The point of studying ethics
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29-07-2017, 11:57 AM (This post was last modified: 29-07-2017 12:52 PM by nosferatu323.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
(28-07-2017 05:20 PM)Dr H Wrote:  
(28-07-2017 04:35 AM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I do not think morality SHOULD BE based on pure rationality.
I think morality CANNOT BE based on pure rationality.

I think any one who wants to make moral judgements MUST rely on some faculties OTHER THAN reason.

Fair enough.

That kinda looks like the end of the argument, to me. Big Grin

I still think we do not have the same conception of "rational and objective agent", but we are almost there, I guess.

So if we agree that:
"any one who wants to make moral judgements MUST rely on some faculties OTHER THAN reason"

There would be some interesting "moral" considerations:

1. We can argue that the only reliable faculty is reason and also sensory perception (to some extents), if morality relies on faculties other than these, is it reliable? Can we make important decision based on morality?

2. Also, since morality relies on unreliable faculties, can it be dangerous? It can cause wars and oppression for example. "You are wrong therefore you must be oppressed"

3. Isn't it immoral to accuse someone as "immoral", "wrong", etc.? For whatever reason. Because we can't justify our claim with evidences. Accusing someone without any evidences is usually perceived as immoral.

I think this sort of questions are inside the sphere of morality and outside the sphere of rationality, so I think these is no reasonable answer for them. But I think they are worth considering for anyone who makes strong moral judgements.
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29-07-2017, 12:11 PM (This post was last modified: 29-07-2017 01:52 PM by nosferatu323.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
(29-07-2017 03:38 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  My take on things:

Rationality is a tool. It cannot decide what your goals are, without already having assumed goals in place.
I think it can't. But an objective person relies on facts to figure out what to do. He doesn't need a "value" though.

Quote:What's the rational reason for doing anything at all?
Agreed, there is no merely rational reason to do anything. The rational and objective agent would rely and facts to figure out what to do. Since he is also "objective".

Quote:Even the value of survival is still a subjective
Right, the objective and rational agent does not have any values. He only needs a drive to move. It can be scientifically demonstrated that living organisms are driven by survival. So the objective and rational agent can deduce that "survival" is his main drive. He doesn't have any "values", values are subjective, he just has a drive to move, and he has verified it by referring to facts.
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29-07-2017, 12:26 PM (This post was last modified: 29-07-2017 01:41 PM by nosferatu323.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
(29-07-2017 06:55 AM)DLJ Wrote:  This is my main bugbear with the Morality Debate. It's stuck in the terminology of the past.

In Governance (aka frameworks or systems for decision-making which includes 'ethics') we use the following:
Goals (desires, quality criteria etc.) are tagged as 'intrinsic' or 'contextual'.
Survival is an intrinsic goal (reproduction is a subset of this i.e. gene survival).
Happiness would be contextual.

There is a third category called "Accessibility/Security" which might be appropriate for other 3 Darwinian drivers: sexual selection, kin-selection and reciprocity.

The terms 'objective' and 'subjective' are reserved as tags for metrics i.e. quantitative and qualitative.

That was informative, thanks!

Quote:I'm giving myself a year
I think I have a new idea on why we sleep (but I'm immersing myself in 'brain chemistry' to see where the idea might be bollocks)
My model supports a hypothesis for déjà vu.
I think I've cracked the puzzle of what laughter is for.
I'm procrastinating heavily on what I'm telling myself I don't require but deep down I know I have to tackle ... a network diagram (or at least a model) for consciousness.
The process model(s) of morality was the easy bit... the chemical mechanism behind it however - urgggh! I'm going to need to rent an expert for that.
...
Wow, that's too much trouble! Big Grin
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01-08-2017, 05:15 PM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(29-07-2017 11:36 AM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I fail to see your point. A program is always rational.
Why do you think a piece of program cannot be labeled as rational or irrational? Maybe you are referring to a different notion of "rational?
Among the various uses of "rational," by far the most common is "to have reason or understanding". A program is not in possession of reason or understanding; it is what it is, and it does what it does. It is an object.

On what basis do you define an object as "rational?

Quote:by rational I simply mean logical, nothing more.
Well, "rational" is not quite the same thing as "logical". And even so . . .
Is a program that does nothing but instruct a robot to turn itself off every time it is turned on "logical"? Or a program that does nothing but loop back on itself endlessly?

Logic is more than simply a situation in which "B" inevitably follows "A" in trivial mechanical repetition. It implies that there is a context in which the "thing" under consideration evidences principles of inference and demonstration. A program can be designed or analyzed to fulfill a logical function in a particular context, but it is not in itself logical, other than by human inference.

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"So, I became an anarchist, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."
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01-08-2017, 05:19 PM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(29-07-2017 11:44 AM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  
(28-07-2017 05:30 PM)Dr H Wrote:  No. You appear to be arguing the rationalist position. In rationalism the criteria for "truth" are purely intellectual and deductive. There is no need to access external reality, because its truths can be directly apprehended by the intellect.
Hence an "entirely rational" person would, essentially, be living entirely within their own mind, in some sense.

Perhaps as perceived by an empiricist. Smile
I don't think I'm arguing the rationalist position. The agent has two characteristics, one of them is objective. ALL his actions are inferred from a FACT, the agent does not make any logical mistakes in his inference, so he is also rational. I fail to see how this agent "has no need to access external reality" as you put it.

How can the agent be objective and be detached from the reality?
He would not say that he is detached from reality. To a rationalist, "facts" are inferred, discovered, and deduced intellectually. To him, him mind IS reality.

Quote:In fact, I'm arguing about an agent which is ALWAYS connected to the objective reality, because ALL his actions have an evidential basis, he can rely on sociological facts to deal with people for example, yet he cannot make any moral judgement.
"Evidential" as in "empirically verifiable"?

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"So, I became an anarchist, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."
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01-08-2017, 05:32 PM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(29-07-2017 11:57 AM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I still think we do not have the same conception of "rational and objective agent", but we are almost there, I guess.

So if we agree that:
"any one who wants to make moral judgements MUST rely on some faculties OTHER THAN reason"
Sort of. I don't know that I'm prepared to put it that definitively.
I would say that available evidence seems to indicate that anyone who makes moral judgments DOES involve some factors which are subjective.

Whether or not it MUST be that way, I don't know.

Quote:There would be some interesting "moral" considerations:

1. We can argue that the only reliable faculty is reason and also sensory perception (to some extents), if morality relies on faculties other than these, is it reliable? Can we make important decision based on morality?
That same argument can be made (and has been) as regards sensation and perception. Perception involves a host of activities beyond the simple, direct apprehension of an objective physical quality or quantity. This has been amply demonstrated in the many studies of multiple eyewitness testimony, where people present in essentially the same place, at the same time, under the same conditions give different -- sometimes stunningly different -- accounts of the same event.

Morality ratchets the complexity of that situation up several notches, at least.

Quote:2. Also, since morality relies on unreliable faculties, can it be dangerous? It can cause wars and oppression for example. "You are wrong therefore you must be oppressed"
I don't think there's any question but that it can. At some point "morality" can become "ideology".

Quote:3. Isn't it immoral to accuse someone as "immoral", "wrong", etc.? For whatever reason. Because we can't justify our claim with evidences. Accusing someone without any evidences is usually perceived as immoral.
Don't know that I would call it "immoral". Imprecise, certainly. Biased, perhaps.

Quote:I think this sort of questions are inside the sphere of morality and outside the sphere of rationality, so I think these is no reasonable answer for them. But I think they are worth considering for anyone who makes strong moral judgements.
Except . . . I think that we are providing a current, living example that they can be considered rationally -- this discussion is evidence of that.

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"So, I became an anarchist, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."
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06-08-2017, 01:51 PM (This post was last modified: 06-08-2017 01:55 PM by nosferatu323.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
By logical I mean formally logical as it is meant in mathematics and analytic philosophy, it seems you are referring to subjectively logical, since you are claiming that the notion of logical requires a human mind to judge.
(01-08-2017 05:15 PM)Dr H Wrote:  On what basis do you define an object as "rational?
An agent is rational when its actions can be clearly and consistently expressed within a finite formal system.

Quote:Is a program that does nothing but instruct a robot to turn itself off every time it is turned on "logical"?
As long as there are no hardware or software malfunctions and errors involved, yes.

Quote: Or a program that does nothing but loop back on itself endlessly?
Any piece of error-free, executable code is logical. Errors can be an indication of irrationality in programming. For example, if you assume an object called X is a Car and also an Animal in an object-oriented programming language, errors will show up, because you have been illogical in your programming. But if there are no compile time or runtime errors, it means the program is logical.
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06-08-2017, 01:59 PM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(01-08-2017 05:19 PM)Dr H Wrote:  To a rationalist, "facts" are inferred, discovered, and deduced intellectually. To him, him mind IS reality.
The "rational and objective agent" is not a rationalist, since he is also objective. He has a set of "established facts" which are his ONLY true propositions and are the basis for his actions. NONE of these propositions depend on his mind, all of them are empirically verifiable.


Quote:"Evidential" as in "empirically verifiable"?
Yes, since the agent is objective. His rationality only means that he is consistent and does not make any mistakes in his inferences to deduce the appropriate actions.
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06-08-2017, 04:28 PM
RE: The point of studying ethics
We have emotional reactions when we are subject to actions. We hate being robbed, attacked, raped, cheated, stolen from or when our family, friends or innocent people are so treated.

These are the basic facts, the basic foundations of any moral system, and any attempt to rationally think about ethics.

A good part of study of ethics is to understand how mankind gets morality wrong.
Why good people become evil people, Nazis, Fascists, slave owners, racists, et al.
Examples of bad ethics and why that happens. As societies, as cultures, as single persons. But start with the fact that if you are robbed and beaten, you will dislike that and you don't need to read some ancient book of myths to know that you should hate that.

How do better, good societies and cultures create better ethics? How can we create better moral systems?

The idea that ethics has nothing to do with facts, extreme subjectivism is wrong. The idea we need some sort of mythical absolute to have ethics is also wrong.

To dislike being beaten and robbed is indeed subjective. Sentient and emotional beings that hate or like differing treatments by others are things that exist.

Yog Sothoth! Yog Sothoth! Come back old ones! Yog Sothoth!

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06-08-2017, 11:43 PM
RE: The point of studying ethics
It is indeed subjective to dislike having certain things done to you. However, once you've stated that you don't like those things, it's no longer a matter of discussion for anyone but yourself. So a society can have the objective fact to work with that virtually all of its populous dislikes in the extreme having a particular thing done to them, and this is a sensible thing to try and discourage by law as far as is practical.

It's entirely rational for a society made up by people to try and prevent things happening that those very people don't want to happen. This isn't arbitrary, as Charlie says. It's more of a feedback loop.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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