The point of studying ethics
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27-07-2017, 08:59 AM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(27-07-2017 03:53 AM)Szuchow Wrote:  
(27-07-2017 03:10 AM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I think you are misunderstanding my point. The reason might be that you are imposing some negativity to the word "irrational".

Actual definition of word irrational does not show it as something positive.

Quote:There is nothing wrong with irrationality

So there was nothing wrong with arresting people and sending them to GULags on trumped charges? Cause that's how irrationality looks.


Well there is something regrettable about some irrational acts but not about all irrational acts. Rationality is one mode of being and useful for survival as well as for harmonious social living (another kind of survival). But our survival is not always at stake and so rationality is not always required. If you lose yourself in dancing or in making music you have let slip the reins of rationality, but there is nothing to regret. You'll probably have a better time for it and so might those you are with.

“Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder 'why, why, why?'
Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.”

― Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle
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27-07-2017, 09:05 AM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(27-07-2017 08:59 AM)whateverist Wrote:  
(27-07-2017 03:53 AM)Szuchow Wrote:  Actual definition of word irrational does not show it as something positive.


So there was nothing wrong with arresting people and sending them to GULags on trumped charges? Cause that's how irrationality looks.


Well there is something regrettable about some irrational acts but not about all irrational acts. Rationality is one mode of being and useful for survival as well as for harmonious social living (another kind of survival). But our survival is not always at stake and so rationality is not always required. If you lose yourself in dancing or in making music you have let slip the reins of rationality, but there is nothing to regret. You'll probably have a better time for it and so might those you are with.

If there is nothingwrong with irrationality then no irrational deed is wrong - that's how I see it. Perhaps this is result of my flawed understanding of English, but on the other hand I could easily agree with saying that irrational does not equal wrong.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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27-07-2017, 09:27 AM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(27-07-2017 09:05 AM)Szuchow Wrote:  
(27-07-2017 08:59 AM)whateverist Wrote:  Well there is something regrettable about some irrational acts but not about all irrational acts. Rationality is one mode of being and useful for survival as well as for harmonious social living (another kind of survival). But our survival is not always at stake and so rationality is not always required. If you lose yourself in dancing or in making music you have let slip the reins of rationality, but there is nothing to regret. You'll probably have a better time for it and so might those you are with.

If there is nothingwrong with irrationality then no irrational deed is wrong - that's how I see it. Perhaps this is result of my flawed understanding of English, but on the other hand I could easily agree with saying that irrational does not equal wrong.

I think there is sometimes (not always) value in the irrational. Within the irrational one can sometimes find sublime coherence which we recognize in creative works.

In the study of ethics the classic disagreement is between whether moral acts have greater value which are performed as an act of duty or as acts of empathy. In child rearing, I think you want to cultivate empathy as well as duty. A sense of duty divorced of empathy seems unlikely to endure or contribute to ones satisfaction in life. At base, empathy may be non-rational but one can learn to value and listen to it. Add in some rational contemplation and perhaps empathy becomes better informed?

“Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder 'why, why, why?'
Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.”

― Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle
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27-07-2017, 09:45 AM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(27-07-2017 09:27 AM)whateverist Wrote:  I think there is sometimes (not always) value in the irrational.

I can agree with this.

Quote:Within the irrational one can sometimes find sublime coherence which we recognize in creative works.

You lost me with all this big words.

Quote:In the study of ethics the classic disagreement is between whether moral acts have greater value which are performed as an act of duty or as acts of empathy. In child rearing, I think you want to cultivate empathy as well as duty. A sense of duty divorced of empathy seems unlikely to endure or contribute to ones satisfaction in life. At base, empathy may be non-rational but one can learn to value and listen to it. Add in some rational contemplation and perhaps empathy becomes better informed?

I can't see what ties above sentences with what I wrote. I didn't mentioned empathy at all - I just meant what I wrote without some clever subtext or hidden meaning.

I agree that empathy should be tempered with reason but I'm not much interested in moral debates - mostly cause I think that there isn't much to debate. May be primitive stance but it suits me just fine.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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27-07-2017, 12:43 PM
RE: The point of studying ethics
Irrationality in ethics is a problem. There might be a good strain of ethical irrationality, intuition, but there is the problem of bad irrationality. And then we have the whole subject of irrational ideas that affect whole societies' morality. So one can think for example, it is OK to kill all the Jews. A person's personal irrationality, gut reaction, can be based on bad ideas that are separate from ethics per se.

When I shake my ignore file, I can hear them buzzing!

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27-07-2017, 02:55 PM (This post was last modified: 27-07-2017 03:12 PM by nosferatu323.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
(27-07-2017 08:37 AM)Szuchow Wrote:  
(27-07-2017 08:08 AM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  Words can mean different things, but the way I used it is neither positive nor negative. It simply means not logical.

It's you take on word irrational that simply means not logical, others aren't bound to agree with your word usage.

Quote:Acting merely based on emotion, inspiration, intuition is certainly not logical, but there is nothing negative about these things in general, I think.

Acting incoherently hardly can be called positive.

Quote:I think by a specific example about a situation where irrationality is undesirable you cannot infer that irrationality is undesirable in general.

I think that you don't see that I shown your words to be false there is nothing wrong with irrationality is untrue statement. Or are you willing to claim that sending people to GULags on trumped charges isn't wrong? Even if wrong in this case would mean sub-optimal use of resources.

Were you to write irrationality isn't always damaging/bad then I could agree but if nothing is wrong with irrationality then nothing is wrong with irrational things like GULags.

Quote:Morality is context-dependent. As I said every time someone acts based on merely empathy, for example, he is being irrational. But that's not necessarily wrong.

Morality may be context-dependent but one can't defend Soviet practices without looking like a fool given that GULags were economically unsustainable and imprisoning not guilty people isn't how you nurture trust in government.

Quote:others aren't bound to agree with your word usage.
Of course. The great thing about language is that it is elastic. People have a lot of freedom in how they are using the words, it's not the case in logical reasoning though, words must be completely definite. Therefore, in this discussion we made it clear what we mean by rationality and irrationality, I think this is the only way to have a clear conversation, so we have to agree on something.

Quote:nothing is wrong with irrationality then nothing is wrong with irrational things like GULags.
I think "nothing is right or wrong about irrationality". The notion of right and wrong about irrationality or any other concept appear in presence of a context, when there is no context, the notion of right and wrong disappear. Irrationality or rationality, without any context, are neither right nor wrong. That's what I meant.

Being rational during a sexual intercourse is most likely wrong, because rationality is undesirable for effective relationship during an intercourse, which is based mostly on subtle impulses. It doesn't mean "there is something wrong about rationality". The notion of wrong appears in this context, without the context, there is nothing wrong with rationality, the same thing holds for irrationality and your example about gulags.
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27-07-2017, 03:12 PM (This post was last modified: 27-07-2017 03:18 PM by nosferatu323.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
(27-07-2017 08:57 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
(27-07-2017 06:44 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  Yeah, that sounds about right.

However, it may not have an immediate impact, but may affect future situations. For example, it would be moral to educate yourself about something so that you are better placed to make good decisions which will affect others.
...

Leaving aside the implicit value judgement of what is "good", "good decisions" rely upon access to data/information and also a analytical capability i.e. "thinking tools" - to me, the latter is 'intelligence'.

On that basis, gaining education relates to improving capability/maturity of processes that enable wisdom rather than being an attribute of morality. Otherwise being stupid (unintelligent) would be immoral.

(27-07-2017 06:44 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  Hmm, well if I commit a faux pas merely with the intention of upsetting people, then I'd call that immoral. But morality is certainly not binary, and it would be like -0.000001 on the morality scale between -1 and 1. It could be worse if I'm aware my actions will cause very specific upset which could then lead to further undesirable consequences.

If however I have no idea I'm even committing a faux pas, then it's not a moral consideration. Or I may have balancing factors, for which I consider any minor upset feelings a worthwhile balance.

And of course, whatever rating I gave my own action would be my own opinion and anyone could give their rating of it too. But I think it's very important to take into account the intentions and knowledge of the person. Merely focusing on outcomes misses the whole point of morality.

You wouldn't normally bother calling a faux pas for deliberate upset immoral because it's so minor, but it's the same principle.

OK, so it appears we have a continuum and also a context-dependency ... which means we can answer the question of "is every breach of a threshold a morality-event?" with a confident "No".

What then classifies an emotion-triggering event as moral as opposed to simply a social mistake or irritation or merely a preference?

And also, how important or serious or intense does it have to be to invoke an action as opposed to just generating mild disapproval (e.g. anguish or pain that we put up with (up with which we put) vs. a trigger event)?

Take this example:
Preference question - Do you like being rich?
Social question - Can a society with a large gap between rich and poor function successfully?
Moral question - Is it OK to let the poor starve?

Or as statements;
Preference statement - I like being rich.
Social statement - Income inequality is the engine of the Murikan Dream.
Moral statement - It is OK to let the poor starve.

It intrigues me that the latter statement will stimulate an emotion (perhaps anger) in one context but in another context will be the start of a healthy discussion ...
- A new person joins TTA and posts "It is OK to let the poor starve." in the politics or Atheism/Theism section and will be decried and neg-repped.
- But you or I could write the same thing in the Philosophy section and there would be a good discussion on the ethics of Ayn Randian self-interest or the pros and cons of a 'Darwinian' society. And no one gets neg-repped.

(27-07-2017 07:55 AM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  ...
This point was brought up previously by Dr H, we can have a rational talk about unicorns also, The final version of the claim about morality was about "A rational and objective agent" so the objectivity of the person is involved too. Someone who is not concerned about supporting his claims by evidences can claim all sort of moral judgements, because they are ultimately subjective, as long as he can maintain internal consistency in what he says, he would be rational. "I think you are wrong because that's my definition of wrong" this is actually rational, but not objective.

So, morality can be within the reach of reason, but if objectivity is also a condition, it would be out of reach.

You'd have to give me your idea of the scope of the morality-process before I can comment on the relevance of 'objectivity' but it strikes me as trivially true that "objective agent" (and "objectivity of the person") is an oxymoron.

Consider


Quote:You'd have to give me your idea of the scope of the morality-process
I think there is no scope. Morality can be arbitrarily defined. It lies in the subjective realm. It can be anything.
"All that Jesus has done during his lifetime defines morality"
"Morality is acting in accordance with accepted norms in a society"
"Morality is what the Christian God commands us to do"
"Morality is incoherent and nonsensical"
...I don't see any scope to inform you about it or I'm not understanding what you mean by "the scope of morality-process".

Quote: it strikes me as trivially true that "objective agent" (and "objectivity of the person") is an oxymoron.
Why? I don' think it is an oxymoron. I think it can be coherently defined. My first try would be:
An objective agent ALWAYS infers its actions from a set of established truths. This agent can be a scientist for example.

An agent which is not objective is not bound to any established truths. This agent can create art for example, or be a philosopher or a mathematician.

For us, established truths would be our scientific knowledge.
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27-07-2017, 03:56 PM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(27-07-2017 12:43 PM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote:  Irrationality in ethics is a problem. There might be a good strain of ethical irrationality, intuition, but there is the problem of bad irrationality. And then we have the whole subject of irrational ideas that affect whole societies' morality. So one can think for example, it is OK to kill all the Jews. A person's personal irrationality, gut reaction, can be based on bad ideas that are separate from ethics per se.


So the non-rational is dangerous territory. Are we then safer to avoid it as much as possible or are we better off to increase familiarity with those basement regions of ourselves?

“Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder 'why, why, why?'
Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.”

― Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle
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27-07-2017, 05:11 PM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(27-07-2017 03:12 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  
(27-07-2017 08:57 AM)DLJ Wrote:  You'd have to give me your idea of the scope of the morality-process
I think there is no scope. Morality can be arbitrarily defined. It lies in the subjective realm. It can be anything.
"All that Jesus has done during his lifetime defines morality"
"Morality is acting in accordance with accepted norms in a society"
"Morality is what the Christian God commands us to do"
"Morality is incoherent and nonsensical"
...I don't see any scope to inform you about it or I'm not understanding what you mean by "the scope of morality-process".

And therein lies the problem with the 'morality question'..

In a philosophical discussion, the first thing one has to do is define one's terms.

I suspect this is why it's still being talked about after all these millennia - we have failed to adequately define the damn thing.

Big Grin

(27-07-2017 03:12 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  
(27-07-2017 08:57 AM)DLJ Wrote:  ... it strikes me as trivially true that "objective agent" (and "objectivity of the person") is an oxymoron.
Why? I don' think it is an oxymoron. I think it can be coherently defined. My first try would be:
An objective agent ALWAYS infers its actions from a set of established truths. This agent can be a scientist for example.

An agent which is not objective is not bound to any established truths. This agent can create art for example, or be a philosopher or a mathematician.

For us, established truths would be our scientific knowledge.

But what if 'truth' is dynamic?

One of the strengths of the scientific method(s) is the recognition that one individual should not rely upon their own sentience or even their own (subjective) interpretation of data drawn from objective instruments.

'Truth' belongs to realm of philosophy. For precision, Science should stick to 'facts' about 'reality' and bequeath 'truth' to the realm of philosophy.

One agent is subjective; more than one agent, working with the same method and using the same data, can establish facts with ever increasing integrity.

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27-07-2017, 05:33 PM (This post was last modified: 27-07-2017 05:38 PM by nosferatu323.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
(27-07-2017 05:11 PM)DLJ Wrote:  
(27-07-2017 03:12 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I think there is no scope. Morality can be arbitrarily defined. It lies in the subjective realm. It can be anything.
"All that Jesus has done during his lifetime defines morality"
"Morality is acting in accordance with accepted norms in a society"
"Morality is what the Christian God commands us to do"
"Morality is incoherent and nonsensical"
...I don't see any scope to inform you about it or I'm not understanding what you mean by "the scope of morality-process".

And therein lies the problem with the 'morality question'..

In a philosophical discussion, the first thing one has to do is define one's terms.

I suspect this is why it's still being talked about after all these millennia - we have failed to adequately define the damn thing.

Big Grin

(27-07-2017 03:12 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  Why? I don' think it is an oxymoron. I think it can be coherently defined. My first try would be:
An objective agent ALWAYS infers its actions from a set of established truths. This agent can be a scientist for example.

An agent which is not objective is not bound to any established truths. This agent can create art for example, or be a philosopher or a mathematician.

For us, established truths would be our scientific knowledge.

But what if 'truth' is dynamic?

One of the strengths of the scientific method(s) is the recognition that one individual should not rely upon their own sentience or even their own (subjective) interpretation of data drawn from objective instruments.

'Truth' belongs to realm of philosophy. For precision, Science should stick to 'facts' about 'reality' and bequeath 'truth' to the realm of philosophy.

One agent is subjective; more than one agent, working with the same method and using the same data, can establish facts with ever increasing integrity.

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Quote:I suspect this is why it's still being talked about after all these millennia - we have failed to adequately define the damn thing.
Correct, and I think "stop trying" would be a reasonable decision.

Quote:But what if 'truth' is dynamic?
The agent can modify his set of established truths/facts. Dynamically adding/removing true propositions would be fine. However, the behavior of the agent might be inconsistent before and after the modification, we should accept that if we want to have a dynamic agent.

Quote:'Truth' belongs to realm of philosophy.
Correct, "facts" is the right word. I shouldn't have used "truths"

Quote:One agent is subjective; more than one agent, working with the same method and using the same data, can establish facts with ever increasing integrity.
I don't get this part. You are implying a single objective agent is incoherent, right? I don't see your point. I think a single agent can discover the scientific reality as we know it. I think the development of science has never been dependent on the multiplicity of the agents.

As long as the objective agent is committed to the scientific method, it can find new facts and add it to its established facts and progressively attain knowledge, alone. What is the problem with the single agent do you think?
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