The Great Morality Diagrammatic Diatribe
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18-12-2016, 01:50 PM
RE: The Great Morality Diagrammatic Diatribe
I like the lasagna - it's much more robust than the wussy flat charts. I guess visual isn't for everyone. Shy

The Alpha-Omega Muffy seems fitting ... nature always manages to play the wild card. Thumbsup

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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18-12-2016, 08:04 PM
RE: The Great Morality Diagrammatic Diatribe
(11-12-2016 04:27 PM)DLJ Wrote:  We have an uncounted number of threads on Morality ... objective/subjective blah blah is/ought etc.

These always disintegrate into specific examples and counter-examples until something more trivial comes along (usually a Murikan hobby thing like guns and the use of them in schools).

This is an attempt at creating a baseline for discussion with a view to reaching a (hopefully visually attractive) consensus on the 'is' of morality.

We can discuss 'ought' later.

I'll add more thoughts as questions / challenges arise but here is the first draft of the diagram based largely on the first few pages of Velvet's thread utilising the list of 'moral foundations' from Jonathan Haidt's research:
[Image: 6MF.jpg]
(pic stolen from a ClydeLee post and concept originally brought to my attention by Bucky - thank you both)

I'm coming to the conclusion that 'empathy' relates to both developmental capacity (notably there is a deficiency in those with autistic traits) and also as a measure of scope rather than a value (or goal) in itself.

I'd appreciate feedback on any part of this but in particular in relation to 'desires' ... I can't think of a way to show them on the diagram as anything other than floating text but this doesn't anchor them as influencers in a way that is aesthetically pleasing.

I chose the word 'beliefs' just to get you thinking. 'Attitudes' or 'preferences' might be better.

[Image: 15p1ick.jpg]

At a later date, I'd like to take it all the way back to my contention that all behaviour is ultimately derived from our primitive (even primordial) fight/flight/freeze instincts... but the diagram is already looking too busy.

It's not very clear to me what your aim is with the Haidt's diagram. Are trying to form a clear view as to what underlies a variety of common behaviors people often frame in moral terms?

Are you looking to lay down a foundation for moral reasoning, and rationalizing? If this is what your ultimately aiming for here, then I'd say it would be a misuse of Haidt diagram, and research, where moral reasoning doesn't play much of role in proactive moral behavior at all, as Haidt would indicate we make our moral judgements first, and attempt to rationally justify them later.

"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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18-12-2016, 10:25 PM
RE: The Great Morality Diagrammatic Diatribe
(18-12-2016 08:04 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  ...
It's not very clear to me what your aim is with the Haidt's diagram. Are trying to form a clear view as to what underlies a variety of common behaviors people often frame in moral terms?

Are you looking to lay down a foundation for moral reasoning, and rationalizing? If this is what your ultimately aiming for here, then I'd say it would be a misuse of Haidt diagram, and research, where moral reasoning doesn't play much of role in proactive moral behavior at all, as Haidt would indicate we make our moral judgements first, and attempt to rationally justify them later.

Is it clearer in the histogram version from post #18? Particularly the text next to the title?

Not behaviour. Behaviour involves action.

The aim of the histogram diagram is two-fold:

1. To identify the elements of an individual's (descriptive not normative) morality for those occasions (which are bound to happen again and again) when people argue over e.g. objective vs. subjective etc.

2. To graphically depict the steady-state "is" (or baseline), for an individual using the language of morality.

I've decided that it's worthwhile putting some effort into this and discussing it to try to achieve some clarity.

As an example, you've just used the term "proactive moral behavior" ... this is just confusing for me. Behaviour is an output; it's an action / set of actions. It is, by definition, active. I would argue that it is reactive (reacting to a stimulus) and would ask what is meant by 'proactive' regarding behaviour.

This thread is an attempt to clarifying what we mean by stuff.

I appreciate your input.

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18-12-2016, 11:02 PM
RE: The Great Morality Diagrammatic Diatribe
(18-12-2016 10:25 PM)DLJ Wrote:  As an example, you've just used the term "proactive moral behavior" ... this is just confusing for me.

What I mean by proactive moral behavior, is the difference between believing that feeding the homeless is a good idea, and actually going out and feeding the homeless. To be more clear, proactive moral behavior, would be the the sort of actions we see as good, as opposed to the idea and beliefs we hold as morally good ones. The difference between believing that hiding Jews during the holocaust is a morally good thing, and actually hiding Jews.

Quote:Not behavior. Behaviour involves action.[…]
2. To graphically depict the steady-state "is" (or baseline), for an individual using the language of morality.

And this would be where I’d say you’d be misusing Haidt’s diagram, which isn’t about the language or morality, but about moral behavior/actions. In particularly what underlies those behaviors and actions. Haidt would be dismissive of the language of morality here i.e the rationalizations, and reasons we used to justify our moral beliefs, which he refers to as a “press secretary”, justifications after the fact.

If you were trying to formulate what underlies the language of morality, you’d be looking at an entirely different diagram than Haidt’s. Our moral language, whether we realize it or not, has been shaped by thousands of years of religious history, of beliefs in a transcendent moral order, a belief in objective morality, intrinsic moral values, beliefs in actual moral obligations and responsibilities. And we haven’t fully reconfigured our moral language in a coherent way, absent of these beliefs.

But if you were looking to formulate what underlies actual moral behavior and actions, we’d be looking at a diagram closer to Haidt’s here.

"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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19-12-2016, 07:51 AM
RE: The Great Morality Diagrammatic Diatribe
(18-12-2016 11:02 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(18-12-2016 10:25 PM)DLJ Wrote:  As an example, you've just used the term "proactive moral behavior" ... this is just confusing for me.

What I mean by proactive moral behavior, is the difference between believing that feeding the homeless is a good idea, and actually going out and feeding the homeless. To be more clear, proactive moral behavior, would be the the sort of actions we see as good, as opposed to the idea and beliefs we hold as morally good ones. The difference between believing that hiding Jews during the holocaust is a morally good thing, and actually hiding Jews.

Quote:Not behavior. Behaviour involves action.[…]
2. To graphically depict the steady-state "is" (or baseline), for an individual using the language of morality.

And this would be where I’d say you’d be misusing Haidt’s diagram, which isn’t about the language or morality, but about moral behavior/actions. In particularly what underlies those behaviors and actions. Haidt would be dismissive of the language of morality here i.e the rationalizations, and reasons we used to justify our moral beliefs, which he refers to as a “press secretary”, justifications after the fact.

If you were trying to formulate what underlies the language of morality, you’d be looking at an entirely different diagram than Haidt’s. Our moral language, whether we realize it or not, has been shaped by thousands of years of religious history, of beliefs in a transcendent moral order, a belief in objective morality, intrinsic moral values, beliefs in actual moral obligations and responsibilities. And we haven’t fully reconfigured our moral language in a coherent way, absent of these beliefs.

But if you were looking to formulate what underlies actual moral behavior and actions, we’d be looking at a diagram closer to Haidt’s here.

Thanks for that. There's a lot of useful stuff there for me to pick apart.

Quote:What I mean by proactive moral behavior, is the difference between believing that feeding the homeless is a good idea, and actually going out and feeding the homeless.

It's an apt example. Not only did I meet up with a bio-chemist yesterday but also in the group was a guy who was talking about the homeless here in KL and what his group was doing to alleviate their plight.

I felt my conscience being pricked as I compared my baseline of morality to his.

You mentioned earlier ...
Quote:as Haidt would indicate we make our moral judgments first, and attempt to rationally justify them later.

So, yes, judgement before justification but before that is the dis-ease or dissonance ... the pricked conscience... a disturbance of our equilibrium.

A reactive response would be to join his group to help the homeless in an attempt to restore the mental/chemical equilibrium disturbed by that dissonance.

That would be a 'fight' response. Similarly, a reactive response would be 'flight' (tears, anger, "I can't handle this") or 'freeze' (denial, ignore the problem, pretend it's not happening).

I'd argue that proactive refers to 'proactive problem management' i.e. maintenance and usually, if not always, has a reactive basis so 'active' is a good enough term. Behaviour is active after all.

I'm not sure of the benefit (to the the discussion) of making a distinction between active, reactive and proactive actions but I'm open to the idea.

The guy talked about low-rent accommodation that the government provides and my dissonance subsided as I realised that I have personally being providing no-rent accommodation for nearly a decade... thus my equilibrium is partially restored but perhaps my baseline has shifted a little as the dialectic may have had an impact on my scope of empathy. Time will tell.

Quote: To be more clear, proactive moral behavior, would be the the sort of actions we see as good, as opposed to the idea and beliefs we hold as morally good ones. The difference between believing that hiding Jews during the holocaust is a morally good thing, and actually hiding Jews.

Exactly the distinction I'm working with ... the judgement/idea/belief vs. the action.

I see you are using the term 'moral' as being good (and presumably 'immoral' as being bad). I am using the term 'moral' as a category. For example, we talk about moral incentives, social incentives and economic incentives.

And of course the action, e.g. charity, may not actually do any good in the long term (only the short term). My argument is that we do it because it makes us feel good i.e. our moral dissonance is eased... our equilibrium is restored.

As a side note, it crosses my mind that some people might regard "I'm praying for you" as a proactive moral behaviour. Consider

Quote:And this would be where I’d say you’d be misusing Haidt’s diagram, which isn’t about the language or morality, but about moral behavior/actions...

As you already pointed out...
Quote:as Haidt would indicate we make our moral judgments first, and attempt to rationally justify them later.
... I'm using the 6 Moral Foundations as categories of judgments, so I don't think that is a misuse.
But yes, point taking, because I am ignoring, for now, the second part about behaviour/actions.

Quote:... In particularly what underlies those behaviors and actions. Haidt would be dismissive of the language of morality here i.e the rationalizations, and reasons we used to justify our moral beliefs, which he refers to as a “press secretary”, justifications after the fact.

Right. I am not going that far.

Quote:If you were trying to formulate what underlies the language of morality, you’d be looking at an entirely different diagram than Haidt’s.

I have erred because of my poetic tendencies. I apologise for misleading you. The word 'language' was too evocative.

The first objective is about semantics rather than language and I'll change the second objective to:

2. To graphically depict the steady-state "is" (or baseline), for an individual using the language of morality in 'moral' terms of reference.

Quote:Our moral language, whether we realize it or not, has been shaped by thousands of years of religious history, of beliefs in a transcendent moral order, a belief in objective morality, intrinsic moral values, beliefs in actual moral obligations and responsibilities. And we haven’t fully reconfigured our moral language in a coherent way, absent of these beliefs.

Exactly. That's what the last row of 'Evolution of Contextual Morality' picture is getting at.

Quote:But if you were looking to formulate what underlies actual moral behavior and actions, we’d be looking at a diagram closer to Haidt’s here

Again, I'm not going into the territory of the behaviours/actions yet, but yes, it's an attempt to formulate (or at least pictorialise) the baseline... the 'as is' and not the 'to be'.

Again, you're input is appreciated. I think we're getting somewhere.

Yes

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19-12-2016, 08:57 AM
RE: The Great Morality Diagrammatic Diatribe
(19-12-2016 07:51 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
(18-12-2016 11:02 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  What I mean by proactive moral behavior, is the difference between believing that feeding the homeless is a good idea, and actually going out and feeding the homeless. To be more clear, proactive moral behavior, would be the the sort of actions we see as good, as opposed to the idea and beliefs we hold as morally good ones. The difference between believing that hiding Jews during the holocaust is a morally good thing, and actually hiding Jews.


And this would be where I’d say you’d be misusing Haidt’s diagram, which isn’t about the language or morality, but about moral behavior/actions. In particularly what underlies those behaviors and actions. Haidt would be dismissive of the language of morality here i.e the rationalizations, and reasons we used to justify our moral beliefs, which he refers to as a “press secretary”, justifications after the fact.

If you were trying to formulate what underlies the language of morality, you’d be looking at an entirely different diagram than Haidt’s. Our moral language, whether we realize it or not, has been shaped by thousands of years of religious history, of beliefs in a transcendent moral order, a belief in objective morality, intrinsic moral values, beliefs in actual moral obligations and responsibilities. And we haven’t fully reconfigured our moral language in a coherent way, absent of these beliefs.

But if you were looking to formulate what underlies actual moral behavior and actions, we’d be looking at a diagram closer to Haidt’s here.

Thanks for that. There's a lot of useful stuff there for me to pick apart.

Quote:What I mean by proactive moral behavior, is the difference between believing that feeding the homeless is a good idea, and actually going out and feeding the homeless.

It's an apt example. Not only did I meet up with a bio-chemist yesterday but also in the group was a guy who was talking about the homeless here in KL and what his group was doing to alleviate their plight.

I felt my conscience being pricked as I compared my baseline of morality to his.

You mentioned earlier ...
Quote:as Haidt would indicate we make our moral judgments first, and attempt to rationally justify them later.

So, yes, judgement before justification but before that is the dis-ease or dissonance ... the pricked conscience... a disturbance of our equilibrium.

A reactive response would be to join his group to help the homeless in an attempt to restore the mental/chemical equilibrium disturbed by that dissonance.

That would be a 'fight' response. Similarly, an reactive response would be 'flight' (tears, anger, "I can't handle this") or 'freeze' (denial, ignore the problem, pretend it's not happening).

I'd argue that proactive refers to 'proactive problem management' i.e. maintenance and usually, if not always, has a reactive basis so 'active' is a good enough term. Behaviour is active after all.

I'm not sure of the benefit (to the the discussion) of making a distinction between active, reactive and proactive actions but I'm open to the idea.

The guy talked about low-rent accommodation that the government provides and my dissonance subsided as I realised that I have personally being providing no-rent accommodation for nearly a decade... thus my equilibrium is partially restored but perhaps my baseline has shifted a little as the dialectic may have had an impact on my scope of empathy. Time will tell.

Quote: To be more clear, proactive moral behavior, would be the the sort of actions we see as good, as opposed to the idea and beliefs we hold as morally good ones. The difference between believing that hiding Jews during the holocaust is a morally good thing, and actually hiding Jews.

Exactly the distinction I'm working with ... the judgement/idea/belief vs. the action.

I see you are using the term 'moral' as being good (and presumably 'immoral' as being bad). I am using the term 'moral' as a category. For example, we talk about moral incentives, social incentives and economic incentives.

And of course the action, e.g. charity, may not actually do any good in the long term (only the short term). My argument is that we do it because it makes us feel good i.e. our moral dissonance is eased... our equilibrium is restored.

As a side note, it crosses my mind that some people might regard "I'm praying for you" as a proactive moral behaviour. Consider

Quote:And this would be where I’d say you’d be misusing Haidt’s diagram, which isn’t about the language or morality, but about moral behavior/actions...

As you already pointed out...
Quote:as Haidt would indicate we make our moral judgments first, and attempt to rationally justify them later.
... I'm using the 6 Moral Foundations as categories of judgments, so I don't think that is a misuse.
But yes, point taking, because I am ignoring, for now, the second part about behaviour/actions.

Quote:... In particularly what underlies those behaviors and actions. Haidt would be dismissive of the language of morality here i.e the rationalizations, and reasons we used to justify our moral beliefs, which he refers to as a “press secretary”, justifications after the fact.

Right. I am not going that far.

Quote:If you were trying to formulate what underlies the language of morality, you’d be looking at an entirely different diagram than Haidt’s.

I have erred because of my poetic tendencies. I apologise for misleading you. The word 'language' was too evocative.

The first objective is about semantics rather than language and I'll change the second objective to:

2. To graphically depict the steady-state "is" (or baseline), for an individual using the language of morality in 'moral' terms of reference.

Quote:Our moral language, whether we realize it or not, has been shaped by thousands of years of religious history, of beliefs in a transcendent moral order, a belief in objective morality, intrinsic moral values, beliefs in actual moral obligations and responsibilities. And we haven’t fully reconfigured our moral language in a coherent way, absent of these beliefs.

Exactly. That's what the last row of 'Evolution of Contextual Morality' picture is getting at.

Quote:But if you were looking to formulate what underlies actual moral behavior and actions, we’d be looking at a diagram closer to Haidt’s here

Again, I'm not going into the territory of the behaviours/actions yet, but yes, it's an attempt to formulate (or at least pictorialise) the baseline... the 'as is' and not the 'to be'.

Again, you're input is appreciated. I think we're getting somewhere.

Yes

I can't say I understand your response here entirely. I'm sure if I read it a few more times, and asked some clarifying questions I might be able to decipher your points better, but rather than risk talking past each other, and arguing for arguments sake, or taking up your time. It perhaps best to let you continue with the thread, and perhaps it might be more clear to me where you're going with it, as well as the points you mentioned here.

"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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19-12-2016, 12:15 PM
RE: The Great Morality Diagrammatic Diatribe
I've been thinking about your graphs (they are quite confusing because they have so many ideas in them, it makes it hard to understand what viewpoint is being conveyed).

I like the idea of contextual morality. That you are (I think) showing that the moral landscape changes based on the context (be that situations which can invoke a higher or lesser empathy response).

The perspective is all about the self. The empathy felt by the self and how external influences impact the self.

So looking at your "circles of empathy"
- Self
- Immediate family
- Extended family
- State
- Ideology
- Species

I would change that slightly. I wouldn't call it "circles of empathy", I would call it "Sphere of reciprocal influence". I would replace Ideology with affiliation because these all appear to be groups of belonging. You can belong to a sport group, a club, a fan base (e.g. music artist fan). It doesn't have to be as deep as an ideology, although it could be. I would place affiliation before state, and in some circumstances before extended family, although I'm not sure if others would put it before extended family. I would expect some extremists would put it before immediate family. I think it depends on how replaceable it is. For example you can't replace your cousins, but you can move from one toast masters club to another.
I think these things become an extension of yourself. The more you put in, the more you are able to influence, the more you are able to associate your own identity with, the more important these things are. Companies utilise this in their understanding of Brand preference and it allows them to raise the prices of their goods and services.
Charities and TV documentaries also take advantage of this aspect. Sure you are of the human species and sure you know there is a great deal of suffering going on in the world, but when you hear the details of a specific case, when you see a specific person, hear their story, then it pulls at your heart strings (because you can associate with and feel for this person) you then are more motivated to have empathy and to give for this (no longer) stranger that you have never met.
Anyway, my modified list below:

- Self
- Immediate family
- Extended family
- Affiliation
- State
- Species


With regards to the "moral foundations". I would instead call it "Ideals". I would think that different people would value these in different ways.
Personally I put high value on "Liberty/Oppression" and no value on "Sanctity/Degredation"

I have low value for Fairness and for Authority.

I would say that religious folk would put a great deal of value on Sanctity and Authority. People from some cultures would put a great deal of value on "Sanctity" because they see traditions as an important part of their culture and self identity. But because Western culture is seen as the dominant culture on the world scene, Western culture is less worried about lack of identity and hence not so worried about clinging to traditions as their self identity isn't threatened.

However, in saying that, Trump won the US election based on a protectionist campaign, I would say many of his supporters are worried about self identity. They perhaps associate "Let's make america great again" with "Let's make sure USA culture remains Western, white and Christian"
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19-12-2016, 01:00 PM
RE: The Great Morality Diagrammatic Diatribe
(19-12-2016 12:15 PM)Stevil Wrote:  I've been thinking about your graphs (they are quite confusing because they have so many ideas in them, it makes it hard to understand what viewpoint is being conveyed).

I like the idea of contextual morality. That you are (I think) showing that the moral landscape changes based on the context (be that situations which can invoke a higher or lesser empathy response).

The perspective is all about the self. The empathy felt by the self and how external influences impact the self.

So looking at your "circles of empathy"
- Self
- Immediate family
- Extended family
- State
- Ideology
- Species

I would change that slightly. I wouldn't call it "circles of empathy", I would call it "Sphere of reciprocal influence". I would replace Ideology with affiliation because these all appear to be groups of belonging. You can belong to a sport group, a club, a fan base (e.g. music artist fan). It doesn't have to be as deep as an ideology, although it could be. I would place affiliation before state, and in some circumstances before extended family, although I'm not sure if others would put it before extended family. I would expect some extremists would put it before immediate family. I think it depends on how replaceable it is. For example you can't replace your cousins, but you can move from one toast masters club to another.
I think these things become an extension of yourself. The more you put in, the more you are able to influence, the more you are able to associate your own identity with, the more important these things are. Companies utilise this in their understanding of Brand preference and it allows them to raise the prices of their goods and services.
Charities and TV documentaries also take advantage of this aspect. Sure you are of the human species and sure you know there is a great deal of suffering going on in the world, but when you hear the details of a specific case, when you see a specific person, hear their story, then it pulls at your heart strings (because you can associate with and feel for this person) you then are more motivated to have empathy and to give for this (no longer) stranger that you have never met.
Anyway, my modified list below:

- Self
- Immediate family
- Extended family
- Affiliation
- State
- Species


With regards to the "moral foundations". I would instead call it "Ideals". I would think that different people would value these in different ways.
Personally I put high value on "Liberty/Oppression" and no value on "Sanctity/Degredation"

I have low value for Fairness and for Authority.

I would say that religious folk would put a great deal of value on Sanctity and Authority. People from some cultures would put a great deal of value on "Sanctity" because they see traditions as an important part of their culture and self identity. But because Western culture is seen as the dominant culture on the world scene, Western culture is less worried about lack of identity and hence not so worried about clinging to traditions as their self identity isn't threatened.

However, in saying that, Trump won the US election based on a protectionist campaign, I would say many of his supporters are worried about self identity. They perhaps associate "Let's make america great again" with "Let's make sure USA culture remains Western, white and Christian"

Those are excellent suggestions. Thank you.

You gave a few examples (yourself, religious folk)... Yup, once the format has been settled, I'd like to create some specific examples or perhaps even think about a questionnaire so that the graph is generated based on answers (and we can ask Girly to turn it into an App?).

I'm going to write some explanatory text based on the conversation we had via PM, with your permission (I have a personal policy against sharing PM info without permission).

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19-12-2016, 01:13 PM
RE: The Great Morality Diagrammatic Diatribe
(19-12-2016 01:00 PM)DLJ Wrote:  I going to write some explanatory text based on the conversation we had via PM, with your permission (I have a personal policy against sharing PM info without permission).
Sure, none of that was private in nature. I would have been happy for any of that to be in a public thread. Thanks for asking.
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20-12-2016, 05:35 AM
RE: The Great Morality Diagrammatic Diatribe
DLJ, I know you are making this thread as some sort of knowledge database to make easier to discuss the subject, but I'm eager for you to get to the "ought" part, and how exactly that relates to justification in a way you could derive right and wrong...

But I will wait until you get there, keep going DLJ Thumbsup

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