Science, reason and moral questions
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02-05-2017, 11:42 AM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(02-05-2017 10:53 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(01-05-2017 04:29 PM)Dom Wrote:  Empathy gives us all the morals we need. We don't need science or religion for morals.

Empathy is just a biological sensation, produced by relating to someone particular experience, pain, etc.. It does not dictate how one ought to respond to it. A man may feel bad about sleeping with his best friends wife, as a result of empathizing with his friend, while continuing to sleep with his wife. Just like a man might out of empathy feel bad about masterbating to porn, considering the objectification of the performers, but still continue on with it. Not to mention empathy is also quite partial.

Yes, but people disregard moral imperatives as well. It is not sufficient to say that empathy is ignored in some cases to conclude that it is not the source of moral imperatives. Is empathy an imperative? It makes us feel that if we ignore it that doing so is B-A-D, bad. Is that not an imperative?
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02-05-2017, 12:45 PM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(02-05-2017 11:42 AM)big green mouth Wrote:  Yes, but people disregard moral imperatives as well. It is not sufficient to say that empathy is ignored in some cases to conclude that it is not the source of moral imperatives. Is empathy an imperative? It makes us feel that if we ignore it that doing so is B-A-D, bad. Is that not an imperative?

Empathy is a biological sensation, it doesn't produce an imperative. The imperative is the result of some underlying belief system.

In empathizing with someone, I might experience some subset of feelings/sensations, some of those feelings might feel uncomfortable, sort of like a tummy ache would. There's no imperative in the uncomfortable/negatives feelings associated with an empathetic response, then there is when it comes to stomach cramp, etc..

The situation you might have in mind involves someone who subscribes to some particular religious, or moral belief system, such as someone who believes in the Golden Rule, as an actual rule, and obligation. Since he subscribes to such a belief system, an empathic respond may remind him of this duty and obligation in how he ought to respond and behave.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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02-05-2017, 12:50 PM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(24-04-2017 01:50 PM)Primordial Wrote:  Greetings friends,
Some people claim that our current understanding of science and reasoning abilities are sufficient for answering "moral" questions.
Science is a method of evidential based objective discovery.

Morals is a personal "subjective" stance of right vs wrong elevated to personal expectation of global conformance.

These two items are clearly contradictory.
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02-05-2017, 04:18 PM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(24-04-2017 01:50 PM)Primordial Wrote:  Greetings friends,
Some people claim that our current understanding of science and reasoning abilities are sufficient for answering "moral" questions. I disagree with this notion because I find that cognitive heuristics often interfere in the validity of our judgement in ways we don't quite understand yet. Thus, I would not regard current science as a reasonable tool for tackling such questions. Do you agree/ disagree ? What criteria or philosophies would you use to answer such questions ? And on what basis would you choose to approach these problems that way ?

I disagree. If by science you mean the consistent use of reason to acquire knowledge.

Let me define my terms here. Morality or a moral code is a set of principle to guide ones actions and choices in the task of living.

I approach morality just in the same way that I approach knowledge in general: the objective method of knowledge. I see no difference between moral principles and any other principle such as the principles one needs to grow a crop, build a printing press, cook food properly, brew beer, or any other endeavor that man undertakes.

Consider that printing press. Every screw, gear, crank and spring is placed there in answer to the question: right or wrong for the purpose of printing.

Morality is no different. Every action a person takes, if he desires to live, must be taken in answer to the question: right or wrong?, for the purpose of living.

I approach the subject by askin what is morality and why does man need it? I answer these questions by the objective method of knowledge, reason guided by logic and in accordance to the primacy of existence, hence the objective part.

I've defined what a moral code is, and the reason man need's morality, simple, man's life as a biological organism is conditional.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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02-05-2017, 04:23 PM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
Who are these "some people" ? Ethics is not a "science".
Where do you propose we get our ethical principles ?

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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02-05-2017, 08:00 PM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(02-05-2017 04:18 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  Let me define my terms here. Morality or a moral code is a set of principle to guide ones actions and choices in the task of living.

I approach morality just in the same way that I approach knowledge in general: the objective method of knowledge. I see no difference between moral principles and any other principle such as the principles one needs to grow a crop, build a printing press, cook food properly, brew beer, or any other endeavor that man undertakes.

Consider that printing press. Every screw, gear, crank and spring is placed there in answer to the question: right or wrong for the purpose of printing.
With the printing press you know that it is working because it is printing on paper the output accurately with regards to the desired printed page. It meets the QA standards in place, and it produces it in a timely and cost effective fashion. It produces the output in bulk and the ongoing maintenace and support is acceptable such that the distribution and sales of the product produces an acceptable profit margin.

What is your criteria for a successful moral decision? i.e. what is meant by good?
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02-05-2017, 08:31 PM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(02-05-2017 08:00 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(02-05-2017 04:18 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  Let me define my terms here. Morality or a moral code is a set of principle to guide ones actions and choices in the task of living.

I approach morality just in the same way that I approach knowledge in general: the objective method of knowledge. I see no difference between moral principles and any other principle such as the principles one needs to grow a crop, build a printing press, cook food properly, brew beer, or any other endeavor that man undertakes.

Consider that printing press. Every screw, gear, crank and spring is placed there in answer to the question: right or wrong for the purpose of printing.
With the printing press you know that it is working because it is printing on paper the output accurately with regards to the desired printed page. It meets the QA standards in place, and it produces it in a timely and cost effective fashion. It produces the output in bulk and the ongoing maintenace and support is acceptable such that the distribution and sales of the product produces an acceptable profit margin.

What is your criteria for a successful moral decision? i.e. what is meant by good?

Yes. We judge the printing press by how well it achieves its purpose. If it did not achieve its purpose, we'd need to examine every part to see if we've made an error and when we find it, fix it.

So we have to to ask what is the purpose of morality. The purpose, and the standard, of morality is life. The good, for man, is that which promotes and supports the life proper to a rational being. The good does not clash with the values his life requires, according to his nature. If an action does not support life, but instead destroys it, then we must examine the principle that that action is based on. This is why the principle of integration is so important. Any moral principle, a type of knowledge, must be integrated with the full context of our knowledge and not allowed to float, disintegrated or misintegrated from that full context. For instance, we could not integrate the principle that murder is moral with our knowledge that life is the standard and the purpose of morality.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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02-05-2017, 09:07 PM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(02-05-2017 08:31 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  Yes. We judge the printing press by how well it achieves its purpose. If it did not achieve its purpose, we'd need to examine every part to see if we've made an error and when we find it, fix it.

That's because printing presses are designed, and as a result have a teleological/intrinsic purpose, that allows us to speak of it in error, not functioning as its designed to function. To apply that nature, is like claiming a rock is not achieving it's purpose because it wasn't pointy enough to scratch your back.

Quote:So we have to to ask what is the purpose of morality. The purpose, and the standard, of morality is life. The good, for man, is that which promotes and supports the life proper to a rational being.

Life has no purpose, moral or otherwise.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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02-05-2017, 09:38 PM (This post was last modified: 02-05-2017 09:52 PM by true scotsman.)
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(02-05-2017 09:07 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(02-05-2017 08:31 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  Yes. We judge the printing press by how well it achieves its purpose. If it did not achieve its purpose, we'd need to examine every part to see if we've made an error and when we find it, fix it.

That's because printing presses are designed, and as a result have a teleological/intrinsic purpose, that allows us to speak of it in error, not functioning as its designed to function. To apply that nature, is like claiming a rock is not achieving it's purpose because it wasn't pointy enough to scratch your back.

Quote:So we have to to ask what is the purpose of morality. The purpose, and the standard, of morality is life. The good, for man, is that which promotes and supports the life proper to a rational being.

Life has no purpose, moral or otherwise.

Life does have a purpose because as I've already pointed out the existence of a living organism is conditional while a rock's existence is not. Life consists of a purposeful struggle for values. It is self generated, goal directed action. Since the goal of this action is the continued existence of the life of the organism, this action has life as it's purpose. So the purpose of life is to live. A rock's existence is not conditional and does not require self-generated, goal directed action and therefore a rock has no inherent purpose and neither does the universe. It is the concept of life that logically antecedes the concept of purpose and what this means is we do not need a god to account for purpose contrary to what theist tell us except for Tomasia who says that life has no purpose.

I'm glad I hold a worldview that affirms, and validates the fact that life does have a purpose and that has an objective code of values to guide it's achievement instead of a storybook morality that has as its goal the pleasure of an invisible, magic being.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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03-05-2017, 03:51 AM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(02-05-2017 08:31 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(02-05-2017 08:00 PM)Stevil Wrote:  With the printing press you know that it is working because it is printing on paper the output accurately with regards to the desired printed page. It meets the QA standards in place, and it produces it in a timely and cost effective fashion. It produces the output in bulk and the ongoing maintenace and support is acceptable such that the distribution and sales of the product produces an acceptable profit margin.

What is your criteria for a successful moral decision? i.e. what is meant by good?

Yes. We judge the printing press by how well it achieves its purpose. If it did not achieve its purpose, we'd need to examine every part to see if we've made an error and when we find it, fix it.

So we have to to ask what is the purpose of morality.
The printing press is a machine which we have constructed for a specific purpose. It is a means to an end. It's purpose being the end. Being the making of profit or the distribution of information, depending on your point of view.

So you are analogising that morality is a construct (a mechanism) towards a specific purpose.

So for the printing press, "bad" would be something that hampers achieving of the purpose. Perhaps an engineer uses cheap parts because they know it will allow them to "fool" you into thinking they have done a useful task and hence you pay them, they then leave and shortly after the machine breaks down and is unable to fulfill its intended purpose. I'm not sure if we deem the cheep parts to be bad or we deem the act of the engineer to be bad. If we were to deem the the act of the engineer, then this analogy fails because we are talking about human actions and choices and hence not using an analogy.

Applying this towards "morality" (a system of personal beliefs with regards to shoulds and oughts of personal choices and behaviours). What is it that we would deem to be bad? A faulty value that we thought would lead us towards our intended purpose but instead it hampers our ability to achieve that purpose?

(02-05-2017 08:31 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  The purpose, and the standard, of morality is life. The good, for man, is that which promotes and supports the life proper to a rational being.
Whose life? The life of the self or the life of members of the tribe, race, or humanity as a whole?
Does this mean abortion is wrong, does this mean euthanasia is wrong?
What if we must compete to stay alive? What if we must make a choice, our own life vs the life of another?


(02-05-2017 08:31 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  Any moral principle, a type of knowledge, must be integrated with the full context of our knowledge and not allowed to float, disintegrated or misintegrated from that full context.
I wouldn't deem morals or moral principles to be knowledge. These things are beliefs and values which are distinct from knowledge.
I think it is very dangerous to hold the position that our personal beliefs are knowledge.

(02-05-2017 08:31 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  For instance, we could not integrate the principle that murder is moral with our knowledge that life is the standard and the purpose of morality.
"murder" is a loaded term. It is borne of a legal intent and thus would be circular in nature if used to argue for morality. We would need to reduce this to "killing of another human", but then there are the exceptions, where we are to save ourselves or others or to allow a pregnant woman to kill her unborn, or allow a suffering human to die and cease the suffering.

In an existence where we must compete for limited resource, we often find ourselves making choices about benefiting ourselves to the detriment of others. That might mean killing others to gain control of land or resources needed for our own tribe. It's easy in our day where we just go to work and come home to our safe houses to not consider that we live in comfort because our ancestors raided and killed others. It's easy to forget that if nukes didn't exist there would be much raiding and killing still going on over limited resources.

We live a privileged and veiled life due to our circumstances. Moral beliefs are our way of being self congratulatory in our position of current comfort. But when necessities are at stake we find that our moral structure is just an illusion, a fantasy house of distorted mirrors built in the luxury of our spare time.
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