective.

It's not.
'well-being' is objective in a sense that any living thing has to survive. But it has nothing to do with objective ethics because survival can be only personal/group. Objective ethics is based not on survival but on freedom. Freedom is also objective but in a different sense. First, as I said, it is the only possible basis for universal consensus. Second, freedom does not depend on any opinion. Third, freedom is property of objective reality opposite to determinism. The last point is not obvious and requires some explanation however.

Quote:In both cases, humans are creating an objective metric (scale / landscape / axiology) through subjective means. Existence: the external universe (or multi/omniverse), still could not give a shit about us humans.
Subjectivity is not obstacle for objectivity. Anything that we think is subjective however objectivity does exist. Objectivity is the result of consensus - that is how we arrive at objective laws of reality, for instance. The same way we could arrive at objective ethics - through universal consensus. However, we have to keep in mind that objectivity, just like consensus, requires eternal negotiations Smile That is the nature of objectivity.
Quote:Nowhere is it stated that the universe thinks that humans are a good idea. Wink
This ethics equally applies to any intelligent (ie free) beings in the Universe. And as soon as we will discover them (or they us) we will have to communicate based on the objective ethics. The alternative is war/violence/exploitation!
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18-04-2015, 08:45 AM
RE: Objective (secular) ethics: Manifesto
(18-04-2015 07:50 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
Quote:Common good is freedom from any determinism, both natural and social.

I don't see that it makes sense to be free from natural determinism.
If we are not free from natural determinism we are not different from any animals. Being free is distinctly human.

Quote: I also see being committed to being free from social determinism is a contradiction.
What contradiction do you have in mind?
Quote:
Quote:Common good is achieved by cooperation of all people. Everyone brings their own personal creative contribution to this common cause. Recognition of the contribution by others is the only objective source of its value.

There'd need to be a baseline for measuring the value of any contribution.
Right. Freedom is such a baseline. Everything we do (ethically) is making us more and more free.
Quote:
Quote:Natural determinism is needs, threats and any limitations imposed by nature on man. This includes physical needs (favorable habitat conditions, including movement in space), biological (destruction of sources of fear, hunger, disease), psychological and cultural (satisfaction of curiosity, boredom, the need for variety, knowledge and beauty). Overcoming natural determinism requires changing the world.

This is an area that I disagree greatly. Objectivism treats nature as something to be challenged and conquered. I prefer a philosophy that sees man as an integral part of nature and works with it instead of trying to dominate it.
We do not have to dominate the nature - we are still part of it. Being free does not mean we have to destroy nature or something like that. Even when we are hungry, for instance, we could find means to eat without killing animals.

Quote:I don't think there is such a clear distinction between the personal and public. Too many interactions blur the line to think that this distinction can be maintained.
Right, but this requirement is not much more difficult than any other. Finding better ethical norms is eternal process.

Quote:
Quote:4. Moral and ideological:
- Imposition of moral norms, traditions and customs;
- Indoctrination, brainwashing, subjection.

Even if that norm is objectivism? Is indoctrination different from inculcation?
Norms of objective ethics are found through consensus therefore they have nothing to do with inculcation.

Quote:3. Informational:
7. Propagation of the morality of personal relationships to the public sphere:
8. Group morality, the opposition of "friend or foe" and discrimination on this basis:
[...]
When I look at the ethics of personal responsibility espoused by objectivism I see a lot that I find worthwhile. When I look at the society that objectivists would create I think they take it way too far and it isn't a society I'd want to live in.
The objective ethics requires consensus. Therefore I am sure your opinion, just like that of anybody else, will be taken into account.
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18-04-2015, 08:49 AM
RE: Objective (secular) ethics: Manifesto
(18-04-2015 08:15 AM)dimarch Wrote:  ...
Subjectivity is not obstacle for objectivity. Anything that we think is subjective however objectivity does exist. Objectivity is the result of consensus - that is how we arrive at objective laws of reality, for instance. The same way we could arrive at objective ethics - through universal consensus. However, we have to keep in mind that objectivity, just like consensus, requires eternal negotiations Smile That is the nature of objectivity.
Quote:Nowhere is it stated that the universe thinks that humans are a good idea. Wink
This ethics equally applies to any intelligent (ie free) beings in the Universe. And as soon as we will discover them (or they us) we will have to communicate based on the objective ethics. The alternative is war/violence/exploitation!

I'm not sure you understood me so I will clarify.

I'm OK with the principles you expound. Just not so happy with the labels you are using.

Without 20/20 hindsight, we have no way of knowing (from a universal rather than humanistic perspective) whether freedom or survival or any other agreed consensus (subject to continual refinement or otherwise) is a good thing or not.

It's quite possible that "war/violence/exploitation" might be the best means to achieve human annihilation which is the best outcome given that in 100,000 years from now one of our ancestors will be responsible for the destruction of a what should have been the superior life-form.

Hence it's still subjective, even if it's collectively subjective.

Meanwhile, I forgot to reply to the bit before about 'truisms'. You said "Truisms cannot be used as an argument." I agree. But why would truisms be placed on a list of " types of violence"?
I imagine the campaign marchers holding posters declaring "DOWN WITH PLATITUDES!"

Equally, as unfogged mentioned some things on the list can be managed without declaring them as 'violent' e.g. brands.

Also could you please clarify the parts regarding 'services'. I'm a qualified expert in Service Management and I regard services as essential to symbiosis i.e. consensus through binding agreements and contracts... a far cry from slavery / exploitation / corruption etc.

Thanks.

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18-04-2015, 04:51 PM
RE: Objective (secular) ethics: Manifesto
(17-04-2015 12:55 PM)dimarch Wrote:  Hi, is there anybody interested in the principles of objective (secular) ethics? I think this ethics is the only real alternative to theistic approach to the problem of good and evil. The principles are presented in the form of a manifesto for clarity.

Manifesto

This Manifesto proclaims the universal principles of objective ethics.

Purpose and meaning of the activities of man is to maximize common good.

Common good is freedom from any determinism, both natural and social. Common good is achieved by cooperation of all people. Everyone brings their own personal creative contribution to this common cause. Recognition of the contribution by others is the only objective source of its value.

Natural determinism is needs, threats and any limitations imposed by nature on man. This includes physical needs (favorable habitat conditions, including movement in space), biological (destruction of sources of fear, hunger, disease), psychological and cultural (satisfaction of curiosity, boredom, the need for variety, knowledge and beauty). Overcoming natural determinism requires changing the world.

Social determinism is any kind of violence, coercion, pressure and injustice, which may affect the creative result of a person. In the process of cooperation, people, by consensus, develop formal rules that allow them to overcome social determinism. Consensus is reached on the basis of openness, trust and honest account of the interests and opinions of all people, each of which is the same party in common contract. Those reasonable people who deliberately withdraws from the contract are considered by others as part of the natural environment (natural determinism).

Formal rules govern the activities of people in the public sphere of society, which includes the interaction between strangers. Morality of personal relationships is informal and out of place in the public sphere. Man draws a clear line between the spheres. He prohibits any conflicts of interest between personal and public. Personal sphere of everyone is completely closed to strangers.

Possible types of violence prohibited by objective ethics:

1. Physical, both individual and collective (including violence of power and majority), including indirect (threats, orders, creating dangers to life and health).

2. Economic and financial:
- Fraud, cheating, theft, misappropriation;
- Exploitation, vandalism;
- Use of market power, unfair competition;
- Inequitable distribution of shared resources;
- Manipulation of value of money, speculations, shifting risks to others.

3. Informational:
- Deception, distraction;
- Distortion, imposition, withholding information;
- Overflow by information, ignoring, silencing;
- Generation of confusing terms and meanings;
- Imprinting brands, slogans, symbols, names and faces.

4. Moral and ideological:
- Imposition of moral norms, traditions and customs;
- Instilling a sense of guilt, responsibility, worship;
- Calls for a universal brotherly love, for sacrifice in the name of "thy neighbor";
- Indoctrination, brainwashing, subjection.

5. Psychological:
- Blackmail, harassment, molestation, intimidation;
- Reference to authority, general opinion, truism.

6. Emotional: The deliberate evocation of feelings of pity, shame, desire, sympathy, hatred, resentment, disgust, etc.

7. Propagation of the morality of personal relationships to the public sphere:
- Corruption, collusion, bribery, kickbacks;
- Clanship, friendship, kinship and other personal relationships in public companies or institutions;
- Concealment, mutual service;
- Tips, handouts, rewards for "personal" service.

8. Group morality, the opposition of "friend or foe" and discrimination on this basis:
- Nationalism, racism, regionalism, patriotism;
- Ethnic and cultural bonds;
- Moral and religious superiority;
- Professional and class solidarity.

Man is not only guided by the described principles, but he also looks for ways of their widespread practical implementation through education and promotion of non-violence and universal equitable social contract.

(from "Cult of Freedom & Ethics of Public Sphere")

First of all, I think you're an asshole for posting a more serious thread to derail my asshole thread. Smile Now that we've gotten that out of the way...

Your whole post sounds like a tautology. It's one I largely agree with and I'm sure most people would agree with it but you didn't make any argument that remotely justifies labeling it as objective. To do that, you would have to show that the morality you laid out is beyond argument. That isn't possible.

I think we can come up with a morality that is nearly universally agreeable and you have a good foundation for one but objective... I don't think that's possible. The goal is to craft a moral code that is as logical and universally applicable as we can make it. We must acknowledge its limitations though. Otherwise, it's religion.
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