The point of studying ethics
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18-07-2017, 10:53 AM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(18-07-2017 09:21 AM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  You seem to be suggesting that there is an objective morality and we must seek it, right? Otherwise I can't understand what "Moral systems should be about what is true" would mean.

Well, internal consistency is one form of truth. If people say one thing and do another, as Americans did about freedom and slavery in my example, then it's obvious they can't really have it both ways.

Another consideration is what the facts are. This is a legal matter as well as a moral matter. If I steal something that someone else has earned, I am both legally and morally responsible. That is about as objective a morality as you could hope for, and we barely need to "seek it" unless the facts are in question.

Most people agree on these two points: consistency (avoiding hypocrisy) and factual accuracy (avoiding lies).

Certainly there are ambiguous areas where people of can disagree, but I don't see how the above two issues can confuse you.
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18-07-2017, 12:25 PM (This post was last modified: 18-07-2017 01:09 PM by nosferatu323.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
(18-07-2017 10:53 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(18-07-2017 09:21 AM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  You seem to be suggesting that there is an objective morality and we must seek it, right? Otherwise I can't understand what "Moral systems should be about what is true" would mean.

Well, internal consistency is one form of truth. If people say one thing and do another, as Americans did about freedom and slavery in my example, then it's obvious they can't really have it both ways.

Another consideration is what the facts are. This is a legal matter as well as a moral matter. If I steal something that someone else has earned, I am both legally and morally responsible. That is about as objective a morality as you could hope for, and we barely need to "seek it" unless the facts are in question.

Most people agree on these two points: consistency (avoiding hypocrisy) and factual accuracy (avoiding lies).

Certainly there are ambiguous areas where people of can disagree, but I don't see how the above two issues can confuse you.

I think you are offering two basic moral values to be a basis for the rest of our morality system (don't lie, don't be a hypocrite). This would resemble circular reasoning. I think you cannot solve the problem of lack of any objectivity in moral values by offering some moral values to be a basis for the others.

A big portion of what the politicians say and claim are lies, and I think if they stop lying there will be lot of trouble. That's the way we have learned to keep everything stable, honesty hasn't worked yet, and it's likely that it will never work. The same goes for hypocrisy. Anyway, even if these two were appropriate measures, they are merely subjective preferences in themselves.

I think we clearly need some objective measures to evaluate preferences so we can unambiguously determine which ones are better. But isn't it clear that there is no such objective measures?
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18-07-2017, 04:04 PM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(18-07-2017 12:25 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I think we clearly need some objective measures to evaluate preferences so we can unambiguously determine which ones are better. But isn't it clear that there is no such objective measures?

You don't seem to realize that social and ethical systems don't work in isolation, but in the real world with real feedback from that world. That is the objective reality you need to consider. That's why avoiding lies and hypocrisy are not optional in the long run.
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18-07-2017, 04:28 PM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(18-07-2017 12:25 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I think we clearly need some objective measures to evaluate preferences so we can unambiguously determine which ones are better.

And I think that is wrongheaded. Preferences cannot be evaluated outside of context. "Better" is by any definition subjective.

#sigh
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18-07-2017, 06:40 PM (This post was last modified: 18-07-2017 07:36 PM by nosferatu323.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
(18-07-2017 04:28 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(18-07-2017 12:25 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I think we clearly need some objective measures to evaluate preferences so we can unambiguously determine which ones are better.

And I think that is wrongheaded. Preferences cannot be evaluated outside of context. "Better" is by any definition subjective.

I think the notion of "better" can be objective in some cases. A better scientific theory is the one that is more accurate in describing the natural phenomena, I think it's implied by the definition of science.

Relativistic Mechanics is better than Classical Mechanics. I think this is pretty unambiguous.
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18-07-2017, 07:21 PM (This post was last modified: 19-07-2017 02:23 AM by nosferatu323.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
I really don't think there is much disagreement here. We all seem to agree that morality is subjective.

I'm only suggesting that maybe most of us are not paying enough attention to the implications of this fact.

I want to point out that when we say "You are wrong", we deeply presume and imply that there is something objectively undesirable about that person. We seem to forget that our morality is subjective, or we are not forgetting, but pretending.

We occasionally "condemn" various acts. In this occasions we are really implying that there is something objective about our moral values that gives us the privilege to publicly "condemn" something. I'm not saying "this is wrong". I just want to point out that: it is an act of hypocrisy. We believe morality is subjective, but we start to pretend that it's something objective. If honesty is not that much of an important value for someone that's fine, but one should be aware of this.

When I realized this fact, I stopped making judgements about others' behaviors. I only rarely inform friends "Your action X violates moral value Y which I know is important for you" I stopped condemning stuff that happens around me and around the world. This approach helped me a lot with my peace of mind and I think it's a sensible approach. I'd be interested to know what you guys think about this.

In general I think morality is 99% for our self development, that 1% is for informing others about the inconsistencies in their morality, so we can help them developing better moral standards.
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19-07-2017, 03:59 AM (This post was last modified: 19-07-2017 04:44 AM by nosferatu323.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
(18-07-2017 04:04 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(18-07-2017 12:25 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I think we clearly need some objective measures to evaluate preferences so we can unambiguously determine which ones are better. But isn't it clear that there is no such objective measures?

You don't seem to realize that social and ethical systems don't work in isolation, but in the real world with real feedback from that world. That is the objective reality you need to consider. That's why avoiding lies and hypocrisy are not optional in the long run.

I think I realize this. Requiring a context is different from being something entirely subjective. For example social sciences are also meaningless in isolation. But the propositions in social sciences are objective, they are supported by observable statistics for example. But there is nothing observable about propositions in a moral system. It lies entirely in the subjective realm.

When we say "Lying is bad", can we support this proposition by some observables? Are there any evidences that can support this proposition? I don't think so.
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19-07-2017, 06:12 AM (This post was last modified: 19-07-2017 06:27 AM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
(18-07-2017 07:21 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I really don't think there is much disagreement here. We all seem to agree that morality is subjective.

I do not agree that morality is subjective. I think it is relative to our objective interests, which are based on our very real human nature.

That is why I think we can make valid judgment calls when people are lying and hypocritical.

However, I do agree that people who think morality is merely subjective should avoid the hypocrisy of making strong moral judgments (a vaild judgment itself). They have some cognitive dissonance to work through.

I don't have to say "lying is bad." All I have to say is that lying is inaccurate and therefore ineffective.
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19-07-2017, 07:14 AM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(19-07-2017 06:12 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  I don't have to say "lying is bad." All I have to say is that lying is inaccurate and therefore ineffective.

Great discussion.

And yet, as an example, if you are at war and need to deceive the enemy that you are landing somewhere other than Normandy then lying is certainly effective in reaching your goals. Now, whether that is “good or bad” depends on who’s side you’re on. Consider

In the end, I think all ethics and morals are subjective.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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19-07-2017, 07:21 AM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(19-07-2017 07:14 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  
(19-07-2017 06:12 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  I don't have to say "lying is bad." All I have to say is that lying is inaccurate and therefore ineffective.

Great discussion.

And yet, as an example, if you are at war and need to deceive the enemy that you are landing somewhere other than Normandy then lying is certainly effective in reaching your goals.

Instead of is I would use can be as there is no guarantee that subterfuge will be successful.

Also I'm not sure if this could be called lying, even if it fit definition. For me it is just valid strategy - misdirection.

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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